Hercules went in search of the things that would be painful, not knowing whether or not he could conquer them, but knowing that it was the only way to discover his destiny.
He intentionally sought out things that he had not done. People admire Hercules not just for fighting the Nemean Lion or the Cerberus, but for daring to.
What would have become of Hercules, do you think, if there had been no lion, no hydra, stag or boar — and no savage criminals to rid the world of? What would he have done in the absence of such challenges? Obviously he would have just rolled over in bed and gone to sleep. So by snoring his life away in luxury and comfort he never would have developed into the mighty Hercules. And even if he had, what good would it have done him? What would have been the use of those arms, that physique, and that noble soul, without crises or conditions to stir him into action? (Epictectus’ Discourses, Book I, 6:32–34)
Runners know that the finish-line involves developing mental fortitude in the face of progressive discomfort and progressive fatigue. Runners know that pain is inevitable, but that how we face it is what defines us. Fortitude comes by developing ourselves to handle progressive discomfort with good humor.
Photo by Simon Pelligrini on Unsplash.
Seek the things that stir you into action.
Seek your Nemean Lion.