From sport to self confidence

If you know me personally you probably will not agree when someone will tell you, I was shy, very shy. Yep, it’s true. Few years ago I was a young man, introverted and shy. To be clear: I was and I am still an introvert: it is a part of our nature, we can align some things, but personality type is not the same as character. During our life, our decisions, we can change our character, but not personality. I still do not like crowds, a lot of noise, loud parties, but there is one big difference between me now and me a few years ago: I believe in myself, I trust myself. Because of that, other people see me differently and can not believe I was shy. 

Again, if you know me, you know I like sports and I do a few workouts every week. Have pretty interesting habit for almost two months: I run a half-marathon every weekend. It used to be different a few years ago. I really… hated sports. It is true, really. Hard to say, what was the reason for that, but maybe bad experiences from school time? I remember the most popular activity was football and I was never interested in football… or basketball, or volleyball. First, I was not good at any manual things that require precision. Second, I did not feel good in teams in school: with a lot of people playing for themselves, not for the team – they could always complain about others, but they did not motivate others. Because of that and a few other aspects, I was shy and I did not like sports. In effect, at 23 (and even earlier), I was obese, I was really big man.

Then, things started to change. There was not a very successful episode in my life that I am laughing at now: first fascination, I got an elbow and was depressed for about half a year. It was a hard time, but then I changed my mind: decided I would never get down on my knees again, and also started weight training. First by just push-ups, crunches and squats, then using an exercise bench in my home. It was nice, very nice and I felt better and better every week. When spring came, I started cycling my old bike – just a few kilometres, to get to know my local area. I changed that old bike quickly to a new one, a trekking bike and cycled farther and farther. It was the beginning of my adventure with bikes.

Last year I made my “final fantasy”: cycled from my home to Baltic Sea in just one day, it was about 400 km. Did it with my friend, another local cyclist. Of course right now I have a different bike, different knowledge, physical level, but it is a clue: it was a process, step by step I builded different person, a different me. During that, I gained a lot of confidence. There was a period when I wanted to start each race: two MTB races in one month, next month road race and mix using cross bike, next be a part of a triathlon team (of course on bike). Did I want to prove something to myself? Maybe, I am not sure right now. Right now it is different: I do not race, do not have plans for that, just want to have a lot of fun… and make the transition from cycling to running, because after the first, completely unplanned marathon distance, I feel I found the next milestone in my life. 

Of course during these few years, I did a lot of things not related to any sports: getting a sweetheart, working in a startup, learning new things, trying new things, all of them are great challenges but I think sport was the basic, the fundamental of all changes. It allowed me to think better about myself, to trust myself. Right now I do not have to prove anything in races: I know I can, so it is just my choice. In most cases, I will not be interested, in some cases, I will do it on my terms: right now I want to do an ultra run, but not on an official competition, just for fun. And it is amazing, it works in different areas of life: you do not have to, you just want. It can also be funny, then in the gym (I do not look strong), someone starts a conversation, we talk about sports, I mention cycling and there is a question for me: “did you ever cycled 100 km?”. I can only smile and answer: yeah… it was fine, but it was only the beginning. 

Right now sport is part of my life and I know, it will be as long as it will be possible. It is a habit, it is passion, sometimes it is a positive addiction. I believe, without sport I would not be where I am – and I am very content and happy now. Can not recommend strict sports, competitions, a lot of austerities, keep pushing forward anyway – no, all these things are not important. Important is consistency and something like discipline. Even walking can help us a lot: it is a great time to refresh our minds, meditate, and rethink important questions. If our activities become passion, it is fine, we will change our life.