The Olympics have been underway for three days now. Already there have been several stories of athletes who have been injured. There was the French gymnast who snapped his leg, the British gymnast who landed on her neck, and the Dutch cyclist who flew over the top of her handlebars when rounding a corner.
The Olympics are an amazing display of bodies that have been tested and tried and disciplined and pushed beyond what the average human is willing to endure in the name of physical fitness. But as the aforementioned examples illustrate, this fitness comes at a cost.
Now I love the Olympics. I love the competition and the way people band together to support their favorites. I love to see the camaraderie among athletes on the same team and the rivalries that sometimes surface. However, I don’t love to see people get hurt. I don’t like to see people push themselves so hard and far that they injure themselves, or even others.
The discipline of Olympians has made me consider my own discipline. In two weeks I start my internship and that launches me into the final stretch of grad. school. I can already feel some tension building as I think about my upcoming workload and the discipline I will need to do it.
It’s somewhat scary because I know that I like to push myself with my work, and I know that there is a cost to pushing myself. I will have to give up on fun things and social things and sometimes family things for the sake of getting it done. It is the price I have to pay, the price I agreed to when I started the program.
But as I muse on the pressure I feel, the discipline I will need, and the Olympics, I keep thinking of moderation. It’s been tumbling around in my head for a few days now. Moderation is hard for those who lack self-control (obviously) but it is also hard for those who thrive under pressure. It is hard to walk away from a task when I know that pushing a little more and working a little harder will ensure better results. At times, I confess, it is a cover for self-aggrandizement.
With my internship looming, I am endeavoring to be disciplined to do things in better moderation than I have before. This means doing less for the sake of doing things well (and maintaining my sanity in the process). And this is as good a time as any to die more to self.