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You Might As Well Be Dead
Reading this story has always been a motivator of mine. When I was just a teenager I went through a point in my life when I felt like the world was baring down on me (what teenager doesn’t). I remember having an interesting conversation with a mentor of mine that I highly respected about my troubles and how I just felt like it was time to give up. Maybe If I just stop trying to do all of these things and take it easy for a while I will be better off. He sat in the chair across from me and just stared for a minute, arms in his lap, hands clasped just under his chin rest his elbows on his stomach. He seemed very calm and relaxed leaning back in his chair as so many young people do but he wasn’t young at least not to me. I realize now most likely he was around the age of 30 and it made him look rather distant, almost disappointed in my remarks like I had let him down. He said “Lindsey let me teach you something about life.” He handed me a piece of paper and it had a picture of a young man probably not much older than myself and it said this.
“Bruce had me up to three miles a day, really at a good pace. We’d run the three miles in twenty-one or twenty-two minutes. Just under eight minutes a mile [Note: when running on his own in 1968, Lee would get his time down to six and a half minutes per mile]. So this morning he said to me “we’re going to go five.” I said, “Bruce, I can’t go five. I’m a helluva lot older than you are, and I can’t do five.” He said “When we get to three we will shift gears and it’s only two more and you’ll do it.” I said “Okay, hell I’ll go for it. So when we get to three, we go into the fourth mile and I’m okay for three or four minutes, and then I really begin to give out. I’m tired, my heart’s pounding, I can’t go anymore and so I say to him, “Bruce if I run Anymore,” and we’re still running- ‘if I run any more I’m liable to have a heart attack and die.” He said, “Then die.” It made me so mad that I went the full five miles. Afterward I went to the shower and then I wanted to talk to him about it. I said, you know, “Why did you say that?” He said “Because you might as well be dead. Seriously f you always put limits on what you can do, physically or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your like. It’ll spread into your work, into your mortality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level. “
I learned a valuable life lesson that day. The mind is a powerful thing. If you can overcome your mind anything can be achieved. This was a lesson learned that I not only encourage you to learn about fitness just because that is such a large part of my life but about whatever plateaus you try to overcome in your life. The mindcan help you accomplish anything as long as you can break through the barriers it tries to put up. It is something in our genes, it is trying to protect you but the only way to be successful at anything in life is to constantly exceed to the next level.
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