I was reminded this morning of the fragile nature of our lives. Consider that as you age, you will likely lose many of the gifts of youth that you possess now. One day you won't be able to run, you won't be able to start up a bold new business, or compete in a triathlon. Each moment is only available to us for an instant, and then it's gone just as soon as it arrived. In any case if we have the ability to push forward, we should capitalize on it and expend our energy. There is a strategy of waiting until the the right moment, to push forward with all our might at a time of our choosing, and I wrote briefly about it here. An alternative option is to just keep on pushing, all the time, until we're exhausted. Our vitality is a renewable resource, and to increase our endurance or breakthrough challenges we have to keep pushing.
It's a natural instinct to want to slow down when our body is pushed. There is a threshold that once surpassed allows us to tap into great reserves of vital energy. I have yet to push past my resistance to jogging, even after only five or six minutes moving my breathing becomes erratic and I give in to my desire to rest. This however doesn't stop me from trying at least a once per week. On the contrary, I love sprinting for short periods, and am even more enamored with the peace and energy flow in very long walks (10-22miles). We do battle with our own stubbornness when we push past comfort zones. But it is only in this unknown region where we can discover our true nature and limits.
The concept applies to much more than running and exercise. If you're having difficulty grasping a new language, or a challenging concept, immerse yourself in the effort. Push yourself as hard as you can, for as long as you are able. Set aside an extra two hours each day to research information, review topics for a talk, or familiarize yourself with a novel approach to a complex problem. Interested in being a stronger writer? Go beyond reading your favorite authors heavily, compose your own draft and rewrite it again and again each day until you're satisfied.
What else are we saving our vital energy for? Not using our gifts, is the fastest way for us to lose them.