Bold endeavors involve degrees of uncertainty. Athletic competitions are on my list. Viewing in-race photos afterward is always surreal. I know how the event turned out and yet at the moment of the picture (unless it is at the finish line) there is often uncertainty swirling in my mind. Uncertain thoughts include:
- Can I sustain this pace?
- Have I taken enough feeds at the aid station to avoid ‘bonking’?
- How can I overcome ______ (mechanical issue) and still finish?
- I should have worn a different layer.
- Will I make it?
- Am I still on-course?
The more ambitious the challenge, the deeper the uncertainty dip or, the longer it endures. Formidable quests are similar to swimming in breaking waves. The deepest troughs offer no visibility of the horizon and the anxiety of an approaching swell. The highest crests provide the sensation of weightlessness and a crow’s nest scan of the surrounding landscape but the reality that we will recede into the next trough. The constant ebb and flow create a dynamic environment. If we become complacent, the waves will wash us ashore or drag us out-to-sea.
The signature moments for many individuals is when we overcome the moments of uncertainty. When we sign-up for a heroic journey and intently venture into the uncertain world, only to return with a new perspective about the world we inhabit and ourselves, we have achieved the remarkable.