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Marathon – A RACE of Life

Bindu Kulkarni

Author: Bindu Kulkarni

Date: Sun, 2017-03-12 17:25

I got back to the world of marathons after a gap of six years. I participated in the 10km category with many questions in my mind; will I be able to do it? What will my timing be? Am I fit enough to participate or am I just being emotional and impetuous about it? Well! I disregarded all the doubts that arose in mind and followed my heart. I did complete the marathon with a decent timing, a sense of accomplishment and lot of thoughts on how a marathon is akin to a RACE of life.

Hundreds running along with you but you are alone…

At the start line, there are hundreds who start the race with you in the wee hours of the morning, all looking bright, fit and eager to complete the run. Some start fast, some start slow, some decide to keep pace with their friends and run along while others decide to sprint past all to complete their run with a new high. As you proceed in the marathon, you release that you are amidst a lot of people all running towards one goal "the finish line" but yet you are alone, trying to complete your run, achieve your target and fulfil your dream. The person next to you could be a stranger whom you may want to turn into a competitor or a friend who runs along with you. 

In the journey of corporate life, we all start exactly the same way, hundreds graduate to join the workforce every year with a hope to succeed. Some race faster than others to climb the corporate ladder, while others take time. We are often amidst a lot of colleagues all working towards the same of goal “Success” but the journey each takes is different. The pace of achieving success also differs from person to person. The meaning of success is also not the same just like in the marathon completing the run could be a success for one while achieving a better timing could be a measure of success for another or it could just be graduating to a higher category of the run for the third.

It's the realisation which helps you enjoy the journey – The RACE of Life. The realisation that you are the master of your run you can define your success, your pace and have the power to improve yourself from your previous experience. There may be hundreds racing the corporate ladder with you, but your journey is unique, your journey is different from others' as you are different from others. On the track or the pathway you may meet friends, competitors, colleagues who may impact your journey but at the end you are alone, running your own race to what you define as success.

The journey may have its ups and downs, towards the end fatigue may set in and the last stretch could be the most challenging, the temptation to give up could be high or the determination to reach the "The Finish Line" could be higher. The choices are only ours… it's your Race of Life - a Marathon to Finish.

 

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Race is an illusion , so that we remain ignorant and stuck in the cycle. But as it is nicely put up , it's the realization of this "imposed" race that one helps cease this illusion.

If we just think of a Race as run to beat others then its difficult but if its considered to be just your run to your goal then it does cease pressure and makes its more enjoyable.

Loved it!! The grit and determination is what appeals to me. The line I loved is ... "Hundreds running along with you but you are alone…" So very profound...but we do make some awesome friends and support, many of whom go without thanking :) Keep writing, Bindu

Thanks Renuka, will try and keep writing regularly... Yes I agree we do make some wonderful friends on the way who contribute by enriching our journey...

I love the Marathon analogy way better than a Rat Race ;-) Very refreshing to read the perspective that we are in it to get to the goal and beat our own standards and not to be 'ahead' of others. Racing is an illusion that we create for ourself to think hat just because our goals are loosely defined as similar, we now need to get there first.

Even I dislike the word " RAT Race" ....as it just disregards individuality. It is difficult to define success for oneself , many a times it is moving goal post.

Wow...Nice article.. I liked the analogy ... The thought of being better than ourselves.. Realization of what ''Success" means to self.. Remembered the Steven Covey.. Imagining what people should talk of us when they pay homage.. And try being that..That is what Success means to self..

Thanks Sachin.. Yes I agree reflecting on what we would like people to remember us as should be our ultimate goal....working towards it is greater challenge

The Analogy is very apt. As I was reading, I began to wonder how we would compare detours. The marathon gives a well defined path that must be followed, whereas, most of us navigate our own unique routes.

Thanks ...this is food for thought.... The pathway of life is never well defined..How do I find my way???

I will start my article with one story. “There was one fantastic man who was the pride of his parents. He cleared engineering exam and got an excellent job. He worked whole his life chasing numbers and pleasing boss. He continued to do the job for whole his life until one day he died” a. So, did you like the end of this story? No, because it was a sad ending and there was no spice in this. So, Change the story! This is everyone’s story. The brilliant article (blog) compares between marathon race and corporate life. It beautifully summarizes the essence of life. Corporate career is a lot more like a lemon in spoon race, that we all participated during school. It involves putting a lemon on a spoon and along with holding the spoon; we have to complete the race. Here, the lemon and spoon are out family and friends whom we need to hold along with us during our pursuit of a successful career. A successful marathon runner has the ability to sustain himself till the end of the race and reach the goal within the time line. Miss Prof Kulkarni has correctly summarized the importance of identifying the motive and definition of success in our life. Steve jobs, the famed CEO of Apple, during in his last period, has regretted his obsession with work and repented for not making friends and not spending time with his families. I believe that the greatest need of youth today is to identify their strong areas, some unique skills and to find a career which can utilise those God’s gifted skills. A boy who dances beautifully can become Shiamak Davar. A boy good in poetry can become Javed Akhtar of tomorrow. And, somebody with wits and dramatics skills can always give us a second Shahrukh Khan. Are these men less than any of the well-paid software engineers? Even a good car mechanic can earn in lakhs in a mid-level city. Sometimes, you can be in the wrong lane and in spite of a great journey, it can lead to nowhere. The thing is to identify your end point and then chose path accordingly. Both Marathon and corporate career is another thing in common, that is to take a break mid-way and replenish your energy by drinking water/juice, which for corporate will translate into taking a career break and do an one year MBA to again ameliorate your managerial knowledge and to understand how business can be improved. Reference: (a) Movie “tamashaa”

I agree with the writer who says that a marathon is akin to the race in life, in which every individual is running alone for his dreams amidst a crowd that is running towards the same goal called “Success”. The writer encapsulates well that success is a very subjective term. What I define success as may be completely different from what others define success as. In the race of life, the best part is the journey and not the destination and one should enjoy every bit of it. Every individual’s journey is unique and different and hence it doesn’t make sense to compare one’s achievements with someone else’s. For example, for someone, success may be simply achieving a specific milestone. He might be someone who finds success in every small thing while for someone else success may be something that comes with rewards, recognition or even a promotion in a corporate life. For someone else, success may also mean having a happy and healthy family. Thus every individual’s goals and aspirations are not similar and may involve trials and tribulations. It’s important that we have our objectives defined, priorities set and expectations managed such that our efforts commensurate with our objective. I commend the writer when she goes ahead with the decision to run a marathon race after a gap of 10 years. Notwithstanding having reservations on her fitness levels or possibly an emotional turmoil, she eventually triumphed. Thus, all major successes and achievements that we seek out to achieve start with a small decision with thoughts of hope, positivity and will to tide against all odds in the course of journey along with a sense of strength and courage to bounce back. These are hall marks of a true marathon runner. Period

Most of us have grown up in societies where success is defined relative to others. People who are wealthier, smarter or have achieved more than us are “defined” as successful. We often compare ourselves with others and brood over things which we have not been able to achieve. Such comparisons can lead to pessimism and we begin to undermine our own achievements. We forget the good things which we have done, the hard work we have put in and the relationships that we have built which have enabled us to reach where we are today. I am certainly not saying that we should not aspire for more success. However, instead of comparing current positions we should focus on the journey of people who we feel are more successful than we are. We should learn from their failures as well as appreciate the steps they took in their life which helped them grow. At this juncture, I am reminded of a quote by our Dean, Dr. Ranjan Banarjee when he delivered a lecture on Learning to Learn,” There will always be somebody who is ahead of you in life. You need to set a benchmark for yourself which you must strive to achieve. Success will then be sweeter.” Professor Bindu has nicely compared the scene at a marathon to life which is why Dr. Banarjee’s insight is so powerful. Too often we are so busy in chasing success that we overlook the pleasures of life. I believe that the experiences in the marathon of life matter more than the outcome. Developing an attitude to learn is more important than simply comparing ourselves with the external world. As the famous one liner from the Bollywood blockbuster 3 Idiots goes, “Chase excellence, and success will follow.”

Congratulations on your successful completion of the marathon. It takes a great deal of courage and commitment to restart what you were once good at and was easy for you. I am sure you would love to relive the journey and make more such records. I would like to highlight your ability to come above all forms of stereotypical meaning of the word “success”. You have portrayed the word “success” fantastically. In addition to your analogy utilized, I would like to think more on the cause of us getting stuck in wrong definitions of the word “success”. One reason could be that we get caught up in mental models such as external validation, competition and perfectionism. Mental models are psychological representations of hypothetical, real, or imaginary situations. These mental models act as mental barriers which disable us to understand our decisions and decision centers. We end up dissatisfied and fatigued when we are unclear about what success really means to us. We run after objectives which are misleading. I would like to conclude that life is not always about winning but about perseverance. To follow your own thoughts & your heart is a great step in itself. You may falter. You may even remain unnoticed by people around you. But in yourself you will feel only light, energy and joy. I will always remember these lines of yours that “your journey is unique; your journey is different from others' as you are different from others”. Your life is your own marathon. While running the race shoulder to shoulder with others you are also racing against your own benchmarks, expectations and standards. It is not only the matter of speed but also of endurance, survival, steadfastness and above all a clear vision of the future. Wish you folks get the rewards you dreamt of on reaching the finish line!

Professor Bindu comes out with a very amazing analogy of corporate life with maration. She puts this across when she says that when she was running a marathon she realized how everyone starts off at the same point but everyone reaches the finish line at different times. Similar lines can be drawn in everyone’s careers. Everyone starts off at the same time but the career progression of each person is different. The path that we choose makes our destinies. Each person has his own path and has a unique journey. It cannot be compared with others or comparing the path with others will inevidently force comparison of uniqueness. In this unique path of ours, we meet many people – friends, colleagues and foes alike. However they are with us only for a while, they do not stay with us forever. It is we who lead this alone. We decide what success is and what is not. One should realise that the marathon called career is successful only when defined by ourselves – what we define as success and what choices do we make. In today’s environment we constantly compare ourselves with other people failing to realise that we are living someone else’s life and don’t discover what we really want. As human beings, it is important for us to realise that a career is not a rat race more so the entire life itself is not a rat race. Each of us has a unique set of abilities and unique set of emotional tendencies which we nurture over the years. These things should enable us to determine what it takes to lead a successful life. It need not encompass each everything we do, but what we really want of this life. We shouldn’t get blinded by other people’s lives and try to live theirs; we should take their lives’ experience and make our life better in a way which we want. In the quest to lead a better life we sometimes forget to lead our life and not anyone else’s. As Steve Jobs put it – “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

Ma’am I thank you for bringing up a topic of such an importance in today’s world. The comparison of hundreds of graduates who join the corporate workforce every year to the marathon runners pushes me to think further because both situations are actually different forms of race. One thing which most of us today forget is that a marathon always has a finish line where someone is waiting with a bottle of energy drink and a medal as reward for the hard work put in but when we start considering the corporate journey as a race we actually forget that there isn’t a finish line. The wheel keeps on spinning and the longer it keeps on spinning more natural it becomes to us. This is nothing but what we call the rat race. A point of realisation here must be that even in the same race success for different people has different meaning. It usually happens, being in college we have limited money, we split our expenses and most of us don’t maintain those funky cars. But as we enter the workforce we start making money, suddenly there arises a need for a luxury car, expensive gadgets etc. All this is just a means of demonstrating the newly found success. I am not against all this till the time there is an improvement in quality of life because beyond that we enter the vicious cycle. To stay protected from such vicious cycle one must step aside and observe what is actually happening, figure out what is going wrong and then get back to task with an objective check list of corrective measures to set things right. Once we have been able to set things back to place we will able to move more freely and appreciate world in a much better way. And we must remember that life is journey and not a destination and we cannot spend that journey running on a track taking us nowhere.

Ma’am, Thank you for writing this blog. As a two time marathon runner myself, I could instantly relate to your deep insights. With utmost humility, I try to weave the story further. Indeed, as in life so in a marathon, one’s effort is paramount. In any iota of effort we make, we are truly alone; our successes and our failures arise from our willpower and determination in that iota of effort. In my modest successes, however, I find that my effort was always shouldered on a very strong support system. In my marathons I had my friends and even strangers cheering me up; in the cross country races, there would be colleagues who would fiercely fire me up just as I would begin to lose it towards the end. In my academic life and in my corporate life, I was lucky to have many who gave me the opportunity to lend their shoulders to help me make strides. Life is indeed a race. But it’s a race with a difference. There are many who are running for you. They may be your family, your friends, superiors, juniors or even those who you may not yet know and possibly would never get to know. Our journey is unique, but not just by the paths we take but also by those who are always at our side.

The blog presents a near perfect analogy between marathon and corporate life. In the grind to be the best we as individuals forget to consider that the frame of reference for each one of us is different. In a marathon each runner has her own strategy, similarly in corporate life we see many professionals moving faster than others. Clearly, the indicators of ‘success’ is different for each one of us. For some of us it is of priority to reach a certain position of importance in life, for others it is the satisfaction derived from work each day is important. In real life I have seen such examples in life. I had two of the brightest individuals in my class. One of them went on and cracked engineering and business examinations while the other was interested in designing and got selected for the best design college in the country. One of them is handles mergers and acquisitions for an investment bank in Hongkong while the other has his startup in wildlife photography. Clearly, they both had priorities in life. They both cannot perform each other’s role. Each of them has definite goals in life and has succeeded in accomplishing them. Though, it is important to craft one’s own path in life, at the same time it is crucial to have a strategy. Like in marathon, each runner has her own strategy. Some runners run fast in the beginning while others save energy for the end. It is very important to set a goal and strategize to win in the field of interest. We should be aware of our interest and our ammunitions to have the best go-to strategy. Thanks

The blog rightly conveys the paradigm shift required to see through the hardships of day to day life. The analogies used here are strikingly similar to the situations faced by everyone. In today’s life everyone is under tremendous pressure to achieve so many materialistic things. But we can see that many of the times the motive behind our efforts is to outperform someone and not to achieve progress in life. The performance measuring parameters such as Bell Curve reflect the same mentality. Due to this peer pressure, everyone is getting anxious by comparing his own condition with another person, be it our friend, brother, neighbor or any other person. The healthy person is running behind wealth and wealthy person is spending for health. In a nutshell we can say that we are trapped into “Chakravyuh“ where everyone comes but doesn’t know the way out. In this entire situation the perspective of marathon is a fresh breeze of thought. If person treats the life as marathon he will be ready to look at life as a journey and not as a race. In a marathon, runner tries to race at his own pace. In such a race he will be participating for his own purpose and with motive of self-actualization. In such a journey person will be able to complete the race at his own pace, sometimes running fast sometimes taking rest but enjoying the race for sure. He will be able to contemplate on the progress made till that time and plan the future course. In this race even if person is not able to complete the race i.e. unfortunately leaves the world he will be satisfied for sure. Our beloved President late Mr. APJ Abdul Kalam reflected the same view and said “Be more dedicated to making solid achievements than in running after swift but synthetic happiness “. So I want to say that we should start to cherish even the small things in our life and make life more meaningful than eventful.

I would like to congratulate professor Bindu for completing the marathon successfully. I completely agree with her regarding the parallel she has drawn between running style in a marathon to the corporate life. The blog also emphasizes the fact that “success” is a very qualitative word. Success happens to be different for different people at different points in time. Taking my own example, I considered getting a job on campus after my graduation a success whereas 5 years down the line success meant publishing a white paper. Unfortunately, peer pressure and parental pressure have caused a lot of distress in young kids and they are forced into a race to get the so called “success” of getting highest marks or a seat in a top institute. Owing to this the younger generation is stressed and fatigued. This stress is leading to multiple health related issues and a younger generation devoid of charm and happiness and also losing their creativity. I have observed this trend in the major cities and the trend also seems to be catching up in the tier-2 and tier-3 cities as well. It is also become a common practice to judge success relative to others. If my neighbor has a hatchback, then I should have a sedan. If my friend is out on a domestic holiday, I need to go on a holiday abroad. This mindset is creating an environment of hate and jealousy for each other which is a very dangerous trend for a closed knit society like ours. People will help themselves if they can overcome this attitude of achieving success and concentrate on doing things in the right manner and also understand the fact that every individual’s journey is unique and should not be compared to anybody else’s. This will not only help them achieve success in the right spirit but also help them live their lives in peace and happiness. I would like to thank the professor for bringing up this topic in a very subtle manner.

Mam.. I share the same thought as the one expressed by you in the blog .I always believed that it’s a greater sin when you fail to try than failing. Few years back, when my friends called me up for the 10K run. I was apprehensive about it as I had never tried and did not have the belief to complete the full distance. But later I thought there was no harm in giving it a try. So when I went to the race with a few friends it felt all good but as the race started I kind of realised that in the race you are alone and that only your mind and body are the things that supports you in the endeavour to complete the milestone. As I reached the finish line I felt relieved that I completed the race and was not bothered on how I fared against others .The important thing was that I tried and achieved something I was sceptical about. I fell that the concept “Life is a marathon “is relevant both in our corporate life and private life .Success being relative term. We need to identify our capabilities and limitations and define success. We need to create our path towards achieving the success. “it’s about the journey and not the destination” as clichéd as it may sound this quote is very true. In our journey towards success, we need to enjoy the happiness and learn from mistakes that this journey throws upon us. If we just try to achieve success without experiencing the journey the whole point of achieving success is useless.

That was a very thought provoking article Mam. The analogy drawn by you between a marathon and our corporate journey is very fresh and unique. This is a perfect lesson not just for people working in the corporate but us students as well. Each one of has joined this journey to fulfill our dreams. Some of us may be comfortable with our jobs, some may be dissatisfied, or some may just have wanted to do something new and make a difference. However, there is one thing that links each of these emotions within us, “the quest for success”. Each one of us here is different, working towards a common goal of finishing the rigors of the course with flying colors and finally getting our dream jobs. While the goal of achieving success may be common, yet each one of us is distinct and has a different measure for success. Some of us define success as getting their dream roles, for some of us it is about getting the money and for others it is about staying close to their near and dear ones. Even after we get what we dream of from this PGPM program, the pursuit for success never stops. As correctly pointed by you, it continues forward into our corporate lives. The desire for success, however, never stops. Even after we achieve what we desire for we always tend to unearth our next aspiration. Therefore, we can say that success is an ongoing process, a journey and not just a destination.

Dear Ma’am, let me start by congratulating you on successful completion of marathon after a long gap. Indeed, it takes a lot of courage to follow your heart by overcoming the inhibitions of fear of failure. I like the analogy that you have drawn between Marathon and Corporate life. Just like at the start of marathon, at the start of corporate life, the whole lot start at the same time, from same point but with different level of enthusiasm and different set of goals. What is more important is to identify your goals – reaching top of the ladder, earning X sum of money, having a balanced work-life – and know that other people have different goals. Based upon how you derive energy from others (knowing your mental model may help here), you may treat them as competitors or friends. It reminds me of an African proverb that says, “If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together.” In the longer run of corporate life, it is advisable to be a part of group and at the same time know that your journey is unique. There will be ups and downs along your journey. As Mr. Ratan Tata has quoted - “Ups and downs in life are very important to keep us going, because a straight line even in an ECG means we are not alive”. To overcome any hurdle, remember why you started the journey. Having this clarity will make your journey more focused and enjoyable.

This is indeed an interesting analogy between Marathon and journey of Corporate life! As illustrated there may be many similarities between the marathon race and race among people in corporate. In this journey, success may mean different things to different people. However, there is clearly one difference, in Marathon it is the willingness or the grit of the person running the race, he has the choice to set the pace, slow down, enjoy the journey, set his own success parameters; whereas in Corporate, the goal may be defined, timelines set and people who do not follow the pace may be left behind. This article however brings about quintessential meaning in the journey itself rather than the end and "hundreds running along with you but you are alone" is indeed the essence of life. The word "Marathon" also brings out another meaning in my life, which I would like to illustrate here. To a friend who I suggested going for a run to solve his problem, his reaction was: “Seriously? That’s your solution??” As I bent down to fasten my shoe-laces, I smiled at my friend’s incredulity at my suggestion that, of all the things, we go for a run in the nearby forest and said, “Yes, DJ. Seriously.” After losing my father and brother as a child, I lived my life in near-permanent depression. It wasn’t until decades later one frosty winter morning at Infosys, Bangalore when I awoke with an excruciating desire to get away from it all. But where to? I looked at my running shoes, owned in name only, and decided instead to go for a run. For the next fifteen minutes, I ran like never before; away from everything: my depression, my cynicism, and that gaping black-hole in my soul. By the time, I coughed and duck-walked back home, I had nothing left in me. Except a newfound dimension to my life, that is. Back in Delhi, I started training for and running marathons and soon found inspired cohorts requesting to join me. But unlike Forrest Gump, I know what people running behind me seek. I have learnt how a life-without- purpose is an emotional Death-Row and how, once achieved, self-mobilization can transform lives. So, when DJ asked for help after his business sank, I prescribed him his medicine. He followed me quietly on the run, but after ten minutes he slumped, looked down, and began crying. I let him be and stood watching as he turned and walked back home. The next day, however, he knocked at my door before my organized run. “I’m joining your group from today,” he said. “And just wanted to say… thanks.” “For what?” “For saving my life.”

At the onset, I would like to congratulate the author for running a marathon while I struggle to complete four rounds of the Bhavans Campus on my evening run just to stay fit. The author throws light on a not so unheard topic but rather emphasizes its importance as we lead our normal lives. Most of us will wake up the next day at the same start line for a marathon awaits us. Extremely nonchalant in our attitude we may choose to agree but put a deaf ear to the impact that could change our outlook. While the humans on earth keep increasing as our planet remains the same size, this race of life may just turn as a race for life for generations to come. Some may succeed and some may succumb to the pressures around them. It will be great if you are at the finish line sipping water while herds of people are yet to complete their race but you are extremely vulnerable if you are the person yet to finish the race. But they are few people who carve their own path and run a marathon with them as the only competition. How many of us have that ability to walk this trodden path? While we keep running the same race, some have already reached the finish line of their own marathon. A destination set separately will still be a destination even if you choose not to run their race. While we admire their efforts for being different, most of us who just read this article will wake up to a coffee as the race begins at sunrise. But for me who still struggles to run this marathon, I wish I could go back in time just to shoot Darwin for he said, ‘Survival of the fittest’.

Dear Ma’am, it’s a wonderful comparison you have brought in between running a marathon and the race in corporate life. Marathon teaches us to doggedly pursue a target against all adversity. It is mentioned in the article that for the same goal “Success”, the journey each takes is different. I feel the smaller steps we take to reach those goals, and how we learn and grow along the way is also very important. I would like to narrate an incident during my Roopkund trek in Himalayas. During our final climb to the summit, when everyone was very tired, the guide motivated the team every time setting realistic targets saying, “once you cross that edge, you can see the frozen lake” though there wasn’t any. However, everyone in the team was able to complete the long term target of reaching the summit by achieving these short term targets. In much the same way that we break up the marathon, set smaller goals in our life as we go hunt larger goals.

The article draws parallels between a marathon and life in general where we might choose to become a competitor or a learner. The write-up emphasise on the point that one lives his life on his own terms and choices, one eventually decides when to start and finish. While some people want to take least amount of time to reach the destination and enjoy the view from the top. While some people want to enjoy the journey to the destination. And in every activity of our life we choose one of the methods of achieving satisfaction. Moreover, it teaches us that when life gives us lemons, one can make lemonade, use it to spice up your meals, plant the seeds to grow a tree or sell them and you still will be happy with what you did because it was your choice. While the whole theme seems very simplistic, it runs deeper into the mind of the reader as it shows how all issues in the society are self-made as the choices we make develop biases in our minds. In the words of Stephen Covey, our circle of concern and circle of influence ought to be differentiated between. It is an elegant way of saying, the end may not always justify the means, as the whole affair, of defining the means and the end is our prerogative. It is up to our judgement to decide what we see, wish and want for ourselves to be happy and successful in this journey of life. Many great individuals have changed their paths to ensure that when the end their journey they get the feeling of fulfilment. The uniqueness of each our journeys lies in not only cherishing the process and living it differently but also thinking about it in our own unique ways. This thought liberates each one of us of the innumerable guidelines we make up in our minds every day, mindlessly while running the marathon called life.

This article has given a very important lesson by comparing our journey in life with a marathon race. Life is not a destination, it’s a journey and must all embark upon our own journey. We all continue our different journeys at different stages of life. Though we may start with others, but our journeys are different. However, most often, we forget this reality and get tempted to copy others. This results into a sense of un-fulfillment which leads into frustration. We face lots of hindrances in our journey and the finishing line seems impossible. However, what I have experienced in my personal life is that, the perseverance and consistency makes everything possible. Every little step, no matter how small it is, takes us closer to our “finishing line”. We need to define our own rules for the accomplishment and success in our journey, because our journey is unique. If we let others to decide our success, it will be unwise.

This is a nicely written article which leaves you with new thoughts and perspectives. In our society, the race begins at a very young age. Unfortunately, we are often compared to kids of our age and asked to look up to people older than us. Somewhere in the process we fail to choose our own destiny. We often follow people who influence us most, irrespective of whether that path is meant for us. We are forced to run a marathon where the end goal is money, power and position. Sometimes we don't even know what we are looking for at the finish line. We are so focused on reaching the finish line that very few people realise that the joy lies on the track and not at the finish line. An interesting quote comes to mind and it states “People spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don't need, to impress people who don't matter”. No matter how hard we try, they will always be something who is richer than us, smarter than us and more successful than us. It is therefore important that we don't blindly follow the crowd in a marathon. As the article mentions, we all get to choose our own pace and have our own definition of success.

Congratulations Prof Bindu for completing the marathon and also for bringing out a classy comparison of the race of life with a Marathon race. I am in total awe of the analogy you have drawn here between corporate life and marathon race. I would like to add a few more thoughts that came to my mind while reading this article. One of the most important of these is that, the write-up inspires you to celebrate all successes whether small or large. It is not just about the reaching the finish line which is means to an end , but enjoying the journey to achieve this outcome which is the most important and crucial part. At this point I can recall a popular quote by Buddha which says “Happiness is a journey and not a destination”. We should be able to appreciate the fact that the doing is more important than the outcome. And journey towards success is not a one day affair. It takes time and a lot of hard work and perseverance. You cannot just wake up one morning and decide to run a marathon. It takes a series of small achievements from getting yourself out of bed early to pushing your limits everyday to build the endurance which will allow you to run a successful race. The same goes for life, where success is not about bagging a dream job, or finding the perfect partner or maintaining a perfect work life balance. Success is the small steps that we take every day to reach our goals and how we learn and grow along the way. Happiness is about celebrating the accomplishments in these small steps. Another important lesson that I perceive by reflecting upon this article is to break a mega task into bits and pieces and then channelizing all your energy to get the smaller tasks done one by one. It is about focusing on the task at hand and moving from one step to another. The learning from this simple yet deep write-up if applied to real life can bring a significant change in our perspective and will contribute immensely in achieving success in life.

The author talks about how she ran marathon after years and then talks about the similarity a marathon has with the race of life. It talks about how both in corporate life and in marathon everybody starts from the same position and everybody want to succeed in life, though all start together, each person is alone in the journey and each person’s journey is unique. It also states that each person’s pace is different, some run fast, some run slow, some run with friends, etc. likewise in corporate life some succeed faster, some take time. I completely agree with the author in comparing life’s journey with a marathon. A marathon is a long journey and to finish it successfully it requires lot of hard work and dedication, which is also the case in corporate life wherein there is no short cut to success and it requires dedication to succeed. Also in a marathon, some runners run fast in the beginning, some run steadily and pick up the pace eventually, similarly in corporate life some people move up quickly and some steadily, each has a unique pace. Though the comparison is pretty good, it doesn’t dwell upon the complexities, the plethora of relationship dynamics, socio political environment and the ups and downs an individual goes through during his journey of life. Looking from a different angle, as learned people have said, idea should be to enjoy the marathon or life’s journey as that is equally important or at times more important than the final result, as there will be always some people ahead of you and in trying to outpace them a person might miss the better moments of his/her life.

Adding my experience of the journey, called life. The journey with mile stones of achievements & endless roads to travel. Try not to overlook the milestones which was once the destination called success. Enjoy the journey on the way to the destination, who knows what the final destination looks like. Meeting new people is an experience makes the journey memorable. Taking some of them along on the journey to success. At times giving directions & most of the time asking for directions. Finally each of us are in our own time Zone, some of them are at the same phase, some of them behind and some way ahead. I liked the statement “It's the realization which helps you enjoy the journey” very true we are the masters of our journey. We decide what we want, were & when to take a break, when to celebrate & whom to partner with.

Very true correlation with our life. My opinion here is that, the purpose of our life should be to concentrate on the journey rather than the race. “MARATHON” name is a power bank in itself. The moment I listen to it, I get energised, and inspired to do something good for myself. That is a source of physical as well as mental strength, the strength which we need to have a meaningful life. Life indeed is all about being a solo in a crowd. But what we take out of this life is on us, completely on us. I believe, be it Physical fitness or Career aspirations, the JOURNEY is more important than the RACE. When we talk about Fitness, Running builds the stamina for the body and motivation for the mind to stop not as the journey is endless with a lot of opportunities, more than what we can imagine. So I believe in making it as memorable and worthy as possible. Life is all about living, and our experiences make it worth living. Few experiences like Feeling our own body from within, Knowing our own breaths, Enjoying the nature, Self-motivation to move ahead, Meeting new people, Learning new things from our journey-mates, Competing with ourselves by setting higher benchmarks for self every time a new Marathon begins, are worth living. This brings some meaning to life. Life is fruitful if we want to make more out of it. Based on our capacity, be it physical, economical, psychological, sociological, everyone should concentrate on physical fitness. But that is not enough to get a meaningful life. The same applies to our corporate career as well where we get into the RAT RACE due to the influence of our corporate culture and social responsibilities, which results into work life imbalance and mental stress and we forget to LIVE the LIFE. Instead of considering the work as never ending RACE, if we learn how to enjoy the journey of corporate life, to have a positive mind set, to work in a team with a good amount of acceptance level for each other, to believe in own self, to constantly striving for self-improvisation, to always be hopeful for goodness, to learn new things from our colleagues, without forgetting our personal lives and choices; it will be possible for us to achieve the work life balance and also we will come out of the RAT RACE. Well, it is easier said than done. It is all about our choices at the end of the day. If I am too emotional and sentimental at some point in time, I may choose to leave the official meeting and prefer to spend some time with my friends, vis-à-vis if I am too focused on achieving the target set for me by my senior managers in office, I may choose to do away with the party thrown by my friend and work overtime for that target. There is nothing like right for all or wrong for all kind of behaviour for all the individuals all the time. But for a person in his/her individual capacity, what choice he/she would make for him/herself is entirely on his own. What matters here is how the resultant situation(s) is/are handled by us. If the decisions taken are not leading to regret than the journey becomes an achievement award. That is what should be our target. According to me, in whichever phase of life we may be, we need to enjoy each and every moment with the same amount of excitement without any regrets so that the journey be very interesting. A wonderful JOURNEY is like a cherry on the ice. DESTINATION FEELS MORE BEAUTIFUL WHEN WE ARE IN A JOURNEY AND NOT A RACE.

This Article really makes us think about your journey in corporate life which starts with start of your career in corporate life and finish line can said to be success which could mean achieving milestones one after another in this long journey of life. During this race you may see some as competitor, friends or colleagues but ultimately you are the one who has to decide your pace, define meaning of success in your life and put enough efforts to achieve that success. Having said that it important to go by your pace to achieve your success. So some may start early with sprint race and some may prefer continue moving, but important is to introspect your potential, do your SWAT analysis try to work on improvement areas and move on. This will make your life more meaningful in long run. Balance of both mental and physical health matters the most which ultimately balances your social, emotional, professional and personal growth which is important in long marathon. This article encapsulates very well that success is a very subjective term and meaning of it may be completely different for one from another person. In this whole journey, definition of success changes from time to time and your previous experience helps you to improve you further and motivates or encourages you to set higher target for success in Life. This journey is full of ups and downs and at some point of time you may get tempted quitting this race but it’s up to you to what level you want to take it to in your life. For that you have to always focus on your short and long term goals and put diligent efforts to meet them. Best example could be the recent French open 2017, where for Rafael Nadal’s meaning of success at this stage could be achieving 10th grand slam versus someone else to win it first time. So its upto you defining your own success and keeping yourself motivated and putting cautious efforts through this journey to achieve it. So takeaway is, its your life - Run it your way

Madam, Reading the article I had goose bumps as it pepped me up on the purpose of life. I completely agree with you. We are all humans and we have a purpose / goals / ambitions in our life. Our day may look mundane but surely we have goals and we all are working towards the same. Some have big ambitions and others may have smaller, but hard to find a person not having one. Again the goals or ambitions keep changing as we move on. In the journey of life, some are achieved and some or not. However, it is important to focus on what is your priority and once you have decided to achieve something, you need to go all out and make the best effort to achieve the same. Again as you have said that you are the master of your run and you define your success so we should not be deterred by a few issues that come up or get worried on how others are doing. We need to understand that we are different and each one of us has a purpose which will be different from the other. So instead of getting demotivated by comparisons, we should identify things which we enjoy and do the same. The only thing which can increase if we keep comparing is stress and we may loose focus or we may have thoughts of deferring. Hence, we must avoid things which will move away our focus. As much as I kept reading this article, I could not avoid the similarity on the character “Rancho” from the movie “3 Idiots” who simply did what he enjoyed without bothering about the world. Not only he improved his life but possibly made others around him also understand the purpose of their life. He made people understand that one will be happy if he or she focusses on what his or her passion is, instead of doing something because of competition or pressure. He taught as to how one should define the goal and work towards achieving it and not give up and when his friends did want to give up, he would show them the way thus, inspiring them to achieve their goals. He taught and inspired one thing amongst many was to never give up how difficult the situation is and he lived by it. We have seen, heard and read many autobiographies or biographies of great people and heard stories about some who have been unsuccessful. In most stories, successful people believed in them and never gave up!! Personally, I have myself seen the benefits of not giving up and vouch for it, be it with respect to education, becoming a Chartered Accountant under difficult emotional and economic circumstances, taking up different positions in my career which were challenging and in a few cases not my core strengths like that of functional analyst for software or handling agreements and contracts. Of late, I decided to move from sedentary lifestyle to a healthy lifestyle. It was tough and difficult at every stage and the thoughts would always go to choose an option which was less tiring but the results were sweeter and more beneficial. All in all I am happy that I resisted the temptation to give up always. I did not regret anything when I went through the rigors and have always cherished the moments of the journey. Finally, I have embarked on this journey of PGEMP with SPJIMR to enhance my skills and knowledge and I shall achieve the desired outcomes as I sincerely believe this is going to be “MY Race of Life – a Marathon to Finish” moment. Thanks for REMINDING!!! I will cherish this article for long.

Reading your blog in closed room with rainy skies outside the window in mumbai peps me up for my marathon of life called success. A simple way of explaining the race to success makes me question - what success means to me? Not everyone can finish the marathon, there are few who can finish it , few who cannot even finish a half marathon , but the idea of participation itself is success .Success IS very subjective, a few intelligent, creative mind may climb the ladder to success at very early age while a few less gifted ones could take a little while.The blog made me also realise that in the race to success there would be friends , strangers and relatives who would be a part of your marathon to success or failure. Is running alone a success or winning together more successful. Till date i have never seen a single surgeon performing the surgery all by himself in a operation theater, he is always surrounded by a team . Thats when there are different ideas on plate and different points one might ignore but the other wont, giving a wider perspective and fine execution of whole project/plan. But all this not at the compromise of personal life. Run as fast as you can or as slow you can but run together. thats when the chances of success are more and failure are less. Thank you Ma'am for an inspiring blog which would hold true for almost everyone .

What an amazing correlation of Marathon with the race of life! First of all I must congratulate you for completing the Marathon by overcoming all the arrays of physical & mental hurdles. It’s great that you followed your heart & achieved the success. To some extent agrees to your thought progression on the subject. In the Marathon everyone is well aware of the finishing line; though the individual have set different goals in their mind; but the ultimate Goal is to win the race. But in a corporate ladder it may be different as the individual journey is unique & based on your own skill, experience, situations & surrounding factors which largely affects individual growth in the journey. The competition is quite tough as there will be marginally minimum difference in the competitors & last stretch will test individual to prove him / her in achieving goals of winning of their own race of life. This is like a Rat-Race everyone is behind the promotion, salary rise, better future prospects and wants to climb the ladder very fast & to reach to the finish line. But what is that finish line? When I entered the corporate world graduated from the engineering college a decade ago, the only ambition I was having that to have a good job in a renowned company. I joined as a graduate engineer trainee & now as a DGM when I look back, the memories flashed back & I could see the years passed on & noticed how I got swallowed in the rat race. My only ambition of doing a job in a renowned company was aggravated evasively .I was so obsessed by my position, job, promotion… bla bla bla.. Just running one after the other. Only threat is that you lose your friends, well-wishers & sometimes you lose yourself in that race which is the biggest threat; forgetting what is the ultimate goal of your life. I remember the lines I read from the book “Lean in” form Sandberg’s that “Visualize your career as a jungle gym, not a ladder” That’s why I said I partially agrees as in Marathon at least you know the finishing line but here the corporate ladder... NO END…. If in one company you reached to the highest position of the ladder, you change the ladder by changing the company. What an irony!!! I am happy that I have started looking at life as a beautiful journey & not as a race; which gives a constant sense of competitiveness, pressure & anxiety. This has not happened drastically; it was a motherhood by which I could noticed the peace in the journey of life & instead of running after the razzmatazz of the corporate… “Der aaye durust aaye”... Better late than never. It doesn’t mean that I am not ambitious about my career. Yes I do. This changed attitude of looking to the life shifted my visualization from RACE to JOURNEY. I feel more successful in my life the day when I started enjoying the life. The choice is yours whether you want to be in the race seeking the future or you want to be in the journey living in the present; maintaining the pace with the reality…. Running with the hundreds with feeling of I am not alone…..compelling everyone in this lovely journey Embracing the new life…with the mantra that “LIFE is not the RACE, find the joy in the JOURNEY & ENJOY a bit of it to the fullest”

Beautifully written article ma’am. We always fail to appreciate the fact that the journey is as important as a destination that is the key idea that I would take away from this blog. In the race called life you are always competing with yourself if not then it is not your goals you are following but someone else’s. As rightly pointed out by you we will have a lot of apprehensions when we start off in a race after quite some time. I am in the same situation currently a couple of years back I was someone who used to run a lot but off late due to various factors I have not put my running shoes for a while now. After reading this definitely I am going to take up running all over again. A race becomes enjoyable when you are not competing with others but with yourself. ‘Success’ is relative if you ask me for someone finishing a marathon would be what one wants. For someone else beating the previous their best time would be what one defines as success. The point being ‘Success‘ is defined differently for different people. You are the one who decides if you are a winner and run your own race. Age also plays a key role in the competitive mentality mentioned here. When you are young you are always comparing yourself with others and running behind a lot of many things to prove your worth. But as years pass by you become much more mature and you are on a zone of your own with your own definition of success. When you look back you realize that back then you were trying to compare Apples and Oranges and how futile the exercise was. A very motivating article I would say which makes you ponder for a moment from our busy lives and makes us ask each one of us. Did we actually enjoy our respective races so far and have we started enjoying our own races.

Everyone by birth is not a runner. And every good runner does not run marathon. In life it is more important to run marathon. Marathon is target which is outstretched. It is not impossible but it’s hard. Even participation in marathon run is more important. There need to be a goal in life which may be difficult to achieve but it may not be impossible. It is the individual who decides to participate in marathon. As said in the blog completing marathon is not important. The journey of marathon matter a lot which makes a person realize his strengths, weakness, friends, competitors and the motivation which takes him to completion. A gratification which an individual gets after running marathon is phenomenal. Running a marathon is not an end. It is just a beginning of a wonderful life. After completing each marathon run cherishing the success is important. But further it is important to prepare for next marathon. Every year you compete with your own record, be it in time or distance of marathon. Important thing is that you have to prepare for these goals in your life. You have to decide a new feat which you want to achieve. To set a new record you need to reflect on your last marathon run, things which helped you to complete, your motivations and your companions. These will help you to run long in marathon without getting tired. I do feel life has many marathon journeys in it, starting from childhood, school, college, profession and lastly “success”. Some marathon you may run forcefully like school and college, but profession and success races are selected by an individual. It is the individual who decides which marathon he is willing to take and how much he is prepared for this race. One should start and create an own record for oneself. This record is one which is going to be for lifetime. Every time you may not be able to break own record but every time for sure you will get different experience which is worthwhile. So get out of your cozy seat, warn up yourself and run a marathon. The wonderful journey is waiting for you..

Marathon – Indeed a Race of Life- After reading this article I just got into flash back & realized that my marathon of life was started long back. Probably when I was admitted in school, I was being taught & informed all the time that getting good scores throughout will ensure admission in good college. In childhood days that appears to be the only marathon of life. Hence, I started running this marathon by being focused, dedicated, hardworking studious to ensure I passed my schooling with distinctions. Finally after spending 14 years & doing pretty well during school days, I got admission in good college. Suddenly I realized the beginning of another Marathon, a further tougher competition, desire to learn new & be good in academics, more versatility, and different challenges of life. This time it was me who decided to do well so that once I am done with my college, I get good job. Teenager thought was that this is probably the last Marathon of life-doing good in college & getting a well secured job. Once again after spending 4 years in Engineering & getting good opening job, it is after 16 years of working when I started realizing that Marathon of life will never end, & when it ends it’s the end of individual’s race. Immediately on hearing this word MARATHON, the first thing that comes to my mind is winning the battle of “Heart over Mind” and here I agree with your point that we should disregard Mind and follow the heart. The preparation that goes before running can be compared to the education we complete before entering the corporate world. You have also aptly compared the same with corporate. In the corporate journey we might start with a sprint and create some distance with peers and then stabilize and end the Marathon as winners. Winners need not necessarily be actual winners, it is more like completing marathon in good time or targeted time. We also set ourselves target that we want to reach by the end of the carrier Article nicely articulates the fact that not all individuals are the same and none follow similar pattern in completing the run. Even the pace set by each individual is different. In my team, I have an individual who is very aggressive in his approach but loses steam and there are members who seem very slow but are very consistent. . My work involves extensive travelling and erratic food habits. For me the biggest challenge is to stay fit both physically and mentally. I try to keep away myself from negatives that come across and keep focusing on my goals that I want to achieve. You have rightly said “It's the realization which helps you enjoy the journey – The RACE of Life. The realization that you are the master of your run you can define your success, your pace and have the power to improve yourself from your previous experience”. There are many who are challenging what we want to do and what we want to achieve, it’s for me to decide how much I want to stretch and the time within which I want to achieve my goal. For me the biggest learning out of this article is “Life is a Race and there are hurdles you come through before reaching the Finish Line”

I really liked the analogy put forwarded – ‘Life against Marathon’ as against more obvious ‘Life against Rat Race’ in the contemporary world. This view is echoed by many other readers as well. Marathon is run at a pace, it’s not sprint but it’s a pace unique to each participant. Somebody run fast, some slow but all work towards one common goal, the finish line. There are other goals attached to it, mainly time, whether there is some improvement on the previous time, how to pace the race in different stretch. This prepares one for the next race and allows the space to work upon the shortcomings and try overcoming those in the next one. Life in a corporate world is – Yes, similar to a Marathon. All run towards one Goal, what is that Goal? What is the finish line? Promotion? Fast track or normal? Yearly increment, bonus? Well, there are many such goals which vary from individual to individual. It’s not as simple as the finish line of a Marathon. There are various factors – Age, motivation, peer pressure, dedication and of course the family. There may be a huge number of aspirants for the post of team leads, heads of departments, CEO but all cannot become one. Someone will succeed at the expense of some others and that’s the way it is. All the hard works put for that one elusive promotion to get the top job may not actually work out. There is disappointment; loss of appetite to work, frustration and at times there is fall out with the management. The family is not spared of the pressure; have to bear some of the brunt. Here, one has to revise their targets to achieve the goal. In a Marathon, we have chance of another race to correct the shortcomings. Life in a corporate world does not give that leverage. That is why having a GOAL is very important; one has to assess one’s own ability, situation, motivation and other circumstances to achieve that finish line. All efforts, energy should be directed towards achieving that Goal so that one does not have to repent for not finishing the race.

The first thing that came to my mind when I read the article was the famous line from the movie Rocky Balboa “You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done”. Professor Kulkarni has delivered a very simple yet powerful message by drawing an analogy between marathon and the race of life, which gave me a different prospective on life. Just like marathon, in life we meet different people; some of whom may run the race of life with us for a while, inspire us or may impact our life in many different ways. But, in the end we have to complete our journey on our own, at our own pace. In the race of life, it is very important to know our own time zone and define our success which is not influenced by what others have achieved or how quickly they have achieved. This analogy seems to be very relevant when I look at the PGEMP course that I am undergoing at SPJIMR. The amount of effort required for the course along with the never ending struggle for finding the right balance between work life and personal life makes it as exhaustive as a marathon. It is like a race, which although I am running along with my colleagues, my classmates, my family and friends, my path is unique and I am running alone on it, at my own speed, towards the goal that I have set for myself. The analogy between the marathon and the race of life is so powerful that I am already visualizing myself as the marathoner who is running the race of life and no matter how exhausting the race becomes, just like a true marathoner, I am not going to give up until I reach my destination.

One can easily relate this article to real life situation. Yes, our life is also like a marathon. We humans, we sit for hours doing nothing in cafeteria same day when we had a narrow escape while chasing local train to work to save us 3 minutes. Somehow I feel this has to do with our education system and our upbringing, our marathon for grades decide the winner in School life and then another similar marathon in college decides our next marathon of corporate life which we will run for the rest of our lives. In our society a typical parent will be only happy if his kid gets the Gold medal for his studies, a kabaddi or a hockey gold medal is not the real medal in real life. Seeds of competing with your friend are sown from the school life itself, your friend’s grades can easily spoil your dad’s mood. So the best option we have is to start running, we leave our hobbies behind, we leave our choices behind, we leave our feelings and emotions behind we just run. In the era of achieving results we don’t believe in achieving memories. We are forced to learn from our education system that doing our daily routine, pay hikes, promotions, an extra and two extra Zeros in the bank account makes us rich, spending time with our elderlies, visiting our loved ones, putting feet in ice chilled water in Leh Ladakh is waste of time and opportunities. One more thing I would like to talk about is the “Finish Line”. Unlike the 10k marathon, marathon of journey of Life has no finish line to give us sense achievement. What I have wished 5 years back, I achieved it yet I did not celebrate it. Why!! because I never realized but I have pushed my finish line farther with the help my greed. So there is no finish line for me. In the language of Physics “index of refraction” we see water few miles down but when we reach there we find it was just an illusion, and then we realize we have missed the journey while chasing this illusion., this is what happens in our life but here we don’t have to believe that the materialistic goal we are chasing is just an illusion. May be one day we all will understand, that one day when we will be physically weak and we will not have time for another marathon. (Rephrase this sentence - May be one day we’ll understand, but that day would also make us realize that we have turned older, weak and with very less amount of time left for another MARATHON).

Wow Professor, this is very interesting blog I have come across. First of all I congratulate you for your success in the marathon at this age. This is remarkable and inspiring. I really appreciate the correlation you made between marathon and life. This is amazing analogy to says you decide your own goal and though hundreds are running in same direction their individual goals can be completely different. In our life hundreds are running with us and we have to decide if person on the side is your friend or competitor. If your target is to come 1st then he becomes your competitor and inspires you to overtake him. If you treat him as friend your journey might become cheerful and joyful and releases stress of the journey (“who cares who is a winner”!!!). Such friends enrich each other’s’ life. So both type of runners keep running driven by different inspiration. Here every one has chance to be successful because everyone decides and defines his own success and runs to accomplish it. But somehow I am not able to agree on the point that amongst hundreds you are still alone. Sometimes a group of people can run together to achieve common goal and they support each other throughout the journey. Workers in NGO can be a good example for this case. There are some people who are running for you, and deliberately behind you. Their success lies in making sure you achieve your goals. Hence according to me it is you who has to decide if you treat your-self alone or part of the group. Also I would rather edit the title little bit to “Marathon – A GAME of Life”. Race sometime sounds like a rat race to achieve society defined goals in the life. But when you say it’s a game then you may play it with passion regardless of the outcome. Here wining is not important but just playing it gives immense satisfaction to the participants. In the process you become automatically competent and improve. At the end blog summarizes essence of the life very well. Finally it is your choice when temptation is at the peak to leave the race.

Madam, well appreciated the marathon race which you completed a long gap. The comparison of the corporate life or race with marathon is very correct for a few generations but now a days the generation has many option to create their own ladder of own corporations by the way of start-up business. If we look back at the working professionals who have completed decent no. of working years in organizations the corporate marathon is clearly visible in various ways, like climbing up in the same company or organization and where competitors are our own colleagues, while some corporate runners jump the ladders in upwards directions by changing the companies. Marathon has some fixed kms like full marathon has 42.195 Kms and the runners make up their minds based on participating marathon like, dream run, half marathon , full marathon and accordingly prepare for the same well in advance to be able to sustain the race, still some finish and some don’t. Being in a PSU , I would like to comment on Corporate life of a PSU employees which is some what similar to marathon, some start very fast, some slow and steady, some leave in between looking at the long distance to cover. One thing is sure that there is no finishing line in corporate marathon, the finishing line is getting stretched further as you cover more and more distance In marathon most of us knew that only 3 person will be winner which are first , then first runner up and then second runner up and most of the racers participate to complete the race not to win the race and with that they want to challenge their physical and mental ability of running so many kms in a stretch, though you are running in crowd you have to carry you own weight on your les and competed the race the only motivation there is other participants who are running and running to complete the race ,similarly in corporate life everyone knows their ability , I have seen many colleagues who are running to complete the race , I mean to earn a fixed salary to take are of the family , few are running so fast that they ignore the side effect of fast running for a long time and have adverse effect on their health there by coming to dead slow speed in some point of time, also seen smart runners who know how to climb the ladder without getting exhausted and they are really a different breed of runners who ultimately fins their place among top positions. I would like to conclude by sharing my thought “ Since Corporate Marathon has a dynamic destination – one must enjoy the journey i.e. every kilometer one has ran and make the race memorable , in doing so if you win the race it’s a greatest achievement and if you could finish the race still its great”

A marathon is usually associated with a long distance race but can also alternatively mean an endurance contest or an activity associated with great length and effort. The alternate definition can be used as a reference to the corporate world that we live in. As Professor Kulkarni mentioned about the doubts one has prior to the start of the marathon, so does a company when it launches itself in the market and starts its operations. When a company is formed there are a million apprehensions which runs through the minds of the stakeholders , some of the common being – what do I sell, will I be successful, how do I target my customers, will they like my products so and so forth . However, it is only the years of preparation and research and the belief in one’s abilities that provides them with the confidence to start the race. The preparation for a marathon starts very early and one can only succeed with constant practice and a completely rigorous regime. Like any other marathon, there are many who start the race but only a few who successfully complete it. Single minded focus, perseverance, grit, determination are some of the characteristics associated with marathon. Balancing our resources to achieve the long-term objective are given more importance than speed. Like every runner who runs at a consistent speed while preserving his energy, a company should balance its resources and look to go for the long haul than exhaust its capabilities in achieving short-term success. It is important to preserve its core assets just like a marathon runner, as he knows he has to travel far. Companies who have evolved and maintained a steady growth year on year have survived longer than the ones who have achieved phenomenal success in the first couple of years. Companies who have tried to run the marathon like a short race have perished sooner than expected. The success of many companies such as HP, Apple, DuPont etc. have taught every other competitor a very valuable lesson i.e. the foundation is only stronger when you lay one brick at a time and only such buildings last longer than others. It is important to keep evolving and innovating in order to keep one relevant and active in today’s competition and it takes years of hard work and effort to not only survive but also thrive in business. In addition, the speed of the other competitors is immaterial and it is the process and the execution that matters. The marathon race is a good teacher, as it not only teaches to treat’s one body with utmost care and respect but also teaches us to respect one’s surroundings and our competitors and only the one who backs his passion with consistency , determination and perseverance can achieve this impossible feat.

Thank you for the apt analogy, Ma’am. After I finished my first 10K, I told people that I ran a 10K marathon. One of my friends who is a marathon runner took me aside and told me that a marathon requires me to complete 42 kms. Running anything under that probably makes me a long-distance runner, but not a marathon runner. I thought he was being picky at that point, but I see what he meant. In life, you don’t start by running a marathon. You take short distances, master them, and move on to higher targets. Just like how we train for runs. We set ourselves initial targets, and the goal is merely to complete it. After that is done, the goal gradually changes to finishing with a better time. And when that better timing is achieved, we move on to increasing the distance. And this circle continues. The same friend’s instructions before the race were - do it at your own pace, it doesn’t matter when and how you finish. Do what is comfortable for you. You don’t need to be looking at others, and rate yourself on it. Do not over stress yourself if you see others overtaking you. If you can’t run the entire distance, you can walk. The only thing that matters is that you finish within whatever your target is. It all makes sense, and I completely agree with your point in the article. Success for me at that race was completing the 10K. For you too. But for my friend, it was completing the marathon with a better timing. The fact that my friend was able to complete a marathon while I could run only a 10K shouldn’t rob me off the joy that proceeds from achieving a target. Each of us have our own milestones in life, and it is important that we recognize who our actual competition is. In most cases, it is likely to be an older version of us.

It’s amazing how all of us are on a path to reach the “finish line” and having a similar goal in mind, yet different in so many ways. You tend to develop a sense of self-belongingness, where you could be in a life-long never-ending race with your own self rendering your own beliefs and sustaining your life. As we proceed to this amazingly tiring, yet amusing course of life, perhaps a RACE of life, we discover you are also competing with others around, who could or could not be directly related to you, but will have something in common making you and thriving you towards the finish line. They could be your friends, colleagues, competitors, or just path companions, but the bottom line is, having a sense of people around comes with a sense of being with yourself. You embark on the journey of self-improvement, knowledge and learning every day, and that becomes a very micro substantial part of the RACE you are in, self-discovery, goal achieving and sustainability. What is the finish line anyway, you could also be embracing the intricacies of a marathon, which is the long hectic race of your life. We tend to be overwhelmed by the situations and hurdles of the race, it could be challenging, revoking and most importantly resourceful, and you want to grasp everything possible during the course. I guess the best part is, how inspiration of reaching the finish line, attaining the final goal seems much easier, with a clear destination and a visible path, which again could be the hardest routes, one has to encounter, but technically as they say it, the road is the best part about the trip, and later comes the destination. We have to understand the essentiality of the trip that you embark on this beautiful journey of life, with hurdles, competition of the race and even problems with people you encounter, some stick in your life and some go away, that’s because its meant to be, its natural, to have faced issues. Situations, are like milestones of a marathon, when you tackle a situation and come out of it graciously and proud, you have achieved a new skillset, another reason to be running the marathon and aiming the finish line, more clearly now.

There was a time when I was told participation was everything and winning was not important. It was all about the learning and the experience gained. This view has drastically changed over the years in the competitive world we live in today. Today to prove our quality/value one has to outperform and win in every context of life. I play football and there was this once instance when my team played against a new team on the block. The team out-beat us in all respects of the game and we lost by a huge margin. This defeat didn’t bend our morale. We played a second time, a third time and so on played many games against them. The idea was to enrich our experience each time, learn from our mistakes, and improve on each game’s shortcomings and come out stronger each new time against them. Winning wasn’t the priority for us but eventually it was there in the back of our minds that we had to beat them just this once to lift the morale. The marathon analogy that is made here is an excellent reflection of what my team did. Winning eventually through an experience rich journey was what transpired with the team. Life is a race that we all have embarked upon. The marathon analogy is akin to what each of us face in our lives. We set ourselves goals to achieve and many a time there are many others who work towards the same outcome. One needn’t compare as in certain instances, winning may not be the crux of it all, just participation would suffice. At times one is ahead and at other times one is behind because at the end of it all, it boils down having faith in ones abilities to win the race and winning it at our own pace.

A very riveting read ma’am. Being an athlete myself, I can completely connect with the analogy between a marathon race and corporate life. I would use a similar analogy to describe our life at SPJIMR as students. Just like corporate life is a marathon, life at SPJIMR is a sprint. A sprint where the competition is off the charts. Where a photo finish is essential to determine who is ahead! Two years may seem like a lot of time. However, in a premier B-School like SPJIMR, time flies and so I feel that life over here is more of a sprint than a marathon. Now, for a sprinter, a good start is absolutely essential. A sprinter on the starting block is focused and is concentrating only on the sound of the gunshot which gives him a signal to start. Similarly, entering a B-school, all the participants, equally competent, are just waiting for the first corporate event launch on campus. As soon as it is announced, all start off; and they start off with a bang. The whole campus is crowded by participants sitting with their teams and discussing the case, wanting to take the initial lead and stay ahead of the curve. These competitions combined with assignments, lectures, and seminars make the sprint even more challenging. Sure, we do get to know a lot of things along the way. But, we are expected to grasp all concepts at a very high pace. The next phase in sprinting is about sustaining. Sustaining your position after the start. After a lot of energy expended during the initial phase, people are tired, they lose energy, they even start to lose motivation to go on. But, it is in times like these that a sprinter shows a ‘never say die’ attitude. Unlike a marathon, in a sprint, the finish line is always visible and it is this finish line that motivates us to go on. We may not be there yet but, we are closer to the finish line than we were yesterday. And that is progress. So, what is this finish line? It is the placement season. We all come to this college to get placed in our dream company. To get the position of responsibility that we always wanted. So, when the finish line approaches, we all push ourselves to the fullest. But in the end, when the event is over, the happiness that you get is unimaginable. It is in the end that we realize that if this sprint doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you!

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