Beat the Status Quo

I was out running this morning. While I ran I was listening to a podcast in which Dr. Paul interviewed Jarom Thurston. It was an excellent podcast about how has made the choice to do what he though was impossible and run a 135 mile race.

Jarom Thurston running Badwater

As running usually does, it got me thinking about things. That is one of the wonderful benefits of exercising my body. It usually wakes up not only my body but also my mind and my spirit. I think more clearly and am more in tune with the universe.

Anyway, I got to thinking about barriers (aka walls, obstacles, challenges, hard times in life). Barriers are not put in our life for us to stop at. Instead, barriers are but mile markers. They are hurdles to go over under around or through. The were put in our life to challenge us and to make us better. We become better when we give up the comfort of the status quo.

I had the thought that entropy is not actually caotic. Entropy is a system that was put into place on purpose to take any object (or person) that is not meeting or exceeding the status quo reduce that object to elements so that those elements can be used by other objects that ARE meeting and exceeding the status quo and therefore need the extra elements.

Remember the Parable of the Talents? Two of the servants took what they were given added some work and increased their talents. They beat the status quo. The last servant was lazy and hid his talent. He probably thought it would be “easier” to just save the talent for when the master came back. What happened to the talent in the end? The Lord (who implemented entropy) took that talent away from the lazy servant and gave it to the servant that did the most work.

We did not come here to Earth and were not given these bodies so that we could watch them get old and die. We came here to grow strong and live.

When you stop using your muscles, they atrophy. When you stop cleaning the house, it becomes a garbage dump. When you stop working, you stop getting money. When you stop putting gas in your car, it eventually stops running. Weakness that only gets weaker. Laziness only gets more lazy. What is the common theme in all of this? A lack of energy. When we stop putting our energy into something, it stops working.

It is thought that pain and discomfort are bad. The words “pain” and “discomfort” both have a negative connotation. It is natural for us to stop doing what hurts or to take pain killers to take away discomfort. WARNING!! Pain and discomfort are GOOD things. Pain and discomfort are indicators that are meant to be heeded.

In the context of exercising, pain and discomfort indicate that you have reached your limit, the edge of your normal capabilities, your status quo. We know for a fact that going past that point is when your muscles start to grow and your abilities increase. It hurts to do it and is very uncomfortable. Yet the results are amazingly rewarding.

We did not find out that the world was round by sticking with the status quo. We did not get to the moon by sitting around waiting for it to happen. Olympic athletes to know win races by doing minimal exercises each day. Effort and energy are required to beat the status quo.

Pain and Discomfort are indicators of success. They tell us we are doing great and are on the right path. If we recognize Pain and Discomfort as cheerleaders, or loyal fans, or avid supporters we can wave to them as we run past them and use their noises as cheers to push us onward.

Super heros are ordinary people who have learned to see pain and discomfort and use them and jumping blocks. If you find that you have hit a “wall” in your life, push yourself past it and you will feel the amazing sensations of living and of growth and success.

If you are looking forward to retirement, old age, and death. Have fun, because is what the universe and entropy will bring you. I choose to live! The more I age, the younger I get. The more energy I put into life, the more alive I am. I will never retire. I will never surrender my life. If God decides that I have fulfilled my purpose here on Earth and decides to take me home, I will leave happy and active. Leaping over the pains and discomforts of life.

CHALLENGE: The next time you feel that life is hard, uncomfortable, or even painful to you, take a moment to recognize that you have just reached a milestone and that to continue will take energy but that is will be worth it. Then push past the pain and look forward to the amazing growth and goodness that awaits you as you reach new heights.

Thank you to David Hinton for the concept in speed reading of reading as fast as you can so you can meet the status quo and then push past it as much as possible before the time runs out. Thanks also to Jarom Thurston for sharing his experiences with doing the impossible.

9 thoughts on “Beat the Status Quo”

  1. I had to think about this one for a while. Because I treat people with pain and discomfort. I thought, cancer pain doesn’t mean you are on the right track. Cancer is an obstacle that can make you stronger though if overcome. With further thought I found. The best way to get rid of those symptoms is to overcome them. If you do, you gain power over them and they can not hurt you again. I don’t try to eliminate pain for my patients because I know it is just a symptom, I try to improve function and in so doing they overcome the pain.
    So, what about the discomfort of sin. Well there really is none, until you recognize that you are doing something sinful, but that is a step of repentance. Thus the discomfort.

  2. Very true! This concept “of pushing thru pain” is understood only by the “few” So many avoid what will bring pain, challenge or conflict into their lives. It is when we are most challenged, most overcome with grief or pain that we grow. It is when we look deep down inside; at that very moment is when we begin to grow.

    As said of our Savior, “we too have our own Gethsemane’s.” Many act only when they have sure knowledge. The true test of growth comes only when we “act’ in “faith.” Faith God will provide. Faith that tomorrow will be better. Faith that this conflict will be resolved. Faith that healing will come. Faith that acknowledging our shortcomings begins healing. Faith that no matter what trial comes, we too will overcome.

    If any one of us were to point to ‘transforming” times in our lives – most will likely remember those times that challenged us the most – and we were able to overcome! The true test of growth – is to “act’ in “faith” knowing that we have the ability to face any challenge. We have the ability to “overcome” any obstacle or fear. God has and never will give us more than we are capable of handling. It is with this sure knowledge we can face our fears and “press forward in faith!”

    I think of the comment made many times by our dear passed Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, “it will be alright – everything will work out.” This wisdom comes from a a lifetime of “knowing” and “acting in faith.” We can all take comfort in this wisdom, in a life of one who truly faced challenges squarely in the face and who knew that in the end life’s greatest journeys come from facing fears head-on by “acting in faith.”

  3. I also have to bring up the point that pain is not always an indicator of doing things right, but it can be. The old adage “No pain no gain” has merit, but we should be aware that it is the right kind of pain.

    Two examples:

    1. If I start doing push-ups or lifting weights and go far beyond my limit and perform the exercise incorrectly I could end up damaging a muscle or ligament to the point that I can no longer exercise until my body heals during which time my muscles would not grow and I may be worse off than before I started exercising.

    2. In the military training camps recruits are often pushed well beyond their preconcieved limits so that a young man who came in thinking, “I can pump out a good 45 push-ups easy, but I hit a wall when I get to 60,” may do many more than 60 push-ups on his first or second try with someone there to motivate him past the pain.

    I agree with your conclusion that we need to keep putting energy into life in order to grow and even if we just want to maintain our status quo. And I appreciate the connection to the parable of the talents. We will definitely lose what we don’t actively persue. So your thought works for what you intended, however we must always be aware of the kind of pain we are trying to push past.

    Is it merely the pain or discomfort of progression (if yes, then continue) or is it the pain (like sin, or the injured muscles of the first example) reminding us that we need to change our ways and make sure that we are doing the exercise right. If the pain is the latter, it is still there to help us learn, but instead of pushing through it we need to alter our approach.

  4. I love your thoughts on this, let alone that you were inspired by my amazing brother. 🙂 I liked your thoughts on the parable of the talents and pain and discomfort. That is one reason why this nation is struggling so much with substance abuse. No one wants to feel pain and discomfort anymore, they just look for ways to numb it, but it is part of life. Remember… opposition in all things.

  5. Hi Jonathan,

    Wow…awesome blog post. I loved the title too! I’m glad you enjoyed the podcast of my interview. I like the following paragraph you wrote…it is SOOOOO TRUE:

    When you stop using your muscles, they atrophy. When you stop cleaning the house, it becomes a garbage dump. When you stop working, you stop getting money. When you stop putting gas in your car, it eventually stops running. Weakness that only gets weaker. Laziness only gets more lazy. What is the common theme in all of this? A lack of energy. When we stop putting our energy into something, it stops working.

    Thanks man, JT

  6. Hey! Thanks for your thoughts on this. I really appreciated it because that perspective helped me with stuff we are directly dealing with. How inspiring! Ever thought of running a half marathon?

  7. Thanks everyone for such great comments. I appreciate the feedback.

    Christopher and Derrick, your points about pain that can indicate or foretell damage are things that I considered but chose not to address. I am glad you mentioned them.

    Trishelle, I am glad my post was helpful to you. Most recently I have considered a 5k, but at other times I have considered a marathon or perhaps a half marathon. If Tanner can do it, I know I can. =) Jarom’s experiences only help inspire me more.

  8. I do think there are some things in life that are painful and will help us grow if we can face the problem and solve it, but the solution isn’t always to persist along the same path. In fact, sometimes staying on the wrong track with its associated pain is just a means to avoid the pain we anticipate we’ll have to go through to make things right again. So maybe it is still a matter of being able to work through the pain, if the pain is constructive.

    I am sure this is what it means to exercise faith. I can sit here thinking, “Well, if I exercise every day, I believe I’ll be healthier” — but unless I faithfully follow through, I will never gain the benefits of exercise, nor the knowledge that it really does work. And I had to realize the other week that sitting here thinking something would be good for me while consistently failing to do it does not make me faithful. It makes me wishful. 😉

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