After completing the Lifeschool triathlon successfully in April this year, I had moved into somewhat of a lull. Those 6 months of training were intense. We were team of 74 people. The stakes were high. Our reputation and our ability to lead were in question. I felt driven, waking up at 5am each morning and after 30 minutes of meditation, I would be on the sports ground almost until 8am everyday.
In the last few months that tempo and that momentum is gone. Oh, how many plans we made to continue the journey of fitness! All vanished in thin air. Well, not all. I kept up enough just to maintain a certain level of fitness, but there was no pushing the already established comfort zones.
This was until my dear friend Girish Khetan suggested the upcoming triathlon - Tritheos. The ‘Olympic’ level involves 1500m swimming, 40km cycling and 10km running. Spontaneously I said yes. He followed through and made special efforts to register me inspite of the last day being over. Thoughts of backing out occurred, but how could I back out now. Reputation was at stake!
But, the truth is that I’m nervous. There is a zone within which I now know what to expect. But this event is just outside that zone! I don’t know how my body will cope. Yet, it’s not so outside that I have absolutely no idea. I have a sense. I know that around the 70% mark is till where I know what Im dealing with. Beyond that is uncertain. But one thing is for sure, I’m back in action.
Uncertainly has a kind of a thrill attached to it. That is why people do bungee jumping, skydiving, para-sailing, and so on. Not that there is actually any extra-normal uncertainty in these activities, but our mind perceives it that way! A little bit of danger is always exciting!
Have you ever been on a forest safari? There is a feeling of coming alive. Adrenaline kicks in. Our senses become alert. Especially when the guide speaks in hushed tones and says he can ‘feel’ we there is a tiger in the vicinity! This is our brain moving into ‘alert’ mode. We perceive every sound and every movement more intensely than ever.
This is the effect of what I am calling the ‘uncertainty’ drive.
The trick is to put ourselves into a situation where two conditions are met:
- Set a goal that has just the right amount of uncertainty, just the right distance away from our comfort zone. Too little and it won’t have the effect, too much and it may paralyse you.
- Ensure that you are doing it for the right reason - to become fitter, to help someone, to inspire, to set a new standard, etc. It should never be a mindless thrill or a challenge just to prove oneself.
Find that right balance in your goals, and watch the ‘uncertainty’ drive take your life into top gear! If you have someone in your life who you know will push you just the right amount, like Girish did for me, don’t think too much and just say ‘yes’. In fact, don’t wait for them to come to you, call them today and set up a meeting!
So, what goals are you planning for yourself to get you into the zone of the ‘uncertainty’ drive!