Real Joy Comes with Flow Motivator

Why Running – Find your Reason or Motivator?

Fear – Health and Fitness, Achievement, Success in Career, Girls or Boys or Social Networking, Running-Away, Weight-Loss, Self-expression, Challenge, Meditation Or Flow (Joy of Running).

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Mother and Daughter on way to home from tuition classes

No matter whether you are running for a charity, fun, and health, healthy living or promoting these causes, the running brings tremendous benefits in your life physically, mentally and emotionally.

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Dan Rourke, ex-VP, Cadence Design System, Inc. (www.cadence.com), and Jaswinder Ahuja, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director, Cadence have been my biggest inspirations for running 5K, 10 K runs and marathons. The internal CSR group – MACS – Make A Child Smile, in Cadence has been organizing and running 5K runs for charity fundraising for its supported NGOs for the last 10 years. This experience still fuels the passion around any of my run even now, rather it is the most ticking factor.

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Share & Care Week – Collecting sports gears for less privilleged athletes

Another inspiration comes from dear friend and colleague Tanvir Kazmi (www.tanvirkazmi.com), who says that “as part of a time-management training, an activity is needed to identify a goal, define small steps to achieve that goal, all within a defined timeline. And ‘Running a Marathon’ can help you strategize and achieve this goal.”

After 1.5 years of running on road, and founding running groups, meeting many runners, I can summarize 3 main or leading motivators that drive people into running – Fear, Achievement and Flow (My real meat of this blog)

1. The Fear Motivator – Chased by the Dog: We have a desire to stay healthy, blow off steam, avoid weight gain, heart disease and middle-age spread. We run to escape unpleasant, painful things in life: the fear motivator.

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2. The Achievement Motivator – The Brass Ring: We have Personal Best (PB) to set, distance or weight goals to reach, competitors to beat and status to earn. We run to reach a goal: the achievement motivator.

“Even if you win small, it’s important, as you start building habit of winning.”

According to HBS study, progress in meaningful work is important to work for long term success. When you run there is no dearth of goals. You get to set goals (timing or distance targets). Further, these goals are quantifiable, measurable and time-bound, hence keep you disciplined and accountable. They are not distant and black swan type event i.e. playing in the national team. It makes you push every day. Achieving these targets regularly builds confidence. Even a little aggressive weekday goal of Fartlek (Speedplay), Interval or Tempo run gives you confidence and positive mood for the whole week. It makes you realize that you can exist out of comfort zone.

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3. The Flow Motivator – The Joy of Running – While as children, and even adolescents, we can respond to this natural urge to run and break into a trot whenever the feeling takes us, as adults it’s not the done thing to just start running at any moment, without any reason. So we formalize it. We become runners. We buy running kit. We set out our carrots (our targets), we download iPhone apps, we get people to sponsor us (so there’s no backing out), and once everything is set up, finally we can run.

But, we have the times when we leave the watch at home, ignore the distance markers and run to enjoy the scenery and collect our thoughts; when we forget we’re exerting ourselves and get in the zone. Running for running’s sake: the flow motivator.

Racing along out on the trails, or even through the busy streets of a city, splashing through puddles, letting the rain drench us, the wind ruffle us, we begin to sense a faint recollection of that childish joy. Somewhere a primal essence stirs deep within us; this being born not to sit at a desk or read newspapers and drink coffee, but to live a wilder existence. As we run, the layers of responsibility and identity we have gathered in our lives, the father, mother, engineer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, supporter, philanthropist, all fall away, leaving us with the raw human being underneath. It’s a rare thing, and it can be confronting. Some of us will stop, almost shocked by ourselves, by how our heart is pumping, by how our mind is racing, struggling with our attempts to leave it behind.

But if we push on, running harder, deeper into the loneliness, further away from the world and the structure of our lives, we begin to feel strangely elated, detached yet at the same time connected, connected to ourselves. With nothing but our own two legs moving us, we begin to get a vague, tingling sense of who, or what, we really are. This is real running for me and I hope you listen to this feeling one day. When you enjoy this joy, fitness will happen automatically – be it physical, mental or spiritual.

Thank you Ajit Kumar Srivastava for capturing these moments of Joy – the moments when my son Angad and I were just we – completely in moments and joy of running!!!

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