What if you didn’t know what you couldn’t do?
Last weekend I heard an extraordinary story about a man named Cliff Young. At the spritely age of 61 years, Cliff decided to run an 875km race.
This is a race that is usually run over 7 days, with 6 hours of sleep per night to recoup.
But Cliff finished the race in 5 days, 15 hours, and 4 minutes. He broke that particular race record by more than two days.
But here’s the deal. Cliff did not break this record through speed. He broke the record because he did not stop to sleep.
When awarded the $10,000 prize money (which he promptly proceeded to give away to the other runners), he was asked why he didn’t stop to sleep at a hotel at all.
He didn’t know he could. He didn’t know he was allowed. He didn’t know the rules.
Imagine. Imagine if you didn’t know what you were “supposed” to do. Imagine if you didn’t know what the rules were.
Imagine if you didn’t know what you couldn’t do. You didn’t know what was “meant” to happen.
What if, for a day, you didn’t know that you were unable to *insert the thing you keep trying and failing at*.
For me, the thing that is glistening like a diamond saying “Pick me ! Pick me ! I’m the thing you THINK you can’t do” is a headstand. I’ve actually mentioned this before on my blog, and here it is, rearing it’s pretty little head again.
I was never much of a sporty kid. In fact I was usually the last picked for a team. With my baby deer like physique – all long limbed and twig like – I would flinch at the sight of a ball that was an entire football field away.
My fast growing limbs got tangled up on their own. I once fell over on a snowboard whilst completely stationary. I tripped over my own feet whilst walking in a straight line.
And so it was. Fixed in my psyche. Etched with a blade in a stone.
Jasmine, you do not have much control over your body. You can’t do anything that requires any sort of physical strength or skill.
I continued to believe this throughout my entire life.
Even when I found yoga. Even when my body remained still and motionless in Vrksasana (Tree Pose) for endless breaths. Even when the yoga teacher passed by me with a whisper of “excellent” and not a touch of adjustment as I splayed myself out in Trikonasana (Triangle Pose). Not even as I lay flat as a pancake over my outstretched legs, face and breast buried in my legs, breathing deeply (and feeling very little stretch).
I still decided I was not able to control my body.
What has stopped me from doing headstand ? Only the belief that I can’t do it. Because I keep hearing people say how hard it is. I keep hearing people say that it is something out of reach.
Despite the fact that I used to do headstands all the time as a child.
Listening to this story about Cliff, I wondered. What would I have been able to do if I didn’t know I wasn’t sporty ? What yoga poses would I have gotten myself into by now if I hadn’t known that I didn’t have the ability ?
What would I have done if I hadn’t known I couldn’t?
Maybe it’s time to find out.