Take a Walk (Or a Run)

Diogenes Laertes in his famous Lives of Eminent Philosophers tells us that the philosopher Chrysippus trained as a long distance runner before he discovered Stoicism. One can only imagine the influence this training had on Chrysippus, and how it put him in a position to understand a philosophy based on self-discipline, inner-control and endurance. The saying in the ancient world was that “But for Chrysippus, there had been no Porch.” (the stoa in stoicism) But if not for the many miles of running, would there have been a Chrysippus?

There are plenty more philosophers, writers, and poets who have found the same benefits in not just in running but in walking. For centuries, thinkers have walked many miles a day because they had to, because they were bored, because they wanted to escape the putrid cities they lived in, because they wanted to get their blood flowing. In the process they discovered an important side-effect: it helped them make better work. As Nietzsche would later say: “It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth.” Thoreau, another avid walker, claimed, “the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.”

Remember that if you find yourself a little stuck or frustrated today. Go for a walk. Or better yet, go for a run.