One of the most memorable movie lines of all time, at least to me, is from The Shawshank Redemption when Andy says to Red, “I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying.” I remember when I first heard it I thought, “Wow, that really is a simple choice. I can either go through life waiting to die, or go through life trying hard to live.” For me, living meant conquering fears and becoming the best version of myself. It meant moving forward instead of choosing to stand still, or walking slowly through life making decisions at a snail’s pace. Therefore, I took a literal approach and became a runner.
It’s not as though running came natural or that I didn’t have to work at it. It was a process that was essential in helping me learn to believe in myself and trust in my abilities. It didn’t come without reservation or doubt. It didn’t mean I never wanted to quit or that my life changed immediately. It meant that I made an effort to progress, instead of waiting for something to move me. I had to ask myself constantly “Is there a reason why my own walk can’t turn into a run?”
Life is too short to remain powerless to your own self. If you give in to the part of your mind that is filled with “can’t,” then you surely won’t. However, if you seek the “can” part of your mind that yearns to free itself from imprisonment, then moving forward becomes more than just a possibility – it becomes an action. It becomes an unconscious movement toward clarity, and the belief that anything is possible. It diminishes the thought that limitations are a vital byproduct of your wellbeing.
There’s a certain comfort level that comes with the familiarity of repetition. It’s easy to stand, as well as walk, because we do so almost mechanically. But, how often do we run? How often do we move our legs in a conscious effort to promote health, reduce stress or step out of our comfort zone? People choose not to run because it takes a substantial effort. It may feel unnatural at first and the “can’t” part of the mind quickly becomes a psychological hindrance. It adds a simple question mark that suddenly throws everything off balance and decreases the ability to empower oneself. The trick is to view life in a way that is void of boundaries and allow the concept of success to reign.
It’s important to see running as an ally. You cannot fear the possibilities of failure, but rather, envision the opportunities for success. For example, imagine yourself finishing your first 5K or completing your first mile without stopping, and do your best to bring that image into fruition. Set goals for yourself and find ways to attain them. If you stand idly by, runners will surely pass you. However, if you run as part of the crowd, even if you finish last, you are still considered a runner. In the end, we all cross the same finish line. Therefore, set goals to no longer be a spectator. It’s you that decides how successful you will become, so take action now.
At some point we all stand at a crossroads and question which path to take. I always say take the path that leads to success. In reality, though, there really never is a right or wrong path. It’s always what you make of it. You just have to decide if you are going to run toward the path of your choosing or just stand there waiting for something to happen. It really does come down to a simple choice. You can either get busy running or get busy standing.
By Raul Alanis