Friday, March 27, 2015

Where Seldom is Heard a Discouraging Word

While I was out walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail this morning, a woman ran past me at a pretty good clip. We were both close to our respective turn around points. Her point was at a road crossing about 30 yards beyond the half mile marker that was my turn around point. I made a little joke about the seemingly small difference between the two locations. As she was walking backwards during this segment of her routine, we had the opportunity to chat a bit. I learned that she was running seven miles that morning. She learned that I was walking 4.25 miles. I also learned that she is a marathon runner. She has even competed in ultra-marathons. I expressed my amazement and admiration that anyone could run 26 miles and 385 yards without stopping. She praised my determination for walking in the rain, observing there were not many of us out on the trail. Having finished with her backward walking cool down, she turned on the afterburners and disappeared into the mist.

Reflecting on this exchange, I realized it was pretty common. Whenever I have the opportunity to talk to another walker or runner out on the trail, we are always supportive, encouraging and positive. Usually, I am the one receiving the encouragement from a more accomplished athlete, but sometimes I am cheering on someone recovering from surgery or just starting an exercise program.

Before I retired, while learning and practicing the art of investing, I would interact with coworkers who were walking the same path. We were always supportive, encouraging, and positive, even when the market was falling. We shared resources, newsletters, books, and resources on the Web.

I think that is generally true when people are working toward similar goals. We know that swimming against the current is hard work. Most of us would agree with Robert Collier who observed that those, “of us who are swimming against the tides of trouble the world knows nothing about, need only a bit of praise or encouragement,” in order to achieve our goal.

I don’t know about you, but as the song says, I want to make my home in a place where seldom is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.

Even when it is raining.

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