Running allows me time to think. To really brew.
The beauty of life is that it is so complex and immense that the challenges and joys are revealed to us slowly. Various seasons unfold and create new opportunities for us to understand each other and ourselves better.
We can’t fast track these moments and we can’t avoid them.
But, we can choose our response and our lesson. When we make a good choice we’re left in awe afterwards trying to understand how good things can emerge from setbacks.
I have read that females are better at pattern recognition. It’s a survival instinct. We analyse what happened, what triggered it, and what we can learn from it. I take mental notes and replay them while I’m running. It’s just me and my thoughts, my heartbeat and the sound of my feet on the road, or better yet, the sound of crashing waves, rumbling rivers, or chirping birds.
Our journey through life can be compared to running in so many ways, but for me, the three most meaningful correlations are the ones that bring me freedom and happiness.
Keep an open mind
Runners don’t judge. On the open road we don’t know where people come from or where they are going. Whether they’re starting or ending, newbies or oldies, improving on a personal best or cruising comfortably.
In life we’re all on a journey of our own. Created somewhere unique and headed for somewhere extraordinary. The journey takes us up hills, into wind, along single tracks and makes us stronger and braver. Occasionally we’re rewarded with an extraordinary view or a flat road that makes it all worth while.
Everyone’s journey merits respect and adoration. It’s never easy. Use your energy wisely.
Follow your passion and work hard
Many people have said it: “you’re a product of your environment” and “follow your passion with determination”. I love to run in mountains, isolation and sacred quiet places. These places are not easy to find or reach. So the people I come across are equally determined and share the same passion. We have something in common that we’re willing to sacrifice our breath and time for.
The same is true for our choices in daily life, companies, or families. Set parameters to create the ideal environment. Know your values and what is worth pursuing. Actively chase these ideals through focus and hard work. You’ll find like-minded people and feel supported and inspired.
This is where the magic happens.
I love spending time with my family and would always rather be at home with them. Weeks are busy and weekends are a sacred time to be together.
But I love running and need my fix. Therefore I optimize my run and use the opportunity to demonstrate the concept of opportunity cost to my children. What good is it for me to preach to them about pursuing their passion if I’m not willing to do the same?
We’ve come up with a good solution: Go fast, go steep and go early.
No matter what we do, there is always a sacrifice. We need to learn to back our decisions. Guilt free. Either you’re in or out. You want to or don’t want to. It’s that simple. Do it and don’t feel guilty, or don’t do it and let go of any regrets. Learn to optimize. If you’re comfortable that you’re setting a good example or teaching a valuable lesson to your children in the process, go for it. They’ll understand and respect you for it one day.
Take responsibility and follow your heart. We only have this life once.