“The journey is the reward” – Stever Robbins
This quote is the best articulation behind my goal of qualifying for Kona. Even on paper, a Kona qualification looks tough. To actually go out and do it is even tougher. Not only that…but it is only getting harder as the competition gets even faster. However, the whole intention of this ridiculous goal for an average athlete like me is the pursuit of something huge. Something that requires the kind of dedication and effort that is so transforming that achieving it doesn’t matter. Between improving my health, meeting new people, strengthening supportive relationships, and having a lot of fun, in the end, regardless of what happens, so much good should happen along the way that achievement of the goal becomes irrelevant.
I highly recommend the Living An Extraordinary Life podcast by Stever Robbins. This is as life changing as a podcast can be. In essence, it describes the relationship between success and fulfillment. The sole pursuit of success won’t necessary make you fulfilled just like the sole pursuit of fulfillment won’t necessary make you successful.
After graduating from business school, many of my decisions were made in an effort to reduce my perceived short term risk without considering the risk of not living an extraordinary life. I believed that if I worked hard and deferred gratification until I was successful, then I could live the life I truly wanted. The problem with this thinking is that “hard work” is, by definition, work that is difficult and not enjoyable. Correspondingly, the pitfalls of deferred gratification are:
- we build systems and habits that enable us to continue to engage in hard work to the point that it could lead to a path of self-deception where we think hard work is what we enjoy and forget what it was that we truly wanted to do to begin with;
- it prevents us from developing the skills and network necessary to do the thing that we really want to do; and
- life happens and there is no guarantee that we will actually make it to the point of living the life we really want if we defer it long enough
Fortunately for me, I met an amazing girl (now my wife) at the end of business school that always seems to set me straight. I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for her I would be following my perfect plan of working hard and delaying gratification to the point of complete misery. Instead, the last 18 months (how long I’ve been on this Kona journey) have been some of the most fulfilling that I have ever had.
It is for that exact reason that I set this seemingly unobtainable goal because I’m having a great time pursuing it!
Photo credit: I got the photo for this post from Jesse Thomas’s Instragram. This guy is an absolute monster and he is my favorite triathlete. Not only is he a successful pro triathlete, he is also the CEO and co-founder of Picky Bars and seemingly has a great family life as well (just scroll through his Instagram pics and you’ll see what I mean). Check out his interview on Endurance Planet and you’ll definitely become a fan as well.