Seven Lessons Running Teaches Us About Life

How does running plant the seed for a successful life? It may appear extreme to parallel running around a track with a life of accomplishment and happiness. However, the answer is pretty straightforward. It develops, disciplines and forms a winning mindset. Via this process of creating a positive mentality, success eventually becomes inherent in everything you do. Although there are obviously many roads to success, I can think of no more comprehensive way than to engage in the sport of running.

Here are seven lessons running teaches us about life.

1. Getting Started Is The Hardest Part
An infinite amount of distractions stand between you, your running shoes, and the front door. These distractions can easily become the reason you put your plans on hold, as they push their way to the front of your priority list. As in all areas of life, it is the ability to see through the noise and turn intentions into actions that becomes the difference maker. Anyone can talk about making a change or accomplishing something great. However, only those fully committed to lacing up their shoes and stepping outside will see results.

2. Your Performance Is Cumulative
Being a great runner is dependent on much more than executing on race day or during your run. Your performance is equally dependent on a variety of factors: fitness level, diet, proper gear, having a game plan, the right mindset, and the list goes on. All of these items play a role in making you the best you can be. This is not dissimilar to excelling at work, starting a business, or honing a specific skill. Successful people look at the big picture and sharpen all components necessary for victory.

3. Winning Is Subjective
Winning does not mean the same thing to everyone. For some, simply getting outside and hitting pavement is a win. Others focus on improving their run times, while some at a competitive level look at their time in the context of race day results. Each example represents a unique understanding of what it means to win, derived from various priorities and requiring substantially different preparation and focus. It is essential that you know exactly what “winning” means to you so that you can set yourself up for success and surround yourself with like minded people, inside and outside of athletics.

4. Everything Will Be OK
What holds most people back is fear. When your body begins to tire and your nerves begin telling your brain that you are in pain, there is a natural and immediate hesitancy that occurs. We begin to wonder if we have pushed too hard and too far. The blunt truth is that your mind will stop you long before your body will. Theoretically, you could push yourself so hard that you wouldn’t be able to feel your face and, believe it or not, you would live to talk about it. Similar to your desire to start a business, try out for a team, or even ask out the cute blond by the bar, your mind’s definition of the worst possible outcome is substantially different than reality’s. Push your boundaries. That is how lives change for the better. Everything will be ok.

5. You Define The Expectations
While running, you will only finish within a desired timeframe if you make the effort to establish that goal and hold yourself accountable to it. Without the presence of such a benchmark, you could run and run for years but you would not be working toward anything tangible. As in all aspects of life, targets do not exist until you create them. You can’t run a race without a finish line, so make sure you have created yours.

6. Pain Dissipates, Quitting Stays With You
The pain you felt in your legs with a mile to go during a race three years ago is probably as far from your mind as The Backstreet Boys debut album. These hurdles are temporary by their very nature and disappear into a black hole, never to be thought of again. What people do remember is the emotion associated with the decision to ease up or quit, leaving us with the painful question: What could have been?

Interestingly enough, the same applies to winning. We often don’t remember the details associated with winning a particular competition, we just remember holding the medal and the feeling of pure ecstasy as we left having accomplished our goal. Both fates are 100% predicated on how you choose to deal with the short-term hurdles. You have to decide whether you want the pain to vanish once you cross the finish line, or to dwell in the “what if “ section of your mind.

7. Success Can Become A Habit
Success is something you can train your mind to expect and running is the perfect platform in which to do it. One’s ability to run regularly regardless of “inconvenient” circumstances, finish the workout despite inevitable fatigue, and seek improvement day in and day all set the bar for real world success. Whether you realize it or not, these characteristics become ingrained in your mindset, making them habits that carry over into all areas of life. If you don’t quit during a run, you won’t quit when things take a turn for the worst at home or at work. Winners tend to win. That is the way of things.