The 365 Commitment

Day 168 – Naming the Beast – A Key Technique for Overcoming an Obstacle

Embarking on the journey to overcome obstacles in life can be daunting, but there are tactics that offer a beacon of hope amidst the challenges. One such strategy, which I frequently employ to confront and overcome my personal hurdles, is what I like to call “naming the beast.”

Let me share an example from when I first started running a few years ago. I committed to running every day for a year. Initially, my runs were incredibly short—only as far as the mailbox and back. However, as weeks passed, I saw improvement, gradually increasing my distance to a quarter mile, then a half-mile. My ultimate goal was to run a full mile, a feat that seemed impossible given my condition at the time. So, one day, I decided to map out a potential 10-mile course on my bike, equipped with my watch for measurement. When I reached the 1-mile marker, it was right by a rain drain similar to the one Pennywise, the clown from Stephen King’s “IT,” lurked in.

Conquering Pennywise

I began referring to this spot as “Pennywise.” With each run, I motivated myself with the thought, “Today, I am going to take out Pennywise.” Eventually, I achieved my goal, overcoming the “impossible” challenge. This victory spurred me on to face even greater adversaries, like “Chevron the Dragon” at Mile 5. Now, with several long-distance races under my belt, Pennywise no longer poses a threat. Sometimes, I even dance atop the rain drain, taunting Pennywise’s feeble nature.

The Power of Naming

This method of self-motivation and inspiration has been pivotal in tackling obstacles I once deemed insurmountable. Naming these challenges makes them tangible and finite, allowing me to focus on their real aspects rather than the imagined ones. This approach provides a focal point, turning vague threats into concrete challenges that can be dissected and overcome.

The concept of naming as a form of power resonated with me deeply after reading a fantasy novel, “Name of the Wind.” The narrative emphasizes the power inherent in truly knowing and naming something. Inspired by this, I began to assign creative names to the difficulties in my life, empowering me to confront and conquer them.

Naming Your Challenges

When you hear me talk about “Wrestling with the Russian Bear” or “Skinning the Wild Bobcat,” I’m referring to actual challenges in my life that I’ve managed to overcome. Such expressions are my way of celebrating victories over significant obstacles. I encourage everyone to try naming the beasts in their lives. You’ll be amazed at how much less intimidating problems become when you give them a name and, consequently, a definable essence.

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