Normalizing the extraordinary
I was chatting with a client the other day and he was telling me about a guy who climbed free climbed a difficult mountain and afterward, the guy went back to his normal routine acting like his extraordinary accomplishment was normal and “just another day”. The conversation then moved to distance running/biking and extreme weight loss. He asked me what it’s like to lose 200 pounds and to run 100 miles (separately) and then to be able to explain to people not only how one is possible, but to be able to do both.
The conversation has sat with me for a couple days now and I now ask myself if other people can really even comprehend what changes have actually taken place? I sit here and wonder if I can really even comprehend the changes that have taken place…
It’s been a long 6 years… and honestly, as of right now, there are days when I just want to wake up and not remember everything that has had to change over the past 6 years. I want to forget about the pain and the struggles and the day to day actions it has taken to become who I am today. Most days I wish I could just erase my past and be a normal person for the day just to know what it is like… but no matter how much I have attempted to run away from my past before, I have to live with who I am today…
The people I am surrounded with on a daily basis don’t look at the world the same way other people do. Every day I go to work with personal trainers, ultra-runners, endurance athletes, and people who have achieved high levels of success with weight loss and fitness transformations. It’s normal for me to talk to someone about how to run 100 miles or how to lose 100 pounds. It’s normal for someone to ask me a question about the struggles of staying out of their kitchen when they have an emotional eating day. It’s an everyday occurrence that I talk to someone who can’t get out from in front of their TV and off their couch to go for a walk around the block. I don’t think twice about the top 3 pieces of advice I give to people who struggle with overeating and lack of physical activity… This is the world I live in.
So why is it that losing 200 pounds, running 100 miles, completing a full distance triathlon, deadlifting 400 pounds is normal to me?
It’s the environment I have created for myself. It is the type of people I have learned to surround myself with. I have made the conscious choice and the intentional action to change the type of people I spend time with every day. It’s normal for me to spend my time with extraordinary athletes… and we think of each other and our actions as normal.
This is no different than the groups of people who meet at happy hour on Friday, tailgate on the weekends, watch their kids play soccer together, or catch up on gossip around the water cooler at work. This is the environment they have created for themselves. These are the types of people they choose to be surrounded by. This is how we create our “normal”.
The process of leaving one group and entering another not as simple as just leaving one day and being accepted the next. Following social and cultural norms makes the change more complicated as we slowly detach from the less desired group and step into the new group a little at a time. As we separate from one group we can gain acceptance of another until one day when the we have earned the right to move on from one group into the other.
This is the process of unbecoming to become. We unbecome the person who was accepted in group A to become the person who is accepted into group B. Our surroundings have now changed, our thoughts have changed, our actions have changed, and we have now changed how we identify ourselves by changing the group we identify with.
The process of social and economic change is not as simple as waking up one day and leaving what we know… we must first change the view we have in our head so our body can take the action and understand the time it takes to grow apart and mold together as we allow our normal to change into the extraordinary.
We are a product of our actions. Our actions are a byproduct of our thoughts. Our thoughts are shaped by our surroundings. Control your surroundings so your thoughts will follow which will assist you in taking the correct action in your desired direction.