Written By: Jeff Craig
It was about 7:30 in the evening. I had spent the whole day running errands and doing chores around the house.
My excuse for not running was the heat, however, when it cooled down, my excuse changed that it was dark. Today was my last day of vacation before going back to work and I was NOT looking forward to the grueling week that awaited me.
A large part of me wanted to throw on a movie, order a pizza, and crack open a cold beer. This was usually my fall back behavior when I decide to “fall off the wagon.”
This time was different though. This time I was going to stick to my commitments and drop those dreaded pounds.
Yet, there I was, staring at my computer screen.
After organizing my iTunes music, responding to emails, and browsing my Facebook feed, I went searching for motivational YouTube videos to share with my clients.
It wasn’t too long before the words in these videos lit the fire I needed to throw on my shoes and get out there.
My inner critic screamed at me, “But how was I going to run in the dark? And how far would I go before I decided I did “enough.”” I brushed those thoughts off as I finished my stretches and put my feet to the pavement.
Next thing I knew, I was running down the Huntington Beach boardwalk.
As sounds of motivation music invaded my eardrums, I felt myself running harder than I usual do.
My heart was racing, but I wasn’t tired. I felt powerful, invincible even.
Normally, when I reach the pier, I turn around and head home, but today a part of me said “keep going!”, so I did.
As I passed the pier, I was filled with another shot of adrenaline. Here I was, running in the darkness of night, running when I thought I couldn’t and running further than I ever thought I could.
At some points, it was so dark out that I couldn’t see the ground below me. The uncertainty of what lied ahead did not concern me, for my purpose was much greater than any fear that came up.
I finally decided it was time to turn around. When I did, I saw the distance I had traveled. I could barely make out the Diner at the end of the pier and I knew I had pushed myself.
I stopped at the pier before going home and I just sat for a moment in reflection.
The full moon had come out of hiding in the clouds and lit up the sky and the water with a ethereal glow.
Off to my side, I saw a family lighting a Chinese lantern and sending it off into the night sky. They were smiling and hugging each other. You could truly feel the love.
I just sat there in awe of the moment.
None of this would have happened if I decided to stay at home. In that moment, I felt that I saw a glimpse of heaven.
This experience was unique from any other time I’ve gone running.
I went on this night run for a simple workout, but returned with the knowledge of 3 important things:
1. Greatness is not achieved by sitting on your ass
This should be a no brainer, but somehow we all occasionally believe that if we just “go with the flow” of life, great things will happen to us.
The most successful people in the world didn’t get to where they are by sitting on the couch watching their favorite show on Netflix.
They got there by getting out there and busting their hump every single day.
I am firm believer in the philosophy of you get out of life what you put in.
Sure, it’s nice to relax and take some personal time every now and then, but if you let your own laziness prevent you from doing what needs to be done to reach your goals, then you have no one to blame at the end of the day but yourself.
William Glasser said, “We almost always have choices, and the better the choice, the more we will be in control of our lives.” There are many things in life that are out of your control, however the one thing that you have complete and total control over every day of your life are the choices you make in response to your life situations.
If you’re looking for your dream job, get out there and look for it.
If you’re looking to get in shape, strap on your running shoes and run your fucking heart out.
If you’re feeling lonely, embrace all of your relationships like your life depended on it.
If there is something out in the world that you want, fight for it with the passion and commitment it deserves.
A great man by the name of Eric Thomas said it best, “When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, then you’ll be successful.”
2. By pushing yourself, you’ll be capable of more than you ever imagined.
Many times in life, we limit ourselves to what we think we can achieve. We usually will only push ourselves to the point of losing comfort.
This is probably one of the most debilitating things a human being can do to themselves.
Looking at some of the most successful entrepreneurs (Richard Branson, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, etc.) in the world, they all have one major thing in common: They all dreamed bigger than the world believed was possible and made it their life purpose to achieve that dream.
It’s not enough to just get out there and work for your goals, you must push yourself to the absolute limit, and when that’s not enough, you must push even harder.
Something miraculous happens when a person fights for what they want with everything they have. They achieve greatness!
Search deep inside yourself and find what you want out of life.
Once you find it, give everything you have to obtain it. If you never give up, and put your all into what you want, you WILL come out on top.
If you ever feel discouraged on your journey, just look behind you. You will be amazed by the distance you have already gone simply by pushing yourself that much harder.
3. Do not run away from the unknown. Instead, run toward it with passion.
One of the biggest mistakes in life is following the path that many others before us have taken.
Sure, following in the footsteps of a mentor or idol wouldn’t be the worst way to go, but many of us simply follow the rest of society. We go to college, get a degree, get a job, raise a family, retire, die. All because someone else told us to.
Looking at some of the most successful people in the world, one would see that they were dreamers and innovators. They didn’t get to where they were by doing what everyone else was going. They forged their own path. They ran toward a destination that had an unforeseen future.
Of course this is scary. It is human to fear the unknown, however it is those things which we fear the most that often lead to the greatest outcomes.
The darkest of pathways indicate that it is a place than none have traveled. Be the light that shines brightest in the darkness.
Don’t run from the unknown, instead run to it with all of you passion, for at the end you will find what you seek. Spiritual activist Marianne Williamson explains it beautifully, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
I challenge you from this day forward to get off your ass, push yourself harder than ever before, and run toward the unknown.
I assure you, on the other side is a reward you never thought possible.