Many years ago I was called up in front of a group of my peers to be used in a demonstration. The MC said he chose me because I appeared “athletic.” I stood with about 15 individuals in the front of the room of about 500 people. We were instructed to plug our nose and hold our breath for as long as we could until there were only 3 people left standing. I didn’t consider myself much on holding my breath, but I did as instructed. As the a minute passed, people started to fall out of line as they let go of their nose. I looked down the line of people and remember thinking, “all I have to do is last as long as two others.” As people eliminated themselves we approached 70 seconds and there were three of us left. So, I thought the task was complete and I survived. Much to my surprise, that was only the first part of the demonstration.
The three of us stood proud as the second part was explained to us. Now, we were to hold our breath again, and we would get paid $5 a second for every second we held our breath past the 70 seconds. The only one that would get paid is the last one standing. Oh my. I could feel my competitive spirit kick in and my focus shift. This game had just turned into a personal challenge and I could feel something stir inside of me. There was no way I was going to let my nose go first.
So the second part got under way as the clock ticked past 70 seconds. Another full 70 seconds went by and I saw the guy next to me sway and drop to the floor. I could feel my head starting to spin and was getting a bit dizzy, but held my nose tight. I remember thinking, “they are going to need to take me to the hospital because I feel like I am going to pass out.” The gal next to me looked at me, and I looked at her – I must have had the eye of the tiger because after that she pulled her hand from her nose. Now, just to be sure – in my haze, I held my free hand in the air and counted to five before letting my nose go. 100 seconds past the point I thought was my limit. I remember the number because I received $500 for my efforts. I was sicker than a dog for the rest of the day with a headache, but it was worth it!
This experience taught me so much. Our mind sets limits, but we are capable of mentally and emotionally breaking through them.
We can physically do things we did not think possible.
Navy seals know this to be true in their final test. Most of them do not make it. The ones that do, figured out a way to mentally break through their physical barriers.
I experienced this phenomenon again in May 2013 when I ran a marathon. 26.6 miles was never something I desired to do. Running a marathon was not really on my bucket list, but when a friend mentioned it would be for charity (LLS) ~ I found myself stepping outside of my body and saying YES. In training I suffered a bad IT Band – and at mile 7 thought I was out of the race…but something happened inside of me ~ the short video clip explains it all. They wanted to interview the one that came in last place and see how she felt being last.
Her attitude? “I finished what I started!” – satisfied and accomplished, that is how I feel.