To Run

In life, there are only two different ways to run: 1. Out of fear, or 2. To run towards a certain goal or target.

For the first, you could run because you’re being chased by a starving lion and you left all your weapons at home, including your phone. Another reason could be you’ve accidentally broken the Family Heirloom that’s been passed down for the last x+5 generations, so you blame your unsuspecting dog (who, though intelligent in some ways, cannot defend himself with human speech). How the reason manifests itself can be extremely diverse and entertaining in hindsight, but they all stem from the root of fear. Fear of the lion. Fear of punishment. Fear of failure or making grave mistakes, and sometimes it’s a good thing, but like medicine, should only be taken in small doses and only when absolutely necessary. It views anything in the negative as something to be afraid of; something to righten only by adding a 1 to a -1 so you can get 0 again. Normal. Safe.

The other style is to run towards a goal. For athletes, this is the finish line, or the bullseye, or jumping a certain height or lifting heavy weights. Limits are pushed, and hopefully exceeded. Another example is running in the pursuit of a dream. Here, the pursuer isn’t running away from the fear of failure (or the idea of failure); instead, they give chase to what they deem worthy or important enough to have. And the chase only ends when the dream has been fulfilled. You can even apply this same principle to the weaponless guy being chased by a lion – instead of thinking “I have to get away or else I’ll be eaten”, the pursuer thinks “Where can I run to that will prevent the lion from following? Or what can I do to discourage it from trying to eat me?” The pursuer is always thinking and looking ahead, not behind.

Of course, this is easier said than done, as oftentimes just looking at how far we have to go can be more intimidating than exciting or encouraging. There will always be obstacles or situations that try to stop us from moving forward, but in a world focused on reactions and the symptoms of greater problems, there is a higher call on self-control and dignity and integrity so that our lives become shaped by how we respond rather than by how we react.

So what type of runner are you? The pursuer? The pursued? It’s a difficult choice to make, and I encourage you to cultivate the attitude of running towards something instead of running away. And while no one can guarantee you’ll reach your goal, the fact that you pursued an ideal means that you envisioned a life that can be better than -1 plus 1.

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