Imagination And That Competitive Spirit For Your Success!

  • April 2, 2010

I find that every time I leave the house I have an adventure – I can turn something as boring as doing the shopping into an unbelievable story. Like the time I simply went to get the mail and locked myself out of the house, the story of the 4 hour break in is funny now but not at the time. Or the time I went to pick up takeaway just down the road and ended up confronting a gang of 10 who had hijacked my business signpost (I got it back).

Well this is nowhere as interesting as those outcomes, but it was the game that I played in my head on the last run I went on, that inspired this Blog post. When you run do you ever play mind-games with yourself? Do you have demons in your head telling you to walk or take the shorter option? Most of us do and I am no different.

Well on this run I had a buddy to make it real. He didn’t know (actually by the end he probably did) but I was using him to keep me going, he was the character in my imaginary race and I was not going to lose.

It all started the same way, I needed to get a run in to keep my fitness up and keep my stomach down.  As usual I had managed to put it off by staying on Facebook an extra 2 hours, but eventually I found the motivation to put on the sneakers and head out on my run.

New to the area, I had only been on about 3 or 4 runs in this suburb and this particular time I decided to go a bit further and check out the scenery. Of course I got lost and ended up running twice as far and found twice as many hills. It was tough.

Not only did I run twice as far and up twice as may hills but I also ran twice as hard as I normally would. Why? Because of my new friend …….. lets call him “Jeff” (he looked like a Jeff).

I was running along at a nice even pace enjoying the Sydney harbour views. Then it began. As I turned to run down towards the suburb of Mosman I hit the corner at exactly the same time as “Jeff”. Jeff appeared to be around 60 + but had obviously done a lot of running. I decided to let him go in front of me as I couldn’t be bothered running fast to keep ahead of him. But Jeff had the same idea, so we ended up running about 20m side by side. If you have ever experienced this it is kind of uncomfortable so I went ahead……… let                                                         the race begin.

I was running just ahead of Jeff but could hear him right behind me so I decided to put some comfortable distance between us so I could cruise along again, besides I didn’t want a 60+ guy to be running at the same pace as me right!!

I was now running almost as fast as I could up hills, down hills and around corners. By the time I got to Mosman I couldn’t even see him. YES. I showed him who was boss. Now I could just cruise home. Mmmmmmm which way is home? I had not run this way before. I started to investigate a few roads and look around to see which way was possibly the best way home. As I was doing this “Jeff” came flying past. Bugger……. Now it was on, a race to……… wherever we were heading. I decided to follow him as I thought he must be heading back to the main road somewhere. We headed up the VERY big hill along Avenue Road and Jeff was no match for the steep slope. I took the lead and pushed on. The hill was killing me but I knew Jeff would be lurking and I couldn’t let him go past me again.

This hill was not getting any flatter or shorter and no main road or corner was in sight. Was I heading the right way? I saw a few  shops and cross roads ahead so I slowed down to a walk and tried to get my bearings. Maybe left? Maybe straight? I didn’t want  to risk it so I decided to continue straight. As I considered getting up a jog again I saw Jeff on the other side of the road. He was  even with me again and running. This bloke just won’t give up I thought. I was getting pretty tired but Jeff was moving along  nicely so I started running again. Had Jeff picked up on the rivalry yet? Did he know we were in a race to the death? Well we were  (in my head) and I wasn’t going to lose.

Jeff, me, me, Jeff the lead was changing every step. He was on one side of the road and I was on the other. THEN……… Jeff turned off, down a side street and out of sight. Had I defeated him or was he daring me to follow him? There was no way I was following him as the direction he went seemed like a log way around to where I wanted to go. I continued straight ahead and finally came to the main road. Not far to go now…….. so I thought.

Which way down Military rd? Left or right? I decided to go left, just walking as I was not sure it was the right way. Then I saw “800 Military Rd” WHAT? I thought I was nearly home, but I turn off for home at 100 Military Rd – A long way to go. At least I was heading in the right direction and I knew where I was.

YOU HAVE TO BE KIDDING ME……….. Just as I had put the Jeff game and big race out of my mind and thought about getting a jog up again you will never believe who went running past me? JEFF. I actually started laughing and said out loud “Are you serious?” It was on again.

I started jogging and caught up to Jeff and stayed just behind him. I had to give it to him – for over 60 he was a very fit guy. He had ran just as far as me, if not further and to keep ahead of him I was buggered. But there was absolutely no way I was going to let this guy beat me. As we approached an intersection the little man was flashing Red and Jeff slowed down to obey. Not me. I looked for cars and when it was safe to go I overtook him and ran straight across the road and took the lead yet again.

I looked back and noticed Jeff had crossed the road as well , I started to pick up the pace. By now I reckon Jeff was onto the game as  well. We had overtaken each other about 4 or 5 times now and I reckon he wanted to beat this ‘young fella”. I noticed he had also  picked up the pace, he was no longer running at his even pace. Great – I wasn’t sure if I could keep it up, I wasn’t quite sure how far  to home but I decided to take the pace up to a new level and try and hold on.

We were running red lights and I honestly nearly got ran over at a service station (I’m sure Jeff would have kept on running). I stopped looking for cars at intersections and the pace now reminded me of the 6km pre season time trials we use to do for football, my lungs were burning and my legs were jelly. But Jeff was not going to beat me.

A few intersections later I looked back and I couldn’t see Jeff. But based on the last few surprise appearances I wasn’t going to ease off too much. I looked up and noticed that I had actually ran past my turn off by about 1km. I took the next left and slowly ran the side streets home.

Had I beaten Jeff or was he waiting for me at home? As I arrived home Jeff was obviously not there but I had made it home and I was totally spent. It’s amazing how some “perceived” competition can make you push to the next level in your fitness or even in your business. There was no way I would have ran that hard if Jeff did not appear, or if I had just let him pass me by or if I didn’t have such a vast imagination or if I wasn’t competitive.

It was a great run and even though I was buggered I was glad I had pushed it hard and got something out of it. It got me thinking about the competitive streak in us and the use of our imagination. Even though there was no real race and Jeff may not have even known I was competing with him (although by the end I think he was in on it) Jeff was real and I had turned a normal casual run into an achievement – even if that achievement was beating a 60 year old man – he was a very fit 60!! It got me thinking, how can I relate this to business and a lesson for you in a Blog post?

I realized that imagination and competiveness are great personality traits to have when it comes to your success and business. I  have always been competitive naturally. From sports to business to even a simple run or card games, I have to win. Now, it  doesn’t always work out as well as it did with Jeff but I always put in my best effort every time.

I was the same with my imagination. As a kid I always dreamed up big ridiculous goals and stories. I remember convincing  myself that there was an underground mine and treasure under the rocky hill on our farm. I even started digging with pick and shovel to crack the underground chamber………. And I always dreamt of earning millions of dollars whether I worked or not.  Now, along the way to adulthood those dreams may have come and gone in my head, but at age 20 I realized that it was achievable, anything was possible, people were doing exactly what I wanted to do at this very moment, so why couldn’t I?

Since then I have kept up my vivid imagination and hefty dreams, have you? Or have you let life get in the way? Have you started to believe everything that people tell you?

“ You can’t do that”
“That will never work”
“You need security in a job”
“That is a scam”
“I know someone who did that and they didn’t make $1”
“That’s ok for them, they have more time”
“You need money to make money”
“Don’t get caught up with that type of person”
“Have you joined some type of cult”
“You’re not smart enough”
“You will lose friends if you do that”

And so on and so on. Don’t believe what 95% of people tell you. They may be well wishes but they want you down at their level.  You can do anything you want, believe in yourself, dream big, hang out with people that believe in you and take massive action.

Or are you making your own excuses and have let your imagination stop working?

“I don’t have time”
“I don’t have money”
“I’ll start next year”
“I just have to wait until things settle down”
“I’m too busy”
“I’ll start when the kids grow up”
“I’m too old”
“I’m too young”

And so the voices go inside your head. Do you remember what you dreamt of as a kid? Take some time out to remember how you pictured your life turning out. Is it where you thought it would be today? If not put your imagination to work and dream big, put it on paper and put a plan together to start making it a reality. Use your imagination daily – there is nothing stronger than your vision.

Are you competitive? I come across people that are just naturally competitive and I think it is a great trait to have when it comes to business. You want to be the best, you want to beat others, and you want to get to the top. There is nothing wrong with that at all as long as you do it fairly and with integrity.

If you find you are not naturally competitive then set yourself some goals and compete with yourself. Beat your last month results, beat your last years results. Give your self a deadline and be competitive with that. At the end of the day you just need to keep on improving and moving forward towards your ultimate goal. If that means competing with someone else then great, if it means inventing a competition like I did with Jeff then great, if it means competing against yourself then that will also work.

As you can see combined with my often-absent mind (because I am always dreaming of my goals) alongside my imagination and competiveness it is very easy for me to have an adventure everyday and keep things interesting.

Get your mind working. Start your imagination up again. It is a great fun (and very powerful) exercise to sit down for 5 minutes a day and imagine you are living your dream life. If you do this often enough it won’t be a dream for long.

Get your competitive streak working for you, either against yourself or someone else. It will drive you to get there faster.

Also get out and go for a run. You may bump into Jeff if you are in the North Sydney area. If not, exercise will clear your mind,  inspire you and help you get your imagination into gear.

Until my next adventure, I hope my experience and imagination have been beneficial to you and your success. I look forward to  your comments on this posting and your own stories below.


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