Going with the FLOW….

Early morning swim at Yas Links
Early morning swim at Yas Links

Alright I admit it, I was extremely vague on the Why Triathlon question from my last blog. My explanation was because life “sends you what you need when you need it”, mmmm ok – what the hell does that really mean. There has to be a better explanation as to why I am spending a ridiculous amount of my time week in and week out packing bags, driving to training locations, training, washing and cleaning bike/swim stuff, repacking bags, waking up at ungodly times, reading triathlon magazine…..I think you get the idea…….

So I had a good think about it, and I don’t have any really solid explanation other than it makes it me feel good…like “super star” good. Triathlon training (and everything that goes with it) makes me feel like I have an identity, a title, it connects me to a group of infinite other crazy people who were found by Triathlon. So basically in other words Triathlon makes me feel COOL. There I said it out loud and if anyone disagrees with me let me know. I like the stuff, I like the bike (ok I actually LOVE my bike), I like my bright coloured shoes, I like the strange work-out attire I can now get away with wearing (cause I’m a Triathlete), but what I like the most is the way it makes me feel, both physically but more importantly mentally and emotionally.

I recently attended the Deepak Chopra – Soul of LeadershipSeminar here in Abu Dhabi (sorry Deepak but after lunch you lost me and I only recall something about Carl Jung and 100 monkeys, the rest was a blur). However the first part of Deepak’s extremely illogically organised presentation talked about being present, coming back to the listener, separating ones ego from ones true self. I have come across this a lot in Triathlon, in some of the long trainings you need to be really present, to be in the moment. You most definitely also have to check your ego at the door when you take this sport on – you need to listen to your body, and keep you own pace and not be side tracked by what others are doing or what you think their expectations of you are. I have noticed when I am training that if I let my mind wander, look around or get distracted, my speed and technique very quickly decline. If I stay present, focused on everything that my body is doing, thinking of what I am trying to achieve, my goal for that exact moment and session – I notice my body relax, my breathing rate decline, my technique improve and my speed increase.

So what’s with that? I remembered reading some time ago about a thing called Flow (read about it here). I think that is what has happened. I have finally (it only took 37 years) found something that gives me “Flow”, and this seems to do amazing things for my overall ability to deal with change, manage difficult situations and most importantly it’s teaching me patience. Stop trying to rush everything, stay in the moment and time seems to stand still and speed up all at the same time. I even find myself now, in a long session of over 2 hours, almost not wanting to stop – how weird is that?

In the article link above it says “by learning to control attention, any skill can be mastered, the important thing is to enjoy the activity for its own sake and to know what matters is not the result, but the control one is acquiring over one’s attention.”

That’s fine, but something that I say a lot is that it still has to be fun. It’s no good doing all this seriousness if you aren’t actually having fun with it. I reckon you need a balance of intense focus, without taking yourself to seriously to keep the Flow with something you enjoy doing.

Buddhist advise “act always as if the future of the universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes a difference”.

So there you have it. There is the Why Triathlon question resolved.

In summary, it’s because it makes me feel COOL!



One thought on “Going with the FLOW….

  1. Julie

    Thank you for sharing the flow activities to focus on goals that are clear and compatible, and provide immediate feedback. Congrats Leyla …keep it coming.

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