This is a post by my colleague and friend, Gareth Chapman. The act of simply running allowed him to lose himself in thought, and his thoughts, inevitably, turned to the current situation we’re all faced with. Here they are. Thanks, Gareth.
I went for a run today.
I didn’t run very far or very fast, but I went for a run nonetheless.
It was the first time in the last few weeks, since races and events started to get cancelled, that I have felt any motivation to get out. I am glad that I did.
I ran in the later afternoon, mostly off the roads and away from others. When I got to the small sections of wood, the sun cut through the trees as if to point a spotlight on certain things that I might otherwise have missed. I saw deer tracks, squirrels, badger holes and more types of bird than I could name.
I felt relaxed. I felt calm. I felt like the world stopped spinning quite so fast, if only for a little while.
I am not much of a ‘social’ runner; I’m not particularly social full stop. What I like about running is the chance to lose myself in thought. Today my thoughts inevitably turned to the current coronavirus pandemic, and the implications of it. I do not know if, or how, the act of running, and being in nature, influenced my thoughts, but I kept coming back to the duel idea of Stephen Covey – the Circles of Concern and Influence.
I think that it is fair to say that most people’s Circle of Concern has grown exponentially over the past few weeks – concern for ourselves and our loved ones; concern for extended family and friends; concern for members of our different communities; concerns for our jobs, livelihoods and what the future will look like; political concerns; economic concerns; social concerns; concerns about what comes next, how long it will last and when will it get better.
What I suspect has not changed is people’s Circle of Influence over the same period – we can still only control our immediate environment; our immediate interactions; and our immediate reactions to the concerns we all face. To my mind, this is where we need to focus our energy – we all have a choice about how we act and react – and now, more than ever we need to stand up for, and own, our choices.
Let us take control of the things we can influence, and step back from the thing we may be concerned about, but have no influence over. Let us try to be positive where we can. Let us try to be encouraging and supportive of others who are using their influence in a positive way.
I went for a run today. It wasn’t very far or very fast.
I’m glad that I did.