I hate treadmills. Other than getting sweaty and maybe a little bit tired, I never feel like I accomplish anything of value on a treadmill. I know some of my running friends, particularly my northern brethren, have to use the treadmill as an important part of their training during the winter months so I can appreciate that you sometimes CAN actually accomplish physical training on a treadmill.
For me, part of the reason I hate running on a treadmill is because of the life analogy it brings to mind. In life, as in running, sometimes we choose to, or simply have to get on a treadmill for awhile. We are seemingly just staying in one place in our life, not experiencing much of what is out there for us, but somehow getting dirty, sweaty, and tired. I find that this happens to me most often when I don’t take time to stop, slow things down, examine what is happening around me, and just be quiet and reflect on where I’m at and how I can experience more of life instead of just staying in one place getting sweaty. I’ve been in that place lately; darting mentally from one project to another, placing blame on clients for not being easy to work with, griping at my team about deadlines I know they are focused on, and generally moving too fast in one place to be very thoughtful about business or life.
Much like running outside after having been on a treadmill, I often find that when I get off of life’s treadmill, I start to appreciate beauty around me more, I discover new things that were really very close to me but I never saw because I was stuck on the treadmill, and I get energized by the other people and other exciting things going on around me.
Sometimes there’s no choice but to log your miles on the treadmill – it’s 35 degrees and rainy in Dallas today where I am attending a conference; and sometimes you find yourself on a treadmill in life. But next chance I get to be outside, running and experiencing the world around me, you can bet I’ll be out there. Today, in my life, however, I don’t have to wait for better weather – I’m getting off of life’s treadmill today and I’m going to experience the people and things around me in a new a refreshing way.