“If you can’t outrun, learn to fly or swim as appropriate.”

A LinkedIn connection posted, “What’s your mantra?” about a day ago. I love mantras. They’re a stake in the ground, an instrument of thought.

The etymology of the word is most helpful:

The Sanskrit word mantra- (m.; also n. mantram) consists of the root man- “to think” (also in manas “mind”) and the suffix -tra, designating tools or instruments, hence a literal translation would be “instrument of thought”. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mantra)

My mantra, “If you can’t outrun, learn to fly or swim as appropriate” is grounded in context – both looking from the inside of the glass out and looking from the outside in.

From the inside out:

I went to high school in a small town. My graduating class was 123 students. I was involved in just about EVERYTHING including a very intense varsity volleyball program. That program, during my time as a high school student, won three [out of four] state championships. Not because we were better skilled than our competitors, but because we would outrun them – every single time. Sure, we trained and learned ironclad volleyball skills. But, at the end of the day we were better conditioned for the long-haul. We did really well at long volleys. We also practiced in pre-season against the big teams – huge 5A and 4A schools where the players specialized in one sport, year round. We were simply the best because we were conditioned to outrun our competition. And, it worked. “If you can’t outrun…” speaks to being the best you can be in your sport – training, ‘paining’, and finding that edge – from the inside out.

From the outside in:

I’m a planner and we tend to look at things in context. With this mindset, my mantra is about taking surroundings into consideration. In business like competitive sport training, there are other ways to reach a goal. Look around! What’s everyone else doing? Are they running at all? Are they only running? What other opportunities exist to reach that team end goal? That’s where it gets creatively strategic and fun! If we understand (1) that there are other ways to reach a team goal, then (2) we open up our bucket of possibilities to reach that goal. “… learn to fly or swim as appropriate” speaks to being the best you can be in context, and having a wide perspective on reaching the goal in mind.