Solvitur Ambulando – “Solve It By Walking” or “When In Doubt, Walk.” I first read that Latin phrase in 2015 in Natural Born Heroes, by Christopher McDougall. For a long time, I thought “It” must mean emotional, mental or especially business challenges.
Cal Newport’s related notion of “Productive Meditation” specifically includes work challenges on its definition. “The goal of productive meditation is to take a period in which you’re occupied physically but not mentally – walking, jogging, driving, showering – and focus your attention on a single well-defined professional problem.”1 These meanings make sense and have improved my life, decision making and thought processes.
Long before I encountered the phrase Solvitur Ambulando, I did solve a problem by walking. It had emotional and mental aspects to it, but I walked to solve a physical problem.
In September 1985, at age 10, I had open-heart surgery. After three weeks in the hospital, I came home. To regain my strength, my Mom made me walk down the length of the local mall, and back – about one-mile round-trip.
Every day, for weeks, for at least several months, as part of our daily routine, Mom drove us to the mall, and we walked. Some days, I didn’t mind the walk. Many days, I hated it.
Mom remained patient. By hook or crook, cajoling or toy-bribery, she got me to that mall every day. Through those walks, I regained my strength and health.
So I hope you do use walking to solve some of your life’s work, mental and emotional conundrums. Let’s remember that a good walk can also solve some of our basic human physical challenges too.
Whatever you came here to solve, try walking.
Newport, Cal. Deep Work. New York, Grand Central Publishing, p. 170.