By Mohan Karulkar: I used to run a lot when I was younger. I was pretty much the last kid to get a Nintendo, so I was outside all the time. I was probably looking for someone to play video games with.

I played soccer too.  I was pretty fast, but could never figure out the offsides rule, so I switched to cross country and track in high school. Eat, run, repeat -- my kind of sport. I wasn't bad, and even lettered for sprinting my sophomore year. 

But before long, as luck would have it, I started developing leg problems.  My knees and shins would end up in splitting pain after only running a mile or two, and I'd be down for several days,  I finally quit, and the pain went away.   My life became eat, repeat -- and I gained 15 pounds.  I never really ran again.

Fast forward to today, 14 years later.  I'm still fighting with those 15 pounds, and I still suffer from knee and shin problems when I do high impact activites.  On a whim, I recently decided to pose the question on Twitter, and I was advised to look into "barefoot shoe" designs. I initially thought it was a joke.

Well, it turns out they're real, and they feature a specialized sole design that mimics bare feet. They are supposed to do wonders for knee and shin problems. I got a pair, and ... I'm running again.  It's slow, because these shoes work totally different muscles, but I haven't had any knee or shin pain.  This might actually work.

Man, is that all it took? A special pair of shoes?  Is it really possible that I can reconnect with an old passion because of a 1 centimeter change in heel design?

Yeah, I think it is.  And I think stuff like this happens all the time and we totally miss it.  We count ourselves out.  We give up and move on with our lives, and never look back.  Instead of looking for solutions, we assume we're broken and can't be fixed.

Sometimes, though, our insurmountable setbacks just require a little tweak to become manageable. But it takes a choice to tackle those challenges and look for the tweaks. It takes humility to ask others for help. And it takes faith and flexibility to try new things and vacate that state of hopelessness.

Together, let's choose to look for solutions, instead of accepting defeat. Let's pick each other back up. Let's assume that what's broken can be fixed.  And let's assume that huge cliff is actually just a 1 centimeter drop waiting to be discovered.

How have you given up, and how ready are you to give things another shot? How have you recovered? How can we help? Comment below, and send me your stories: Mohan(at)POTSC(dot)com!

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