After many years of making New Year’s Resolutions, following through on some, while others fall away like bowling pins, there is just one that holds true year after year.
Be honest with yourself.
If one does nothing other than that, all others tend to all into place.
Because if you’re honest with yourself, and you want to change something in your diet or training or personal life, you will do it. If you’re not honest with yourself from the start, then change is not likely to occur. You don’t want it enough. The resolution, or the resolve to do something, as it were, will fall away.
Being honest with yourself comes with some risks as well as rewards. If you are heartfully honest with yourself, there are occasions where you will plainly not agree with other people in your life. If what they are doing feels offensive or wrong, it creates a conundrum. do you speak up or keep your mouth shut?
If you speak up, you run the risk of offending them. Some people insist that emotional intelligence is the ability to discern the right opportunity and method to speak without creating controversy.
Yet there are situations within our own heads in which being s0-called “emotionally intelligent” is not the path to success. In the middle of a race when pain is roaring through our bodies and even our brains, is it “emotionally intelligent” to keep going? Or is it smarter to back off.
Our most competitive years may find us on the manic end of the spectrum when it comes to training and racing. Transferring that type of gut-wrenching emotion to the workplace may not be the best idea in the world. So to be honest with ourselves is to admit that we need a place to let all that crazy out. Sports are a good place to do that.
It’s still tough to distinguish sometimes whether it is better to be honest than be simply cooperative. Even when we see things that upset us or make no sense in this world, it makes sense to back away a bit rather than let honest thoughts and emotions lead the way.
Recall the movie Liar, Liar in which the Jim Carrey character played a lawyer who through some sort of spell lost the ability to lie? It made his life a living hell. Perhaps his worst sin was over-acting. But then there are people who seem to have adopted the opposite brand of over-acting. They simply can’t be honest about anything. For the life of them, they become so good at lying it replaces their entire persona. Perhaps you know a person or two like this. Who lie their way to success. It happens all the time.
And when you challenge them, you’re called the freak. The intolerant. The bad apple.
Stripping away falseness
So the resolution to be honest with ourselves is both important and challenging. It can strip away the falseness that we might otherwise allow to enter our lives. Yet it can also force friends away who don’t want to be confronted by any sort of honesty, be it political, religious, social or cultural.
The simplest things can lead to divisions between people. In our little triathlon world there are disagreements that can grow over philosophies of coaching and allegiances that come and go. One would think that friendships built on hard effort and support would never disappear. But people are tribal by nature. They take offense too easily when people seek to change something in their lives. Even when this is done for the most honest of reasons, an admission even of the need to change something in themselves…it can still breed division. Perhaps you’ve seen that in your triathlon world.
The price of existence
Some of this is the price of existence. Yet some of it is small-mindedness, and a lack of ability to be honest over just about anything.
As long as you are truly being honest with yourself, following your honest instincts is always the right thing to do. If people can’t deal with that, then they honestly don’t have a place in your life. That’s not a lack of emotional intelligence. That’s a test of human spirit and what it truly means to be alive.