Can you do it?

You may have heard the phrase “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”  I have heard this attributed to Henry Ford, Abraham Lincoln and Randy Pausch.  I think they are right.

When we keep our eyes on the prize, we get that prize.  When we go for it with every ounce of our willpower, strength and determination, it happens. When we set clearly defined measurable objectives, we accomplish them.

This concept is the focus of prayers, songs, plays and motivational speeches.  If we set ourselves on the pathway to some pretty amazing goals and keep our focus on those goals, we tend to arrive at the place we wanted to arrive. 

In several psalms there are words to this effect:  Today is the day the LORD hath made, rejoice and be glad it.  What does the Abraham Lincoln, Henry Ford, Randy Pausch insight suggest to us regarding these beautiful words? They suggest that we do have the potential today and each day to rejoice and move forward into the day with anticipation.  We can rejoice that we made it to the start of this day, that this is a day that the LORD has given us (actually we had no promises that we would be given this gift), and that we may rejoice in the opportunities we will have to express love and do whatever we need to do in the day ahead. 

On the other hand, we can awaken and look quite differently at the day ahead.  We might begin with a thought like this: “The day ahead is so complicated and the tasks on my plate are so difficult, I don’t see any way that I can maintain a sense of peace in the hours ahead.” If one starts with this thought it will most likely be proven to be correct by the end of the day.

At Trinity Preparatory School in New York and Williams College in Massachusetts I did three sports each year: football, wrestling and track and my big asset was speed. I could run fast, make the first move in wrestling fast and fake one way and head off in another quickly to catch a pass.  I was captain of my college track team and won the college sponsored decathlon two of my four years at Williams. Sports and running, in particular, were big in my life.

I have not run one step in the past two years and only ran once playing a couple of sets of tennis two years ago. Except for those two sets of tennis I have not run a step in the past 5 years.  And I mean not one step!!

I think about this huge change and almost can’t believe that it is I who has not run AT ALL! And as I was writing this column it hit me that one reason I have not run at all is that in my mind have been the words: I can’t run.  This mindset was strongly influenced by a ruptured Achilles tendon, but that was almost exactly 10 years ago. People do recover from ruptured Achilles tendons quite nicely!  I did! Why, I wonder, did my ruptured Achilles tendon lead to complete cessation of running.  I can’t tell you except to say that rattling around in my mind have been the words “I can’t run.”

On the day this column appears in the Clayton Tribune, I am going to try something.  I am going to start the day saying and acting on the premise that “I can run.”  I will let you know how this works out in one month!

PS (36 days later): Want to know what happened?  I learned that I can run and several times did run.  But I’m not planning to run in the future at all! I just plain love to walk!!!