Each morning that I step out of my apartment and head for a run, I do not hesitate to begin in the street and remain there for the next several minutes and sometimes hours. Drivers may be upset at the fact that I choose to run on the pavement instead of the sidewalk, but frankly, I don’t give a damn. I began doing this for the sole fact that I once fell over a crack in the sidewalk where a tree root had uprooted the concrete.
Usually, it is between 4:15-5:00am when I begin my run, so it is simply much safer (in my mind) to run on the flat pavement where it’s unlikely that a tree root is going to upend me. While this method began as a safety measure, it eventually also changed the direction in which I ran on the pavement.
One might think it is best to run with the flow of traffic, but I consider myself to be of a different breed. I tend to want to do the opposite of what most people think I should be doing. Therefore, I went from running on the sidewalk to running on the street. And from running on the right side of the street with my back to the traffic to running on the left side with traffic headed straight in my direction.
There is something to be said about running worry free, with long strides focused on nothing except the road before you. Now, throw in the mix cars heading right at you – that makes for an adventure (don’t forget to make yourself stand out)!
Please remember that anytime you proceed to move against the flow of what would seem to be ‘normal’, you will increase your chances of being noticed. You may receive a few car honks with people inquiring as to what in the hell you think you are doing. You might even have someone call you a smartass who thinks he knows it all. Resistance is sure to throw itself in your direction.
Through the resistance, I have learned to be stronger not just physically, but mentally in my ability to accept criticism. Additionally, I have come to appreciate the value in carving my own path, void of fear of what others might think. The more I implemented this method of ‘running against the grain’, I began to reflect on my own life and how there is importance in every facet of my life should choose to run this direction.
- Being recognized – People see you coming. Whether they like it or not, they know you are in front of them making a presence. The best and smartest decision that person can make is to give way, because you are standing firm and continuing onward with a purpose.
- You are prepared – No one enjoys being blindsided with something. There is nothing joyful about being hit in the back when you least expect it. You can’t say you didn’t see it coming because you have seen it heading in your direction. You are alert and will react accordingly.
- You stand out – There aren’t many other people doing what you’re doing. Whether it’s implementing a new sales technique, altering your running form or being the first to try a new stretch, you are going to get looks for simply being different.
- The resistance will make you stronger – Just like in weight training, as you push against a force(s), within time your muscles get stronger. As your muscles get stronger, you increase your capacity to do work. Through increasing your working abilities, you have given yourself an advantage against your competitors. Physically you can break barriers and mentally your mind will overcome adversity.
- Awareness of your surroundings – It becomes easier to anticipate what is going on in your environment as things unfold. You begin to take notice in the small details instead of the larger picture. Running against the grain requires attention to the task at hand so that you can adapt without hesitation.
Am I suggesting to immediately and radically change everything you are doing and begin challenging life head on? Not at all. Notice, this method of thinking and doing evolved in steps. I went from running on the sidewalk to the street. Then, from the right side to the left side. With each step came new hesitations. As the hesitations disappeared, excitement crept in. And with the excitement, a new enthusiasm for meeting everything that is driven in my direction with the mindset that I can, and WILL, do everything I set my mind and body out to do.
Do you find yourself running with the flow of traffic, or at times being singled out for making a statement? How do you react? Did you change your ways? Did you forget the nay-sayers and do what you felt in your heart was the right thing?
As you begin this day and push through to begin a new week, let’s consider our own lives. Let’s find an area where we have become complacent and make some changes – it just might be the exact thing you need to get moving with your life!