“All serious daring starts from within.” ~Eudora Welty
Yesterday morning, I decided to go for a run to get into a nice, early-morning flow of energy and inspiration.
I took off from my South Boston apartment just before 7 AM to head towards the Harbor where there’s a beach and perfect bike path neighboring a 350-year-old, colony-era fort. The 2-mile loop is awesome for pacing out nice runs on beautiful summer mornings.
I stretched, prepped my iPod, and got my chi energy all nice and primed and ready to go — OK, in truth I was still half asleep — and started running.
Around .6 miles into my jog, like Neo in The Matrix, I suddenly dodged an enormous bumblebee that was headed straight for my face. Close call averted.
And then, about 3 steps later, another bee — an apparent cohort of the bumblebee who previously failed to attack my face — succeeded in dive-bombing directly into my eye.
Thankfully, because of my evasive maneuvering (ie, wildly thrashing my limbs and trying to scraping away from my eye whatever it was that flew into my face), the sucker only stung just below my bottom eye lid, which, still, invited an immediate and curse-laden tirade that would make Kenny Powers blush.
A man walking his dog witnessed this.
A white bulldog.
The dog was far more judging with his eyes than even his human owner.
I’ll be honest. Getting stung by a bee in the face was not an awesome way to start the day.
It threw me for a total loop, and all of the effort I was concentrating into a gradual build-up of motivation for a day ahead full of writing and excellent things was suddenly gone. Escaped. No where to be found.
Face still stinging, left with only a judgmental bulldog and his discriminating looks.
In that moment, I thought I was screwed. I was worried that my day — one that I really wanted to be productive — was already a disaster: I was frustrated, without concentration, had totally lost the flow of the moment and now felt my mind being peppered by aggravation and that crazy, uncontrollable inner dialogue and…
And then, I just… stopped.
I kept on running.
You see, you conquer the circumstances that unfold in your life — even those random, chaotic events that make you feel like a total victim without any semblance of control — by your choice. You laugh at yourself, you simply carry on. You explicitly decide to conquer it with the unapologetic power of your mind and thoughts.
Conquer it, or allow it to conquer you.
Choose to conquer the circumstances, and refuse to choose to allow them to dominate you.
Stop making excuses, whether explicit (“This has ruined my day”) or implicit (“Well, I got off to such a slow start earlier today after…”). They do little but to prolong something you don’t desire and reinforce in others your inability to take responsibility for your life, decisions and actions.
Put your foot down, and that’s it. You just move on.
And you’ve already won.
When I got back home, I decided that I would make my day an absolutely epic and excellent one.
We really needn’t reinvent the wheel, here.
You turn a bad day around by laughing it off and choosing to do something awesome and fun, whether by doing something playfully immature, or by changing an old habit and mixing up your schedule, or by breaking a rule just for the hell of it.
You don’t have to fix “waking up on the wrong side of the bed” by waiting until you go back to sleep and trying all over again come morning. Choose to. No, really choose to. Make the brazen decision without remorse or second-guessing. Laugh. Smile. Push on.
And maybe next time, wear sunglasses… or swim goggles.