Things Not Going to Plan

High Performance West Elite 800m runners, left to right, McKayla Fricker and Nathan Fleck. 

High Performance West Elite 800m runners, left to right, McKayla Fricker and Nathan Fleck. 

We live in a goal-oriented culture.

To see a contrast, look at Eastern cultures where thinking about process, structure, & how the parts relate to the whole, are given much more emphasis and importance than the final product.

In a goal-oriented culture, when there is a setback or a glitch, we naturally focus on the end result and worry how the hiccup affects the desired, imagined perfect outcome.

For instance, if I'm writing a book and the book isn't coming out as I had imagined, I will think about the ideas and my style of writing and how I can improve these ideas and the communication of them to give the book more wallop, more effect.

But often the source of the problem is really the structure of the darn book, the organization of the chapters, how one idea is linked to another, and my process of creation. Many books start off well, but completely fall apart because of faulty, faulty structure.

Same applies to racing on the track. Many races start off well for a competitor in the first half, but things erode in the second half.

Why? Possibly a lack of poetic structure. 

How a race model is organized matters. Set it up where each step leads to the next. The first 200m takes you to the next 200m and then the next 400m and so forth. If the chapters of a race (each lap, or mile) are clearly connected, then the end has a higher potential to be favorable. 

Or not. Sometimes too, despite our best intentions and preparations, we strike out when we aim to hit a home run. 

Remember, we learn best by doing and by things not going to plan.

Strikeouts are a natural byproduct of swinging to hit home runs. You cannot hit it out of the park unless you swing with all your might. Don't wait for the perfect pitch, instead go for good enough looks as well.

The ups and downs experienced create an opportunity to inspect your process, structure, and organization — a ripe opportunity to take stock and revise for the better.

See failures for what they are, a part of the process, instead of the final product.


Thanks for reading. I'm glad you're here. // jm 

Jonathan Marcus