You’ve been hearing it more than ever before. “I feel run down.” “I need a change.” “I’m tapping out.” “I need to get away.” “I’m on a dead run, and I’m tired.”
Probably sounds familiar. So we’ll take it as read that everybody is running – not in the physical jogging or power-walking sense, but mentally. It’s important to understand though, that there is a tremendous distinction between running from something and running to something.
Sometimes, people even run back and forth between the two, but you can probably guess which direction is healthier.
Embracing Change Can Be Hard
If you’re not sure which direction you’re headed, there are some signposts that help you along the way. Typically, if you’re running “to” or “toward” something, you’ll feel like you’re embracing a change that is intrinsically good. If you’re unsure, ask yourself if value is being created from the activity. Perhaps the easiest way to tell if you’re running “to,” is if it feels hard. In some ways, it is supposed to. There’s a reason it’s called “Growing Pains,” after all.
From creating a new job for yourself, to writing a song, or building a relationship, these valuable pursuits can be tough sledding – but almost always worth the effort – because they are things and causes that are important to you.
Running Away is Easy – That’s Why Everyone Does It
By contrast, running away is much easier – it’s an avoidance maneuver – but ultimately, far less satisfying.
So much of running away is based on fear and a desire to retreat to familiar (if unhappy) surroundings. The well-worn path of least resistance is backwards. Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. So why am I doing it again? Because the “T-Shirt” is comfortable. Trying something new on for the first time can be daring.
That’s why, if you’re running “to” something, you will probably notice that you’re actually excited about it, instead of afraid of it. This is significant, because excitement is a sure-fire foundational proof that you’re feeding the very health and happiness that leads to living a remarkable life vs. a tedious one. Don’t ask yourself which is harder. Just ask which sounds more appealing: Adventure or inactivity? Being Enterprising or unimaginative?
Running backwards sends you rewinding into the crowd of already-known experiences – some of which are unhealthy – watching your life from the sidelines (again!).
“New” Can Be Uncomfortable – At First
It’s worth the short-term discomfort to explore the new. Because it’s better to run toward the things that are important to you even if you feel the frustration of failure once in a while. There’s very little reward if you always play it safe and never push yourself.
If you’re running “to” something, you will probably notice that you’re actually excited about it.
Take it from the Sharks
We can learn a lesson from our seafaring friends, the sharks. Some of them must swim forward constantly in order to keep oxygen-rich water flowing over their gills. It’s a literal matter of life and death for them to always move forward to the next thing.
If you find yourself struggling with your latest project, don’t stand still or run way from it, just make like a shark and go forward to the next thing: even if it’s just meeting up with a trusted confidant for a “socially-distanced” lunch. Failing to get that new job off the ground? Go have a good workout. Keep moving onward (and upward).
Sprints & Marathons
If something isn’t going particularly well, find something that you can get excited about, and run toward it instead.
Success is when you look up to find that you’re spending far more time on things that pull you in vs. activity that just pushes your frustration(s) away.
It can be a subtle shift moving toward the next good exciting thing, instead of away from the last thing… but you’ll find it makes a big difference… in the long run.
By Mark Smith, contributing author
We are all working our way through a changed world as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We may no longer be quarantined or under stay-at-home orders, but everyone is stretched to adapt like never before. All of us are in this together. Now more than ever, caring is what we need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us in our communities. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. This is a great opportunity to create the world we want for our future generations. We invite you to join us in creating a caring movement!