Simon Cowell In My Head

There have been so many times when toeing the line to any race – or a run for that matter – has felt like placing myself in front of the American Idol stage with Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, and Randy Jackson before me. Sometimes I feel pretty confident, and the voices of Randy Jackson “Yo Dawg, just keep doing your thang” and Paula Abdul “When you wish upon a star, you just might become one” take center stage of my brain. But more often than not, when I am not confident at all, or a run is turning out to be more challenging than expected, Simon Cowell’s voice starts creeping into my head.

  • “You are terrible. Quit while you are ahead.”
  • “You are an awful runner. Don’t waste your time running anymore.”
  • “Your running will definitely take you places. I can see you running to a dead end.”
  • “You’re a complete and utter running mess.”

So why are such comments so much more shocking and damaging to our psyche and harder to shake off than kind comments? Because muck like a hot flame can inflict pain and scar upon our flesh, so can words inflict pain and scar in our hurts and minds. Hurtful words can be a traumatic experience to our reasoning and decision-making process; impacting the way we see ourselves, the way we interact with others, and the way we respond to the events occurring in our lives.  Think of how important it was when you were in school and received feedback from your teacher after submitting a writing paper? Or the choice of words your supervisor uses when interacting with you or your colleagues. While I am a firm believer that honesty is always the best policy, and that the truth always sets you free, there is a difference between being honest and being cruel. Yes, I completely agree there were certain individuals on the stage whose voices were unpleasant and most likely would never make it in Hollywood. Nonetheless saying something like “As an executive producer, you are not the voice I am looking for my company” seems by far more professional, just as honest, and way more tactful than saying, “You are a waste of my time.” The latter’s aim is to be cruel and hurtful with the guise of being honest.

Ha! Ha! Grumpy Cat never takes things too seriously.

This weekend, I will be toeing the starting line of my first half-marathon of the year 2016. There will be no doubt in my mind Simon Cowell will interject his opinions during my run and be as cruel and as hurtful as possible.  The challenge for me will not be to ignore the voice, but to re-phrase each hurtful statement into a positive truth.

  • “You are terrible. Quit while you are ahead.”
    • If I QUIT, I will FEEL terrible. Don’t quit.”
  • “You are an awful runner. Don’t waste your time running anymore.”
    • Everyone experiences an awful run, but one cloudy day does not mean the sun ceases to exist. Therefore, one run does not make you an awful runner.
  • “Your running will definitely take you places. I can see you running to a dead end.”
    • But even running to a dead end is further than where you started.
  • “You’re a complete and utter running mess.”
    • If I don’t look like a complete and utter mess, then I am not running. I am lounging. Embrace the utter running mess.

The truth of the matter is, Simon Cowell is here to stay and I cannot change him. Perhaps there is veracity in some of the things he says. Maybe I will never be the fastest runner. Maybe I will never be the first person to cross the finish line. Maybe I will never qualify for Boston. There is one thing I am certain I can do though. I can tame the blunt and hurtful statements and rephrase them in order to motivate myself to be faster, to cross the finish line even if I am last, and to see how close I can come to qualifying for Boston.

Simon Cowell, i’ll take you on with some serious mind skills.

How do you feel when you toe the line? Do statements like Simon Cowell’s ever pop into your head? How do you tackle those thoughts.




2 thoughts on “Simon Cowell In My Head

  1. I think we are hardwired to focus more on the negatives and red flags… it’s a survival mechanism. In my positive psychology class, I teach about balance and happiness. Research has shown that for every negative event, we need three positive events (equal in size) to maintain balance. In our relationships, the magic ratio is 5 positive events for every 1 negative event. Isn’t that crazy!!

    When negative thoughts get into my head, I try to take a step back and think about the big picture. Why am I doing this? Nobody is forcing me to do this. It puts things into perspective. I am doing something that I love. Something that is very intrinsic. As soon as the extrinsic motives become more important, I know I need to reevaluate.

    Personally, I think you have what it takes to get to Boston! 🙂

    • Thank you so much for ALWAYS posing such poignant responses Kristen. I’m so sorry it has taken me this long to respond. When I’m not too busy overthinking everything I ought to be doing, I am too busy daydreaming about everything I wish I could be doing.

      I think I would really enjoy taking one your positive psychology classes. Not only do they sound extremely informative, but very inspirational. I sure do hope all humans walking this Earth who have suffered some type of traumatic experience get the opportunity to balance they need.

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