Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Right Stuff

I'm what you might call a creature of habit. I tend to be comforted by routine and I enjoy things that are familiar to me. I have my favorite restaurants, my favorite TV shows and my favorite clothes.

Up until quite recently, I always wore the same kind of clothing when I was exercising. Whether I was hiking, running, lifting weights or walking on my treadmill, I had sweat shorts, exercise bras, T-shirts and Sweatshirts that were all cotton based. Anyone who exercises a lot can tell you that cotton gets sweaty and stays that way for a really long time. You get very hot exercising, sweat and then as you cool down you become chilled from the damp clothes on your body.

There is an entire world of active wear out there that I knew nothing about. Evidently there are all kinds of fancy new fibers and materials that wick sweat away from the skin and keep you more comfortable. It's really quite remarkable. You are kept cooler when you are hot, and you are kept warm when you are cold.

I think its interesting that for so many years I continued to buy the same cotton sweat shorts and other exercise clothes without even giving a thought to the fact that there might be something better out there that could make my activities more comfortable and enjoyable. I simply kept doing what I had always done. It wasn't horrible, but little did I know there was an entirely new world out there.

How often in life do we make our situations more difficult by using the wrong tools and supplies, or not taking advantage of opportunities to accomplish our tasks more efficiently or enjoyably?

I'm reminded of the story of a man who was hired to paint the dotted line down the center of a country highway. His boss gave him the can of paint and his paintbrush and left him to his work. The boss returned mid morning to check on the painter's progress and was pleased with the distance he had covered. He returned at lunch time, and was a bit dismayed to see that the man had done only 1/2 as much during the second half of the morning, but decided to give the painter the benefit of the doubt. When the boss returned to check on the painter in the mid-afternoon, he was really upset to find that the man had done only 1/4 of what he had done in the early part of the morning. He went to talk to the painter and said, "I"m really concerned that you are slowing down more and more as the day goes on." The painter said, "Well, look, that's not my fault. The further I go, the longer it takes me to go back to the paint can to refill my brush!"

This seems like a pretty obvious example, but how often to we dot things that are as silly as not moving the paint can along with us when we are painting? I'd say it probably happens more often than any of us would care to admit. The good news is, when we become aware, we have huge shifts that make our lives better... instantly!

I started moving my paint can! I now have exercise clothes that make it more comfortable for me to do my activities and stay fit and healthy. I feel better, and as a result I enjoy my physical activities even more and I do more of them. All because of a new pair of shorts!!

Where's your paint can? Any chance you can move it closer to where you are working today? It could make all the difference!

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