In the age of Google Maps, Waze, etc. most travelers let the machine learning capabilities of the technology map their route. For me personally, road trips conjure up memories of being in the back seat with a plethora of books and snacks and my mom in the passenger seat constantly wrestling with a paper map. I learned at a young age how to read a map. Yes, an actual map. My favorite thing to do when I had the power of the map in my hands was to see how many different routes I could come up with. Sure, most of them weren’t exactly the most efficient routes - I mean why wouldn’t you go 500 miles west to ultimately go 150 miles north.
The map itself, and the routes contained in the map, are in my mind a perfect analogy for life. We can chart out the best laid plan, but if we hit a construction zone, accident, or road closure we are suddenly having to adjust our predetermined plan. Yes sometimes it means that we might be a bit later to our final destination, or it might take a bit more work, but if you are able to approach things in a different mindset or angle, you can ultimately go against the grain.
There is no one size fits all plan or foolproof route in life. This is especially true in the health and wellness aspects of life. Personally speaking, I have had to deal with a few detours through the last few seasons of racing Ironman and half-Ironman triathlons. Going into my first big race of the year, Ironman Tulsa, my training had been subpar at best. Life was throwing me both physical barriers (such as injuries, sickness, etc) but also mental barriers. The stress of the day during our self-proclaimed busy time left me absolutely shelled by the end of the day and the only thing I wanted to do was eat dinner and watch mindless TV. There were many days that I did just that. But there were others that I forced myself to get out the door to just walk for 20-30 minutes and listen to a podcast. Was this the same fitness stimulus that an hour run or a 2 hour bike workout would have given me? Absolutely not. But that 20-30 minute walk was better than nothing, and ultimately I was still making a small step towards my ultimate goal of racing at high level come May at Ironman Tulsa (huge shoutout to Sean and the Antle family for their support on the course). The physical benefits aside, it also greatly leveled out my stress levels, and gave me a respite from the craziness of the day (work, personal, etc).
A recent article titled “When everyone is headed the same direction, look the other way” by Steve Magness exemplifies the nature to truly be nimble in how you respond to things. Just because the masses are going in one direction doesn’t mean that is the ‘right’ thing to do. “If everyone is all headed in the same direction, that’s a signal to pause, and look in the other direction,” says Magness. The Anti very much exemplifies this mindset. Our competitors all do the same thing, yet get the same mundane, generalized results. We, on the other hand, go against the grain.
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