Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or and hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
I dreamt of being a lifeguard when I was 14.
I wanted to have a job by the pool, get some sun, save lives. It seemed glamorous and perfect for a teenager.
I signed up for Red Cross CPR and First Aid classes. Then I signed up for my town’s lifeguard training class. It was a week long.
And it exposed all of my weaknesses.
I thought I was a strong swimmer. But I really wasn’t. I could swim freestyle OK, but I had never been formally trained in any other stroke, which was a major disadvantage.
I struggled through 4 days of the training. I felt humiliated every day when I left. On day 5 — the last day — I decided I wouldn’t show up. It was testing day, and I was sure I wouldn’t pass. So instead of going and possibly humiliating myself further, I decided to quit.
Twenty-five years later, I still regret not showing up. Not seeing it through.
I think about that whenever I’m faced with a new challenge. It could be some really tough coding issue at work. Or it could be a really tough exercise. There’s a part of me that thinks about quitting. “You don’t HAVE to do this. You could ask someone else to figure this out.” Or “This weight it too heavy. Quit now and you won’t hurt as bad.”
But I know that finking out will make be feel like crap for a very long time. And even though I could end up being humiliated — red in the face — I do it anyway.
That’s my determination.
I hope I remember that next weekend at the Tough Mudder. I intend on completing every obstacle and finishing the course, no matter how long it takes or how scary it feels. Sometimes I wish I hadn’t signed up, but I did, and I’m not backing out now. No WAY.
I have a goal: Finish the Tough Mudder.
I’m not gonna quit.