One of the standard recommendations from experts to people wanting to improve themselves or their performance in any area, is to find a rolemodel. Find someone who has already achieved what you want to achieve, and emulate their techniques and tactics... even their personality.
If they can do it, so can you - if you do the same things they did in the same way.
Sound advice for sure - no point in re-inventing the wheel, taking risks, wasting time.
But how far do we go in "cloning" ourselves around the model of another? We are all unique, and there are limitless variables that can influence the results of our actions, even if we are following someone else's patterns.
Better I think, to model yourself on yourself... on your ideal of yourself. You can never be sure of your limitations or capabilities until you put them to the test - and therein lies the true adventure of being you. And no-0ne is better suited to creating a better you, than yourself.
Aim to be the best that you can be - and in doing so, you'll set an example to others... maybe even become their rolemodel.
Some of my friends and colleagues thought I was crazy, bordering on stupid; some thought I was naïve and a dreamer; others said I was courageous. All of them though are curious.
What did I do? At 53, I quit my job and my steady monthly income, with only 3 months of supporting funds, to start a new life involving my creative interests, and pursuing a "ludicrous and whimsical" quest to recreate myself physically, using some (dubious) internet program of strange workouts and eating protocols.
I consider myself neither stupid nor courageous... I just don't consider myself "over the hill". My son is 19 and his whole life lies ahead of him. Filled with excitment and dreams, he's embarking on that great adventure of independency and self-discovery. He has no room in his head or heart for thoughts of old-age, security, pensions, impossibilities, improbabilities, societal conventions or expectations. "Life" lies ahead... and he wants to live it.
I feel exactly the same way... with all my further life ahead of me.
Over the hill?... please! I feel more like I'm on top of the hill - looking out over the vastness of a world still to be experienced. Freed from the baggage of peer-influence and insatiable youth-hormones; armed with the wisdom, clarity, emotional maturity and self-awareness of my years; and clothed in warm, fond memories of love and togetherness... I can take on the world.
There are other hills to climb. other strange, fresh, untrodden terrains to negotiate, other obstacles to conquer. But, more importantly, unlimited other aspects of myself and life to discover. I'm on top of a hill, but only one of many - and if I go over the hill, it's only to reach the foot of the next one and take on the challenge of climbing it.
Geert is an old friend and ex-colleague of mine. We've played music together, and philosophized many a long hour over self-awareness and development, spirituality, human conditioning... and the lot, challenges and destinies of the individual.
But we've never done any sport together - and that's my fault.
Geert is a man of routine - without it he doesn't evolve. Routine in his sport, routine in his work, routine in his music practice... He says he has no talent, and only through routine, constant practise and determination can he develop his abilities to a level that looks like talent.
I'm a man of improvisation - and according to Geert I do have talent. But I don't have the routine. He's been trying to get me out on one of his weekly runs for the last 15 years, but I've always found excuses why it wasn't important or necessary enough for me... or that I just didn't have the time.
Until now. Now I have no excuses. On the contrary, now I have more than enough reasons to want to go running. So we made an appointment, and met up at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on the 5th January, and we ran together around one of his favourite routes in the forest of Amsterdam.
The route is about 10 kilometers, longer than I'm capable of (or used to) running non-stop. But Geert wasn't out to test me, or to show off. We ran slowly, relaxed, no pressure, unstressed... and interspersed the running with short walking breaks. And we talked of running, of his new "barefoot" technique and new running shoes, of his marathon training and experience 15 or so years ago. We talked about my lifestyle changes and physical ambitions, and of the Shapeshifter training that has so miraculously and quickly improved my condition that I'm able to join him on this run.
Our first run together - but not our last. Geert has a lot of intensely fascinating things to say about the way we think and feel and do... and he practises what he preaches in everything he does - including his running, his life, his interaction with others, his work, his music, his discovery-of-self and his "life-themes"...
I plan to feature him in more depth in a later post - discuss running and life more deeply with him. His insights are illuminating, his logic irrefutable, his humor confronting, and his methods persistently effective. You don't just run with Geert...