Aspirations to a higher grounde

My struggles to climb to a higher grounde. Weekly updated.

Consistency – 2

Too many of us spend our time waiting for the big-bang moment, the massive splash. If only I got my big break, If only I won the lottery, If only someone gave me a million dollars! In the meantime we continue our obsession with video games, and junk food and mind numbing television.

Once in a while, we get inspired. We hit the gym, rise early, write a journal, go for treks, pick up a sport. However slowly things go back to normal – we have work to do, friends to meet and life is busy.

Its not really your fault. The world around us celebrates the big moments. Nowhere is it more obvious than in sport. We see day long coverage of the 100m world record run, the air-Jordan slam dunk, the winning shot, and only an occasional mention of the years of hard work, resolve and consistency that went into creating that moment.

I think most of us would agree that 5 years of consistent hard work would lead to success in almost any field. You might not win the Pulitzer but if you spend 5 years writing and rewriting and improving a draft, chances are you will get published. If you spend 5 years working out consistently, you can be assured of great physical and mental health. Maybe you won’t beat tiger woods, but play golf seriously for 5 years and chances are you will beat all of your friends and associates, even play a tournament or two.

Isn’t it better to devote 5 years in the pursuit of excellence rather than spend all our lives languishing in mediocrity? I think all of us want to pursue the higher grounde, we just need something to push us, something to get us going.

However the beginning is the easy part, the tougher hurdles to cross are to keep going and being regular, and I would offer two simple solutions –

1. Resolve to take up 3 things you would like to get better at and you love doing for 6 months. Do not stop or give up for 6 months and then choose 1 of the 3 and pursue it for another 6 months. Reassess after the year; feel free to go back to one of the things you dropped if that made you feel better.

2. Be regular. There is no point in pursuing a goal if you can’t be regular. Everyday is normally impossible, so target 4 times a week. No exceptions. Make some sacrifices, pull out of that Saturday night bash or make sure you have reached your weekly target before the weekend.

Aristotle once said, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit”, and i am sure its a habit that can be developed.

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Filed under: big ideas, ,

Consistency is Everything !

Back in high school, every year in the chilling cold of December, we used to have the cross country run competition. Starting at 5.30am on the last day of school, the 7km run was both torturous and exhilarating.I dont pretend to be a great long distance runner and never managed to finish in the celebrated top 50, however I always believed in finishing the race to the best of my ability. However as things turned out my last race changed a lot of my perceptions.

It was around the middle of the race, the stalwarts had passed long back and slipped into the lead. Some of the bystanders had shouted the number “120” as i passed indicating my position. Top 50 looked a very bleak prospect indeed when a friend caught up with me and we started to jog together. A while later we realised we had picked up speed and decided to keep going as far as possible without slowing down and see what happens. All along we kept passing tired runners, strollers and slackers and kept going. our rank started to improve too and though neither of us was known for his stamina, it being the last race of our school lives gave us some special energy, and we just kept running, at a steady pace, never slowing down, it was all adrenaline. The longer we kept going the more our ranks improved, racing through the 90s, 80s and settling in the 70s. Another 20 to go we told ourselves, and targetted each guy running ahead and counted down. 20 – 19 – 18 – admittedly we were amongst the serious runners now and overtaking was not easy, but the way we saw it was it was the 2 of us against him all alone. He stood no chance.And all the while we kept going at our consistent pace.

12 – 11 – 10… only 10 more to go now, we told ourselves.

As the school came back into view, we knew we had to push and the with the adrenaline pumping, we hit our stride. Almost sprinting now, someone shouted ’56’ as we entered the school gates. We went past 2 more runners before starting the final lap on the main athletics field and now there were only 4 more people to cross for a top 50 finish. We knew we had to give it everything. By this time we were running as fast as we had ever run in our lives..A roar went up among the audience. My eyes were hazy as we entered the final stretch, with my lungs in severe need for oxygen, still matching stride for stride, with my friend. The runners ahead had seen us coming and were pushing as hard as possible now, but were no match for our momentum. With only a few meters to go we crossed another 3 runners.  It was the dying moments of the race and time froze. The realization hit us both in the same instant, and we glanced at each other, there was only one place left and and it would have to be him or me. And in that glance, in that instant we knew the answer, ‘let the best man win’.  Returning my gaze to the finish line, which was only a few yards from me now, I dug deep for the last iota of strength left in my body and took the final few strides. I could feel my heart pound and my legs ache but nothing could stop me now from earning the finish which had been denied to me all my school life. It was the only thing that mattered. As the I crossed the finish line, the field, the officials, the world around me was a haze, my legs would not take my weight anymore. Collapsing to the ground, I lost conciousness. 

I was revived a little later by the medical staff, still lying in the grass unable to move, “what happened”, i cried. It was a tie, you both got the 50th position, said someone.

It was all I needed to hear. I passed out again. 

Years later when I look back at that fine hour, I realize that if we had stopped even once we would not have made it.

“Consistency is Everything”!!

Filed under: lessons from life, ,

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