I know. It seems out there. Stay with me.
This morning I was listening to the Tim Ferriss podcast. I’m way behind. Two years behind because I like to go back and listen from the beginning. Lots of interview style podcasts will have certain questions that they will ask everyone, and having that common thread makes it even more interesting to me. One of the questions is “what are you world class at?” which can be a kind of confronting question if you are used to being a humble or a modest person.
But I was thinking about that today on my run and the thing that I am world class at is improving systems. I know it sounds really boring. I spent five years working for a drug and alcohol rehabilitation charity and a huge part of my work was taking an organisation with no administrative systems to having policies and procedures and systems that worked like clockwork with no single point of fail, but more importantly systems for continually improving. When I was implementing all of those things I was not a very popular person, because I not only had to convince people to do it, I also had to convince them as to why it is important.
You only have to ask the coaches in Learn to Run and they will tell you how often I change things in the program. It’s in a constant state of imporvement. I add things, I take things away, I fine tune things. CONSTANTLY. Almost to the point where I can’t quite keep up with it. If you love something and you appreciate something, you love it enough and respect it enough to continually reinvest in it and make it better. Nothing is ever done. Nothing is ever complete. There is always room for more. There is always room for better.
Which is a bit like populist politics at the moment, don’t you think? People will try to convince you (especially coming up to Australia Day) that if you have any criticism about Australia, you should leave, or you aren’t patriotic. But I think it’s the oppostie of that. Patriotism is loving your country enough to recognise it’s great strengths, celebrate it’s great achievements and love it enough to make changes.
In January, I kind of think about loving your body in the same way. There’s a tension between people wanting to appreciate their body, but also wanting to change it. How can you love something, if you want to change it? But you can do both. And more than that, you can love your body for what it can do, even when you aren’t particularly keen on what it looks like. The hard part I guess is separating that out. There is no situation where you should withdraw that love and appreciation from your body. It doesn’t respond to shame and punishment as well as you’d think. But it doesn’t mean you can’t be dedicated to improvement either. There are things I’d like to change and that’s ok. Willingness to improve is willingness to invest even more in what my body can do.
So the next time you think about improving something, remember that’s a sign of love, not rejection.