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Quitters, Runners, & Dopers

By: Michael Blankenship |

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”

– Heraclitus of Ephesus

Greetings from LA and Oahu!

This week we challenge you to be more self-aware (by answering some specific questions). We also discuss how winners quit, how runners run, and how dopamine — a “feel good” hormone — can be either your best friend or your worst enemy. 


Quitting, For Winners

For the most part, quitting is thought of as being synonymous with failure. We’ve been told by Hollywood as well as our grandparents that quitting doesn’t lead to an easier life, but to a dissatisfied and bitter one.  

And there’s a lot of truth to that narrative. Quitting isn’t the answer, especially when done preemptively, as a knee-jerk reaction to slow success (and most success is slow success).


Quitting isn’t always what it seems. Some people with high levels of grit mistakenly think that quitting, in and of itself, is bad… and so they continue to do things that aren’t getting results, aren’t making them happy, and aren’t progressing them forward, all because they made a commitment and they don’t want to quit. 

But there is a time and a place to quit — not as a knee-jerk reaction to slow success… but as a thoughtful decision in order to pursue something else, something more fulfilling, impactful, or achievable. 

In fact, here is LifeHacker’s guide to knowing when to quit and to doing so with dignity. Check it out if you think it’s time for a change. 

Running 101

Have you ever gone for a run and thought to yourself, how do people do this everyday? 

The convenience of running is partly what makes it so appealing — you just slip on your shoes and walk out the door. But it’s painful, you can’t catch your breath, and after just one run, you’re so sore that you can’t (or don’t want to) go again for a week or two. 

If that’s been your experience, then you’re probably doing something wrong. 

Running doesn’t need to be unbearably painful.

You’re probably running too hard, too far, and too aggressively without giving your body the chance to strengthen the necessary muscles and ligaments. 

Here’s an article from Women’sHealth (the advice also applies to men) that provides 10 realistic steps to becoming a real-life runner. Click for the details or get the gist in the list below…

  1. Don’t be afraid to start with walking.
  2. Use your breath to find your pace.
  3. Don’t run every day.
  4. Focus on minutes instead of miles.
  5. Progress smartly and safely.
  6. Mix up your runs.
  7. When in doubt, find a training plan.
  8. Gear up to go the distance.
  9. Call in the accountability buddies.
  10. Remember why you’re out there.


Dopamine — often called the “feel good” hormone — is a neurotransmitter that’s the kingpin of your brain’s reward circuitry. Dopamine drives both good and bad addictions. Most people feel its effects after a hard workout, during meditation, while gambling, playing video games, watching porn, or having sex. 

Just like everything else in life, dopamine “is what you make of it.” 

And the Twitter profile, Striking Thoughts, recently shared “3 positive addictions that will give your life meaning” in a tweet thread.  

The first one was “Mastery in your craft / profession”…

The second one was “Truth seeking”…

And the third one was “Body & mind mastery…

This Week’s Photo

Arnd Wiegmann / Reuters

“A cow is transported by a helicopter after its summer sojourn in the high Swiss Alpine meadows, near the Klausenpass, Switzerland, on August 27, 2021.” via The Atlantic

This Week’s Riddle

Here’s this week’s riddle — the answer is at the bottom of the email!

When you say my name, I’m no longer there. What am I?

Extra Stuff

Here are some other awesome articles that caught our attention this week…

This Week’s Challenge

The dictionary defines “self awareness” as “conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, motives, and desires.” Being self aware leads — with surprising ease — to progress and growth. Because when we understand the truth of who we are and what we want, we intuitively “steer the car” in the direction we want to go. So here are 7 questions to ask yourself this week that will help increase your self-awareness. Take your time answering them.

  • What am I good at? 
  • What is going well in my life right now? What is not going so well? 
  • In 3 years, where do I want to be? What do I want to be doing? 
  • Are my thoughts mostly optimistic or pessimistic? Why? 
  • What things do I love to do? 
  • What am I most afraid of? Why? 
  • Am I focussing on the most important things every day? 

Riddle Answer: Silence

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