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Life is an obstacle run

[UPDATE: I survived I ran the Rat Race in 5 hours 25 minutes and finished as number 1013 (from 4425 participants who finished the full mucker).]

 

You are the only person in the world who can decide if you enjoy your life or not. In life, we encounter many obstacles (physical, emotional, relational, …). And every obstacle is different. Some are big, some are small, some are obvious, some are hidden, some only happen once and other recur after a while, … No matter where you are born; your age or the kind of job that you do, we all have to face different obstacles during our lives. You decide if you look at these obstacles as problems or perceive them as challenges to grow. This blog will use the ‘obstacle run’ as a metaphor of our lives. You can find some extra information about a ‘real obstacle run‘ at the end of this blog-post.

Yes And Act
The Yes And Act manifesto can help you to change your mindset towards these obstacles. The manifesto is for people who believe that (almost) anything is possible. For the manifesto-believers, life is an obstacle run and you choose freely to participate in all the aspects of life (the beautiful ones and the obstacles). They approach every obstacle as an opportunity to learn something new. Let me describe the three big pillars of the manifesto and compare them to an obstacle race.

YES – Go for your dream & suspend judgement

Every obstacle is a challenge where you require certain skills to overcome the obstacle – often a combination of strength,endurance and technique. But before starting an obstacle run, it’s important that you have formulated your dream. Without a dream or goal, you don’t know in what direction you’ve to go and you will get lost. And dare to dream big … an obstacle race consists of many obstacles and your goal is to finish the race. For most participants, it doesn’t really matter how fast you run a race but finishing the race is a common goal for everybody. In most races, you can choose between different distances – depending on your level of fitness. That’s the same in life, you choose the results that you want to achieve. So dare to transfer your problems (the obstacles) into challenging opportunities. You have to work hard to overcome the obstacles but the reward will be enormous if you’ve achieved your goal.
A lot of times, you are quite scared when you have to overcome a certain obstacle – it involves jumping in cold water; running through mud or climbing a high construction. At that moment, ideakillers come in and you say ‘Yes but it’s too high, too cold, too dangerous, too difficult, …’. At that moment, it’s good to change your ‘Yes but … mindset’ into a ‘Yes and…’ mindset and believe in yourself. Yes, it’s a high obstacle but I can do it. Yes, it’s a cold river but once I’m running again, I will warm up quickly. The same is true in life. If you’re happy with a boring job or to stay in relationships that don’t give you energy, then that’s of course your own decision. If you’re not happy with it, there’s only one person who can change something about it. Don’t get stuck in ideakillers. Don’t start complaining and blaming other people for the lack of happiness in their own lives. These ideakillers won’t bring you any closer to a solution or a happier life. Suspend your judgement and think in a ‘Yes and …’ mindset. What would happen if you believed in your (Lady GiGa) dream and get inspired by those feelings and images. And live your life in your own pace. You can look at others to get inspired but don’t feel a pressure to do exactly what others are doing because everybody has his/her own path in life to follow.

AND – Explore alternative perspectives & Imagination

There are many ways to conquer an obstacle during a race. Most of the time, there isn’t one perfect solution’. You can find your own method to complete an obstacle and of course, practice and technique will help you to become better and better. But in many cases, you can complete an obstacle in different ways. Every obstacle requires different skills – sometimes you need a lot of power; sometimes having a good technique is essential; other require endurance or stability … But creativity can help you to find a way that works for you. Don’t give up if one method isn’t working, try something else, or again something else and I’m sure you’ll find a method that will work for you to conquer the challenge.
And it’s the same in life. A lot of times, we have no clue how we should overcome a certain challenge in life. At those moments, you also have to be creative and try different things. Every challenge is different for every person and your perception of the challenge is crucial. try to observe the ‘problems’ in your life as an opportunity to grow and learn something new. Find a solution to handle the obstacle. And remember that there isn’t one right way to live your life. Trust yourself and your gut-feeling and use creativity to overcome the hurdles.

ACT – Get into action and experiment

I’ve done my first obstacle run a year ago. I didn’t know what to expect and was a bit scared at the start because most other participants looked like they were a lot better prepared. But I gave it a try and there were several obstacles that were too hard or too difficult for me the first time. But I tried them anyway – sometimes successfully, other times, I didn’t managed to get across or over or under that obstacle. But a small idea/dream was born to conquer this obstacle on a next race. At other obstacles, I had no clue how we should ‘overcome’ a certain obstacle but we just tried something – sometimes it was a success but a lot of times it was a nearling.
And again, let’s translate this to life, a lot of times, you don’t have a clue what your next step has to be in life. A lot of times it’s the little voice inside of our soul/head/heart that whispers that something is right or not and most of the time it’s a good idea to follow your gut-feeling. But at least give it a try. Don’t get stuck in the ideakillers before you tried it. Take action. Experiment and make sure that you fail small, often and forward. Have you ever seen a child that could drive a bike without falling? It’s not possible. Innovation or learning something new is inherent connected with failing. But every failure (or nearling) brings you closer to success.
Yes And Act – Choose life and I hope that your life will also be a obstacle race (a fun one where you can grow and enjoy all the challenges).

What’s an obstacle race?
An obstacle course is a series of challenging physical obstacles an individual or team must navigate usually while being timed. Obstacle courses can include running, climbing, jumping, crawling, swimming, and balancing elements with the aim of testing speed and endurance

[wikipedia]. I use the obstacle run as a metaphor to conquer different challenges in our lives but you can also participate in a real obstacle run. These runs became more and more popular in the last years and millions of people have already participated in those races. A few years ago, an obstacle run was only known in the military environment. It was a physical challenge for the recruits to overcome all kind of obstacles (where they had to show strength and endurance. And it has still the same purpose – improve your strength and endurance – but the runs are now attracting a much broader audience. In the last two years, the obstacle runs really became popular and you can find many races all over the world. A few famous obstacle races are the Spartan races, the strong viking runs, Run for your lives, Though Mudder and in the UK, you can participate in the World’s Largest Assault Course run (20 miles and 200 obstacles – the author of this blog is so crazy to register for this race in May ;-)). There’s even a world series championship for obstacle runners.

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