Training Lesson #1, Brought to you by McDonalds

For a majority of my lunch breaks, I go to McDonalds.  Ironic, I know.  It is close to work and their tea (unsweetened of course) is only $1.00- that is all I order 99% of the time.  More importantly I get to work uninterrupted on whatever project is at the top of my “to do” list.  Occasionally, I must admit, I get caught up in people watching.  Happened just now.

A family of 4 came in to eat lunch – mom, 3-4 year old boy, 2 year old girl, and Grandma.    They were celebrating something, or so I overheard.  Happy meals and toys, what else can a child ask for! (Any parent sees the humor in that statement, because the ‘asking for’ never stops. Ever.). Everyone is happy and smiling at everything laid out in front of them.  Five minutes later it imploded.

The boy wanted the toy and the girl wanted to run around. Mom was getting irritated and Grandma was trying to be über nice and encouraging, like every grandma is.  Neither approach worked.  All of the hope and anticipation about the happy meals and the toys that was there just moments ago was gone.  The smile on moms face was replaced by a stressed, “just get out of here” look.  The boy was crying and the girl was in the middle of a “all-my-hopes-and-dreams-have-just-been-crushed” wail that was just slightly below the shattering glass threshold.  They left.  Upset, frustrated, and worse off than when they walked in to celebrate their ‘something’.

It was a great reminder of training and life.  How often do we approach a project or training program with all the hopes, dreams, and excited anticipation we can possibly have just to see that all taken away by a setback of some sort?  How do we respond when the chips are down?  I believe it was Muhammad Ali that was quoted ” everyone has a strategy until they get hit”.

How do we respond when what we wanted to do, or what our goal was has been compromised?  Do we give in, fold under pressure and go back to what was comfortable (take on that “just get out of here” look) or do we re-adjust our plan and continue moving forward.  “Adapt and overcome”.  If it can be a mantra for the Marines, I think it can be appropriate for everyone else.  In life, rarely does the brick wall we are banging our head against move.

A sign of being “athletic” is being able to quickly pick up or learn a new skill. We should all strive to be “athletic” in our lives and in our training. When we are present with an obstacle or “wall”, instead of complaining or banging our head against it wondering why things never change we should take on the approach of Chuck.  Chuck is a dump truck cartoon character that my 3 year old enjoys.  Chucks mantra is “over, around, or through.  Lets go me and you.”

Being too rigid in life or training rarely works out best. Even the giant skyscrapers aren’t totally rigid – they are designed and built to sway during high winds or shifting ground.  We should all look to flow and sway our way towards our goals.  The importance isn’t in how we get to our goal, but in the fact that we are getting closer to our goal – moving forward.

We should all strive to adapt and overcome those setbacks in training, nutrition, work, or relationships. We should go over, around, or through whatever is thrown in front of us – instead of being too rigid to change our approach, or worse yet quitting.  Do that, and maybe we can all earn the toy that comes in the Happy Meal.

Until next time,


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