In his book What I talk about when I talk about running, Haruki Murakami famously said that he doesn’t think about anything but running when running. Apparently, elite runners gave a very similar answer . This probably explains why I am not part of the elite and will never be; when I run I think about many things. I think about my latest writing project, I solve problems, I work out the points on which I am stuck, I make plans about my finances and yes, I think about success.
Today, I was thinking about the three main AHAs that I wouldn’t have had if I was not running. These are:
AHA 1: People succeed when they compare themselves with absolute goals not with other people. This is something I learned by reading the stories of top athletes – they never compete with other athletes, they compete with the clock. This holds for any achievement: to get there we ought to set absolute goals which are ours and ours alone. What do you want? Where to you want to be?
AHA 2: ‘Ambition’ and ‘delusion’ are separated by a very thin line. I am someone who doesn’t get going on ‘realistic’ goals – they are somehow never exciting enough, never brave enough and never challenging enough. Have audacious goals is my game because even achieving some of these gives such a high. But I have learned that this is also a tricky game because goals ought to be audacious but not delusional. Running a marathon in under 4 h 30 min for me is ambitious, winning a marathon is delusional. Becoming wealthy is my ambition, having net worth equal or even close to that of the likes of Bill Gates is delusional.
AHA 3: What makes you fit is not the seven miles run on Saturday but the one mile run every day. This is probably my favourite one because persistence and moderation are the absolutely necessary preconditions for any success. Most often, most people fail because they do not have the motivation to keep doing this one mile every day. Works with writing, with cooking, with any kind of mastery and of course it works with long distance running.