I've picked up running again. Despite my main race goal having to be nixed this year for an unforseen, non-negotiable scheduling conflict, I decided that getting back in shape for my health probably wasn't the worst idea in the world. So I've kept running, gradually climbing back into what I consider "in shape" for myself. This week has been rough. On my last couple of runs this week, I've felt very flat. Just can't get my legs to go. Along with the flatness in my legs, my motivation to keep churning out more mileage has decreased. What's the point of running that extra mile when the previous one felt rougher than it should've?
I took a look back at my lifetime running history and realized something. I never got faster from running only when things were "clicking." There were many workouts where I felt as if I were running with my brakes on. I'd run slow no matter how hard I was trying. However, I kept doing it. I put in the mileage, put up with the crappy days and kept working. Eventually, I would get faster and hit my time goals and my feel-good days would come back around. The rewards of running when I really didn't want to were worth it every time.
The same thing happens at work
There are a lot of days where my brain isn't clicking. I can't complete a sentence in a meeting without tripping over my sentences. It may be a project that I can't seem to focus on or a client problem that I'm trying to solve but keep hitting dead ends.
The easy thing to do, maybe even logical at times, is to step away. Quit working. Count your losses and hope for a restart the next day. Sometimes, when you hit that brick wall, you have to keep pushing through it. The more we avoid those walls or harder times, the more frequent they come. Over time, we lose resilience. We need resilience.
Most innovative breakthroughs didn't come from serendipity alone. They came from hours of hard work and even failing from time to time. Pushing through those tougher times tends to help critical thinking. The base of hard or frustrating work is why we get those creative ideas in the shower - we've been working on solutions for so long that our brain is still processing solutions in the background.
So if you're running or working and nothing seems to be going right - keep pushing. The eventual rewards are worth it.