Why Bother To Build Stamina?

Why Bother To Build Stamina?

Whether competing in an athletic event, beginning and finishing a project, sticking with a commitment to a relationship or maintaining long-term goals for personal improvement, we need staying power. Quitters never finish. Instead, they become envious bystanders wishing for the inner strength they see in others and at the same time, lack in themselves. 

Stamina is Built, Not Inherited 

Anyone can build stamina and you don’t have to join a gym to do it. Stamina, whether mental or physical, is constructed bit by bit over the course of our lifetime. No one is born with heartiness. Nor is it instantaneous. Instead, we develop a fortitude for life as we set big and little goals and then move in steady motion toward them. Every time we encounter an unexpected obstacle and refuse to quit, we build more resistance to setbacks. The inevitable bumps, temporary inconveniences, and stressors that strain our endurance actually become the needed training that strengthens our courage. 

During my years as a triathlon participant, I kept a rigorous training regiment—running, swimming and biking. Unbeknown to me, I would need this mental and physical grit while taking a family camping vacation on Lake Powell. 

Every morning I took a walk from our houseboat out into the surrounding desert to watch the sunrise, being careful to watch where I was going so I could find my way back. That year, the water level was unusually lower than normal and created deep canyons that concealed even the largest of houseboats. One morning, when I retraced my footprints, I could not find the boat. Even though I retraced my path more than once and peered over the edges of cliffs, I still could not put my eye on our boat. 

At first I panicked, then I calmed down and opened the day pack I always carried. I had a full bottle of water, a ball cap, and a granola bar. Because of my rigorous training for a triathlon, I was at my physical peak and with the resolve of a competitor, I told myself that I had what it took to find my way back to the boat. After six hours of trekking through the desert to the other side of the lake, I climbed back down to the water, the boat, and my family. 

We never know what awaits us along this journey we call life, but we can expect the unexpected will happen. When circumstances seem to thwart our passageway, we can assess our resources, refuse to panic and choose a different route around the obstacle. To live and finish well, life requires us to stick-to-it no matter what. 

Why bother to build stamina? It is worth it to build endurance so that whatever we start we will have what it takes to also finish.

Why Bother With True Grit?

Why Bother With True Grit?

I admire the character Mattie, in the book and the movie, True Grit. When her father is murdered, she sets out to avenge his death. First she hires a gunman, Rooster Cogburn. Then, a Texan Ranger, LaBoeuf, also offers his services in the hunt for Chaney, the murder. Cogburn and LaBoeuf do not expect Mattie, who is only fourteen, to go along with them as they head out on their horses, but she will not be left behind. Although Mattie has no idea of the dangers awaiting her on this journey, she mounts her horse with more grit than either Cogburn or LaBoeuf. 

Tenacious Commitment

The story takes place in 1870, when women were generally recognized as more tender than tough, and whose role mainly involved running a house on a homestead, not using a gun to revenge a murder. But Mattie was determined to do what she believed she needed to do, in spite of the opinions of others. Mattie’s greatest virtue was her grit, or the resolution of follow through. She butted up against attitudes of patronizing men, the raw hatred of outlaws and near death experiences. Yet, she did not back down. By the time her journey ended, Chaney was dead and she was still alive. 

Though I have never needed to avenge anyone’s death and women are no longer viewed within the narrow confines of the 1800s, grit is still a necessary virtue in anyone’s life. People still make commitments and our pledges, either to ourselves or to another, will be tested. If we do not believe in what we are doing, or if we do not trust our decision, we will not have the staunchness it takes to complete what we have begun. Self doubt is worse than the meanest gunslinger. 

 Mattie’s success did not depend entirely on her talents. She could not shoot straight, and riding a horse did not come naturally. The only thing she had going for her was her passion for the mission. She knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was her job, and no one else’s, to avenge her father’s death. Knowing this truth about herself, gave her the dauntlessness she needed for her success. Understanding what she had to do gave her focused confidence and supplied the fearlessness she needed to keep going even when circumstances loomed against her. In her quest, Mattie faced the naysayers; outlaws and condescending men. She also stared down the dangers found in nature. And she won.

Why bother with true grit? It is worth finding our true grit so that we can face our naysayers, whoever they might be and move out on our journey with resolve like Mattie’s.