Words of Wisdom

Words of Wisdom

“I never lose, Either I win, or I learn.” —Nelson Mandela

I remember running my first marathon as if it was yesterday. I had trained hard, ran a few half marathons to see how my body would cope. I was ready for the challenge. All my training buddies had warned me about the last two miles, as that is when the race really starts…“stories right?”

It was a perfect early spring Sunday morning running through the city suburbs. People out clapping and supporting you with shouts of “Ad-da Boy.” I was feeling good and had been moving at a very comfortable pace. Life was Great!

When you run long distances, you tend to play mental games with yourself. You break the race down into smaller parts. How do you eat an elephant? One mouthful at a time. First marker, three miles, then six miles, half way is 13 miles and so on. Keep your energy up, drink enough liquids and try not to think too much about the distance ahead. My goal was four hours. I wanted to qualify for The Comrades Ultra Marathon (55 miles).

I remember getting to the half way mark ahead of the schedule; around 1hr 45 min. I posed for a picture and had a quick pit stop. I was feeling strong. “I Can Do This,” while heading into the unknown. I got to the 20-mile mark; my legs were feeling good except my right knee was starting to hurt every time I took a stride. I adjusted my running style to put more of my weight on my left leg. I kept going to the 21-mile mark, the pain was getting worse. I stopped for the first time to stretch my hamstring and had my knee taped up. That helped a bit, but every stride was excruciatingly painful. This is what everyone had warned me about. The race only starts after 20 miles. I let my mates pass me as I was slowing them up “Guys I will see you at the finish line.” Most of the race we had been overtaking runners. Now it was a steady stream of people passing me. The voice in my head kept saying “STOP.” STOP! If I stopped the pain would disappear, once I took a step the pain came back instantly, even walking was the same intensity. So, I just decided to run, I figured that would get me to the finish line faster.  That’s when I knew without a doubt that the mind is stronger than the body. My body was not going to stop me, but my mind sure was trying. I kept going. When I saw the 1-mile mark I had tears in my eyes. When I ran the last 10 steps, crossed the lines, fell over, just collapsed with relief and just cried. I didn’t have to take another step. The joy of knowing that was emotionally overwhelming. 

My mate stuck a beer in my hand, I drank it and cried at the same time. Sheer joy of not having to endure any more pain was such a relief. Also, that day I knew, “I could do anything I put my mind to.”

I immigrated to the USA, started multiple different businesses in many different fields, traveled the world and have worked with many entrepreneurs to help them grow their businesses. I am a firm believer that the difference between winning, having a successful life and businesses comes down to one thing…GRIT!

Your ability to persevere through your struggles until you master “The Game” you are playing. Having stamina to stay the course. “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.” — Angela Duckworth. 

I remember working 365 days one year, that’s right, NOT one day off. When I had my first business, I loved my work and was going to “Win No Matter What.” Outwork your competitors. Physiologists have recognized and studied Grit as a massive determining factor in success today. Consistency over the long term will eventually produce results, be it health, fitness, business or relationship. Grit is a marathon not a sprint.

So, my friends, when you are faced with the possibility of giving up, stay in the game and keep moving forward. “Your dreams are on the other side of Grit.” —Angela Duckworth

You will be amazed at the rewards.

— Ralph