Running on Empty
There are few things more embarrassing for a teenager than having to call your mom to come rescue you. However, there I was on the side of Route 5, my car completely out of gas. Had I just taken 5 minutes before I left Amsterdam, I could have made it home without issue. But through a combination of overconfidence (e.g. "I have plenty in the tank to make it home") and being oblivious (e.g. "Oh shit! I didn't see the gauge drop below E"), I found myself having to waste a good hour waiting to get picked up and then having to suffer through the ensuing jokes.
This was certainly not the first an only instance of doing something of this nature. Nearly a decade later, I was competing at an alumni meet at MIT. The 4x200 meter relay was the last event of the day, and it also was the 10th event that I competed in. Despite a lot of great performances, my body was tapped out. I started to cramp at the 100 meter mark and in the last 40 meters, despite having all the intention of finishing the race, my muscles cramped and I literally couldn't stand up. Again, my mom got to witness the experience from the stands, but this time I was laughing so hard at the ridiculousness of the situation to care.
In both cases, there was a combination of pushing boundaries, warning signs, and the ability to change course before the situation reached an inevitable stopping point. However, despite having these experiences and the clear lessons they provide, I continue to push myself to these limits on regular basis. It's not that I'm stupid or unaware of the benefits of more rest and recovery in achieving peak performance. It's more a stubbornness or an unwillingness to accept these limitations. After all, the flip side is that sometimes you actually have more in the tank than you realize, and putting everything you have into what you're doing is the only way to find that out.
While it sucks to occasionally run out of gas, I'll continue to push my boundaries. How else will I figure out what I'm truly capable of? How else will I know if I can't make it to that next milestone or destination by playing it safe and stopping short?
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed this, can I ask you for a favor?
I would like the opportunity to connect with you on an ongoing basis with the intention that I continue to provide you with valuable information and insights to help transform your life personally and professionally. To that end, it would mean a lot to me if you performed one or more of the following.
- Sign up for my newsletter to get new articles sent right to your inbox.
- Buy my book, Winning the Lottery Within.
- Follow me on Twitter or connect with me on LinkedIn. Don't forget to say hi!
- Contact me to setup a free, 15-minute consultation.
- Share this article with anyone that might benefit from it.
Thanks again for your time and attention! It means the world to me to know that you gave me this opportunity to connect with you.
About Rick Manelius
Quick Stats: CTO of Contact Mapping. Author of Winning the Lottery Within. Graduated from MIT in '03 (BS) and '09 (PhD). Life hacker and peak performance enthusiast. This blog is my experiment in creative writing, self-expression, and sharing what I've learned along my journey. For more information, read my full bio here or contact me.