It’s been a really interesting few weeks since I began my training for the Wadi Rum Ultra, a 5 day multi-stage ultra marathon in the desert in Jordan. The aim is to run 260km/161 miles, the equivalent of 6 marathons in 5 days.
As soon as I mention the race I receive overwhelming negativity and it has actually been really suprising (so much so it’s got it’s own blog post).
As soon as I mention the run, they immediately say I could never do that, that’s way too hard, why on earth would you want to do that? And it’s not just the words they say but the way they say it. Immediately they’re closed off, say it’s too hard, too expensive, they don’t have time, but the thing is I never suggest they should do it. I merely get to the start of explaining what it is and the pessimistic approach begins. I don’t mind, I know it’s a huge challenge and I know it will be hard and I know it’s going to take up a lot of time training. The problem is I find it really sad.
The response to the ultra marathon is not anything new, people are just as negative about all of my adventures. When I said I was going to attempt to cycle from London to Paris in 24 hours earlier this year the response was the same. Generally people have very limiting beliefs. They stop themselves before they’ve even started and talk themselves out of things with a whole host of excuses.
The key thing here is to make sure you don’t let them talk you out of your dreams. Here’s how I’ve been handling the negativity:
Thank people for their support - most people are trying to be helpful, they don’t mean to highlight your fears and concerns, thank them for their support.
Give due consideration to the comments - even though the criticism might not be well delivered it might contain something that you haven’t thought of before. Take each opportunity to discuss a challenge with someone new as an opportunity to work through the potential limitations of what’s ahead.
Use it to strengthen your resolve - there will always be negativity, not everyone is going to love your idea but when the criticism comes it’s a chance to remember why you’re doing it in the first place.
Don’t let other people’s view of what you should be doing stop you. Use it as an opportunity to boost your challenge or adventure and tackle part of the planning phase in a different light.
I’d love to hear the ways you handle negativity from others.