Last week I took the opportunity to read a new book while in the airport, and this time I chose to read something I have very little interest in…..Running! Even though I may look like a runner, I am far from it.
The book, “Born To Run” by Christopher McDougall, is a fascinating documentary on a tribal village deeply tucked away in the canyons of northern Mexico, renowned for their long distance runners. To them, a marathon is a warm up before breakfast!
Imagine running over 100 miles a day, days in a row in the blistering Mexico heat, wearing thin sandals as the only support for your feet! This is their life, and they are the fastest long distance runners on the planet.
What stood out most about this tribe and their culture is their genuine approach to running, which really can be applied by anyone to any area in life. Running was not a means to get somewhere, not an “in order to” lose weight, improve health, or even an activity they did to be happy. There were 2 significant factors that separated this tribe’s running style when analyzed by the top running coaches from the United States.
The first, they ran and lived as naturally as possible: meaning hardly any padding or protection on their feet (Interesting Fact: Studies show the more expensive a running show is, the higher percentage of injury occurs to the runner!). They ate what was produced around their immediate environment naturally. No artificial ingredients, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives, or all the additives that plague the majority of the food source in our current culture. (*Note: Go see the latest documentary on the current state of our country’s food and health, “Forks Over Knives”, playing at independent theaters)
Second, and most importantly, is the mindset and attitude these people brought to running. They are happy, and they run. They do not run to be happy, or to accomplish something, or even for enjoyment…they simply are all of those already, and then they run as an effect of all of this. This is a difficult concept to understand compared to the first. Because in our society today, and most of human culture, we are taught to react to our circumstances, environment, and be a product of our past experience. Instead, in reality we have the choice to be whoever we want to be, despite the circumstances that surround us day after day or year after year. When we choose to bring a new attitude, emotion, and mindset to a situation, it opens up new possibilities and actions that can be taken immediately to fulfill on those possibilities…simply by starting off with a different mindset than before. It is both the simplest and most challenging task to take on, yet its effects are unparalleled. Think of an area of life where you may be stuck, or is not working at its best, or maybe not working at all! Instead of trying to “get somewhere” in that area and keep repeating the same actions and emotions as in the past, try being grateful, or at peace, or just purely happy and fulfilled ALREADY in that area. Then see what new possibilities and actions open up that will alter how it is already going for you. You won’t know what is possible until you give it a shot.