One of my favorite books lately is “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall. He is a great writer who comes from an investigative journalist background. In this book, he records a very powerful mantra for running AND for saving. He wrote this book with the general thesis that humans have literally evolved to be running people. Our bodies are meant to run especially long distances, upwards of hundreds of miles.
This book is a fantastic account of our evolutionary history as well as the history of Ultramarathon Racing. He retells a few legendary races. He builds excitement for the sport. He really sells you on the idea that you can be a runner. That we all can.
I love this book.
I just listened to the audio version for free with my Overdrive app. This app accesses the local library and lets me download ebooks and audiobooks for free! Check it out. (I’ll write a more detailed post about it later because it is so awesome.)
Along with the history of the sport, and the history of us as runners, there is a driving mantra that McDougall captures from one of the main characters in the book: Caballo Blanco.
Caballo Blanco was a phenomenal character who lived an enormously introspective and wild life. His story, too, is told in this book. The following mantra I want to share with you is his.
Caballo Blanco said if you want to run well, you have to run Easy, Light, Smooth, and Fast. I’ve been running lately (more on this later too; nothing beats a good run) and I’ve been using this mantra. But I’ve also been thinking that this mantra applies to life more generally and even our goals of Financial Independence. Let me explain.
Caballo Blanco, who was an amazing runner, suggests that if you too want to be a good runner, start by running easy. If you can run easy, he claims, at least you have that. At least it will be easy.
This makes great sense in our pursuit of Financial Independence. We should be striving to live an easy life. This is not to say that all struggle is bad (it is not). This is to say, though, that some of our bad habits that are terrible for our wallets are also terrible at complicating our lives as well.
Take for instance fast food. If you go out to eat too often, you are wasting tons of money. TONS!
This habit is also complicating your life. It may seem easy at first, but in the long run it is anything but easy. Eating out first makes you lose money. Second, it is extremely bad for you. You gain weight, you get lazy, you get sick, you lose a connection to your food.
An easy life is a life where you can live simply. Easy is Simple. Easy is making your own meals. Easy is saving money by enjoying your food and the experience of making it yourself. Easy Living is Simple Living.
If you want to evolve into a good runner, you need to learn to run light. Light on your toes. Light up the hills. Light as the wind. Fast as the wind.
Financial Independence needs to be light as well. You need to find a way to make light work of your savings and your earnings.
You won’t get far if you burn out immediately. You won’t get far if you turn every battle for savings into a huge ordeal. You need to live lightly. You need to make savings a fun, light-hearted goal. Learn to save and earn with ease, and just like running, you’ll get faster and better at it.
So this is where the comparison gets especially metaphorical. Caballo Blanco copies the running form from the Tarahumara people of Northern Mexico. Their form focuses on a smoothness. This form emphasizes focusing all energy on moving forward, not up and down.
This applies to saving and earning as well. You must strive to make your financial life smooth. Get enrolled in automatic bill pays. Get automatic deductions into your savings accounts or your investment accounts.
The smoother you can make your savings, the faster it will be. Just as the smoother your running can become, the faster YOU’LL be.
Finally, if you can run Easy, if you can run Light, if you can run Smooth, then you’ll be running FAST before you know it.
The same is true with Financial Independence.
Learn to save and earn in an easy fashion. Don’t make life overly difficult for yourself.
Learn to save and earn lightly. Life can be light. Running can be light. Save light, too.
Learn to save and earn smoothly. Efficiency comes from acting smoothly. Smooth Savings.
Easy, Light, and Smooth savings and earnings will end up being FAST earning and saving.
Run with it.
You can do it. Let me know how it goes. Let me know if this mantra helps you.
It has helped me.