There’s a test in game design used to classify players based on their gaming preferences. According to this test, there are four types of players: Killers, Socializers, Achievers, and Explorers.
Killers live to fulfill their desire of winning. They have a strong sense of competition and are always looking to be at the top of rankings. They want to be the best and they want to win against someone.
Socializers tend to look for experiences that will allow them to find connections and relationships with others. They like to find like-minded individuals and enjoy developing a network of people.
Achievers are motivated by the completion of goals, quests or objectives. They are likely to look for experiences that will allow them to fill in the steps or milestones towards a bigger goal.
Explorers are engaged in activities that will allow them to discover new places. They are adventurous, they like going at their own pace, and often like to collect secret or hidden tokens that will help them create or build new things.
I’ve written some posts here about how I started running to feel better about myself because my health required a change in my lifestyle to diminish the pain caused by a connective tissue disease. And it worked wonderfully! after two years of constant running I was gladly able to say I’ ve conquered the pain, and my disease.
Having that mindset quickly profiled me as “killer” player type. I started to think of my races in terms of what others did and where I was in the leaderboards or rankings. Certainly all the fitness apps I have hold great focus on comparing yourself with others. I was even competing against myself, always looking to run longer and faster. In my case, my killer instinct’s focus was not limited to beating other people, or time, or distance, but on beating my disease.
As I started getting better, and feeling healthier and stronger, there was a funny feeling inside me that started growing: the fear of giving up running. If I was feeling better, would the need of running go away?, if I was running only to beat disease, would I be blinded now that I was feeling better and let go of running?
And then I read a book that started switching the way I thought about running, Haruki Murakami’s "What I talk about when I talk about running". There are many parts of that book that I was able to identify with but here’s a quote that helped me tremendously: “Competing against time isn’t important. What’s going to be much more meaningful to me now is how much I can enjoy myself, whether I can finish twenty-six miles with a feeling of contentment. I’ll enjoy and value things that can’t be expressed in numbers, and I’ll grope for a feeling of pride that comes from a slightly different place”
After reading that book I started shifting away from competition of any kind, and I let go of that killer profile and turned my focus towards being an achiever and an explorer.
Since then, running has become the activity that allows me to get to places that I’ve never been before, to experience life in a way I've never had before. Ultimately, running helps me to live the life I want to live, and in that way, it has come to be one of my dearest passions.
My husband and I visited the Stawamus Chief mountain in Squamish, BC. yesterday, and it was the very first time I went on a hike that required climbing. There were many moments when I had to climb up some rocks when I thought: I can’t do this, I’ll try, but I know I can’t. I had to focus a lot and use most of the muscles in my body to do things I didn’t think I could do.
When we got to the top, all I could think about was: Oh, the wonderful places running will take you! I certainly didn’t run my way up that mountain, but it’s precisely because of all that running I’ve done that I was able to get there.I can’t imagine myself doing that if I didn’t have the strength I’ve gained for the past years.
Every time I go to a new place that requires some kind of physical activity and I’m able to get there without feeling like I’m dying, I’m thankful for being able to run. Because it has taken me to some really wonderful places, both physically and mentally.
Murakami wrote “For me, the main goal of exercising is to maintain, and improve, my physical condition in order to keep writing novels, so if races and training cut into the time I need to write, this would be putting the cart before the horse, which is why I’ve tried to maintain a decent balance”.
When I was running to compete, I was definitely putting the cart before the horse, and I had to think of something that would help me find my balance again. Now, there’s some bigger goals behind my running, and they’re all oriented towards discovering and exploring new things. Last Murakami’s quote for this post “It doesn’t matter how old I get, but as long as I continue to live I’ll always discover something new about myself.”