This past weekend, the family and I took a trip down to Philadelphia to meet up with my best friend and his family. It was a great opportunity to catch up and for our kids to spend some time together. I’m also training for a ten mile race in a few weeks and needed to do a six mile run. Luckily our hotel was almost exactly three miles from the “Rocky Steps”, one of my favorite running destinations. It was a perfect scenario for me to enjoy myself and get in work that needed to be done.
The problem arose at 6:30 am on Saturday morning. I woke up ready to run and realized that I had forgotten my running pants and shorts at home. I had two choices: go back to bed or wear my Iron Man pajama pants on the six mile run. I chose the latter. They were warm enough and have pockets to carry my iPhone. The only negative was my appearance.
Far too often our appearance to others dictates our behaviors. I am not saying that appearances do not matter at all. However there is a calculation that needs to be done to decide when it should matter. In this situation, my long term goal of the ten mile run was far more important than the short term appearance. Did I feel foolish? Not for one second! I knew what I was doing and why I was doing it. The opinions of strangers that passed by did not matter because they are judging me on only one metric. I must judge myself on many others.
Defining ourselves completely by the opinions of others is a losing game. The odds of pleasing others 100% of the time are so minuscule that is bound to lead to disappointment. Define yourself in your own terms and decide when the opinions of others matter or not.