Running a marathon with a chimp on my back
I’m taking part in a little-known charity road race later this spring. You might not have heard of it – it’s fairly low-key as far as sports events go. Aside from closing down the centre of the UK capital for an entire day and welcoming 38,000 plus runners this year, it’s not really noticeable. I’m of course talking about the London Marathon (or the Virgin Money London Marathon if you want to give it it’s full title) and I’ll be running it for a charity close to my heart, the Friends of Serenity, based in Burnley. You can find out more about my marathon and chosen charity on my Virgin Money donation page – don’t forget to donate if you want to help spur me on! Training for the marathon has been tough. It’s a gruelling process, and I’ve found that more than the physical demands, it’s the mental process of running for such an extended period of time that requires the most amount of training and discipline. Inside my head while I run I can switch from subject to subject rapidly, which can be an extremely beneficial creative experience, or it can be very difficult. For 26 miles, I’m alone in my headspace, without distractions, meetings, emails, notifications or pressing engagements. It’s just me, my brain and the road ahead. In last month’s Insider magazine, an article about the Chimp Paradox spelled this experience out to me. Devised by the consultant psychiatrist Steve Peters, the paradox explains how our minds work in two ways – a logical way and a chimp-like irrational way, based on intuition, learned behaviour and primal expression. Steve has worked with gold medal Olympic athletes, premiership footballers and even world class snooker player Ronnie O’Sullivan, to help each of them grapple with the pressures of expectation and competition. He’s a keen advocate of getting the mind to balance its emotional responses with good decision-making. It’s harder than it sounds. The reason I mention this, is because as I’m running for hours in the dark, it’s possible to experience these very different thought processes like I never would in any other situation. Part of me will be determined to reach a new personal best. Another part of me will have already decided that I won’t make it past the next fence post. Some people describe running as a form of meditation, but I’d say it’s more intense than that. You’re often at odds with yourself and the challenge becomes proving to your ability to yourself. I work in my head, so in that respect I get a lot done, but I find out a lot about myself too. I'll update you next month about how I got on - there's not long to go now until the big day!
100 Years of General Relativity
Albert Einstein’s quietly eccentric genius changed the shape of theoretical physics – and therefore the world – throughout the early half of the 20th Century. 100 years ago in spring 1916, his Theory of General Relativity was published, showing how light is at the centre of the very structure of space and time. General Relativity is the theory that explains all gravitational phenomena we know (like apples falling on Isaac Newton’s head or the orbit of the Earth around the Sun) and it has continued to survive a century of continuous tests to check its validity in the face of more modern theories and discoveries. Its central idea, the fact that space and time can move and bend and be influenced by matter, is still extremely hard to accept, even though the theory is now considered a classic. Still baffled? Here’s a video (10 minutes, get a coffee) that shows just what a huge impact his theory had on the world.
How WWW. just happened
Being in the right place at the right time can be overlooked when we’re planning our weeks and months ahead of time and striving to become the efficient high-achievers we want to be. I’ve recently discovered the Do Lecture series and there’s a wealth of inspirational content on there to make you think about any given subject. Tim Berners-Lee’s lecture stood out for me as it showed how his breakthrough invention – the world wide web – was a product of hard work, dedication and foresight, but also of simply being fortunate. Watch it here: PS. Their newsletters are always worth a read - sign up here: www.thedolectures.com/newsletter1/
Source Url: http://www.themis.ac.uk/simon-jordans-blog-march-2016/