The Marathon Mentality.

I can’t count how many times I’ve started something, and stopped along the way, without finishing what I’ve started. I’ve read tons of books, only to read the first few chapter, or even only the first few pages, and stopped. I’ve fell for an idea, worked on it, only to burned myself out and quit halfway. And there are more situations that of similar traits. There seems to be something missing. Why do we start a project, read a book, join an organization, to see ourselves fell halfway through? I think its because we’re attracted to that of instant gratification, such as seemingly interesting projects, seemingly interesting books, seemingly interesting people, that we just jump straight in without having the right end in mind.

I’ve got bunch of friends who ran a marathon, and I’m amazed. Running has such a boring feat, and I can’t imagine how can these guys ran for 42km straight. That’s an eternal repetitive motion. You just run and run and run. That’s it. But isn’t that most of things in life? You started with discovery (wow there’s a cool sport called running), which led to excitement thinking about all the possibilities (wow human can run for 42km straight?), then there’s work (wow I have to train to walk 42km, which means waking up every morning running for hours, and killing yourself at the gym). Tons of work which of course, led to eternal repetitive ‘motion’ or activities or basically work, just to get to the finish line.

That’s why if you want to create something, be it for your startup, your career, or reading a book, you need to have a marathon mentality. And by that, you need these four things:

  1. you need to have the right reason

You need to be moved by a reason, a cause, an inspiration, a person, anything. What drives you? if you can’t answer that, have you put in the work to find you reason? Have you ask the right questions to yourself? Why are you doing what you’re doing? This is the main foundation what keeps you going. You cannot move an inch if you dont have the right reason.

I also think that sometimes the right reason comes in by stages. Its a process. You might not have the whole picture now, but you have at least an idea of how things should formed up as an end game.

2. you need to have the right expectation

if you want something that of long term benefit (which is all of the most satisfying things in life), then you should set your mind to do it for a long run. Don’t expect to own the game overnight. Don’t expect to bust your balls for a few weeks and you’re done. If you want to achieve those big hairy audacious goals, then be prepared for a marathon. Be prepared to sit in and do the work. Be prepared to maintain a healthy body because if you’re in it for the long run, then the project needs a healthy version of you so you can put in more quality hours.

3. you need to give time

respect the learning curve. Everything needs time for you to master. and to be able to master your emotion is key. When you give time, it means you’re applying patience to life. You can bear the early long hours that you put it for months and years.

4. you need to have faith

Because you know you can only reap what you sow. So, you’re not afraid of the other runners that have reached further than you. You’re worried about you. But you can’t change the world by yourself. Some people said you need luck. I say you need faith. Because there are doors that will be opened for you, and you have no idea who did it but faith helped you there. There are certain things that you got the right answer but you don’t know why its the right answer.

“Whatever mercy Allah opens for mankind, then none can be holding it back; and whatever He holds back, then none can be sending it forth after Him; And He is The Ever-Mighty, The Ever-Wise”