Richard Dama, LPC, Counseling & Clinical Hypnotherapy

Shuffling Through Life

Good morning my friends (both  of you, but I appreciate you all the same),

Today I’d like to revisit a post from August 27, 2014. This was posted two days before I went in for my cancer surgery and subsequent first three Near Death Experiences. The NDE’s, maturity and experience have led me to slightly shift my perspective on some aspects of this essay; especially as it relates to blindly following your plan.

I now realize that setting and holding true to your goal is, by far, the most important aspect to success. The plan however, is a useful illusion. I say this because you absolutely need a plan, as detailed and accounting for as many variables as possible. However, you also need to know that hardly any plan ever survives first contact with the ‘enemy’ and the plan then becomes just a framework from which to construct your plan to fit developing circumstances (An axiom we lived by, ‘If the Op is going exactly as planned, you’re screwed, because it’s an ambush’). Observe, Analyze, Adapt and Overcome.

Here’s the original post:

Life: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

I would like to acknowledge Cliff – Street Hypnosis for introducing me to the main character in today’s blog, Cliff Young (so far as I know, there’s no relationship between Cliff the blogger and Cliff the runner).

I read about Cliff Young yesterday and I have to admit that I found the story so improbable that I did some research and found that what I’m about to relate to you is absolutely true. Cliff Young was a real person and actually accomplished the deeds I’m about to relate.

Cliff Young was a potato farmer from Beech Forest in Victoria, Australia. The family ran a ranch with 2000 acres and 2000 sheep. It was Cliff’s job to round up the sheep at night; a job that he did on foot…wearing gumboots. Nothing is too remarkable about this. Cliff did his job rounding up the sheep on foot day after day after day for over 60 years. He didn’t have any fancy sports gear, no trainer, no track and no particular motivation except to make sure the sheep were all accounted for. During these years, after much experimentation, Cliff developed an unusual, slow, loping running style that would become known as the “Young Shuffle.”

In 1983 some entrepreneurs decided to organize an ultramarathon between the two largest shopping malls in Australia; the Westfield Parramatta, in Sydney, and Westfield Doncaster, in Melbourne, a distance of 875 kilometers or 544 miles. On the day of the race there were elite ultra-athletes from all over the world…and 61 year-old Cliff Young.

As you might expect, the starter’s gun went off and the runners burst across the starting line. Cliff shuffled across the starting line and kept to his slow, loping pace and style. It wasn’t too long before Cliff was so far back in the pack that he couldn’t even see the other runners, but he kept to his steady, shuffling pace and style.

This went on the entire day until night fell and the other runners stopped for some much needed sleep and recovery, but Cliff just kept on shuffling…all night. By morning, he had put so much distance between himself and the rest of the pack that his lead was never challenged for the rest of the race. Cliff never looked back; he just kept doing what he was doing for five days, 15 hours and four minutes, when he ultimately crossed the finish line…TEN HOURS ahead of his nearest competitor! Did I mention that they guy was 61 Years Old??

Cliff’s accomplishment was so impressive that that very same year the Cliff Young Australian Six-Day Race was established. In 1984 he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia “for long distance running.”

Aside from being an independent old buzzard, Cliff Young can teach us some valuable life lessons. Cliff decided on a goal, developed a strategy to achieve that goal and he stuck to his plan in spite of his age and others sprinting ahead of him and leaving him in the dust…but Cliff kept his goal foremost in his mind just kept on keeping on. Can you imagine how excruciating painful he must have felt after several days of constant running? Yet, in spite of circumstances and his competition, he kept his negative self-talk in check and actually restructured his self-talk and mental imagery into pleasant and familiar images…and just kept on keeping on until he achieved his goal.

How many of us (myself included) decide that we want something and set a goal, then start out on the road toward that goal? But, unlike Cliff, when most of us begin to encounter resistance, difficulties and pain, we begin to question our goal and give up.

Cliff’s achievement shows us that life is a marathon and not a sprint. If you have a goal, plan your race and then race your plan. Don’t allow circumstances or other people to dissuade you from your goal and, most importantly, don’t allow yourself to undermine you own plan. If you don’t achieve your goal the first attempt, pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try a new strategy or plan, BUT keep on trying.

I think you’ll find that the sprinters will more often than not wind up on the side of the road, far short of their goals, while, if you stay committed, you continue to shuffle on toward your own success.

This strategy isn’t often pretty, comfortable or fast, but the point is that the only person that can come between you and your goal is you and your own mind.

Something to think about today.

In the meantime, I hope you have and intentionally great and determined day.

Rich

Sources:

Cliff – Street Hypnosis & Hypnosis Training Academy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cliff_Young_(athlete)

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