Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The guarantees in life..

I am staying in Hong Kong for a few more days. For the past few weeks since I have been here, there was a lot of discovering.

Discovering the past. This is a city where I was born. I immigrated to Canada when I was 8. Despite the short time growing up here, the culture felt very like home.

Discovering the present. I met my relatives old and new. The oldest cousin I haven't seen for 13 years got marry. The youngest cousin I saw for the very first time.

And the future....how do I discover it? How do I know where my path will take me?

In life, we have decisions to make. Decisions that will effect our future.
School, career, relationship...how do we know that the decisions we make will guarantee to work? Or at least, that the decision we made is the right one? Afterall, the worst is finding out the decision we made was a screw up.

As someone who quit his job, this question have came up here and there.
As a triathlete training for his first Ironman, this question have come up a lot.

When I was training for a Marathon, I know it will be a four hour plus race. The longest training was a 3 hour run. I had doubts of how I will perform in the 4th hour.

When I was training for a Half Ironman, I know it will be a five hour plus race. I just didn't know if my body will endure a 21 km run after a 90 km bike joy ride.

And now, Ironman. Twelve hour plus race. Compare to the races I have done in the past two years, they are pale in comparison.

I am not trying to exaggerate the Ironman. I don't need to. 4 km swim, 180 km bike plus a 42 km run. It is crazier to sign up for one without realizing if I am guarantee to finish.

Last time, I met with Darren. I bombarded him with questions about nutrition, training..etc. He told me, 'Cliff, you are going to make mistakes.'

How true...How would I know how I can keep going in the 12th hour of the race when every part of my body is sore and I want to quit? How would I know if my nutrition is right on and that I won't be bonking? How would I know that I can get to the finish line?

There is no guarantee. There is only one guarantee. If I don't try, I am guarantee to never find out.

I ain't trying to be mascho about this. I am just relating back to life.

Sometimes you just prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This idea, even to accept it, is crazy. Who wants to take a risk in finding out if it will work out or not. Wouldn''t it better to settle for something that is guarantee?

Find me an investment that will guarantee me to make money. Find me the school that will guarantee me a secure job. Find me a diet plan that will guarantee me to lose weight...

What about the mistakes, the screw ups that I will make? ...What if...just what if those mistakes are meant to be there. They are meant to be part of the journey to be learn and to be discover. (Discover? Are you kidding me? Who wants to discover mistakes?? :P)

This reminds me of Thomas Edison when he created the light bulb. It took him a year and a half and 1,500 failed attempts to get the right filament. When interviewed about his 1,500 tries, he responded "They taught me something that I didn't know. They taught me what direction to move in."

All I can say is that Thomas Edison is an optimist.


Robin said...

the light will soon go off


Donald said...

Does anyone do the full Ironman distances in training? I certainly don't think it's necessary.

You can do it, Cliff.

Comm's said...

Rediscovery is an important part of the Hero's journey. To return to the place of your birth, reconnect with family..they all are steps to becoming a fully complete man in the eyes of our Lord. Its puts your sense of worth firmly next to your sense of ownership of your families destiny.

Thomas said...

If you had guarantees all through your life, what would be the point of it all?

A big part of the attraction of races like an IM or an ultra run is the fact that it's a journey into the unknown. You travel into uncharted territory. Making mistakes and learning from them is part of it.

And that's what's so great about it!

Dances with Corgis said...

Beautifully written, Cliff. Thanks for a thought-provoking post.

William said...

You can always be good and discovering what doesn't work.

Jeremy said...

The only guarantee is that there are no guarantees. Your quest for self-improvement will be with you forever. I think you are doing a darn good job thus far.

Carrie said...

Success could never be as sweet without all the mistakes.

brendaj said...

Very true reflections on life and training

TRI Vortex said...

There is no sweetness to success without the bitterness of failure.

Rachel said...

This was a great post. You will do great. I will be following for tips for my first IM! I think it's normal to have doubt. The reward of proving those doubts wrong is is so worth it. You know by now that you don't/can't train the full distance for an IM. And you will meet challenges. You will live a lifetime in 1 day. But if you have the right mindset, attitude, and mental toughness, you will see the finish!

Unknown said...

If it wasn't a challenge, it wouldn't be as interesting!!

Have fun with the challenge and the journey!!

Mike said...

The fact that there are no guarantees is part of the allure eh?

Great post Cliff!

bleeeeeeeeeeeeeee said...

.. .. ...

qcmier said...

Great stuff.
Yeah I made plenty of mistakes preparing for Ironman, but that's what makes the ride so much more enjoyable.