Monday, October 3, 2011

The Choice Is Yours

I was complaining this weekend and a friend stopped me and basically told me to knock it off, that within my whining there was a lot to be thankful for.

Damn those good friends who know how to put us in our place!

We’ve heard it a million times, “Be grateful, focus on the good” especially in tough times. While it can become cliché, there is so much truth to that premise. You simply cannot deny that your attitude is a choice. I don’t care how dire the circumstances, you decide how to react.

We see it all the time:  people who are experiencing great loss or tragedy, yet they are pressing on with optimism and hope. People say, “They are handling it so well! Look how strong they are!” Yes, true. When faced with tough times we all hang out in throes of despair initially. But it is up to you how long you stay there and if you use your experiences to grow and teach other people by example.

Fortunately, most of us are not dealing with extreme tragedy at every given moment. We are just trying to navigate through an injury or a lost job or a clogged toilet.

This brings me to Cone or Crap, something I read about recently.

Basically, at any given moment we are all simultaneously holding an ice cream cone in one hand and stepping in crap with one of our feet.

The ice cream is all the good stuff around you be it your health, your family, a hot cup of coffee, the run you had this morning, or the fact that you HAVE a job. The crap is all the negative stuff like a flat tire, the national economic situation, the pouring rain outside. Both cone and crap are present, but which are you paying attention to? Which are you giving your energy to?

This isn’t to say that “crap” gets ignored or isn’t given the proper attention or emotional response. It is to say that you can’t get stuck in the crap and spiral into no man’s land. 

The SUAR that you see is usually smiling basking in the glory of a dump well taken. Yet, just there are some days where the crap gets the best of me. I have to remember to welcome the taste of the sweet ice cream and to wipe the crap off or throw away the shoe.

Do you focus on the cone or the crap? Hopefully not a cone with crap flavored ice cream.

SUAR

The winner of the Planet Gear $50 giveaway is #158, Running with ACDs. Send me an email at beth@shutupandrun.net and I’ll tell you how to claim your prize!

37 comments:

  1. I focus on the cone....however my lovely husband seems to focus on the crap so I see both sides to every situation.

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  2. Hard to answer this one. Most days my cone is full of crap.

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  3. Wow--first! You're so right about this and I think that the majority of the time, I do fairly well at focusing on the cone. But we all have our weak moments. I also believe that we all have a constant emotional state that we return to--I have my down moments but tend to always swing back to my happy point. some of this is a choice, but some of just happens naturally.

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  4. Always the cone. And the crap on my shoe prolly reminded me that I need to clean my shoes anyway so I find the good in the crap too. That said the days I don't even think I have a cone to focus on I give the crap 100% of my attention until I am bored with that. Feel the feeling and get over it before it becomes part of everything.

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  5. You sure do have a way with words :-)
    The crap hits somedays and I have a good self pity party then kick the chicken shit off my shoes and carry on, I just have to!

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  6. Thank you for this blog. I've referred to this concept in my training blogs, too, and find myself being tested with this exact situation right now in my personal life. Breaking down and having your moments of weakness where you focus on the crap is okay-you have to get it out, even if it's through a good cry, a mini blizzard at the DQ, or with a fast, hard run on your favorite route. But, hang it up after that and focus on the cone. Easier said than done, but I find myself more drained, crabby, whiny, if I spend too much time on the crap and less on the cone. There's a balance and if we can vent once in a while, fine, but enjoy the cone while you can. Besides, who wants to be THAT girl, who whines all the time? I hate being whiny...
    Thank whoever it is you thank for what you have and enjoy your life. Thanks again for the blog. It's a cone Monday!

    Tyson

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  7. Good one....

    Both...I laughed at the comment of having crap in the cone! ha! Hubby always comments on the crap so I try to be the cone making light of the crap. Let me tell ya that crap can get thick~gooey~and hard to work around some times but eventually as with all good crap it flushes out and we are left with a good looking cone after all.

    ( I may never enjoy another ice cream cone again without thinking of crap now...thanks!) ;-)

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  8. I'm sure like everyone, on any given day I will be focused on one and then another day the other. My last post was a lot of the cone/crap of my first year as an unemployed/self-employed person. I mentioned some of the crap, but tried to focus on the cone. My last few years (dealing with the loss of my dad and the probate nightmare that ensued) have been a pretty hefty pile of crap, but (especially now looking back) I can see there were some cone moments for sure. Thanks for sharing. Great reminder to focus on the cone since the crap will always be there.

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  9. Love this post! I tend to focus on the crap, most times, but lately I have been really trying to appreciate the ice cream. I won't lie, though, it is really hard after what our family has been through lately. I like what you said about setting a positive example for others and carrying on, even when it hurts. I hope I can help someone, someday, if they ever lose a parent unexpectedly. Thanks for a great post, as always! :)

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  10. A positive attitude can go a long way... definitely something I am constantly working on, though I have my weak moments as well!

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  11. Needed this today! Thank You SUAR! I had to giggle with the "cone full of crap!" Lately I have felt challenged on being a good roll model and being a good me. Dealing with my bum foot and my daughter which seems to dislike everything I say. She's an amazing girl who is pushing my buttons at the moment. I NEED to carry that cone! I know people are struggling with so much more so I WILL carry that cone for them as well!

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  12. Right on! One of my mentors early in my career told me that I am going to inevitably hit walls at times...we all do. It's not as much about the walls you hit as how quickly you bounce back up and try to climb over it again. You might smack that wall time after time, but eventually you will climb over top. One of my favorite quotes of all times: "So this is about life….It’s about risk, it’s about agenda, and it’s about balance. It’s about teeing the ball up high and hitting it hard while trying not to lose control. And if you shank it, then go find your ball and try it again…because the way you live your life, the perspective you select, is a choice you make every single day when you wake up. It’s yours to decide." Lance Armstrong, Every Second Counts

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  13. So easy to focus on the crap. I do a pretty good job of wiping my feet off pretty quick and getting back to the good stuff. Way too much to be thankful for.

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  14. I will have to steal this analogy. I've learned to look at the cone. I used to be an all crap girl, but I realized how much better life it when I'm looking at the cone. My husband on the other hand.... pure crap.

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  15. Too funny! I think this will be a great way to explain attitudes to my boys though! Cone or Crap!?

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  16. Great post! Thanks for the reminder.

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  17. Great post! Thanks for the reminder.

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  18. I have to say i try to focus on the cone but do cave into the crap sometimes.
    This is the 2nd read in the last few days that focused on attitude....i'm thinking God's trying to tell me something.

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  19. "attitude is a choice" so true. My husband is uber good at seeing the cone and I have learned to be more like that. Pessimism is energy draining, not giving...who wants to be around that?!

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  20. I was just having this conversation this weekend also! While I'm not always that good at it I do prefer to focus on the cone. :)

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  21. What I want to know is this... is the actual cone gluten-free? If it isn't, then I'll need a cup.

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  22. Wipe the crap off, but please remember to wash your hands before returning to the ice cream. PMS is my barrel of crap. It sucks me in every month in a really bad way. Sounds ridiculous, but it does.

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  23. Thanks again for saying it like it is. Yesterday I ran another 1/2 marathon (my husband ran his first...he slept with his coach) and was frustrated with my time. I was first in my age group and 2nd place overall master female. Yet I was complaining. My beloved husband sternly told me to quit being so ungrateful. Be thankful that today I could run...and shutup!

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  24. Thanks again for saying it like it is. Yesterday I ran another 1/2 marathon (my husband ran his first...he slept with his coach) and was frustrated with my time. I was first in my age group and 2nd place overall master female. Yet I was complaining. My beloved husband sternly told me to quit being so ungrateful. Be thankful that today I could run...and shutup!

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  25. I figure the crap will always be there, but the ice cream will melt if you don't lick it up now !

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  26. Its all crap if you let it be. Don't let it be and always move forward.

    Ever notice when you say to people: How are you?

    They come back with some nonsenese response......drives me batty!

    It takes no more money or energy to smile and enjoy the ice cream.

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  27. Perfect timing, you seem to know what I am thinking. I am focusing on my crap job and bitchy boss. I need to let it go after work and focus on ice cream, think I'll eat a bowl now.

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  28. I like to focus on the cone. I read a church talk the other day that talked about getting caught up in the "golden ticket", where you are so worried about looking for the great, you forget about the good. Not to say that you should never give up the good to get to something great when the situation calls for it, but to really look around and be happy with your chocolate bar and not that you didn't get the golden ticket.

    We are having potty training problems with my son, so I am dealing with a lot of real crap these days. It has been easy to lose my temper and freak out, but I have to be glad that we are done with diapers for the most part, and we are progressing, even if we have an accident once a day or every other day. That is still 5 diapers I didn't have to change each day!

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  29. I love this post. I tend to focus on the crap way too often. I realize I'm doing it when I suddenly think, oh great, I'm THAT whiney girl. Then I try to focus on the cone for a while, as much as possible, until the crap creeps up on me again. It's cyclical! Thanks for the reminder that the cone is still there...

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  30. I went to physio today and was told how much better i look than last week. I told her a lot of it had to do with my attitude. Turns out last week I was all about the crap, this week I'm all about the cone (and aqua-jogging!)

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  31. Time after time, your blog speaks to me like nothing else does. Your use of language is fantastic too. Although I probably already had a good idea about it, I now understand that I have spent too much of the last few months, years even, focusing on the crap: and I can now see a few cones which I can concentrate on instead. What a difference it makes to find I can run again after being plagued by stupid little injuries for a long, long time!

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  33. I very easily get caught up in the CRAP. I need reminders to make me focus on the cone. Usually the cone is literally ice-cream, for me at least.

    I feel sorry for myself sometimes but I am usually quick to realize I am being an a-hole and I am so lucky to have the life I have. I don't have a lot of money or possessions but I have everything else like health and love. I live in a tremendously beautiful place and I am surrounded by wonderful people. I work at an organization that makes a serious difference in the lives of over 1,000 kids. I have it very good. I must focus on the cone and not this crap of an injury.

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  34. Love the cone/crap symbolism - it's spot on. It's timely for me to read your post b/c I was witness to this experience at meditation on Sunday night. I was watching my thoughts around my health/illness (as in "I wish my ears would stop ringing, I wish my face didn't feel like it was being pulled, I wish my jaw would stop making weird noises," etc.) and when the facilitator was wrapping up the sit he said "smile, just smile." So i did and it made me think of something very funny and there i was noticing that i was watching both the funny thought and the thoughts about my health problems sit side by side. In Buddhism, they call the positive thoughts "skillful action" so the choice is always ours whether to be skillful or not. Word!

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  35. OMG I love this post, it really speaks to me. I totally let myself get mired in the crap at times, and this is a great analogy to how we can choose to perceive our attitudes in life. Thank you!

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