“Could I be a better runner by utilizing the same tools I would for the pursuit of happiness? Could I train to be a happier person in the same way I would train to be a better runner?”
Perhaps in my years of running these thoughts had come across my mind, but up to now I had never decided to answer it.
Until convinced otherwise, I believe the active pursuit of both running and happiness are the to best tools for meaningful and inspired living. The more thought I have put into this concept, the more examples I can find that reinforce this notion that I just might be on to something (Self-fulfilling prophecy anyone). My most fulfilling runs have been times when I had some type of epiphany or I found peace with an issue that had been weighing heavy on my heart. There were also epic runs in which total exertion created an environment that fostered extreme gratitude and personal reflection. Conversely, when I think about my top ten most impactful days of the past ten years, a high percentage if not all of them had a run involved some where in the day. Getting married, new lives coming into the world and special ones leaving it, all occurred on days that had runs some where in them.
I also believe that being happy and running are two of the most natural and best parts about being human. Aristotle (not be be confused with Aeropostale) is said to have believed that “happiness is characteristic of a good life, that is, a life in which a man or woman fulfills human nature in an excellent way”. Recent anthropological data suggests that running is an activity you were born to do. So if I am born with the tools to be happy and a runner, it should be really easy. Right?
At the end of the day, I would like to consider myself a student of both (not an expert in any way). But admittedly there is a big distinction between student and practitioner. To know about something is not necessarily to do it. And it really pains me to say this publicly, as I can recall lots of things I studied well but did nothing with the knowledge that I acquired.
That’s where The Flow Running Project comes in. Could I and others use the experience in both segments (happiness and running) to take living to the next level? It sounds more audacious than it really is. It is just making sure that the time spent on this planet is pretty freaking awesome. Running and happiness intersect in lots of ways, I think it would be cool to see just how many.
As I explored the areas where running and happiness intersect, I found the following true for both. (Change it to either term)
• You have to make yourself vulnerable, if you want to be great at it. It means some times you will come up short, and it may even happen in front of a group of people you know. You will have to try new things and if you get too comfortable you will get stuck exactly where you are.
• If you don’t train for it, nothing will change. This sounds obvious but just wanting to be happy, or wanting to be a runner is different than being it. Cut the excuses, because everyone has a better one than yours. You have to get your ass off the couch. Get sweaty, hug a stranger and do not freaking settle for a life that is anything but inspired. There are people who know more about running and happiness than you. Seek these people out and don’t be such a big deal that you can’t admit there is some one on this planet who knows more about things than you.
• You are ultimately your biggest obstacle to being successful at it. I said it, so what are you going to do about it? I know its true and you know its true. People who have no legs, have gone on to complete marathons. A generation of Europeans who survived concentration camps found ways to be happy. What is the difference between them and you? People in really tragic circumstances are forced to pursue a life worth living or no life at all. However, we are all pretty much cut from the same cloth. Generally you must choose greatness. Being a runner or being happy doesn’t just happen to you, you have to choose it. This isn’t preachy, but just the way it is.
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