Talent, focus and endurance: what running has taught me about life
First things first. I am not going to claim to have too much of any of the three great qualities mentioned in the title of this post!
As a (very) amateur runner, my talent is limited, my focus wavers frequently and my endurance is not all that great. But regardless, I’ve found that all of these qualities are required, to varying degrees, when it comes to running. I do my best.
We often hear that exercise of any kind is linked to a more positive mood. But it seems to me that strengthening our abilities in these three areas of talent, focus and endurance might be just one of the reasons why this is so.
And it got me thinking about the extent to which these qualities are also required in life – and how good we all are at balancing them and coming up with a formula for happy living.
What do we need to lead a happier life?
Taking ‘talent’ first of all. Of course, this is about our base ability to do something.
It could be how good we are at eating up the miles out on the road when we’re running without having to stop. Or, it could be something like our ability to lead a team, or communicate complex ideas in a compelling way.
Whatever the particular talent or skill is, it’s something we can all do to a certain level, but then with practice we can improve it too.
‘Focus’ is all about how strong our mental muscles are when it comes to applying ourselves to a particular thing over a sustained period of time.
That thing might be our breath, if we’re meditating. It might be our cadence, or our pace, if we’re running. Or, it might be the various ideas we’re trying to marshal if we’re presenting a complex concept in a business meeting. Focus allows us to continually apply our talent in a consistent and effective way.
And finally, what about ‘endurance’? Well, of course this is our ability to just keep going. It’s about resilience, and how good we are at carrying on when we are being ground down.
It’s the feeling I get when I’m running and my legs turn to jelly, but I take a swig of water and know that I can run just a little bit further (sometimes!). It is the quality that keeps us going when work pressures are piling on, or when life just gets complex and tiring.
So, running demands some degree of talent, focus and endurance from me every time I do it. I practice them all as well as I can. In my experience, life demands each one of them from us too.
And while I don’t claim to have any of them in any great quantity, I hope that with every mile, and every day, these qualities all get a little stronger, in every one of us.
About Graham Tomlinson’s blog
Graham Tomlinson With this blog I aim to create an open website for sharing my mindfulness & self-improvement tips with as many people as possible.