Why is it that those who are most passionate about an aspect of their life can sometimes turn people away from that same experience, rather than to help encourage them towards it?
It is wonderful when someone’s actions or recommendations motivate others to start working out or learn a new skill, but unfortunately this is not always the case. All of us are likely to have seen this at work, the gym, and unfortunately even in church.
Before I embraced a running a few years ago, I would hear about those who followed a specific training regimen or only ate certain foods with impressive results. The rigid discipline sounded grueling and their performance unachievable to me. The result was that I would go out and train hard for a couple of days before throwing in the towel after soreness, poor results, or because I lacked the discipline early on. The idea of running a 5k as fast as friends would run was unimaginable to me and the marathon distance was too much to fathom. However, the marathon was the first race I finally signed up for as part of my “bucket list”. While some might question this approach, and while I would not recommend it, it was the best thing for me. I am convinced that if I started running 5K’s first, I would have not only avoided longer distances, but may have stopped running all together. Personally I find running a fast 5k more painful and less rewarding than finishing a 50miler.
We must acknowledge that what worked for you may not for someone else and should encourage others to find out what works best for them. Experience is valuable and may serve as a guide, but we should all be careful not to imply it is the only way!
I’ve experienced the same phenomenon when it comes to religion. Some of my family became very religious at various points in their lives and wanted to save the world. Their “fire and brimstone” approach made me run the other way. I appreciated their interest in my soul but their approach was wrong. We must all remember to be respectful of others and acknowledge that one may arrive at the same destination via a different road. No one knows what’s in another’s heart and we should not be so quick to judge. The truth is that we all come to believe or strengthen our faith through different means. Running, Christian music, and a few wonderful individuals who set an example, rather than preached, have been what has had the greatest spiritual impact on me over the last several years.
Personally I believe one of the greatest compliments I receive is when someone tells me I’ve helped or motivated them. As a result, I am so grateful and have made great efforts to let those who have played a role in my life know how much I appreciate what they did for me. I would encourage all of you to thank those who have helped you and encourage others who may benefit from your knowledge.
It you have a talent, hobby, or love which you want others to experience, remember that the same sun that hardens clay also softens wax. Which one will you be?