Saturday, 31 January 2015

Half full, or half empty?

Quite a few times recently I have been referred to as a “half full” person and I think that’s something I can take as a complement.   While being optimistic and hopeful, I believe this has some real tangible benefits which might be worth outlining”
I cannot prove this scientifically but I do believe people can make themselves ill by believing they are ill, or perhaps wanting to be ill.  I have seen this amongst some of the people I work with and it’s almost as if some might talk themselves into being ill and are wanting sympathy and understanding from those they meet.  In fact some people can appear to be constantly ill with one thing after another and relentlessly let every one know about it.
Conversely I think people can stay well and healthy by thinking in a healthy train of thought.  Likewise being positive and optimistic might help recovery from some illnesses or (and I cannot speak from any experience here) recover from operations and injuries more quickly.  Arguably some people recovering from serious situations might be more determined to recover and prove everyone wrong through being bloody-minded and utterly determined.
Now I know I have no evidence to back any of this up, apart from my own observations.  If you’re a Doctor or a medical type person, please feel free to correct me!   I am sure I’m being overly simplistic, but I don’t want to be.  Neither do I want to be glib or disrespectful to anyone.
Being a runner
Half empty, half full
Half empty, half full
Life is full of decisions.  A few people may have little choice and are forced into exercising like running through some kind of necessity.  Other people choose to be a cyclist etc for a whole variety of reasons.
Could I argue here that people who choose to be a runner do so through being naturally optimistic and positive in their outlook?  After all, it would be so easy to think of reasons why you shouldn’t run on a particular day.  “Oh it might rain, or be a bit windy” might be heard by some and yet many a runner will totally disregard these things and go ahead anyway, in preference to using another form of transport.
There are times when it has been pouring with rain and I have decided to go for a what-the-hell bike ride or a run, just for the fun of it.  On one level that might sound ridiculous and yet you’ll have to believe me it can be fun, memorable and exhilarating at times.
And then there is the unexpected.  You never quite know who you might meet or get to know.  Even though you might be running over familiar routes there is always the chance of something new and different happening.   Also there is always the option of looking out for a new track or footpath that you’ve never run down before.
Typing this has caused me to remember the time, last summer, when I cycled to work in Stevenage one day.  Now I am fortunate in having many different routes which I can take and there is a network of little country lanes around my part of the Hertfordshire / Bedfordshire border.  I am still getting to know these lanes and on this particular day I deliberately had no map and decided to do some exploring on my way home with some “where does this go?  I wonder what’s along here?  I bet there’s a nice view from the top of that hill”.
Problem solving
Running few bring up few challenges and problems.  Are these obstacles?  Or are these challenges which need to be solved?
This is where running succeeds over cycling.  You don't need to worry about your means of transport, after all modern bicycles are a bit on the fragile side and do need a fair bit of attention.  I ride one bike for 99% of the time and there always seems to be something needing attention.  This is general maintenance rather than dealing with a breakdown and it seems this is far more than with my car.  If I have to do anything with my car in between the 10,000 mile services, that troubles me.  And yet a bicycle in that time would need tyres, brake pads, a chain, cleaning etc etc.   But these are not problems.  Taking care of a bicycle is enjoyable and gives good results.
And as for actually solving problems, this happens in abidance!  I can set off for a run with all kinds of things bugging and troubling me.  And then something magical happens: I work through these issues and things always become clearer and I end up feeling able to solve things.  Also a brilliant way of keeping things in perspective and not allowing things to become bigger than they really are.   
Surely no one disputes the immense benefits from running?
So, are runners and cyclists naturally “half full”?
I am a runner and a cyclist.  I believe I am naturally “half full”, optimistic, sees good in people, likes people, likes new experiences (but not quite everything!).  I’d like to think this is a common trait amongst runners, cyclists (and bloggers!).
Am I right?

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