When you look at the title of this post (If you want to win, run against the wind), you might think that’s advice for running faster.

It is not, because in real life the opposite is true, at least for sprinters. Logic, you say, would dictate that you would get stronger running against the wind, and stronger equals faster. But strength is not the asset in sprinting that it is in weightlifting.

World class sprinters add downhill running (effectively wind at their back) to their training. It makes them run faster, improves coordination, and has several other benefits. Golfers who want to drive it farther train with a practice club that is lighter, not heavier. They learn to swing faster, and it transfers to their own clubs.

If you are a golfer or know one, here’s a tip. When you need to hit a longer drive, turn your club upside down, grip it, and swing the handle of the club fast three times, as if you were hitting a ball with it. Then hold the club properly, tee off, and you’ll hit your drive farther. You’re welcome.

Physically running against the wind might in fact increase your endurance and strength, and that’s good. But running against the wind metaphorically is even better.

Against the Wind – Bob Seger

Bob Seger’s song Against the Wind is a little bit about rebellion and a little more about relationships. Those who put it on the line to find the right path and the right people “weather the storm.” They are running against the wind.

He knows that run can be rough: I began to find myself searchin’, Searchin’ for shelter again and again, Against the wind, A little something against the wind.

All of us — and this may include you — who decided to run against the wind have looked for shelter, too.

Beautifully, though, he only seeks shelter. He doesn’t seek a different direction, even when challenges come. Well those drifters’ days are past me now, I’ve got so much more to think about, Deadlines and commitments, What to leave in, what to leave out…. Well I’m older now and still runnin’ Against the wind.

How many of us give up and just go with the flow? It is much easier, after all, to run with the wind at your back. You may not learn as much about the path you’re on or the people in your life, but it is easier.

One more golf illustration, and I’ll make it quick. A golf ball goes farther when you hit it downwind, but that is the worst way to practice golf. Always practice into the wind if you can, because every miss is easily seen. Practice downwind to feed your ego, against the wind to get better.

Against the herd — Brad Anderson and Marissa Streit

Many people know Bob Seger, relatively few know Brad Anderson. You might know who he is if you are a Best Buy investor or fan.

Best Buy started life as a stereo company called Sound of Music, and Brad worked there as a commissioned salesman. Along the way the company struggled, and eventually the founder asked Brad to help turn the company around.

He confesses that he didn’t know what to do, but he knew this: business as usual wasn’t working. Their strategy to that point had been to do what everyone does, so he decided to “run against the herd.” Instead of selling to hobbyists, they targeted a mass market. Rather than pay commissioned salespeople, they put everyone on salary.

In other words, they did the opposite of what almost everyone in their business was doing, and it worked.

One person who learned that lesson from Anderson is Marissa Streit, the CEO of Prager U. In a conversation with Anderson she said she’s often asked about the success of Prager U. Her response, “I don’t really have any competition.” She said everyone else doing “edutainment” has a woke message, and Prager doesn’t. She is running against the herd and, she believes, making a positive difference in the world.

Against the crowd — You?

If you imagine yourself running against the herd, maybe you see yourself getting run over. But then maybe the herd, if you run with them, will run off a cliff.

Run against and you have options, go with and you are held captive by the crowd. You must do what the herd does, and you will.

Can you run with the crowd and be popular? Absolutely. But is that your primary purpose in life?

If your opinions are formed by listening to the crowds, you are probably in trouble. Just ask yourself how you make choices. That, after all, is what Do Good U is all about. We help people learn to make good moral choices, whether at work or school or home.

I asked a server at a restaurant recently whether or not she recommended a particular sandwich. She said, “A lot of people order it.” And I’ll just bet that many respond, “OK then, I’ll have that.”

Social proof is not only a real thing, it is big business. Considering a product on Amazon? You will certainly check the rating. We are trained every day to let strangers guide our choices.

Let me guide yours a little. Consider running against the crowd. It’s OK to like a movie that doesn’t have a high IMDB rating. You can love a book that has five stars or no stars. Tweet (if you do that) your well articulated opinion, not just something you think will get you followers.

Every day make good moral choices, don’t just choose what the crowd would choose. Learn to be honest, not just agreeable. Speak the truth in love, not the slogan of the day.

The more you get away from the manipulation of the crowd, the more you’ll love running against the wind. And in practically no time at all you’ll know that it’s the very best way to run.

Do good. It’s in you.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Josh

    Great thoughts, Lewis! I just heard this quote from Mark Twain this morning and thought it was spot on with your message, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

    Also, I greatly appreciate the golf tip. Keep them coming.

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