It’s Tight Hamstrings for Me: Is What’s Holding You Back Actually Helping You?

tight hamstring

You can overcome just about anything today, especially when you realize that the things that slow you down aren’t necessary challenges you need to overcome.

Here’s a lesson I’m having trouble learning:

There’s nothing wrong with slowing down.

My natural instinct is to keep pressing on — to hurry through life. Sometimes, though, I don’t have any choice but to slow down.

Today, my back hurts. In fact, as I’m starting to write this, it really hurts. It happens a few times a year. Something makes the whole thing lock up.

I like to blame it on the incredibly tight muscles at the back of my upper legs that seem to pull relentlessly on my lower back.

Most people call them hamstrings. But because I always think something is medically wrong with mine, I call them porkstrings. Ham, of course, is usually cured.

I’d like to think it’s part of getting old, but I’m not old (only 38) and it’s not new.

I’m becoming convinced, however, that tight porkstrings are my friend. Unless pain slows me down, I don’t slow down at all.

But part of living a simple, deliberate life is slowing down to enjoy the things others are missing.

Whatever is slowing you down today may actually be forcing you to do something you could be doing voluntarily — enjoying the slower life for which you are meant.

Here are 4 simple ideas that might make whatever is holding you back a bit more bearable.

1. No comparisons.

You don’t have to be as productive as that blogger who says he writes a dozen posts a day — or whichever guru it is with whom you’re comparing yourself unfavorably.

When you stop comparing yourself and your productivity to others, you can find peace in what you’re getting done.

I felt terrible yesterday and didn’t even finish writing this post (I’m on day two, now), but I didn’t have to finish it. I hadn’t committed to a specific post or date with Arvind, and I probably wouldn’t have. (See “No time constraints” below.)

2. No limitations.

When you choose your career, your calling and your lifestyle carefully, you have no real limitations.

I write because it’s something I know how to do and also one of relatively few things I truly enjoy at the deepest level of my being.

I replaced three poorly-designed light switches in our house a few months ago. I know how to do that now, but it isn’t something I want to do. I’ll do it again if I must, but I won’t become an electrician because I have no affinity for it or desire to do it.

When you direct your energies toward what your body and brain are compelled to do, you don’t have any limitations. Limit yourself to the things at which you have skill, talent and desire and you won’t feel limited at all.

3. No time constraints.

If you’re living a simple, deliberate life, you don’t have any time constraints. If you do, something isn’t working well for you.

You have the rest of your life to complete your projects, whether you expect that to be decades or days. There is no due date and no expiration date except those you’ve willingly place on yourself or allowed others to place on you.

I used to be a freelance journalist, so I understand deadlines. And I understand that I no longer accept them — very often. I like writing news and feature stories, so I’ll probably someday volunteer for the pressure of that lifestyle as a short-term challenge. But I won’t return to 8-to-5 days with timeclocks or never-ending days with “due immediately” deadlines.

You can wriggle free of every time constraint that binds you.

Once your life’s projects are free of time restrictions, a sore back may slow you down, but it doesn’t derail your plans.

4. No excuses.

Of course, it’s easy to use pain, anger, depression, fear and other emotions as excuses to paralyze our progress.

Pressing on has value. Plodding forward is a good idea.

When you stop comparing yourself to others, begin stretching yourself within only the limits of your desires and free yourself from other people’s clocks, you’ll find the motivation to move through the things that are trying to hold you back at a speed that’s safe for your soul.

You’ll accept no excuses from yourself when you realize you have something you really want to do — and you’ll know when the time has come to do it.

Arvind wants you to make it happen. And, as I say so often on my blog, I want you to get so much more from a simple, deliberate life.

Get what you want by only being held back enough to see what others are missing.

This is a guest post from Gip Plaster who writes So Much More Life because he thought he was missing something, so he slowed down, started a blog and found something wonderful. Read more of his useful posts there. The growing site features posts on simple living, very small one-person businesses and so much more. His readers often sign up to get email or RSS updates from him because they are good people. There are no other kind.

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  1. Gip @ So Much More Life says

    Arvind —

    Thanks very much for posting this. It looks great on your site. I appreciate the opportunity.

    I’m looking forward to seeing some of your regular commenters over at my site. I write about lots of things, but making it happen is a big part of my message. And I’d like to meet more good people.


    • Thanks Gip for contributing this guest post. And I am sure a lot of my regular readers will be checking out your work too.

      Also, may your hamstrings soon loosen up:-)

      • Gip @ So Much More says

        A few of your readers must be checking me out, Arvind, because I just picked up another Twitter follower in addition to the four yesterday.

        Perhaps a little positive energy directed my way from all your readers will loosen those hamstrings today…


  2. Hi Gip,

    Hope the hamstrings are better:)
    Excuses to me mean there is a reason I don’t want to do the task. I never make excuses or procrastinate over the tasks I love or I know will assist me in reaching my goals… if there are excuses I look at why.

    Best wishes,

    • Gip @ So Much More says

      You’re exactly right, Kate. Thanks for commenting on this post that seems to have been lost in the weekend shuffle. Or people are so awestruck by my writing abilities that they’ve been left commentless.


  3. Hi Gip and Arvind,

    Great post – one of the best I’ve read in a while. Slowing down is really important. Actually, I’m writing this comment today when I’m having to rest thoroughly because I’ve had a hectic few weeks so it has been well deserved. Very timely for me, and thoroughly enjoyed your style.


    • Thanks Kavit – glad you are taking it easy!

    • Gip @ So Much More Life says

      Nice to meet you, Kavit. Thanks for commenting. I’m glad you like the post and I look forward to seeing you over at my blog. I write in my style all the time there.


  4. Gip,

    As a life long vegetarian and aspiring vegan, can I call these thing tofu strings or lentil strings? I agree with aspects of life but we need to set limitation on tasks and things we do, even if we enjoy doing many things. We can be over worked.

    I believe in slow life, slow food and even slow blogging, it keeps me sane. I hope your “ham” strings pain are getting better.

    • Gip @ So Much More Life says

      Nice to meet you, Preeti. My stringbeans are feeling a bit better today. I’m trying to commit to a more regular exercise program. We’ll see what happens.

      Thanks for coming over to my blog, too. Did you see my 7 link post? I noticed you offered your 7 links.


      • Gip,

        You’re funny. Stringbeans? I am glad for it. I did not check out 7 links I will do so, as you can learn so much from it. Did you check out mine yet?

        great guest poster choices as always, how is your blogging issues now? Seemed to better.

        • Preeti, my blog issues are almost sorted – as you say its looking better.

          Glad you like my guest blogger choices. I have got another great guest blogger coming up very soon:-)

  5. says

    Hi Gip! Hi Arvind! Yes Gip it would appear that I am ‘stalking’ you…lol (you can never hide far from me) and I see Kate has been here, it’s a PARTY now!

    As usual another great post and I am sorry to hear that your back is hurting, (it’s all that massive de-cluttering that has been going on in your house), SLOW DOWN MAN (your words!)

    Arvind this is a new site to me and I look forward to ‘nose around’ a bit.

    Have a great night everyone!

  6. Gip @ So Much More Life says

    That’s okay, Jan. I think I’ve talked to you on at least three blogs today, mine included. We travel in the same circle, and it’s a good circle.

    You’ll like Arvind.


  7. Nice post.
    Nothing like slowing down to see what the scenery has to offer and the people as well.
    Got a minute? Few have as work and time meld into a race against each other.
    Being your own boss is one of the hardest ways to slow down. Sometimes we do everything but work or anything but slow down.
    I found one of the best ways to get my body (and especially my mind) to slow down was by using a metronome set at 60 beats per minute. Simply listening to the tics and regulating your breathing does wonders. The body responds and starts to sync itself again to a regular beat instead of the insane beat of the rat race. Similar to the beach and the white noise coming from the rhythmic crash of the waves on the sand or the sedate tick tock of a grandfather clock.
    I guess that is why we like the beach and holidays so much. Time to unwind and relax. A chance to focus on what is holding us back and hopefully resolve it.

  8. Janette Courveuz says

    I’m now sixty years young and my every day yoga exercises enable me to relax and slow down so I’m able to manage my busy grandfather clock business without stress. It really helps a lot.

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