Redefining possibility again

March 8, 2013 by Joshua
in Blog, Fitness

Are you younger than 89?

Can I ask you to think critically. Forget for a moment about logistics and if you have the time or interest to do it. Just ask yourself if you think it’s possible.

Do you think you could finish a marathon? Do you think it’s possible?

Many people I ask consider their finishing a marathon impossible. Not difficult but impossible. They explain why and their reasons never hold water for me, but they seem conclusive to them. Sometimes it’s as simple as knee problems (note I asked about finishing a marathon, not running one, which would allow for using a wheelchair or crutches, both of which I’ve seen racers use. For that matter, seeing a blind runner in a marathon.

Whatever their excuse, they always appear more capable to me than someone twenty years older than them.

Prepare to have your mind blown

Having titled my original post about my mom’s first marathon at age 66 “Redefining possibility“, how could I not post about Fauja Singh, the world oldest marathoner, a 101-year-old, retiring after his last run a couple weeks ago, a mere 10k?

Yes, a 101-year-old just ran a 10 kilometer race. His last marathon was months ago.

As amazing as my mom’s feat, and feet, he started running marathons over twenty years older than her when she started. He “began running at the age of 89 as a way to combat depression after his wife and son died.”

As he put it “From a tragedy has come a lot of success and happiness.”

Funny, when I started writing this post I didn’t think to connect it to yesterday’s, on changing beliefs and how to find complements to beliefs that aren’t working for you. Nobody wants their wife and son to die. I don’t suggest “trying to put a positive spin on on it” or “thinking positively about it.” That’s why I cringe when people interpret my perspective as trying to think positively.

I suggest thinking productively, of how to change your beliefs and values to improve your life. In his case — in all our cases — we can’t change the past, but we can change how we use it. It looks like he went from seeing their deaths as a source of depression to a source of motivation.

Only he knows if the change in perspective improved his life. From the outside, running allowed “an illiterate farmer to travel the world, meet dignitaries and stay in five-star hotels.” Since he could stop when he wanted, I presume he liked his life. And, as he said, “From a tragedy has come a lot of success and happiness.”


Did reading about this guy change your belief on the possibility of you running a marathon, independent of whether you wanted to or have the logistics to?

Did it change your beliefs on anything else you consider impossible — particularly things you do want and can arrange logistics for?

Beliefs change easily, all the more so with practice.

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