Don’t forget the little things

Last weekend I ran in a local 5K race. It was a nice event put on by a nice group of people for a nice cause. Everything about it was nice.

After I finished and got a water, I walked back along the course to cheer on the other runners. There were probably a few hundred people at the event (a nice sized crowd for a race this size) but not many to cheer others on. I pulled surrogate duty of family, friend, and spouse and added a few words of encouragement.

Short races like this have a lot of people that just want to try it. They think they can run 3.1 miles and work hard to do so. It’s a great challenge for some people and it was great for me to see them finish. They put in not only time and effort, but went out on a limb to do it. It’s not easy to do something hard in front of other people. I would never strap on my guitar and play in front of others. No way. Those runners, I think, conquered that fear, they showed up.

I did this because of small moment. Two years ago I was reading Born to Run and there is one small part about Scott Jurek. At the time Jurek was the Michael Jordan of the ultra-running world, but he did something after every race. He would cheer on all the other runners. These are 50 mile+ races but Jurek went out and cheered on every last runner as they finished.

If the best runner in the world can go and do that after a major ultra-marathon, then I can do that to in our nice 5K.

In some of the realms I work online this idea doesn’t stick. There are advice columns, books, and articles that focus on the 80/20 rule, doing big things, and moving the needle forward. But we can’t always calculate what those things are. There is no way Jurek grew up as a runner and thought, “if someone ever writes a book about me I hope they include this part about how I cheer runners on and some dude in Ohio reads it.” Life doesn’t happen that way.

The thing I learned is this, don’t forget about the little things. If there’s something small you can do that makes a difference to someone else – do it. You never know what sort of trickle down effects it might have.

Weekly review 36 of what I’ve been reading, writing, and doing.

Last week I decided on a plan to read more, and it’s worked great. Not only am I ripping through Yes!, and Against The Gods, but I’m also listening to Elon Musk. All are very good and will be finished by next week. I can already tell that the Musk book is going to be too short. I’m about halfway through and PayPal and Zip2 have already taken place without much detail. I don’t fault the author Ashlee Vance, those periods could be books on their own, but I wanted more.

This week I wrote up notes from Howard Marks’ interview with Barry Ritholtz. Marks explained some big ideas in clear terms and it was well worth a listen to. Plus, he credited the role luck played in his success, something his peers don’t often say.

I also wrote about the changing career landscape that’s coming into view. This post took a long time to get right, and I’m proud of the conclusions I reached. The general takeaway is that we are quite bad at figuring out how valuable we are at our jobs. Due to this, we don’t see when we won’t be valuable anymore, but if we do recognize it, we can take helpful steps. It’s a big idea I’d like to come back to someday.

// Photo is of a clay face at my father’s home. We’ve been lucky to spend a lot of time with family this summer.


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