Other people’s rules/need to know

I’m not someone who takes another’s word for things. Of course I do sometimes, but overall, I’m prone to question and inclined to make my decisions based on what makes sense to and for me. Sometimes that’s a fine thing, other times it can be a real nuisance.

In general, “because I said so” does not work well for me. Educating me about why a given course of action might be important can be effective. If it makes sense, I’m likely to do it. If not, even if I understand your logic, I may not. This goes back a long way, as I discovered when a cache of old report cards was unearthed in my parents house. There it was on my third grade report card: “If Stephanie is interested in something, she’s among the best in the class, and if she’s not, she doesn’t do it”. So busted.

This is pertinent now as I go through my triathlon training process. As I noted at the beginning of my training in my post, Tri This On , I do have a plan for training in terms of what event I do and how often, and a plan to reevaluate periodically. My challenge arises as I look at websites, for example when looking into local competitions, and run into a section for beginners. In many ways, this is welcome as its nice to have company and to be invited into a group.  However, I become reactive as I look at some of the recommendations: try this training plan, join this group, get this coach. Frequently, I’m advised to buy this book: The Triathlete’s Training Bible. Now, I have little doubt that this is a valuable book and I fully anticipate that one of these days I will get myself a copy, read it and find it a good resource. I may even regret that I waited so long to get to it. Meanwhile, I’m reacting away.

What’s this all about? Some of it is my nature, as I prefer to explore and learn for myself, and then receive help as my questions arise, when I identify a need to know. I also recognize that the word bible is a trigger, with its implications of authority. True or not,  suggesting that there is only one way to do something is very difficult for me. My curious and independent nature has a hard time with closed options “this way only”. I am much more inclined to bring an inquisitive mind to an issue and try to look at things from a variety of perspectives. My challenge here is to find a balance, not unnecessarily “reinventing the wheel” and at the same time, allowing plenty of room for curiosity, exploration and experimentation.

So here’s my conundrum: How do I, with my values of openness, flexibility, curiosity, and exploration, keep that approach even when triggered by someone else’s directives (or my imaginings about said directives)? Will I encourage and support myself to remain curious about another’s approach or information even as I don’t like their style? And at the same time, will I continue to trust myself to make the choices that seem to be right for me, even as others might approach things differently? Balance again arises, honoring my nature and at the same time, not over-indulging it. Its becoming clear that it is far more than my body that is being trained with this adventure. It might even be time to buy that book.

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