What You Can’t Control

Ari Baum |

Do you spend a lot of time worrying about things you can’t control?

At a recent competition, the Indian Wells Ironman 70.3 in California, my endurance was put to the test, as always, but this time, so was my patience. Everything leading up to this race seemed to go wrong.

The race was near Palm Springs where the temperature is around 70-75 degrees, but the water we were about to jump into was around 50 to 60 degrees. Every competitor's wetsuit had to go through a decontamination process prior to the race, and during that, somehow mine got misplaced. The morning of the race it was nowhere to be found - among the 2700 wetsuits. My friends were all nervous for me, but I had to remind myself it was out of my control. I was prepared to just grin and bear it in the 50-degree water. I said, “It'll either be a really fast swim or a really short swim.” In the meantime, I decided to focus on what I could control. I put air in my bike tires and made sure my water bottles were full. Then about half an hour before the start, they found my wetsuit. 

Now, it would be great if that was the only setback. But it wasn’t. When I checked in the morning of the race, they had no timing chip for me. They had run out of them. My mind started racing, thinking, “My family won’t be able to track me. And I won’t get official stats.” It was so deflating. But again, out of my control. I reminded myself that I have my Garmin watch, it'll be on Strava, so I'll still get credit for it. With just a few minutes before the start of the swim, they had found me a chip! I grabbed it and literally ran into the lake to start the swim. I was so happy to dive into the 50-degree water in my wetsuit with my timing chip, that it was one of my fastest swims ever.

From there, I enjoyed the beautiful 56-mile bike through the desert and even made a new friend on the running course. All in all, it was a great race. And it turned out to be a great reminder about life. Things are going to happen that are out of your control.

Markets go up and down. There’s inflation, interest rates, war. You can't control it. And you can't let that affect you personally, causing you to make emotional decisions. They say when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. And I’d add, sometimes you have to make the leap into 50-degree water with or without a wetsuit.