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Run to Live

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Message Greg Spagna

Greg Spagna - Author
Greg Spagna - Author
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I am just a regular guy. However, because I have done something regularly and consistently over a very long time, some people think I have accomplished something of consequence. That is, I have jogged six miles every other day, for over 50 years without missing a beat. I have jogged over 50,000 miles in more than 30 countries and on 6 continents. I have had no bad knees, bad back, bad ankles, bad pain".. no nothing.

I had been jogging some 7 years before I decided to write down the lessons I learned from jogging. I was inspired to write my memoirs after seeing the movie Cocoon. Watching "old geezers" come alive from the energy of aliens gave me the impetus, at age 77, to write "Run to Live. "

At the time of the book, I had jogged some 54,750 miles over 9,125 days for 71,175 hours. That's over 4 million minutes to THINK. Mostly I think of simple things, but I have learned that with perspective, you can spot a good lesson.

I have learned one very important observation from all this time jogging: whatever goes into my brain before I start jogging always comes out better when I finish. While the resolution you arrive at may not always be what you want, the process does bring problems, hardships, opportunities and joys into perspective.

The lesson I would like to pass on to you (whether or not you are a jogger) is this thinking process and learning the steps to take going forward. First you "put" whatever you want to think about in your brain. Then you separate those things into two "piles": the things you can do something about and the things you can't. (It may require multiple attempts to banish the things you cannot do anything about from this process.)

Next, you break down the things you CAN do something about into smaller "things" or small steps. The most important part of this process is that you MUST HAVE THE COURAGE to follow these small steps. I have found that the reward for following this logic is tied directly to the "size" of the challenge; the bigger the challenge, the more exhilarating the reward!

This thinking process has helped me and it will help you with any serious "Life Sucks" events. "Life Sucks" events happen more often than I would like; therefore for me, more jogs deal with that than any other type of jog. These jogs happen any time myself, my family, my friends or anyone I hear about encounters a personal set-back or something horrible to deal with.

For my own personal tragedies, I often say "Why me?" or "Why them?" and then I head to the "self-pity sewer," where I cry, A LOT. But then the endorphins kick-in and some degree of reasoning starts to take place. I say to myself "I am hurting and I have to deal with that," but do I really have to relive the hurt over and over? This thinking helps me and usually cuts down on the amount of times I permit myself to feel this hurt. The more serious the hurt, the more "life sucks" jogs I need.

My most serious "life sucks" jogs took place (and still takes place) after I lost my son Jeffrey. I don't know how I would have gotten through that without my "life sucks" jogs. During those jogs, I had to "handle" thoughts like "how can life go on without him?", "he's not really gone," "why me?", "I miss him so much." How can I enjoy a meal, this party, this ANYTHING, now that he is gone? But then the endorphins (my saviors) show up and I come to the realization that I have a choice to make: I can stay on the road to the "self-pity sewer" or I can change my path and get on with my life.

It's now years later and I can enjoy my life without feeling guilty. I can think about Jeffrey, the time I had with him, the good things and I can feel great about it all. Don't get me wrong, nothing is ever the same, but I can move forward and have dreams and goals and go about fulfilling them.

My thought process during my jogs over all of these years has put me on a better road many times throughout my life, and I am very grateful for the mileage.

It is important to set a map of where you want to go in life at any age. Some simple steps to help guide you is what I call the umbrella of enlightenment that you and no one else opens:

1. Determine who you are

2. Determine what you want" be a resourceful architect of your future

3. Set dreams first, goals second

4. Reality must always be observed in your thinking EXCEPT when it comes to your dreams

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Chairman & CEO of Target Research Group, Inc. President & CEO of Spagna Dunn Research, Inc. Prior to forming Spagna Dunn Research, Mr. Spagna was Chief Operating Officer of Market Facts, one of the largest research companies in the world. When (more...)
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