“In 2000 the average person’s attention span was 12 seconds. By 2015 it had dropped to 8 seconds. For perspective, a goldfish has an attention span of 9 seconds.” (Experience Life magazine, ‘Tech Fix’ by Mo Perry)


We live in a world where we never have to ‘be bored’, because at our fingertips (read: smartphones) is a google search, an Alexa to answer our questions, or a constantly updating Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook feed. But it seems as we become more enabled to occupy every second with ‘something’, the less we can appreciate the moment. In a time of instant gratification, we are losing sight of the process.

Sport gives us an outlet to shut it all off. Sure, you can do a run with music, or you can use computer simulation for an indoor bike ride – but hopefully you can still appreciate the ability to become fully immersed in the purity of the movement. Maybe this is why I will always enjoy swimming so much; technology will likely never find its way into a swim session. Yes, speedo did come out with earphones that can be worn in the water, but I tried these many years ago and they didn’t work so well. Granted technology has likely compensated by now, but it doesn’t belong in the pool. Appreciate the silence, the meditative movement, and let the activity itself consume you. Disconnect to reconnect.

Where am I going with all this? The process is powerful, and in real time, the process is all we have. We often long for the end goal – whether that be a big race, a major life event, or an exciting trip in the near future. It’s fine to look forward to things; but in doing so, it is easy to lose sight of the moment, appreciate where you are and stay present. When it comes to exercise and training, I wanted to highlight a few things to help you focus more on the process and less on the outcome.

  • You choose to be here. That “dragging yourself out the door” to the gym feeling? Or “the water is so cold” standing at the edge of the pool dread? Embrace it. Every day we make decisions in our lives, and if you have the ability to be active – set goals, enter races, get stronger – you’re fortunate. Not to be doom and gloom, but the longer I live the more I realize life can change in the blink of an eye. It’s made me appreciate many things in life more than I have in the past. When you want to say “I have to do this long ride” stop and think about what you’re saying. There are people in this world who would trade places with you in a heartbeat. Realize, you get to do the ride; you can run the race. You have the ability to challenge yourself and stretch your limits. So take a breath, stop the train of thought; look around you and appreciate the moment.
  • The pain will come to an end. This is a great reminder when you’re in the thralls of a tough session, or simply a rough patch of life. Maybe it’s a day that nothing seems to go right, or a race when your body seems to be hating you; fighting you, you can’t find a rhythm and you’re off your game. The session will end; the race will have a finish line if you endure. Remind yourself when things get exceptionally tough, those are the moments that make the end all worth it. And while some ‘end results’ are better than others, I like to think getting through the unpleasant makes you a better person. When you are pushing through the final minute of a session, remind yourself – stay on the gas. Remain committed to the challenge you’ve set out. While it may not seem it at the time, the pain will end, the finish will come; and you will have added a block to your character.
  • The only way out is through. Remember the Squeegee Hunt? If you recall, “Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go around it. Gotta go through it.” The process is life. It’s the nuts and bolts. It’s the day in, day out what we call “grind” but in reality, if you don’t stop to appreciate it, you’ll look back and in the blink of an eye it’s gone. The only way to achieve something is to put the time in, navigate the ups and downs, learn from them and come out the other side. Remember the turtle and the hare? Slow and steady wins the race. I’ve seen people who want it “now”, and often times those who attain something quickly and seamlessly either fail to appreciate it or fall down as quickly as their rise. Be willing to put your head down, do the work, and take the highs and lows in stride. Realize that while we can control some things in life, there is a lot that is out of our hands. Embrace what you can control, let go of what you cannot. It will make for a lot less stress and a bit more gratitude.

Don’t be ‘too busy’ to appreciate the moment. Be present. Stay engaged to what is important. The process is powerful. Your attitude, mind, and decisions define it.