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January 15th, 2019
We’ve all heard that joke. Someone’s going for a jog and two friends look on. One looks at the other and says, “why would you run if nothing’s chasing you?”
The joke is to comfort the lazy, but it’s missing half the potential humor. For those who are able enough to jog, we can sprint when we need to. And perhaps it’s because we are running away from something, perhaps something is chasing us, or perhaps we are running towards something.
The jogger is literally running towards the spot where a healthier version of their body will be. This is the obvious reason for such exercise, along with any other benefits, both in terms of physical feeling and mental wellbeing.
But this image of sprinting towards something good or sprinting away from something bad can be a useful metaphor. Especially when the reasons are combined.
Why are you working so hard on that project?
Because of the reward that may await with the finish, and the potential for that reward to simultaneously usher in a new and better life and push back the current conditions we seek to escape.
This metaphor works for any goal, no matter how good we have it in life. With any goal we aren’t simply looking to achieve something, we are also trying to avoid a life were we didn’t take the chance.
This simple concept is at the root of what many people find themselves thinking about at the end of life. A simple experiment that is worth repeating on one’s own is to seek out people who are in the last decade of their life and ask them what if anything they regret.
Most all of them will have the same response: There’s little to nothing to regret, but many of them wish they’d taken more chances, attempted more things, chased after more goals.
This answer puts a subtle underscore beneath that monster that chases us while we sprint towards better things. This monster doesn’t catch up if we stand still. If we stop moving forward than it instantly appears. This is part of the reason why it’s more important to simply start when it comes to our potential plans instead of trying to over think those plans towards perfection. Valuable time is being lost. Life is instantly morphing into the one we wish we’d done more with. This gives us a reason to run even if we’re not sure what to run towards. Luckily we’ve evolved to think pretty well on our feet, and like athletes zigzagging and crisscrossing courts or fields, we can have faith that when we see a goal that feels worthy, we’ll be light-footed enough to pivot and take all our movement in the right direction.
This episode references Episode 72: Persevere Vs. Pivot.