V is for Viewpoint

There’s a lot said about viewpoint when writing, but it’s a different type of viewpoint I’d like to consider. Take the first time I ran Parkrun, for example, around six months ago. It was a freezing cold morning, with an icy wind blowing off the sea that took my breath away. The route was two laps, each along the promenade, up a slope, back along the grass at the top, then down a steep slope to do it all again. My legs were aching, my lungs were bursting, I could barely breathe for most of the run, in fact as I watched the pack of runners disappear in front of me just a few hundred meters from the beginning I slowed to a walk and covered more of the distance that way than actually running. For the first lap I only kept myself moving by promising myself that when I got back to the start I would give up and go home. There was no point in me being there. I was far too unfit to get anywhere, it was totally unfair to expect myself to keep going, it was shameful to come in so badly last.

Somehow, and to this day I don’t know how (sheer bloody-mindedness maybe?), I didn’t give up, and continued around the second lap, to stagger in over the finish line in just under 40 minutes. I limped back to the car, somehow managed a shower and a trip to Tesco, and then lay on the sofa for the rest of weekend to recover.

I then had two options. I could take the viewpoint that I was unfit, and it was pointless even trying to run. It was cruel to pretend to myself that I could do it, and far better to just not bother.

Or I could take the viewpoint that yes, I was unfit, but I was out there and I completed the run, and the next time would be easier. I may have come in last, but I finished before those who didn’t try, but who stayed at home in the warm and comfort.

I chose to take the latter viewpoint, kept going, have never again run in such cold, uncomfortable conditions, and have improved my speed. Not by as much as I would like, granted, but that’s a work in progress, and at least now I have no issues at all in running the whole route.

I no longer come in last, but I have great admiration for the handful of people who come in behind me, because I know what it’s like to stagger behind everyone else, and I know what strength of mind it can take to keep going.

We all have situations and moments in our lives when we can choose which viewpoint to take, the negative view or the positive view. Which one do we choose? Our viewpoint doesn’t change the situation itself, but it can change the way we cope with it and how we use it to grow. Why not choose to look for the positive viewpoint?


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1 Comment

  1. Another great read – thanks for the reminder of the power of a positive viewpoint! (smile)


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