Home / Blog / Marathon – A RACE of Life

Marathon – A RACE of Life

Prof Bindu Kulkarni

Author: Prof 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.

 

Share

Comments

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.

Add new comment

SPJIMR
Bhavan's Campus
Munshi Nagar | Dadabhai Road,
Andheri West | Mumbai - 400 058, India
Tel:+91-22-2623-0396/ 2401
      +91-22-2623-7454
Fax:+91-22-26237042
www.spjimr.org