Saturday, August 11, 2012

Balance And Sacrifice

This past week there was a conversation between a friend and I regarding sacrifice for sport.  While she is a gifted dressage rider, she has had a rough go of it lately.  The result has been a degree of burnout.  Shortly thereafter, someone started a thread on a triathlon forum regarding levels of sacrifice necessary to achieve greatness.  There were some amazing things said in the thread and after reading it, I shot my friend an email.  She in turn posted the content of the message to Facebook and it got a lot of positive response.

To E:

Remember our conversation about sacrifice... here is a comment on a forum by a tri coach. I thought it was appropriate to the conversation... 

"There's definitely a difference between why we do what we do and how what we do is perceived by others. My point was more to when you (collective) perceive what you do as a sacrifice. That is usually not a sustainable attitude to achieve greatness." 

What I think is significant for me is the fact that I perceive more sacrifice when I have to stop training to do normal social things than the other way around. I do those things because of a perception of balance, or a need for balance, in life. I think I would be quite happy going all the way down the rabbit hole in pursuit of what others might consider fairly moderate goals. There is no Olympic medal in my future but I work this hard because I guess I want to define and redefine my limits.

You have to come up with those answers yourself but the questions remain the same. You are sacrificing a lot for a particular goal. If the level of sacrifice is too great for the level of result, you will be unhappy. At that point, you either need to make the rest of the sacrifices to get to the result you really want, or reduce the sacrifices until they no longer feel like a burden. Either will work. The right one is determined by your personality. There is no wrong answer here.

That's my thought for the day. ;)

The quotation in italics is taken from a post on a popular forum.  The rest is my take on the subject.  I realize that not everyone considers the same things sacrifices.  I live in a very, very small space and drive an older car.  These things are fine with me because I am single, without children, and have a job that keeps me out of tempo with ordinary life.  Thus they are not really big sacrifices.  I am not all that interested in being very social in a traditional sense.  While I love group rides or meeting people for workouts, I don't have a need to go clubbing on a Friday night.  Two hours on the trainer will entertain me just fine, thank you.  I don't consider it a sacrifice to spend half of my day off on my bike or running.  There is nothing that I would rather be doing.  I find it to be more of a sacrifice to skip these things because someone wants to go to dinner or a movie.  Now, THAT is sacrifice!!!!  (It is also why I am still single.)

I think that sometimes we look at other peoples choices from our own personal paradigm, thus making them seem (in some cases) mind boggling.  Balance in life is not about spending an appropriate number of hours doing something that society considers relaxing.  It is doing the things that YOU love.  It is making sure that your "sacrifice" and your "reward" are proportionate to each other.

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