The Only Way to Build Endurance Is to Endure

build endurance

Today’s big idea is that the only way to build endurance is to endure. This is what we’re being called on to do now–to grow our resilience. Because you can’t build resilience when everything’s hunky dory. 

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Where we are right now is like the bottom of a push-up

Do you know how push-ups work? I didn’t. 

When my trainer (yes, I work with a personal trainer or else I simply don’t do anything strength-training related and at age 50, I’m very interested in maintaining muscle mass in my second half of life) told me to do 10 push-ups as part of my at-home workout, I could hardly do one. So I did 10 very shallow push-ups. I told him that’s what I had done, and he enlightened me that push-ups only build strength at the bottom–when you’re pushing up from the floor. If you don’t go all the way down, you may as well not do them at all. Better to do a handful with good form, even with a lot of rest in between each one, then to bang through a bunch of shallow ones. 

Well, right now in this pandemic, we are grazing the floor.

Now is when we are building those resilience muscles

So let’s say that right about now, metaphorically speaking, your arms feel like jelly. Maybe you’re even feeling like you’ll never get back off the floor again. I hope that just the knowledge that this is the very moment you’re building strength will help you find the fortitude to keep going. 

We’re at such a fragile moment with the pandemic. Things are getting bad again in Europe and the U.S. and South America. We’re very close to being vaccinated and warmer months and moving on to a better phase, but we still need to be cautious. Listen, I’m not as vigilant as I was this time last year, when we were wiping down our groceries with bleach and I bought a pair of coveralls to wear to the market because I wanted to be able to shed my outer layer of clothes before I came back in to the house lest a coronavirus molecule ride in to the house on my pant leg. But still. It’s still time for masks, social distance, washing hands, and small groups. In other words, we have to sustain a little while longer. 

I have a quote from BKS Iyengar, who founded the style of yoga that I practice, Iyengar Yoga. That helps me in those moments where I would really like whatever I’m going through to be done already. It is: 

“Change leads to disappointment if it is not sustained. Transformation is sustained change, and it is achieved through practice.”

What we’re being called to do is transform, and in order to do that, we’ve got to sustain

We’ve got to keep practicing what we know in our bones will help us grow in to the people we want to be and get our world to the place we want it to be. 

I hope that just reminding yourself that sustaining your efforts will help bring about individual and collective transformation will help you keep going. 

Daily Tiny Assignment

Goodness knows, I’m not saying, don’t rest. Absolutely, take breaks. Do less whenever it’s appropriate to do less. But your tiny assignment is to use your discernment to know when you need to restore yourself, and when perhaps it’s just your ego talking, trying to convince you that it’s too hard, or not worth it, or whatever line it’s trying to feed you in that moment. And then remind yourself that sustained effort is key to transformation. And that change that isn’t sustained leads to disappointment. 

Come back tomorrow!

When I’m talking about a strange feeling that might be overcoming you right about now–a feeling of not wanting the quarantine to end.


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