I’ve often heard that he who goes the extra mile gets the spoils and that most people never achieve success because they quit JUST BEFORE their moment of opportunity without ever knowing it. I experienced this first hand one morning.
I was on the treadmill at the gym and wanted to run for 30 minutes without checking the time. I didn’t want to be a clock watcher. I wanted to run with the assurance that I could do this for hours, instead of my usual spying on the clock every 15 seconds and swearing at it because it felt like an hour had passed. “Damn you digital clock! You go to hell! You go to hell and you die!”
So on this occasion, I said for the first time, I will just run until the machine auto-slows which is what it does when you pass 30 minutes. I looked ahead and I ran, and ran, and ran, and I kept focused on the idea that I would NOT look down at the clock, ever! If I could do this, it would be a BFD (thanks uncle Joe), the first time I would be so disciplined, especially as a newbie runner. I began to imagine all the other great challenges in life I’d be able to take on if I did this. Like making my first million, or getting more than 2 jeopardy questions right.
Anyway, It all started off great. Then the urge to look started to get stronger, and stronger. I kept running but the urge kept growing. For whatever reason I kept thinking; My, isn’t it 30 yet? Maybe this machine is broken. Maybe it’s one of those they programmed for an hour, maybe, maybe… and then, after I couldn’t take it anymore, after working so hard and victory didn’t come to me, self doubt kicked in big time and I decided to look. You know, just to be sure. And what did I see?
29 Minutes 50 seconds!!!!!
Are you kidding me! 10 seconds later, the machine auto-slowed and just like that I missed my success. Just like that, I stopped short of my goal! There are 1800 seconds in a 30 minute goal run. I ran 1790 seconds and gave up with less than 0.005% to go. I had already done more than 99.5% of the work and I gave up. Victory is in that extra inch, in that extra 10 seconds, if you go that extra 10 seconds, you’ll be the guy that makes it while those around you fade away, which means more for you.
So the first valuable lesson I learned here was to never give up because victory is always within your reach. As long as you don’t decide to stop and turn around, feeling defeated. The second valuable lesson I learned is that trying is everything. Trying is courage. Trying is the first step to success. While I didn’t make it to 30 minutes the first time I tried this, I left that experience knowing the terrain, knowing the obstacles, it was now familiar territory.
So the next time I attempted this only 2 days later, I ran with the confidence, as Elizabeth Gilbert wrote “like a man who has already been shown the answers to every test in the universe.” Trying made that possible. And this time, I won!
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