Sunday, June 04, 2006

Curious about Push and Pushing - When, Why and How Much?

“You can make it if you try, push a little harder, think a little deeper.” - Sly Stone

“I push myself very hard, and I always think I should do better.” - P. J. Harvey

I can really relate to the above quotations - how about you? And, I am beginning to feel a bit like screaming if one more person tells me, “Don’t push yourself.” I know they mean well. I also know that I can be stubborn about doing things “my way.” But, I also know that we - and I - accomplish much more when we push ourselves.

As some of you know already, I fell the beginning of the year, fractured my hip, had surgery and am in the process now of working on getting back to normal. Physically, “normal” for me is teaching between eight and eleven fitness classes a week. Right now, I am teaching only two and will be adding a high impact one this week and three more the following week - at least, that is my plan.

So, yes, I have been pushing myself.

I decided to expand on this theme while working out on one of the stationary bikes at the gym. I am not a “machine” person - I really enjoy and push hard in a group fitness class. However, I know that I need the machines right now. When I set the timer on the bike, I figured it according to past experience and then added extra minutes. I knew that if it was too much I could always stop it. When I reached the old time I felt like stopping, but knew that if I pushed I could complete those extra minutes. Which I did! Hooray! It not only made me feel good, I even enjoyed it.

I have found that most people don’t like to be pushed by others, for example, in a fitness class, a sales situation or a work related situation. In addition, there are many who don’t and/or won’t push themselves to take the actions that would change their lives even when they know what those success-generating actions are.

So, how do you feel about push and pushing? I decided to find out what the experts say.

Positive quotations about “pushing”:
  • Happiness comes only when we push our brains and hearts to the farthest reaches of which we are capable.” - Leo Rosten
  • Push on, keep moving.” - Thomas Morton (1564-1659)
  • You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life.” - Daisaku Ikeda
  • Whatever I engage in, I must push inordinately.” - Andrew Carnegie
  • Nobody ever told me that I'm in charge of what kind of player I can become, but there's no limit to what I can do if I really choose to push myself.” Brandi Chastain

The other side of “pushing”:

  • You just don't want to push people into doing things that they really don't want to do. I don't think it's going to produce much.” - William Scott
  • If I am pushed I will push back, that is the way I am. I am very British. We don't like to be pushed around. When the chips are down we might have to step into grey areas.” - Damon Hill
  • Pull the string, and it will follow wherever you wish. Push it, and it will go nowhere at all.” - Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Don't push the river; it flows by itself.” - Barry Stevens
  • By pushing or forcing something upon people, you tend to push people further away.” - Christopher Atkins

When pushing or being pushed works:

  • My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.” - Michael Jordan
  • We don't want to push our ideas on to customers, we simply want to make what they want.” - Laura Ashley
  • I want to push people to the edge. I want to elicit a reaction. Have I ever crossed a line? Am I a rabble-rouser? Maybe.” - Neil Cavuto
  • Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough.” - Richard M. DeVos

And, just a couple more quotations for you to consider and think about during this coming week:

  • I love it: The push and pull, the constant renegotiating of morals, ethics, what to do, how to live... All of us stuck here together trying to sort it all out. It's fun. It can be, anyway.” - Casey Affleck
  • Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops.” - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Are you pushing yourself? I know I am pushing myself, and I am glad!