Wednesday Word: Optimism
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement.” –Helen Keller
I think runners, by nature, should be optimistic to be successful. First, I need to qualify how I define success in this context. Being a successful runner doesn’t necessarily mean making the podium, crushing PRs race after race, running a longer distance, or a BQ. Rather, I think being a successful runner means getting out there, showing up for a run, making the most of the circumstances—inclement weather, injury (or recovery), illness, a bad day, week, month, and…just running. That’s it.
Having optimism makes the realization of success a lot easier. Now, when the wind is howling, and it’s 20 degrees outside, I’m probably not thinking, “Can’t wait to run in this! I’m gonna rock this workout!” But having optimism about the outcome makes all the difference. Yes, it will be cold, but I’ll be building some strength back in my legs and it won’t be as bad once I get moving.
Optimism is having hope and faith that a run will have a successful outcome, and sometimes that outcome can be simply that I ran. Not every run is going to be great. Not every run is going to feel good. But, just that I ran.
With races, I tend to focus on the “what ifs” and the “buts,” and dwell on the challenges that lay ahead. When I’ve been optimistic about a race and gone into it with a more positive attitude, I’m happier no matter what the outcome. Maybe I didn’t get the time I wanted or I didn’t feel great for whatever reason, but I may have learned something for the next race or even the next week.
“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” –Sir Winston Churchill
Writing this post, I was reminded of a scene in the movie, “Princess Bride,” when Buttercup says they’ll never succeed and they’re going to die in the Fire Swamp. Westley, ever the optimist, tells her that they’ve already succeeded by finding and conquering two of the Fire Swamp’s terrors: the flame spurt and the lightning sand. Buttercup, still dubious, asks, “What about the ROUSes?” He answers without a pause, “Rodents of Unusual Size? I don’t think they exist.”
What does optimism mean to your running?
Join the Wednesday Word linkup with Deb.