Mind vs Body: I felt my feet were not my own

15 05 2015

Walk No1: 60min, 4K (Shepherds Bush to Big Change offices in Paddington)

I felt my feet were not my own.

Given that my feet are more accustomed to being bare, I found the aesthetics of my new mountain-boots terribly distracting. Not simply because my feet looked twice their normal size, but also because the boots made me bounce, they lifted me forward with each step, subtly suggesting I maintain my stride. My toes were comfortably warm but encased in an unfamiliar rhythm.

Strive. To strive. Striving.

Strive towards? Strive against?

To exert ones will—exert oneself?

To try? To fight against the odds?

Who’s odds? What odds?

I wanted to find a podcast that might help shed light on these questions and after three failed attempts, I finally found just the right podcast to inspire me: NPR’s Ted Radio Hour was airing a conversation about the minds and bodies of champions who achieve extraordinary feats—about people who use challenges as a way to live beyond limits. The interviews with swimmer Diana Nyad and double-amputee snowboarder, Amy Purdy, made me cry. Particularly when Amy described her handicap as a magnificent gift that ignited her imagination to push forward creatively. I’m still mulling over what Sarah Lewis had to say about the difference between “mastery” and “success”. Success, she argues, is all about proving yourself to others—it is outward facing—while mastery is about valuing your own opinion of what you’re doing. “What gets us to convert success into mastery? I think it comes when we start to value the gift of the near win,” she explains.


The near win. The internal drive to strive towards a goal knowing that we fail many times before we finally get there. I’m a bit confused. If I accept failure now ahead of the Strive challenge, will that make me challenge myself less? Does the pressure to succeed overwhelm the joy of mastery? Are some people better equipped than others to trek over hills and climb mountains?