23 April 2008


Today, at lunch, I was reading my USA Triathlon Life magazine, and on the last page there was an article called, "buy a BIGGER BOWL," by Jeff Matlow. In this article, the author speaks about imagination and the "reality box" that we live in, which traps us within our boundaries and limitations. He says that for most people, the "reality box" limits our reach and that we are stuck to the box by a rubber band that we only stretch by imagining ourselves in a different reality. He uses the example, "If we feel overweight, we dream of being thin." He then goes on to say,

"But for those who dare, imagination can be extended beyond the limits of our elastic band reach. We can leverage our life experiences as a means to further stretch our imagination and expand our after day we travel down the same road, until one day we dare to imagine a different route to a different destination. On that one day we suddenly decide to veer left rather than stay our course to the right. We take the path less traveled, believing and dreaming that it will lead us somewhere new: somewhere better."

He goes on to give examples of people who stretched their imagination, including Roger Bannister, the first man who ran a sub-4 minute mile. He explained the Bannister effect and mentioned that Bannister expanded the mind of the world and his record was broken in 46 days. He says that dreaming is the first step towards accomplishment, but is also the first step down a long road, and that "We can challenge ourselves every day to continually dream bigger dreams, but without a plan for our body to follow our dreams will lead to nothing."

I think my favorite part of the article is at the conclusion, when the author states,

"In a funny way we are like goldfish - we will always expand to the size of our bowl. No matter how big the challenge set before us, we will find a way to succeed. Don't think you can go faster? Convinced you can't go longer? Think you can't do an Ironman? I think you are wrong. Buy a bigger bowl. Dare to dream. Dare to peek outside the confines of your imagination. Stretch your mind, reach your arm, and put your hand through the fire. Grab hold of the other side with convincing fortitude and pull yourself through. I promise, you won't get burned."

So many times in life we let our fear define our limits. We allow ourselves to stop progressing because we don't believe that we can accomplish our dreams. We let our lives define the person we are, rather than living the way that we want to and the way that we dream about. What the author says is true...if we truly want to achieve something, all we really have to do is trust ourselves, and we will make it through, without getting burned, and while we're pulling against that rubber band attached to our "reality box," we may get lucky and it will snap. Then, we're free to truly explore our own limits.


Ladyrunner said...

Excellent post! And SO true!!

nat(e) said...

thanks, a good friend of mine included a link to your post in his feedback to my post:

and a week or so ago i read this, where a swimmer can cover a mile in arctic waters by literally using his mind not only to prep and physically raise his body temp, but also to envision success.

anyway, that was a tangent to: thanks, this is exactly what i needed to read tonight.


oh, and coincidentally, i've always wanted to complete i triathlon. some day. :}

nat(e) said...

*i lied. it's a kilometer in arctic waters, not a mile, but most people couldn't survive a fraction of that exposure.