“…perception is what drives human behavior. We behave based on how we perceive things—not based on how things really “are.”
– Steve Chandler, Time Warrior
1 = 20.
As I was running on the treadmill this morning, it struck me that unless the odometer is broken, one mile always feels like twenty. I’m constantly looking down, watching the accumulated distance increase slowly by 1/100th of a mile, trying desperately not to mix sweat with tears.
When I use the manster (man + hamster) wheel, it’s on my gym days when the treadmill is more convenient to knock off a quick mile run at the end of my weights routine. The other days when I’m just running, I prefer to do so beneath the hazy streetlights of predawn.
It’s during those outdoor excursions that I’m surprised every time my phone tells me I’ve hit one mile.
So what’s the deal? I’m doing the same amount of work here. In fact, I typically run flat at the gym but I hit several inclines along the sidewalk path.
It seems apparent that I’m not working with reality here, but with how I perceive it.
It’s an hour in the dentist’s office vs. an hour of good conversation with friends.
It’s a Monday vs. a Sunday.
It’s abstruse, polysyllabic, figure-of-speech comparisons of one thing to another vs. pithy similes.
I’m not claiming this to be some brilliant insight, but I find it helpful to remind myself that in the end, I have some level of control over how I process these inputs. Sometimes it’s easy to change your perception, but I would say that most of the time, it’s very difficult and requires work.
When I sit down to write, it’s usually after several minutes of hand-wringing and yelling at myself to just get started (only in my head — don’t need another concerned-neighbors-calling-the-cops incident).
The writing always starts slowly. A word here. A deletion there. A peek at my watch.
“It’s only been a minute!?”
But then I remind myself to just keep putting down words and at some indeterminable point in time, I catch something — A glimmer of a thought. What might be tracks, but I need to follow them to be certain.
Before I know it, my 25-minute timer beeps loudly (Pomodoro technique is brilliant). I quickly shut it up and continue my train of thought before I take a break.
Again, the world’s not spinning faster and physics hasn’t been turned on its head.
My advice for you today: Get off the manster wheel and hit the trails.