You can do a quick search for ‘Finding Your Why’ and come up with over 6 billion hits! It’s one of the more recent business motivational tools. It comes from Simon Sinek (he gets less that 7 million hits) and his book ‘Start With Why‘ and his TED Talk. Apparently many others have jumped on this bandwagon to get it up to that many hits (that’s pretty scientific, right?). ‘Your Why’ is about the thing that motivates you to do what you do. According to Sinek it is ‘the purpose, cause or belief that drives every one of us.’
I like Sinek and I’ve listened to his podcast and read a couple of his books. He’s a great thinker. I enjoy people who challenge my thinking. At the same time, though, I am also listening to Mark Manson and ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.’ Believe it or not these two came together in my mind during my run today. While Manson’s book has a subtitle that expresses his belief as counterintuitive, on a deeper level it is the same as Sinek’s ‘Why.’ Manson isn’t saying to not give a fuck about anything; he’s saying only give a fuck about the things that you feel are important. Quit caring about what everyone else thinks you should care about and focus on your ‘Give a Fucks,’ your ‘Whys.’
So, what’s that have to do with trail running and me? I’ve been a little (okay, a lot!) unmotivated since the beginning of the year. I had goals of running more trail races and upping my miles. I have a long list of excuses: I was diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease in November, I had COVID for the second time, the weather has sucked, etc. Just excuses. Then today, one of my Facebook memories was a post I made that ended with the tag line ‘More Bad Ass, Less Candy Ass.’ I was definitely being a candy ass! I forced myself out for a run.
The run in itself was god awful! I was slow, I walked too much, I tried to give up. I think a lot of people know that mental routine. But I trudged on! I started thinking about why I started to trail run – roads were too hard on my old legs, liked to hike but I needed more exercise – and why I loved it – I love flying down the hills, I love the scenery, I love the challenge, I love the looks I get when running past a hiker, it’s me against myself. That’s what I had forgotten about trail running. Why was I doing it? My why had morphed into being better than other people and trying to meet a standard that others had set. Dammit! That’s not my ‘Why’ and I shouldn’t be ‘Giving A Fuck’! To Have Fun In Nature and Stay Fit!
In addition to all the crap excuses I listed earlier, the real lack of motivation came from losing my focus and letting someone else’s standard become my standard. I just want to run. I just want to enjoy the outdoors, I just want to stay fit so I can enjoy my retirement, I just want to hear people say, ‘Did the crazy fucker just run up that mountain?”
As Mark Manson would say, ‘Two roads diverged in a wood and I didn’t give a fuck and that has made all the difference!’