BY Declan Coyle
They say that there are those who make excuses and then there are those who make things happen.
That thought struck me after a friend told me recently he had given up exercising. He had an excuse to go along with it. “I’m too old for all that now,” he said sadly.
Most of us live two lives. The first is the life we are living now where we are not that fit and not that healthy.
The second is the unlived life within us. That is the life we could live if we were fit and healthy …but we keep it inside as a kind of pipe dream.
Between these two lives stands the first of the 3 ‘Rs’ of Success and Failure, Resistance.
The Three Rs are:
Let’s take a look at the first R, ‘Resistance.’ Have you ever joined a gym in January (when you could), went for a week and then got so busy in your own mind that you could perfectly reason why you couldn’t go anymore?
Or what about going on a diet or a course of yoga, and then letting it slip after the initial enthusiasm wears off?
If so, then you know what resistance is. You are not alone. Many good men and women have been defeated by this first R.
Resistance is about the self-sabotaging demon within us that causes so much self-belittling. It is the voice in our heads that forces us to doubt, fear, and remain inactive during times when action is all that’s required.
To take action we need to look to the second R – ‘Resourcefulness.’ Here’s a story of a man who activated all the three Rs and helped to change his exercise regime.
On the 18th of November 1995, the violinist Itzhak Perlman performed at the Lincoln Centre in New York City. Yet he had polio as a child and walked with crutches.
The audience waited patiently as he made his way slowly across the stage to his chair. It was a familiar ritual for Perlman fans: The crippled genius making light of his disability before his sublime music transcended everything.
But this time was different. Just as he finished the first few bars one of the strings of his violin broke. You could hear it snap. It went off like gunfire across the room. He now had to either get another violin or restring his instrument.
He did neither. He just signalled to the conductor to begin again. The audience was spellbound. Everyone knows it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. But that night Itzhak Perlman refused to know that.
That night he hit a wall, the first R, ‘Resistance.’ He simply moved on to the second R, ‘Resourcefulness.’
He started to play right there where he was, and he played with passion, power and purity. You could see him modulating, changing and recomposing the piece in his head. When he finished there was an awed silence, and then the audience rose as one.
The music critic J. Riemer recalled: “We were all on our feet screaming and cheering – doing everything we could to show him we appreciated what he had done.
“He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said, not boastfully, but in a quiet pensive reverent tone: ‘You know sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music he can still make with what he has left!’”
My friend who thought he was too old to exercise found his three ‘Rs’ in Itzhak’s story. He’s jogging again and enjoying it. He’s finding out how much exercise he can still take with what he has left.
He considers himself no longer ‘retired, but refired.’ He’s not making excuses any more. He’s making waves.
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