“He thinks too much: such men are dangerous.”
Julius Caesar , Act I, Scene II
I am always turning something over in my mind. In fact, it is part of my personality profile. I am a “Thinker,” according to Myers-Briggs. (My co-workers were eager to also point out that, according to Myers-Briggs, I “search for patterns, even where no patterns exist.” A quirk they called it. I prefer to embrace it and call it a gift!) To second the motion, Donald Clifton’s Strength Finder suggests that I enjoy solving problems, developing ideas, and learning. All of this is true!
So, what is unusual about thinking all the time? Nothing! I have this idea that everyone is thinking about something all of the time. The trick is to choose what to think about. You can give your mind something significant to chew on. Or you can just let it drift.
If left to wander, my mind can go to the oddest places. I once caught myself trying to determine the psychological trigger that caused Dory, from the movie Finding Nemo, to suddenly remember “P. Sherman, 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney.” Fortunately, I am not alone in my perpetual analytical lunacy. A good friend and former co-worker confessed that she once found herself questioning the plausibility of Princess Fiona (Shrek) being locked in a dragon-inhabited castle without food.
So, why am I writing a blog post about thinking? Well, a friend recently asked why in my blog posts I have a section for “The Mind.” Why don’t I write about just running? Why do I include what I was thinking about during the run? The truth is that I have asked myself the same question several times!
I love to run. I love the movement, the breathing, the endorphins, etc. Rest days like today often come with a slight gnawing of withdrawal. I am usually very eager to get back out the next day.
But for me, the daily run is more than just a run. I mentioned in a previous blog that running is my Cathedral, my meditation time. It is my favorite place to think and process. From a practical point of view, it is a great place to plan for the day/week ahead. However, there is usually a moment on my runs where the mental noise and distractions dissipate, and there is clarity. I leverage this time to weigh and consider the more daunting challenges. I enjoy thinking about my kids and people that I love. I take advantage of these moments to measure my progress towards goals and look ahead.
I love this time!
Again, I am not alone. Many runners share this same sentiment. In an on-line forum for runners, I recently asked the question, “Why do you run?” The answers that came back, all had common themes and phrases. Among the first few responses are the following.
“I run so that I can be fit.
I run so that I can win medals for my marathons
I run so that I can live long
I run to meditate
I run to think
I run to run away from stress
I run because I can… “
“I run to empty my head, to stay fit, to (hopefully) live longer, to compete with others and not least myself; to set new PRs.”
“To keep running. To keep sane. To stay creative. To lie about my age (without saying a word)”
“I started to stay fit, but now I run because I like it. I can think, meditated and relax from stress. “
“The road is my church. It is where I find peace. Where I get centered. Long runs are a time to reflect back on what I’ve done and what I’ve failed to do while making plans on how to move forward in a loving, productive and healthy way. Without the road I am not me.”
But to answer my friend’s question about why to do I record my “thoughts while running,” the answer is because Movement is Life!
Quite often, I am uncomfortable posting my thoughts. It makes me feel vulnerable and exposed.
I believe, however, that it is while conquering A2B-sized challenges that a person discovers his or her personal bests. There is a tremendous amount of self-discovery as you strive daily towards a dream. In the process, you uncover (and develop) the best parts of you.
My hope is that as I share my own discovery process, others will be encouraged or inspired to set out on their own big journey and discover themselves along the way.