3 PROFOUND LESSONS RUNNING HAS TAUGHT ME
Running has taught me three profound lessons that help me push through in life's challenging times. I must say that I never expected it. It just came naturally after the penny dropped several times which were wonderful philosophical moments.
What are these three lessons you might ask?
Running has taught me to complain less.
Running has made me to be grateful for what I have.
Running has taught me how to push through adversity.
I don’t care if these sound cheesy to you but this is exactly what running has made an impact on myself.
1. RUNNING HAS TAUGHT ME TO COMPLAIN LESS, MUCH LESS
In the large handful of events I've completed as well as the mandatory physical training each week, I’ve managed to put my body through a strenuous amount of exercise. I've clocked thousands of miles and have competed in races that people have outright told me I’m crazy or insane to have even considered, never mind raced. But after all the training and even better, finishing these races, I just know that it was the hardest and toughest thing I could achieve that day. As soon as that thought comes into mind, I know that any other problem I encounter is no way near as challenging because I've legitimately have dealt with tougher times. I know that I've put my body through races that are longer than 12 hours or there are amputees who run on a prosthetic leg so I don't complain because there is someone ALWAYS worse off than me.
2. RUNNING HAS MADE ME GRATEFUL FOR WHAT I HAVE
There have been several times during a race where I just wanted to give up because I've been on the feet for more than 24+ hours. The feeling of completing a massive run instantly gives you feeling of relief and by the end, you're just happy to have food, shelter, water, and the people around me. At that moment, I don't care what kind of car I own, I just need a ride to get me to a bed and I couldn’t care what bed I have or any materialistic items in that regard because I’m just grateful for the fundamentals in life - because finishing a race has me so physically worn out that I just need the things that matter. Not only has this rewired my brain to not purchases things that rust, rot, and depreciate but it sparks an investor mindset to be thinking in long-term.
3. RUNNING HAS TAUGHT ME HOW TO PUSH THROUGH ADVERSITY
One of the greatest things ever said was by Will Smith. He said at a speech to a group of school kids that the two most important things in life is reading and running. I won't go into too much detail with the reading (I’ll save it for a separate blog) but he said running is important because it teaches you how to push through a race when your lungs are out of air, so apply this mentality to your everyday problems and you'll have more control in your life. With the multiple ultramarathons I've ran so far, there were several moments when I’d reached a mental wall throughout the race where I’m at the lowest of lows. It's usually a time when you've been running for that many hours that the GPS watch has died or the 'tenth-wind' has diminished and doubt is flooding back, intertwined with surreptitious injury. During many ultramarathons, the body just wants to give up but I push on knowing that I needed to keep going because in every race, the mind wants you to stop early. It's hard to control the mind to get back on track but once it's back at its normal state then the body is too. Will Smith said it best, “If we apply what we go through with big races to our adversity then we will feel more in control in life.” Personally, this one has been the most profound moment of all three because there was a time when I couldn't handle adversity.
After running for more than 3 years, I would never had expect it be the greatest philosopher and teacher I could ask for! It gives me goosebumps as I’m writing this. Endurance and gratitude was the catalyst to change my outlook on life.
Now, you may not be a runner or have any desire to run an ultramarathon. However, there are definitely ways to strengthen our mental resilience so we’re unbreakable and feel gratitude. Not only will this increase our emotional intelligence but it will keep us together in case we get heartbroken or loss of family member or even a limb removed. So, what’s an idea of what you could do today to increase your resilience? One way I’d highly recommend is to start small with regular training and them, when you’ve built up your confidence, put your hand up for a 5 or 10 km run (or a half marathon if you’re up for the challenge) for a cause greater than yourself and I promise you, it will likely be bumpy process but you’ll come out happier, stronger, and more grateful for the process.
To my fellow running enthusiasts, curious to know if you've come across the same realisations?
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