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11 Reasons Why Runners Are More Likely To Be Successful

11 Reasons Why Runners Are More Likely To Be Successful

As a long distance athlete, I often get asked: “why on earth do you spend so much time on your running?” My response is often a mere giggle or a one-liner: “it’s a hobby!” The reality though is this: running yields success. Whilst not all runners will succeed, there are clear distinct reasons why runners are likely to be successful.

Having run over 30 marathons, 15 ultra-marathons and 4 Comrades Marathons – I can say with certainty that running yields success. I’ve run with CEOS, Executives, Managers, Supervisors and Entrepreneurs. But success is not entirely limited to financial or professional success. Because running gives you so much time to chat to fellow runners, I’ve had conversations with many athletes who occupy ‘low-key jobs’ in society. As such, chatting to runners such as security guards has often shown me that running gives them life success and contentment that goes far beyond the boundaries of finances and a profession.

To that extent, my definition of success is living a fulfilling and balanced life.

In this post, I want to share 11 reasons why runners are likely to successful.

1. They understand the importance of goal-setting

Goal setting is vital. In 1979, Harvard MBA program graduate students were asked “have you set clear, written goals for your future and made plans to accomplish them?” The result: only 3% had written goals and plans. 13% had goals but they weren’t in writing. 84% had no goals at all.

Ten years later, the same group was interviewed again and the result was absolutely mind-blowing. The 13% of the class who had goals, but did not write them down was earning twice the amount of the 84% who had no goals. The 3% who had written goals were earning, on average, ten times as much as the other 97% of the class combined!

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Nothing significant can be achieved in the absence of setting clear and powerful goals. Runners set goals all the time. Speed training is driven by goals. Hills training is driven by goals. Long runs are based on goals. Races are driven by goals. In fact, missing some of these goals can be heart-breaking (more of this later in the post).

2. They measure progress

Runners are obsessed with gadgets. Why? Because these gadgets measure almost everything: speed, heart rate, distance, averages, etc. All this data is important and gets analysed by runners to measure progress.

3. They value time

Time is of the essence to runners. Races start promptly. Chasing a race because you were late is just not cool. At an event like the Comrades Marathon, ONE second can shatter your dreams. Ask anyone who finishes the race in 12 hours and 1 second.

Earlier, I mentioned the heart-break of missing goals. Because Comrades has numerous cut-off points, imagine the heart-ache of getting cut-off because you are few seconds late. To runners, one second is the difference between a medal and non-acknowledgement. One second is the difference between tears of joy and tears of heart-ache.

Below is a picture of runners who were cut off at the 2015 Comrades Marathon. It shows how a few seconds or minutes lead to heart-ache.

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cut off

    The picture says a thousands words.

    4. They are highly disciplined

    Training for a long distance event – marathons and longer – requires self-discipline.

    It takes months of consistency, sacrifice and effort, all of which hinge on this one vital characteristic called self-discipline.

    5. They know how to overcome obstacles

    During training, runners will go through periods of injuries, illness and fatigue – physically and mentally.

    In extreme events like the Comrades Marathon, runners experience grueling obstacles. From the crazy distances to tough weather conditions, runners have to endure challenges that bring out the best in them.

    6. They are patient

    Runners value process. In a world of short-cuts and manipulation, runners understand that the best way to get success is through patience. Patience builds life endurance in you. Patience teaches you humility. In all of these teachings, runners learn that the longest route to success is taking short-cuts.

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    As a result, patience is non-negotiable!

    7. They know that competing with others is not the most important thing

    Competing is great. It improves you and makes you a better person. However, you have to view competition with the right perspective. Whilst competing with others is awesome, competing against yourself is the ideal. That way, you don’t become jealous. You don’t get devastated by other people’s success because you know that your turn to succeed will come around. And when it does, it doesn’t necessarily have to come in the same measure as others.

    8. They build networks

    Be it training or race events, runners meet hundreds of people. Because of the nature of long distance running, you are able to spend hours on the road, interacting with others. Through this interaction, relationships are built. Through relationship building, intricate networks are built – all of which are necessary ingredients to success.

    9. They budget

    Runners have numerous events in any given year. Some of those events are out of town and attract travelling and accommodation costs. As a result, they are forced to budget in advance to avoid the increased costs of last minute bookings. Budgeting is essential to life success.

    10. They understand the power of leverage

    The picture below says a mouthful:

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    going far

      To runners, they understand the power of team work. As such, they often jump into a crowd of runners that has a “pace-setter”, what we commonly call “buses” in South Africa. If it isn’t crowds, they run in batches of two to four runners. Why? Because they know that there is power in leveraging.

      When you run in a team, you are able to encourage one another and share the load and strain. You are also able to glean and learn from the strongest. Ultimately, in a team, you are able to go far. Success is about going far, not sprinting.

      11. They view failure differently

      Failure becomes temporary if you have the right perspective. EVERYONE fails in life. The difference between those who succeed and fail is that those who succeed view failure as temporary.

      As you can see from the Facebook post below: runners learn from failure. They view failure as a necessary transition towards success. A transition that enables them to pick themselves up, give it another shot and persevere.

      1_finish_from_8_starts

        Success is not an automatic process. It requires a certain type of mindset. It also requires a particular lifestyle that is built of productive habits.

        Running is an awesome sporting discipline that builds characteristic in you that can’t be manipulated. No wonder Oprah Winfrey and Sean Combs aka Puff Daddy both ran marathons in 1994 and 2003 respectively.

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        Peteni Kuzwayo

        Peteni is the founder of Run For Wealth. He shares about entrepreneurship and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on January 15, 2021

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

        The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

        Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

        Posture

        First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

        • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
        • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
        • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
        • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

        All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

        Facial Expressions

        Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

        • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
        • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
        • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

        If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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        1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

        A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

        The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

        This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

        2. Relax Your Face

        New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

        The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

        To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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        3. Improve Your Eye Contact

        Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

        The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

        To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

        3. Smile More

        There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

        Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

        4. Hand Gestures

        Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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        It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

        5. Enhance Your Handshake

        In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

        “Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

        It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

        6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

        As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

        Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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        Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

        Final Takeaways

        Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

        If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

        More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

        Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

        Reference

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