I discovered Chris Guillebeau, his books and his website, The Art of Nonconformity, a little over a year and a half ago when I was on a reading binge about traveling nomads and solo hobos. Sometime before too long, I'll do a post on this in case you are struck with the I-want-to-travel-right-now-for-a-long-period-of-time.
I downloaded Chris' book, The $100 Start-Up when it was a free e-book. I enjoy his writing style and his approach to life. Recently, he posted about the 'only coulds':
If I Could Only…Also, I discovered a TV show entitled Boundless where two men with obviously questionable senses, take on the challenge of entering and completing some of the most difficult races in the world: seven-day ultra marathons, 32 mile open ocean paddleboarding contests and cliffside bicycle races. The show's premise attracted me the same way I am drawn to watching the annual Iron Man Triathlon competition in Kailua-Kona Hawaii and the film about the men who ran across the 4300 miles across the Sahara (see the documentary Running the Sahara).
Focusing on something you don’t have (but think you need) can be a dangerous, common pattern. The pattern is to identify something you lack and use that as an obstacle that prevents you from doing what you really want.
Full disclosure: I am not a couch potato, but neither am I interested in pursuing extreme sports. I am, however, fascinated by stories about them.
The ultra sports fills a curiosity in me about how and why humans want to (and are able to) challenge their bodies and minds. It is not that I wish to be like them. It is not If I Could Only--run in a marathon, ride bikes up mountain cliffs, push my endurance beyond my perceived limits. If anything, it is more If I Could Only understand what drives men and women to participate. What drove Diana Nyad to swim from Cuba to Key West after failing four previous times?
In this case, I don't suffer a case of the If I Could Only. It doesn't prevent me from my meager contributions to exercise and having fun. It doesn't cure me of my wanderlust and desire to see more and more of the world. Reading the post from Chris did get to me to stop and examine if I was practicing the If I Could Only in any aspect of my life. I think I'm OK for now.
How about you?