The Pursuit of Happiness

Sometimes all we need is a little perspective.  With careers, hobbies and relationships taking up most of our time, it’s easy to get lost in our routines.  You wake up one day and aren’t really sure how you got to where you are.  As I type on my Mac book, with the TV on in the background, it’s strange to think how much society has changed in the last century.  We assume that this is the way life has always been.

I recently read the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, which I highly recommend by the way, which tells the story of the Tarahumara, an ancient Mexican tribe that continues to live south of the United States border in the Copper Canyon.  They live deep in the mountains away from civilization and lead a very simple lifestyle with one unique trait: they are always running.  It’s not uncommon for the Tarahumara to run more than 50 miles a day in what we would describe as worn out sandals through some of the toughest terrain in the world.  Even as they surpass 60 years of age, they still cover these distances and keep up with the younger Tarahumara.  Did I mention they smoke tobacco and drink corn beer daily?

In the mid 90’s, Americans lured them with supplies of corn to race in the Leadville 100, a 100 mile race in the Colorado mountains that is recognized as one of, if not the toughest physical challenge on the planet. They smashed the competition, but once sponsorship money began flowing in, their American hosts transformed into greedy agents.  Feeling out of place, they stopped coming north of the border – forever.

To anyone who has jumped on a treadmill and felt pain and exhaustion after only a few miles, it’s reasonable to ask “why in the hell do these people run so much?”  The answer is simple: Because they love it.

Modern society has altered how and why we do things.  The majority of us exercise only to look more aesthetically pleasing to the opposite sex.  We train for marathons because we want to beat our best time and feel a sense of accomplishment.  The training and time spent in the gym is a means to end.  Something we must put up with in order to reach our goal.  If someone were to give you a pill with no side effects that gave you the perfect beach body overnight, or the ability to run a marathon in under 3 hours would you take it?   Most would.

Continue reading on page 2.

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