Life is a Marathon
“If you can get through doing things that you hate to do, on the other side is greatness.” – David Goggins
“Discipline is the unique step of intelligent thought and activity that puts a lid on temper, encourages success and deters failure, enhances health and curbs sickness. It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.” – Yomi Akinpelu
“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”― Orson F. Whitney
“You can never be sure. That’s what makes the marathon both fearsome and fascinating. The deeper you go into the unknown, the more uncertain you become. But then you finish. And you wonder later, ‘How did I do that?’ This question compels you to keep making the journey from the usual to the magical.” -Joe Henderson
“If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it- to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.” – Sarah J. Maas
“I don’t have a formula to pass on. I always did it my own way. Even today, I hold my independence close. It’s what’s most precious to me. Passion. Risk. Tenacity. Consistency. This is my professional history.” – Giorgio Armani
“Show me a person who is consistent in his or her undertakings; I will show you somebody who is always on top in every aspect of life. I can guarantee that it will be the same person.” – Dr. Lucas D. Shallua
Quotes Courtesy of:
Most of our key goals and projects are pursued over a long stretch of time. Activities such as getting educated, attaining critical skills, building houses, building businesses, constructing roads, constructing bridges, farming, key relationships etc. normally take more than 6 months to 5 years to build, complete and sustain over time.
These activities are centered on the key pillars of endurance, persistence, delayed gratification, tenacity, discipline and consistency. If you critically examine any worthwhile venture it’s usually underpinned by these six virtues.
View them as the foundation or the key structural pillars that fuel greatness and achievement in our lives. For us to pursue any goal that is worthy we have to treat these virtues as our survival tool kit. Those who build these skills are statistically destined to succeed over time.
Vision and Long-term Strategy are all about incorporating the values and habits outlined above.
Why Life is really a Marathon
“There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have.” -Unknown
We have to learn to treat life as a marathon. Most of our worthwhile projects, deals, skills, personal relationships are attained and only sustained over long stretches and periods of time. To nurture, build and sustain any worthwhile project or activity we have to pace ourselves over the long term.
A marathon is one of the hardest and most cruel races any human being can undertake. This is a race over 26 miles/42.2 Kilometers. The term ‘Marathon’ is derived from a historical event. A runner delivered a message of a battle field victory of the Greeks over the Persians in 490 BC. He run a distance of 42.2 kilometers. It’s a plain located in Greece.
Word Origin Source: Marathon Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
Marathon is the name of a plain in Greece located about 26 miles (42 kilometers) from the city of Athens. It was the scene of a great victory by the Greeks over the Persians in 490 b.c. According to legend a Greek soldier named Pheidipiddes ran all the way from the battlefield to Athens to deliver the news. He reached the city, gasped out his message, and fell dead. When the modern Olympic Games began in 1896, one of the events was a footrace of 26 miles 385 yards (42.2 kilometers), called a marathon, in honor of the legendary run by Pheidipiddes.
Marathons are not easy races to complete. Most participants drop out halfway or close to the finish point. It requires months of training and preparation to condition one’s body to participate in this event. It’s where mental strength has to be merged and fused with physical strength.
The mind has to overcome the body. The will power to complete the race has to be present as the body will tire in the last half of the race. Most tales from any marathon runners will narrate that the last part of the race is the hardest and most cruel to the body and this is where tenacity and persistence prevail.
Excerpt training regime of a marathon
A marathon training regimen is a plan that helps you prepare for a 26.2-mile race. Some general guidelines for a marathon training regimen are:
Start training 16 to 20 weeks before the race
Run three to five times a week, increasing your mileage gradually
Take two days a week off from running to rest and recover
Cross train and do low intensity exercise on non-running days
Add marathon pace to select long runs to get used to the speed
Train for the course by simulating the terrain and elevation
We need to learn treat our lives as a marathon. We need to attain the skills that make us more effective and efficient, we need to learn to build meaningful relationships, we need to learn how to save and invest over the long term
We need to learn how to take care of our bodies over the long term. Eat the right diet, exercise and get the right amount of sleep. All these activities are carried out over the long term. They are only attained, underpinned by having the key virtues and habits of: endurance, discipline, tenacity, persistence
Another difficult pursuit is Mountain climbing it’s another test of endurance and persistence. Getting to the top of a mountain is not an easy feat. It also requires months of prior training and preparation. You don’t attempt to scale any mountain without this prior preparation.
Excerpt of a raining regime for a mountain climb
Mountaineering requires multiple types of training, each focusing on a different need:
Cardio workouts to improve the overall fitness level of your heart and lungs.
Interval sessions to boost your ability to process more oxygen with each breath.
Strength and endurance exercises so you can haul a heavy load and sustain physical output for many hours.
Balance and flexibility training because you need both for mountaineering.
Hiking days to extend your training into real-world situations.
Discipline and Consistency
Discipline and consistency is paramount in all endeavors. You hear terms like superior service, quality standards, skills and competence, 99.999% uptime, delivery beyond expectations. These terms are all underpinned by discipline and consistency.
The armed forces are termed the disciplined forces. They are revered for one aspect, the discipline to get things done, no matter what obstacles and trials they face. This occupation is a life or death service to the nation.
You cannot make it in the armed forces if you lack the discipline, tenacity and persistence to go through the training and hurdles you will face. Mental and physical strength are paramount in the armed forces.
To thrive in this type of environment discipline is a MUST. In any battle amongst peers the most disciplined forces will always have an upper hand. The key caveat is if all matters are equal in both weaponry, logistics and personnel available.
Sun Tzu in his book the ‘Art of War’ states
The art of war, then, is governed by five constant factors, to be taken into account in one’s deliberations, when seeking to determine the conditions obtaining in the field. These are: (1) The Moral Law; (2) Heaven; (3) Earth; (4) The Commander; (5) Method and discipline.
……..(d) On which side is discipline most rigorously enforced?
Discipline in the Roman Army
The Roman Empire/British Empire were built by conquest. This was achieved fundamentally by very disciplined forces. There was a term in the Roman Empire referred to as ‘Decimation’. This was an extreme form of punishment for gross indiscipline.
When the Roman Army made camp at night tents and all other camp placements were laid strictly according to distance and every soldier knew the placement of their weapons, tents and the distance from their nearest colleagues. One time this practice was broken a ritual called decimation took place.
Each company had 10 soldiers. The commander of the company brought 10 sticks that seemed of equal length but one stick was shorter than the rest. Only the front end of the sticks were visible to the soldiers.
They were all told to draw the sticks. If you were unfortunate and drew the shorter end of the stick you were condemned to death. It did not matter what your past record was, the laxity of your colleagues could mean life or death.
The rigor and discipline of the Roman forces was strictly enforced and they were able to conquer vast lands despite facing opponents with superior numbers in their ranks.
The Catholic Church
The Catholic Church has existed for over 2000 years. It’s reknown all over the world for its discipline and execution of projects. The Catholic Church is a Judaic based religion, it was the body that carried on with Jesus teachings and Christian Ministry.
The Church has a rigid hierarchy and dogma that has ensured its survival over many centuries. It’s still going strong to this day despite internal and external upheavals. The key to this longevity is the discipline it enforces among its clergy and its adherents.
It is not tolerant to individuals who break rules. They are expelled from the church and it has been able to maintain it’s true calling over the years. One only needs to visit any Catholic Church or community to understand why discipline is emphasized.
The Catholic Church is also reknown for it’s project execution prowess. If you carry out research in all communities where the Catholic Church is based you will realize they spearhead very many charitable works and ventures that benefit the community at large.
Most parents prefer taking their children to Catholic run schools. They understand the benefits of the discipline and order imparted to their kids. This has a lasting benefit throughout the lives of their children.
Other religions that have survived through the millennia also maintain strict adherence to discipline. The Moslems, Buddhists, Jews and all other formal religious orders understand that without discipline nothing of note can be achieved in life.
Delayed gratification is one key pillar in achieving goals over the long term. The famous marsh mallow test carried out among kids showed that the kids who delayed their gratification became the most successful over the long run.
We need to practice delayed gratification in key aspects of our lives. Long term goals are only attained when we can delay gratification. This a crucial habit that the successful possess. They have the discipline to sacrifice in the present to attain a better future.
The majority of personal problems are brought out by instant gratification. Eating junk food, endless time spent on social media consuming trivia, binge watching movies, drug/alcohol addiction and needless gossip are some examples of activities directly related to instant gratification.
When we avoid doing the necessary things in life it soon catches up with us one way or the other. Our health, finances, skill levels and relationships suffer as we fail to attend to them in the right manner. We are consumed by trivia instead and fail to watch out on key events that harm us in the long run.
The key pillars of endurance, persistence, delayed gratification, tenacity, discipline and consistency are crucial in our lives. If we want to truly realize our true potential in life we need to harness the power of these habits.
They are the armor that make the magic happen in our lives. Treat this as a mathematical formula
E+P+DG+D+T+C = SUCCESS
A Journey in the Pursuit of Excellence: The Art of Learning– Josh Waitzkin
7 Strategies for Wealth and Happiness – Jim Rohn
Can’t Hurt Me – David Googins