Monday, 11 February 2013

Last mile to the finish line

One of the most important dimensions of self-belief, is being able to fulfil promises; not the ones that you make to somebody else, but to yourself. It is about being able to trust yourself to finish up what you have started and about not letting the last mile take away the effort of all the other miles run.

The sports analogy of running the last mile is often quoted, but in life we are not running in one direction and finish lines are often so blurred that keeping focus is a challenge. Every year scores of people sign up for gym memberships; so much so that the owner of a popular gym chain in my city once told me that gym memberships had become like insurance policies; his clients buy them and most dont ever end up using the facilities for the full term. Being busy with the job, relationships, kids or just being unable motivate themselves to get up and head to the gym are quoted as reasons for dropping out. But the ones that do exercise their will to build the discipline of regular exercise are almost always rewarded with better health and higher energy levels; neither of which is a definitive finish line but a strive worthy goal nevertheless.

There is often no trophy or applause; while some of the most enduring images of inspiration are of athletes lunging towards the finish line to applause and the blinding flashes of paparazzi cameras, what most mere mortals get is just the satisfaction of a job finished. But do it again and again and eventually the trophy will be a deeper and a firmer belief in ones own capabilities, which is an enabler and a motivator to achieve bigger goals; much like artists who develop a bolder and firmer stroke by prolific painting and then end up painting some of their best works

One of the most common reasons why people stop just short of the last mile is an inability to sustain momentum with no one to cheer them on. Most of us have at least a few people who will cheer when they begin an endeavor. But the same audience cannot be blamed for getting too busy with their own lives and for not being there after a while. The lucky few have parents, partners and friends to keep them going on till they reach a goal. While being lucky is not in your hands, being persistent definitely is. So the next time you have no audience to cheer you on, picture yourself as a lone ranger and persist with your journey. Persistence and determination is a powerful antidote to self-doubt.

Finally, there will be hurdles and there is no reassurance of a smooth track. The hurdles may come in the form of human deterrents that can sap your confidence through insensitive talk or even worse through malicious acts. It may be changing circumstances beyond your control and in a host of other ways. If that happens remember that navigating obstacle courses is far more fulfilling on completion. Taking an endeavor to completion, despite the odds, is a triumph of the human spirit.

So finish up that project to the best of your abilities, take up that hobby and keep at it, hit the gym and take those music lessons and believe in yourself to make the best of it!