The power of a life telescope

Scott McDermott writes about the power of perspective, when going through tough times.

  • May. 25, 2017 5:00 a.m.

If you know me at all, you know that I go to a lot of courses and read a lot of books, and although there are many reasons, the top one is to change my views on the world in a variety of ways.

Yes, new information is a big piece of it, as I learned in a course called “The Mastery of Self Expression,” we pointed to our own head and stated: “There is nothing new in here,” then point outward to the world and said: “Everything new is out there.”

While that has proven to be absolutely true, the other main reason I love to go to conferences and courses is to see life from a distance.

I call it: “going from the microscope, to the telescope.”

Woody’s Marathon was today (Sunday, May 21) and watching all the people I coach finish their 10k, half or full marathon, I was once again inspired by all of them. To start a run training program in January is not easy. It was often 30 below, or windy or snowing or all of that.

As with life, it would be so easy to just look at the current conditions (the microscope) and stop, not run that day, or that week, which could turn into a month. During the 18 weeks of training, some people inevitably got sick with a cold or flu, and it would have been easy to focus in on that current detail and give up completely. Taking a rest while sick is warranted quitting is a microscope solution.

Injuries? Those happened too, and I am far too familiar with that these days. Today, lots of people said “hello” to me and asked if I was all healed up from my crash 18 months ago.

”Nope.” But I would continue to talk about what was next on my journey to getting back to 100 per cent the telescope view. The big oicture. Looking into the microscope, it would be easy to dwell on the torn cartilage in my knee, the restricted mobility in my shoulder, the damage to my lungs that is causing repeat infections, etc but that never gets me anywhere. So, I just focus on the long distance plans and the telescope view, instead of the microscope view.

The world talks a lot, in January, about goals and resolutions, but as evidenced once again today, they matter all the time. That big picture, that view of the stars, of the moon, of other galaxies is what matters. The view of a year from now, when you are leaner, fitter, stronger and healthier. That is what you need to focus on.

Yes, we pay attention to the microscope view, that cannot be ignored, but if a person walks along a path staring a few centimeters in front of their toes, a crash is inevitable. You are going to headbutt a tree or a rock, or walk off a cliff. You need to stop once in a while, look up, look waaaay up and see what is off in the distance.

Today, since I cannot currently run, I volunteered to ride my mountain bike in the race. My job was to “lead in” the top runners, keeping them safe from things like other runners, geese, getting lost, etc. The lady I was leading in for the full marathon was starting to really struggle and fade body tired, stomach arguing and muscles complaining.

I asked her what she loved most about running. I asked her what kept her going to races and what her favorite parts of running were. In five minutes of this, I noticed that she had returned to her previous fast pace, and all she had to do was remember the big picture. She just needed to take her eyes off the microscope (the pain she was in, right then) and focus on the ultimate goal.

Life will always hand you challenges, but the secret is to keep thinking big and look to the big successes of tomorrow, while you deal with the little problems of today.


Happy Training!



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