You are what you take in

As runners, most of us pay close attention to what we eat. We know that each meal is fuel for the next training run or workout. Myself, I feel the difference when I haven’t been eating right. My mental state goes down, I don’t want to train. If I go too long eating junk foods, then I will fall into a pit of laziness.

Have you ever put any thought into what your eyes and ears take in? They can affect our attitudes as much or possibly more than some foods. It may not be as noticeable as bad foods, but it can slowly wear on your psyche, draining energy. Attitudes, whether good or bad,  tends to breed upon themselves.

Recently, I have taken some time to reflect on the past few years of my life. While running has been the biggest change by providing me with a confidence and fitness, the next big change was the people I associate with. It’s true that physical exercise will cause a psychological change, but surrounding yourself with positive individuals will contribute also. Running has opened doors to allow me to surround myself with just such people, ones that I would never have met had it not been for running.

I look at some of the groups that I use to spend time with and I can see so much untapped potential. The bad attitudes, the feelings of being owed something, they all over power what could be. All of these thought patterns breed off each other and start a deadly downward spiral.

Many of these people could be contributing to their communities in positive ways. Several had the potential to be great leaders, but they let the negatives around their lives consume them. Goals were almost non-existent. There were no real future plans, just what was happening the following weekend. Big goals and dreams were scoffed at. It was as if a goal was just another plan for failure so why bother trying?

These attitudes seem to turn into an infection of apathy. This infection spreads to everyone in the group without anyone realizing or caring about what has happened. Passive concern of anything beyond the immediate is rare.

By contrast, in the running community, there is constant encouragement. The last one to cross the finish line is still a finisher and still deserves the encouragement that the winner received. How can a person not improve when they are constantly encouraged and expected to? When there is a set back, there is no degrading, only sympathy and suggestions.

There is a general interest in others and their goals. Passions are shared and encouraged. When I’ve said that I’d like to try new distances, no one scoffed; instead they encouraged and, at times, escorted me in these new ambitions.

The people we choose to surround ourselves with are the ones we will become. In a strange way, those we associate with are a reflection of our life goals and our own ambitions. Why would you make your reflection into such a negative?

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