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Barefoot Running is Just the Sample of Crack I Hand Out on the Playground

Posted by on Sep 1, 2011 | 10 Comments

Okay, that was a mildly inappropriate title.  :-)

Teaching people about barefoot running, admittedly, isn’t my primary goal in life.  My REAL goal is to convince people to take the steps to live a remarkable life.

Many people go through life living like a zombie.  Cogs in the machinery of society.  Good team players.

Other people challenge authority.  They decide the status quo isn’t for them.  They take steps to do something truly remarkable.

My goal is to identify people that belong to that first group that secretly desire to be a part of that second group, then help them get there.

How does barefoot running help with this goal?  I found barefoot running is a good barometer.  Almost all people I’ve met that express interest in barefoot running have “the itch.”  They have a little feeling inside that there’s more to life than what they currently experience.

The trick is to convince them that the vague discomfort they feel is a valid feeling; an inner-yearning for something more.

Since Shelly and I have hit the road, we’ve met a lot of people.  It is immediately obvious which people have that inner-yearning.  They ask a lot of questions:

  • How do you guys afford to do what you do?
  • Was it scary leaving your day jobs?
  • What does your family think?
  • How do your kids handle the travel?
  • How does sex in a travel trailer work?

As they ask the questions, I can see the wheels turning.  They’re contemplating the feasibility of doing something different.

I’ve found most people have unfulfilled dreams.  Maybe it was something they fantasized about in their youth.  Perhaps it was something they daydreamed about while sitting through math class.  Regardless of the source, it’s usually a dream that has slowly died at the hands of a society that champions practicality and safety.  White picket fences.  Mortgages.  Vacations to Disney.

It’s my sincere hope that barefoot running can give them a tiny bit of confidence that there’s merit in taking the road less traveled.  Great things can be accomplished if we listen to the voices in our own heads instead of the rational droning of society.

I found most people WANT to do something truly remarkable.

All they need is a little push. Hopefully I can help with that push.

I’m going to really push my regular contributors here, but I want you guys to tell me about your secret dreams.  What do you want to do that’s truly remarkable?

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10 Comments

  1. Richard
    September 8, 2011

    Sometimes people need a much bigger push than meeting somebody inspirational. People like me, for example (I mean I needed a big push, not that I’m inspirational!).

    For me, that push was the massive earthquake and tsunami in March (I live in Tokyo). I realized my well-paid job was very one-dimensional: it was just well-paid. I didn’t enjoy it, in fact it depressed me, so I quit to do the things I love, which until then I had only been doing on the side, namely illustration, design and teaching.

    It’s only been a few months, but I’m loving my life now and I’ve got some big things about to happen. I spend way more time with my family, I’ve simplified my life so that I live on much less and feel like I have much more, plus when I need to commute I do so on foot or by bicycle.

    It also affords me the time to pursue other passions, including running and cycling. I’m planning a big event next year, which I may have mentioned to Jason already (I can’t remember…), and I now have the time to really prepare for it.

  2. Tim
    September 3, 2011

    I’ve been following your adventure since I began barefoot running earlier this year. For me running barefoot is a result of my move towards a more remarkable life. It’s interesting that my journey seems to be the negative image of yours; I’ve moved back and forth across the country a couple times (got that out of my system)and done the corporate worker thing. What I always wanted to do was teach, so a year and a half ago I left my job and returned to school in that pursuit. The confidence that rose from doing what I feel I am meant to be doing has emboldened me in many ways, and trying barefoot running was one of those ways. I had been curious about it after reading an article YEARS ago, but was chicken. I decided, hell, if I can turn my life upside down and hit the reset button there, surely I can leave my shoes behind and go for a run. Turns out I was right and it has been the most fulfilling running experience I’ve ever had.

  3. Terral Fox
    September 2, 2011

    It seems like a rough economy tends to polarize the two groups you are talking about. Some people get the attitude of “what do I have to loose?”. Others feel that it’s even more important to play it safe.

    I was laid off while working as a full-time designer and that event laid the groundwork for my willingness to even consider starting a footwear company. It has been a grand adventure and although it’s not what I expected my career to be, I love it. I also couldn’t do it without a very supportive wife!

  4. JH
    September 2, 2011

    Well, I don’t have a great theme to what I want to do in the long run. Only pieces that may or may not fit together, but here are some examples from the top of my head:

    - Run an ultra (running JFK50 in November, hopefully in sandals)
    - Have an awesome family (first child due this month)
    - Climb (well, walk up) Kilimanjaro
    - Live in the mountains (e.g. Colorado)
    - Build a wooden canoe from scratch
    - Become an independent software developer (well, a little unsure about that one for the moment)

  5. krista
    September 2, 2011

    And then…

    My biggest dream is to raise my children to do the same. Live their lives with no regrets.

  6. krista
    September 2, 2011

    Interesting post because I’m struggling with this right now. Well actually, I’ve struggled and have noticed I’ve subconsciously dealt with this. I’ve always tried to live my life without regrets. I got a degree in art in college not because I wanted to make a lot of money (yeah. that would be a joke.) but because I needed to live my life in parallel with my passions. If I didn’t I suffered. I lived and traveled Europe in college with little to no money because I was given an opportunity I would never get again. And as scary as it was, I quit my job just out of college and went into business for myself because I wanted the dream of being my own boss and creating a life that I would never regret. I would never know if I didn’t try.

    Now… I struggle to hang on to those dreams. I love my family with every thread of my being but raising children has changed my life in so many ways. The economy and technology threaten to change our business. The passions are still there, but they are changing and morphing almost out of necessity.

    So when I put my dreams and passions on hold to raise my family and adjust to the current economy and landscape, this passion for barefoot running bubbled up. I’m also beginning to see a spark of passion for cycling and more for trail running. And now… my passion for art is bubbling up again, but within the framework of these new passions which makes art even more powerful and fulfilling for me. Amazing.

    So now I KNOW I can’t live my life without making it remarkable in some way. My soul won’t let me do it. It finds another way. It finds another path. It has to find another passion.

  7. Johnny Jeffery
    September 1, 2011

    You know Jason, this is just the best post ever! What you’ve written here really captures the best of the barefoot community. There’s an openness and adventurousness that is really refreshing and alive, and the unusual passionate people are just a pleasure to meet.

    I’m not doing this because I’m yearning or missing something, my life is exciting and wonderful and I’m totally grateful. But it’s that way because I’ve dropped everything and convinced my family to follow me here to pursue a dream. Dreams are the only reason to be awake. First goal is run ultras, and I want each one to be a bit stranger and more extreme than the next. My current goals include a 100 miler next year and the Vermont Death Race the year after. I’m hoping I can rope some friends in as I love the company in any event.

  8. Eli
    September 1, 2011

    I’m Eli and since I started running barefoot it seams that I am much less concernd about what it is that I am doing and where I am than just enjoying what am a going now. You know live in the moment and all that jazz. I still want to run up some big ass mountains but for now I am totally happy with my life in Iowa.

  9. Sally Hulbert
    September 1, 2011

    Our log cabin was built in 1858 and raised families until the 1970′s!!

  10. Sally Hulbert
    September 1, 2011

    Oddly enough I have actually lived most of my secret dreams!! That is why I am impressed with you and Shelly-having the guts to do it!!It takes sheer guts and stubbornness and determination-and getting up after you fall and starting all over every time. I have been a runner for 30 years and a small business owner for 18 years plus. Owning a small business is a LOT like bf running!! Sheer determination and a little bit of stupidity mixed in. My husband and I have lived out our dream by moving an original antique log cabin from Wi to Mn onto our lakefront property after my husband traded a Civil war drum for the cabin. he determinedly rebuilt the cabin with no electricity and all with hand tools and recycled lumber. That dogged determination is what has kept our business going also, even though there have been many painful years financially. So tho we will never be rich-we are both living out our passions. I guess that Is why I run barefoot too-because I am just that determined!! We also prefer top live a healthy lifestyle and not be sucked into the vortex of society…picket fences are nice -if what is behind them is real.I agree-get out there and LIVE your life while you can!!!…and barefoot as much as possible!