Would you rather travel this road by motorcycle or foot?
Either way, you might enjoy a book called Born to Run. . . . That is, you might enjoy one of two books, both called Born to Run.
It’s amazing that, when Bruce Springsteen wanted to, for some reason, only seven years after the book Born to Run by Christopher McDougall became a runaway bestseller, publish a book with the same title . . . the publishing house actually let him do it!
(That was a joke.)
While these two books are very different—in subject matter and style—their similarities don’t end with the title. Both books, you see, harbor countless pockets of wisdom, interspersed among fascinating stories.
I’d like to juxtapose two quotes from these books that I adore . . . though don’t necessarily fully understand. Both quotes are about the feeling of doing something you love: how it feels to do something so naturally that you become somehow one with it.
Here’s a lesson in running from an incredible distance runner known as Caballo Blanco, as quoted by McDougall:
“Think Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. You start with easy, because if that’s all you get, that’s not so bad. Then work on light. Make it effortless, like you don’t give a shit how high the hill is or how far you’ve got to go. When you’ve practiced that so long that you forget you’re practicing, you work on making it smooooooth. You won’t have to worry about the last one—you get those three, and you’ll be fast.”
And here’s a lesson from Springsteen in letting the good times roll—while performing:
“I’ve still never regularly quite had the mojo to freely let the ‘bon temps rouler.’ Except . . . onstage. There, strangely enough, exposed in front of thousands, I’ve always felt perfectly safe, to just let it all go. . . . I don’t know why, but I’ve never gotten anywhere near as far or as high as when I count the band in and feel what seems like all life itself and a small flash of eternity pulsing through me.”
I don’t really know what it means to run easy, light, and smooth (though fast makes perfect sense); but if I try, and sometimes even if I don’t try, I feel these things while running. And I don’t really know what it means to dwell amidst pulses of all life, plus a small flash of eternity, while engaged in an artistic, or otherwise skilled, endeavor; or perhaps I do. . . .