Life is a Marathon not a sprint
Those were the words that popped into my head as I settled-in to begin my evening shift earlier this evening (Yeah, I run an evening shift in my home-office).
Of course, I have heard that phrase a number of times but never has it sunk deeply the way it did today.
Having witnessed Marathon and Sprint races first hand I think I have a clear picture of the meaning.
Sprints are usually fast,short and very finite at most 400m for relays. Often times, the guy that takes the lead at the beginning of the race if well paced ends up winning the race. You know Usain Bolt right?. Picture a race involving Usain Baba, that is what a sprint looks like.
Marathons on the other hand are much slower and longer and infinite in their right. The average marathon race spans between 20 to 26 Miles. Thus the guy that takes the lead at the beginning might not necessarily win the race. As a matter of fact, there are several over-takings in Marathon races. You can over take me at some point and then I catch up with you later and over take you. Some even fall out of the race either voluntarily or involuntarily. You pictured that too right?
Now over to this iteration we call Life. A lot of people (especially people with Nitro-fueled ambitions like myself) approach life like spring runners. The gun goes boom! and then you want to take the lead, acquire everything within a year or two, you want to lead the pack, show some “Usain Bolt career stunts”, you want to jump from 5 to 6 to 7 to 8 zero pays within the twinkle of an eye. When it appears someone is doing better than you are (leading you in the race), you are looking for the very next opportunity to overtake even if and when that will be the Delilah in your Samson’s career. Life doesnt work like that my friend. We ain’t running any sprints here man.
Instead we should approach life like the Kenyan Marathon runner. I did a little research sometimes ago about why Kenyans and East Africans generally tend to grab medals easily when it comes to Marathon races. Aside from the fact that their weather and climate conditions put them on continual “marathon-mode”, they have another secret. Guess what it is? It is called Pacing.
Yeah, you read that right. Ethipia’s Kenenisa Bekele has mastered the art of pacing. He knows how to run not too fast and not too slow so he doesnt burn out. While others are trying to take the lead at just about 400m into the race, he is busy jugging, having a very nice time conserving energy. Then when the race is closing, he catches up and out runs the sprinters in the Marathon race(Guess they missed their roads right?)
Even if the sprint mode is working for you like its doing for me, at best, what happens is you reach your peak very fast and they you have two choices either you remain marginal or you begin to decline. The former saps productive energy while the latter corrodes your “rep” or what these motivational people call your Personal Brand.
BTW, even if Life was a sprint, you should still try to take things easy because ELKAFT (Eyan Le Ku Any Fucking Time). Sorry if you do not speak or understand the Yoruba Language. It means one can die (AKA Opt out of the race) any fucking time.
I am Seun Ogunmola I help People and Organizations to leverage on Technology to achieve their goals Faster, Easier and Cheaper.
I also write on diverse subject areas including Finance, Business, Productivity and Governance.