So I love running.
I run between 20-40k per week.
It’s amazing for clearing your head and getting away from distractions.
Obviously it’s also great for cardiovascular health, and I’ve found it helps me have stamina to work long hours where required (though this is rarely needed).
My brother recommended I read the book ‘What I talk about when I talk about running’ by Haruki Murakami.
It had a few great life lessons, even if you’re not a runner.
Murakami is a great writer who happens to be very into running so he describes it nicely.
Today I’m going to share my five favourite takeaways from this book in relation to business:
- Business is a marathon, not a sprint – Working 24/7 is glorified in business and I think it’s a load of horseshit. Sure you have to hustle sometimes and pull long hours, but if you can’t get your shit done in a 7-8 hour day you’re either trying to build Space X or you’re very inefficient. Long hours should be there exception, not the rule. I’ve done 12-14 hour days, 7 days a week for months on end and I personally found that it was counterproductive. Getting good quality sleep, exercising 3+ times a week and eating a semi-healthy diet will give you all the energy you need. Pace yourself, you could be doing this for 10 years or more. Make decisions based on what’s best for the long term. Short term decision making will screw you eventually.
- Have time to yourself – In a world where everything is so noisy and cluttered, time alone is more valuable than ever. Never before in history has it been so easy to be distracted. That’s both in how EASY it is to be distracted and the sheer VOLUME of things that can distract us. Knowing this, having time away from all of this allows you to unwind. In my opinion it’s one of the most valuable things in our lives, to be able to think alone about what you really want from life and where you can improve and how to create something special. Running allows you to get away from the noise for 45 minutes or so and think about things.
- Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional – This is one of the biggest points in the book. He says that you feeling pain is guaranteed in a marathon. There is literally no way to avoid it. Knowing this, he says that you learn that pain is just your body saying you are pushing yourself. It does not mean you need to stop, it’s just feedback. And feedback can be ignored. Whether you buy into the pain is up to you. Whether you agree that you should stop is up to you. He literally tells his body during the final part of the marathon that he is a machine. They are just cogs and amongst all the sweat, pain, fatigue they will keep powering along until the job is done.
- Every challenge will have a tipping point – I’ve experienced this in running races also. You will run for a period of time and you slowly get more tired. Then you suddenly hit a groove and it’s automated. Your pace is set and your breathing is consistent and you ride that out for the bulk of the race. You go from ‘I don’t think I can keep this up’ to ‘I feel good, I can maintain this’. If you treated the first 1km like a sprint (like is super common in the City2Surf), you’ll gas out early. Pace yourself, you’re in it for the long haul.
- The marathon is a metaphor for setting any life goal and proving you can achieve it – He approaches everything in his life like a marathon. You do sufficient preparation, start small and work your way up, acknowledge the pain, learn to deal with it and achieve it. He suggest that nothing in life is insurmountable, you simply need to prepare and work at it step by step. It’s also a test of you as an individual. Can I do this? I think that’s a large appeal of business. Can you actually build this? Of course the answer is yes, it’s just a question of whether you do the work and commit regardless of the pain.
I loved this book, if you don’t run you may not enjoy it as much (though the lessons are still relevant).
It’s a short read ~3 hours and definitely got me thinking.
Let me know what you think if you read it!