What really matters

Ihad never thought exactly about the meaning of the expression “to feel like doing something.” It usually means “Having the desire or conviction to do something,” implicitly indicating that that thing is not easy, requires effort, requires commitment.

One can “feel” about doing a race, a training, a difficult conversation.
In short, we say “feel” because we know that thing will cause us to feel something, either physically or mentally. Something that goes out of the comfort zone, something that destabilizes us and forces us to find a new balance.

The limits

This “feeling” is very often due to the fact that we are going through something whose effects are not clear. Before you run your first marathon, you don’t know exactly what it is about, how you will feel. You can just “feel” you’re doing it because you followed the right charts, you ate well, you did your homework. A set of assessments gives you the confidence that-no matter how unknown an experience might be-you have the proper preparation to deal with it.

Then I read something Muhammad Ali said one day. Someone asked him how many sit-ups he does to prepare for a fight. His reply was:

“I don’t count my abs. I only start counting them when they start to hurt. When I feel pain, that’s when I start counting, because that’s when it really counts.”

I thought that this is the purest sense of “feeling like doing something,” that is, of the perception of discomfort you get preparing for something that comes out of your daily routine, that requires effort, that requires toil. That deserves to matter.

As long as it doesn’t hurt, you are in the realm of the everyday, of things we can do, without any special effort. When we perceive them (feel them), then something within us begins to change. The limit hurts, you can feel it. When you run on the edge of your limit, you really feel the effort you are making, otherwise it is an easy or normal training: useful in its own way, but it’s not taking you into uncharted territory.

What matters is what you feel

“To feel” is by no means a verb chosen at random: to feel means that you sense change, that you glimpse it beyond the effort you are making. To change the state, to get closer to our limits, we have to feel them, we have to struggle to overcome them.

This attitude also teaches another thing: the things that matter are those that we perceive and that mark us, but they are also those that elevate us to new dimensions. This is why Ali used the pun between counting (in the sense of mentally numbering the abs he did) and counting in the sense of “to matter.” What matters is what requires effort, otherwise it is just the manifestation of something you already know how to do, which doesn’t elevate you, doesn’t change you, doesn’t make you grow.

When you run-especially in the beginning-you experience what that boundary is. To move forward you have to feel it, to overcome your limitations just as much. Only then can you explore new dimensions of your mind and body.

It’s not always about suffering, it’s more about recognizing the value of what happens to you: does it matter? Then it is shaping you: your new You.
Doesn’t it matter? So it didn’t move you from what you already knew, it didn’t teach you much. It has a less powerful value, in short.
When what you do “matters,” it means that it is of central importance, that it is changing you, that it is taking you further.
Where. You will feel it.

(Main image credits: doble.dphoto on DepositPhotos.com)


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