Mountains or beach? Camping or cruise? Sunrise or sunset? People often use questions like these in interviews or on dating sites to try to get an idea of someone’s personality. I have a similar question that may provide even more insight into a person’s approach to life – “Stairs or elevator?” Or maybe “Stairs or escalator?” How would you answer? Most runners that I know generally take the stairs when given a choice. Is it simply a chance to get in a little exercise or is it more than that? Is it an attitude that says “don’t take the easy way out?” Maybe the answer depends on how many flights of stairs. Maybe you take the stairs if it’s three floors or less. But what if we all had the attitude of “always take the stairs?”
While waiting with a few dozen people to catch an elevator in a hotel lobby last week I told a colleague I was going to take the stairs. He asked what floor I was on and when I told him I was taking the stairs to the fifteenth floor his expression instantly said “you’re kidding!” But then it changed to “maybe I should do that too.” He’s not a runner but he strikes me as a guy that has the “don’t take the easy way” attitude. So we headed into the stairwell and were joined by a parade of five or six others on our climb.
Now I must admit that normally I would take the elevator to fifteen. It was just the long line and thought of waiting that made me take the stairs. But then when talking with this colleague the next day he mentioned an advertising campaign concept he worked on once that had a line “Always Take the Stairs.” That struck me as a great attitude to have. Not just for runners and not just to stay in shape. But for your approach to most things. Why take the easy way and not get any benefit? Instead, put some effort into things even if you don’t really have to.