If you are interesting in the topics covered in this blog, you will DEFINITELY be interested in my friend Jim Ulvog’s blog Outrun Change.
But I’m not going to talk about Ulvog’s blog right now (although I expect I’ll be touching on it in future posts here).
I’m going to talk about its title – specifically the first word in its title.
Since Ulvog is talking about change, he could have chosen a different word to use in his title. After all, running is relatively slow compared to some other transportation methods today. He could have said “Outformulaoneing change” or “Outconcordeing change.”
The word “outrun” is old – my (20+ year old) Merriam-Webster dictionary says that it’s been used since the year 1526 – but the concept of outrunning is even older. If you look at 2 Samuel 18:19-33, you can find a 3,000-year old story about Ahimaaz, who outran a Cushite so that he could be the first person to bring news to King David about a battle victory over David’s son Absalom. (Incidentally, this was several hundred years before Pheidippides’ famous run from the Battle of Marathon.)
But the benefit of the word “outrun” is that people can always understand it. Take my example “Outconcordeing.” Back in 1976, the word “Concorde” would be easily understood by people to mean “fast.” But a mere 24 years later, the word symbolized crashing. Today, the Concorde no longer exists.
All of these amazingly fast technologies – horses, buggies, Model T Fords, trains, planes, faster planes, rockets – are eventually surpassed. Today when you see a buggy in Amish country, or a Model T Ford on your local street, you think of them as quaint.
But despite these technological advances, the idea of running and outrunning still resonates. Most of us have legs, and many of us can run, and we can all find someone who can run faster than us. Therefore, “outrunning” is something that we all instinctively understand. We understood it 3,000 years ago, and (if we’re still around) we’ll understand it 3,000 years from now.