Recently, a client of mine shared his struggle with sticking to his training routine. He wants to run more regularly, loves how he feels after he does one, and yet is hit or miss in his efforts to date. His discipline comes and goes, he said.
Here was my ccd instruction. I told this young fella to find a purpose for his running and change his perspective. Purpose and perspective. Pheidippides, you may remember, was the dude who made the historic run from Marathon to Athens (25ish miles), yelled “Nike” three times and fell over dead. He had a purpose for his running. He was one of the first professional athletes and was paid by Greece to run from city to city, kinda like the pony express without the horse. He ran because it was crucial to his city and country’s safety. He ran with a purpose. His training was brutal but it wasn’t a problem for him to rise and shine, if you will, because he knew why he was doing it. Find a purpose, friend, in whatever habit you’re trying to build. Nothing helps you stick to something like knowing there’s a bigger why behind it. Good.
And, change your perspective.
You see the view of Phed’s dread in the deadly run from Marathon to Athens is incomplete. The broader perspective reveals he first ran from Athens to Sparta (140 miles in 2 days), gave the Spartan King the news of Persia’s invasion into the homeland, took a cat nap, and proceeded to run the 140 miles back to Athens. He ran all these miles in sandals and linens. Talk about blisters and chafing. Yikes. When Phed returned to Athens, much to his dismay, the army had already departed for Marathon. So, Phed laced ’em up again and off he went – a nice 25 miler down toward the coast. Not really. It was August in Greece. Hot and humid. Mountains and uneven trails. No energy bars or go juice. Once he arrived in Marathon he put on the heavy armor and battled the enemy for a day. After Persia was put on her heels, he doffed his heavy armor and sprinted for Athens. So, next time you go for a run, or try to do something difficult, change your perspective. For me, whenever I discover stories like Phed, it stops my whining mid sentence. I guess it kinda helps me keep perspective. We’re soft, friend. Become less soft. Good.
Building discipline is good. It helps to have a purpose, a big why behind your effort. And, it helps to have a healthy perspective. Purpose and perspective. Go on, friend, lace ’em up today and over this 4th of July weekend. Our founders, remember, studied these same Greeks before deciding to lace ’em up against the world number one heavyweight, Britain. Phed and friends changed our founders perspective on what’s possible. Purpose and perspective created this experiment we call – America. Purpose and perspective may just help us hold her together too, friend.
Purpose and perspective. Good.