Enthusiasm vs Endurance

I saw a quote posted by a friend today quoting Angela Duckworth that stated the following:  

“ Enthusiasm is common.
 Endurance is rare.  “

That hit me pretty well after my confession yesterday about making excuses, falling short of my intended goal for this project,  and falling short in many different aspects of life. I say this not to post a sign that says “pity this guy” but more as an acknowledgment that we are the biggest reason why we don’t see a goal from concept to completion. It’s something more of us could benefit from doing, admitting our own faults and weaknesses as we review our list of in-completed wishes and aspirations.

Getting back to the quote I felt I am extremely enthusiastic about so many things that I begin. I really dive into the motions of becoming fully engrossed in the activity until some sort of unexpected twist joins my journey, then derails my forward motion and enthusiasm for the new project. Something that could cause me to derail might be a change at work, increased homework from my university studies, or a challenge I’d rather not face up to at the present time.

When the forward motion is slowed or stopped it is a challenge to start again and regain the momentum you previously had; for me at least. I think this is where pacing yourself might come in handy. I know that I have written about how we should look at things with a sprint vs marathon mindset in the past and I try to live that practice daily but it can be hard to do all the time. Many around the world might share this sentiment, “It would be nice if there was a faster way to…”. For some things yes, there are shortcuts, for others, there are only steps to take in a specific process to attain the desired outcome.

This is where learning endurance comes to play, one step at a time with a mindset that somethings can take a long time to see to completion. We need to teach ourselves how to endure better through the challenges we experience for the long run. Learning endurance is not an easy process at all but it’s one that will help us the most if we are to learn. Learn a little more each day, read a little longer, study a little better, run a little farther, be a little more confident each day, and eventually, you’ve become a marathon runner and learned to endure more than you thought you could.

Patience.

Growing up as an impatient child I was often reminded that I needed to learn patience. Why was patience so important to learn? For most of written history, great philosophers and teachers have reminded we the people that we need to practice more patience. That we need to be patient with those around us when we are working together, on opposing sides of a story, driving in traffic, or repeating ourselves for the third time.

We can agree that being patient is a difficult task at times. Patience is difficult because we have times relating to others isn’t easy and their point of view doesn’t make sense to us. Have you ever attempted to explain how to use features of a smartphone, computer, or gaming system to someone who doesn’t catch the idea then continually asks for a repeat of the instructions, not just that day but many times after that?

Are you usually the teacher who reiterates the steps, pauses during a question counts to three and repeats the process over again? Have you ever been the pupil in this scenario and been grateful that your friend or a family member has continued to repeat the instructions to you? It’s a truth that at one point in time you have had to be patient as a teacher and a teacher has had to exercise patience while teaching you.

As a practitioner of endurance activities, patience is key to successful completion of said endurance tasks. The key is understanding that endurance takes time to build up, you have to be ready for the long game of training, enduring through repetition, and thriving in your desired quest for endurance in your desired activity.

The hardest part of endurance is having patience with yourself throughout the process, it hurts, it takes an extended amount of time each day to build up said endurance, and often you are in pain as you are adapting to said endurance ability. Yet, once you arrive at the desired endurance level you are rewarded with the ability you’ve been seeking along with an endless amount of stories to tell from your journey getting here.

With the speed of life, we often live at it is a real challenge to have patience in our day to day routines when the processes are thrown off. When there is a slower person ahead of us on an escalator, or we have to repeat ourselves again to someone we know or someone we don’t. Extending patience is a genuine challenge we should accept for our own personal growth, mental health, and the betterment of society around us. Wouldnt the world be a kinder place if we were all a little more patient.

Endurance.

One more step, just past that next light post, just under the bridge, you can make it. These are all thoughts that I tell myself while out running, just trying to add strength to my legs and fresh air in my lungs. As refreshing as that sounds for some is a feat for me with every step. The pain becomes a little less each time and endurance is increased with each morning of huffing and puffing.

Endurance means many different things to many different people for some its enduring 26.2 miles; for a few its spending many days on a cold mountain, traversing dicey routes to reach a goal, for others it’s surviving eight hours at a job they dislike. I personally try and look towards endurance as a challenge that I accept with open arms rather than distaste and disdain. Some of the most impactful experiences I’ve had have been challenges that have lasted an extended period of time and had many twists and turns.

Countless people start out on new journeys each day. Setting out to impact their lives for the best future they can imagine for themselves. Some of my personal favorite journeys that have been incredibly impactful on my life have happened in the mountains with friends and family. One such memory is a trip I took with my uncle through the High Uinta wilderness in Utah a few years back.

We took a trip around the Red Castle loop, covering around thirty miles in two nights and three days. We started off at a great pace, enjoying the scenery and what seemed like the endless cloud art that rolled over our heads. A little under five miles in my body started to demand we stop and call in quits. I knew my body was strong enough for the long haul with fifty pounds of gear and food on my back. I just needed to remind myself that my body was fine and my mental state needed to understand the journey ahead would be a challenge worth accepting each mile we hiked.

In the end, both my uncle and I struggled a through the pain, fished in lakes few do, saw firsthand views that few have, and agreed that the discomfort was worth the reward of trekking that loop. It just takes a minute to reset your mindset that endurance although painful is worth it.