Your Output Cannot Exceed Your Input

  • Published
  • By Capt. Matthew Nelson
  • 452 AMW Chaplain Corps

Every October, hundreds of world class athletes gather in Kona, Hawaii, for the annual Ironman World Championship Triathlon. The race consists of three disciplines, a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.22-mile marathon run, consecutively. Completing the course is a lifetime achievement, much less competing to win. A couple of years ago I had the opportunity to work the race, I was positioned at the starting line for the swim inside the transition area. The atmosphere was electric with nervous energy and anticipation. For these athletes, this day was the culmination of years of dedication, focus and intense training.


A friend of mine, who was a professional WHAT?? at the time, and this particular year he was favored to win. We talked many times in the months preceding the race about his preparation and his training. One thing I had never considered about his preparation was that it consisted of much more than physical training. In many ways, his preparation was also about training his mind and heart for the adversities that lie ahead. Out of my excited curiosity, I interviewed him about the key to overcoming the wall, that he said every athlete hits at about the 20-mile marker. He told me the key at that point in the race was nutrition and making sure you have put in the appropriate calories to keep your body fueled to endure the remaining distance.


A coach once told me, "Your output cannot exceed your input." If you do not feed your body, it will not perform for you. I want to challenge you to consider that your spirit works the same way. Our spiritual output cannot exceed our spiritual input, or it simply will not perform for you.


This months Major Graded Area is focused on managing resources. I encourage you to remember the most important resource you have is your spiritual strength. Life is more than a sprint; it is a marathon. You might start strong, but all of us experience adversity and setbacks. We are all bound to hit the wall at some point, that is where our spiritual staying power kicks in. As we look ahead, remember to prioritize soul care, feed your spirit to make sure when you hit the wall, you have the fuel in your tank to push through and get to the other side. Whether it is reading, prayer, worship or mindful meditation, find a way to strengthen yourself inside, as much if not more than outside. After all, when you hit mile 20 in life, that is what will take you the distance.


If you or a member of your family would like to speak to a chaplain or religious affairs Airman, please call the base chapel at 951-655-4105.