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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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        Last Updated on November 15, 2018

        Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset

        Success In Reaching Goals Is Determined By Mindset

        What do you think it takes to achieve your goals? Hard work? Lots of actions? While these are paramount to becoming successful in reaching our goals, neither of these are possible without a positive mindset.

        As humans, we naturally tend to lean towards a negative outlook when it comes to our hopes and dreams. We are prone to believing that we have limitations either from within ourselves or from external forces keeping us from truly getting to where we want to be in life. Our tendency to think that we’ll “believe it when we see it” suggests that our mindsets are focused on our goals not really being attainable until they’ve been achieved. The problem with this is that this common mindset fuels our limiting beliefs and shows a lack of faith in ourselves.

        The Success Mindset

        Success in achieving our goals comes down to a ‘success mindset’. Successful mindsets are those focused on victory, based on positive mental attitudes, empowering inclinations and good habits. Acquiring a success mindset is the sure-fire way to dramatically increase your chance to achieve your goals.

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        The idea that achieving our goals comes down to our habits and actions is actually a typical type of mindset that misses a crucial point; that our mindset is, in fact, the determiner of our energy and what actions we take. A negative mindset will tend to create negative actions and similarly if we have a mindset that will only set into action once we see ‘proof’ that our goals are achievable, then the road will be much longer and arduous. This is why, instead of thinking “I’ll believe it when I see it”, a success mindset will think “I’ll see it when I believe it.”

        The Placebo Effect and What It Shows Us About The Power of Mindset

        The placebo effect is a perfect example of how mindset really can be powerful. In scientific trials, a group of participants were told they received medication that will heal an ailment but were actually given a sugar pill that does nothing (the placebo). Yet after the trial the participants believed it’s had a positive effect – sometimes even cured their ailment even though nothing has changed. This is the power of mindset.

        How do we apply this to our goals? Well, when we set goals and dreams how often do we really believe they’ll come to fruition? Have absolute faith that they can be achieved? Have a complete unwavering expectation? Most of us don’t because we hold on to negative mindsets and limiting beliefs about ourselves that stop us from fully believing we are capable or that it’s at all possible. We tend to listen to the opinions of others despite them misaligning with our own or bow to societal pressures that make us believe we should think and act a certain way. There are many reasons why we possess these types of mindsets but a success mindset can be achieved.

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        How To Create a Success Mindset

        People with success mindsets have a particular way of perceiving things. They have positive outlooks and are able to put faith fully in their ability to succeed. With that in mind, here are a few ways that can turn a negative mindset into a successful one.

        1. A Success Mindset Comes From a Growth Mindset

        How does a mindset even manifest itself? It comes from the way you talk to yourself in the privacy of your own head. Realising this will go a long way towards noticing how you speak to yourself and others around you. If it’s mainly negative language you use when you talk about your goals and aspirations then this is an example of a fixed mindset.

        A negative mindset brings with it a huge number of limiting beliefs. It creates a fixed mindset – one that can’t see beyond it’s own limitations. A growth mindset sees these limitations and looks beyond them – it finds ways to overcome obstacles and believes that this will result in success. When you think of your goal, a fixed mindset may think “what if I fail?” A growth mindset would look at the same goal and think “failures happen but that doesn’t mean I won’t be successful.”

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        There’s a lot of power in changing your perspective.

        2. Look For The Successes

        It’s really important to get your mind focused on positive aspects of your goal. Finding inspiration through others can be really uplifting and keep you on track with developing your success mindset; reinforcing your belief that your dreams can be achieved. Find people that you can talk with about how they achieved their goals and seek out and surround yourself with positive people. This is crucial if you’re learning to develop a positive mindset.

        3. Eliminate Negativity

        You can come up against a lot of negativity sometimes either through other people or within yourself. Understanding that other people’s negative opinions are created through their own fears and limiting beliefs will go a long way in sustaining your success mindset. But for a lot of us, negative chatter can come from within and these usually manifest as negative words such as can’t, won’t, shouldn’t. Sometimes, when we think of how we’re going to achieve our goals, statements in our minds come out as negative absolutes: ‘It never works out for me’ or ‘I always fail.’

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        When you notice these coming up you need to turn them around with ‘It always works out for me!’ and ‘I never fail!’ The trick is to believe it no matter what’s happened in the past. Remember that every new day is a clean slate and for you to adjust your mindset.

        4. Create a Vision

        Envisioning your end goal and seeing it in your mind is an important trait of a success mindset. Allowing ourselves to imagine our success creates a powerful excitement that shouldn’t be underestimated. When our brain becomes excited at the thought of achieving our goals, we become more committed, work harder towards achieving it and more likely to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

        If this involves creating a vision board that you can look at to remind yourself every day then go for it. Small techniques like this go a long way in sustaining your success mindset and shouldn’t be dismissed.

        An Inspirational Story…

        For centuries experts said that running a mile in under 4 minutes was humanly impossible. On the 6th May 1954, Rodger Bannister did just that. As part of his training, Bannister relentlessly visualised the achievement, believing he could accomplish what everyone said wasn’t possible…and he did it.

        What’s more amazing is that, as soon as Bannister achieved the 4-minute mile, more and more people also achieved it. How was this possible after so many years of no one achieving it? Because in people’s minds it was suddenly possible – once people knew that it was achievable it created a mindset of success and now, after over fifty years since Bannister did the ‘impossible’, his record has been lowered by 17 seconds – the power of the success mindset!

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