Resilience. It will save your life.
I was listening to a podcast recently where a man said 'resiliency is the best gift a parent can give their child'. This statement resonated with me on so many levels, as a parent, as a runner and as a man.
To me the word resilience brings some other words to mind. Unshakable, adaptable, calm and courageous.
For me personally I feel like my whole life prepared me for my brush with cancer. From a very young age I was not pushed at all, though encouraged to take on hard challenges and not give up. I stepped into a boxing ring for the first time when I was nine years old, I was terrified. Ten years and thirty-five fights later, I was still absolutely terrified to climb under those ropes.
Why continue to do something that scared me so much and has on occasion hurt me? At the time I had no answer for that but now as a man looking back I have an answer, I was inadvertently building an unshakable resilience.
Fast forward to October 2018, only a year before that I had for the first time ever run 10km and now here I was lining up to run a 250km ultra marathon. Why put myself through such agony?
Again, I didn't have an answer until now. Resilience.
When you put yourself into scary, painful, impossible situations at will, you will come out the other side battle hardened physically, but more importantly mentally. If you consistently step into the uncomfortable soon it becomes comfortable and every time you do this, in the words of the great David Goggins "you callous your mind".
People often comment on how well I have handled my journey through surviving Testicular Cancer and how I've made it look easy, asking how I am able to take it in my stride and remain so positive through it all. I could only offer surface level answers like "what else do you do" or "there are people worse off than me". Now after a lot of pondering and introspection I can say that I have been preparing for it my whole life.
So, ask yourself this. 'When was the last time I did something that scared me or made me get butterflies just thinking about it?'. It doesn't have to be a boxing fight or an ultra marathon, it can be anything - we are all different.
Scared of public speaking? Volunteer to give a presentation at work.
Scared of heights? Go abseiling.
Get out there and challenge yourself. If you sit around in your comfort zone your whole life, then when the shit really hits the fan (it will eventually), you will be missing one very important piece of the puzzle to make it through. Resilience.