tiger-knee-injury.jpgA friend of mine was a college athlete. At times his levels of exertion and exhaustion were so great he could be in intense physical pain. At times the pain was so great he thought he might not be able to go on.

He shared his coping technique with me. It is uncomplicated and quite effective. He would ask himself if he could “handle it for now.”

The answer always seemed to be yes. It was bearable for the moment. Moment by moment, he could deal with it. It was the future, stretching out seemingly indefinitely before him, that was the most frightening. He made a pact with himself: If pain became unbearable, he gave himself permission to quit. In return, as long as it was bearable in the moment, he would continue on, moment by moment.

“Can I Handle It For Now?” is a version of taking life “One Day at a Time” or “Inch by Inch, Life is a Cinch.” Breaking challenges into manageable chunks makes them much less intimidating. Giving yourself permission to be human takes a lot of the pressure off and often increases performance. Though some pressure may be motivating, too much can lead to the frozen “dear in the headlights” syndrome.

Closing quotes:

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself but to your own estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body.” — Marcus Aurelius