Dean Karnezes the ultra marathon man who ran fifty marathons in fifty state’s in fifty days said this and the more I think about it, the more it seems to be true. We live in an age where there’s countless technologies and ways that make life very comfortable, convenient, easy. We can sail through life within our limits, tucked away in our comfort zones, but isn’t it the toughest challenges that forge the toughest humans?
Life is filled with countless stories of people who overcame cancer or other serious illness and became a special kind of person after. Or came from a tough neighborhood but came out of it with a special kind of resilience. On my travels to India, Nepal and Cambodia, it seemed in the poorest countries of the world where i met the kindest hearts. Its our experiences that mould our character, looking back on life its always the failures or the struggles that made us into who we are.
The Spartans were a special breed of warriors, taken from there mothers from birth and plunged into a world of violence, rigorous training and extremely harsh conditions. Small children were left to fend for themselves in the freezing winters with just a spear to fight against the wild beasts that pursued them. The Special Air Service (SAS) could be seen in some ways as their modern day equivalent. The selection course is the toughest in the world, it is the soldiers with the ability to endure physical fatigue, sleep deprivation and pain who turn into warriors. Today there is a growing culture of military inspired workouts like Bootcamp’s and events like tough mudder which give civilians greater insight into mental resilience training.
For me running is a spiritual discipline where you get to observe your resilience first hand. The more miles that are clocked the more the mental battle kicks in. We have an opportunity to actively cultivate endurance in running which overflows to confidence and resilience in other areas of our life. In a world where everything is made easier and easier perhaps we need these outlets to truly test ourselves and to toss out the traits of mediocrity and complacency that can align with comfort. Testing the human endurance is an invigorating journey into your soul, when you transcend your minds limitations of whats possible just once, you open up a new expanse of potential, that you never new you had.