WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO WIN?
I am an observer and a raconteur. I love taking nuggets from life and spinning a yarn around it. Today, I present the story of Rahul, the athlete.
I have been following the life of Rahul for quite some time now. Such an athlete, always hyper-competitive, Rahul had a string of victories all through high school.
Where there is Yin, there is Yang.
Roger was the Yang for Rahul. Equally fierce, talented, and hungry. Most of the meets had these two fighting it out. The highlight of their athletic prowess, and specialty, was the 800-meter run. An ideal size to test their stamina, strength, and speed.
All through the last two years, one of them emerged as the victor — only by just.
The annual district athletic meet was around the corner. Both of them trained hard. Rahul. Just that tad bit harder. He wanted to win, and this was his last year to participate. He would move on to college athletics after this year. Roger still had one more year of high school left. Rahul wanted to win, get that gold medal and set a record.
Ambition is worthwhile when backed up with the right action. Rahul trained harder than he ever did. He mapped out Roger’s moves, made changes to his stride, knew when to push and when to get into a rhythm. His coach worked with Rahul, step by step. It was a potential moment of crowning glory for the coach, having groomed Rahul for years.
Friends, family, teachers all were rooting for this race. Usually, it is the 100-meter race that draws the maximum crowd. Not so here, as the intense rivalry between Rahul and Roger and the respective schools was known to all. Races featuring the two competitors were always well attended.
The day arrived with a roar welcoming the racers. High decibel claps were reserved for inviting the two competitors onto the race track. There were six other racers, but it looked like they were there just to make the numbers — ad fight for the bronze medal. The first two slots were taken.
Rahul and Roger eyed each other and smiled. Mutual respect was visible. Both wanted to win, but they also knew the power of the right competitor. They went about their warm-up routines before lining up at the start line.
The rookies went full blast at the start of the race. Rahul and Roger were in the middle of the pack setting a steady rhythm. By the 300 meter mark, the race had only four people upfront. The gap with the rest of the races steadily increasing. This was when Rahul stepped on the accelerator. The gap between him the rest kept growing. Rahul was coasting. At the 500 meter mark, he dared to take a quick look back at the rest of the crowd. He knew he was in a comfortable position.
The last 100 meters were coming up, and the crowd was wild. Hysterical. The cheer was deafening. With 50 meters to go, Rahul had the race in his hands. His coach was frantically trying to say something, but it was all a blur. With 30 meters to go, Rahul sensed something. He could feel someone quite close to him.
Not wanting to waste precious microseconds to find out who, he tried speeding up. He tried, yet he continued to be at the same pace. His legs were growing tired. Now, he could “hear” the other person, and he knew that was Roger. 15 meters to go, and Rahul was only a half step ahead. Panic, followed by another attempt at speeding up ensued.
Roger and Rahul were a hair length apart.
With a meter and a half to the finish line, something strange happened. Through the corner of his eye, Rahul was shocked to see Roger making a dive. Roger sailed through the air and breasted the winning tape, with barely a second separating the two. With that dive, Roger ensured that his head crossed the line first. He was the winner with the surprise last move. Rahul had to contend with a silver finish. A consolation prize though, both of them broke records that day.
It ain’t over till it is over!
With that long lead he had, Rahul had mentally won the game and got into cruise mode. Roger acted like a true challenger and strived harder. Roger also had backup plans, and surprise moves up his sleeve. Clearly, Roger spent as much time strategizing as training.
A race is won only when the winning line is crossed.
Some races, though, as in business, run in loops. One cannot rest after a race. Preparation starts for the next one, almost immediately.
What it takes to win, is strategy, training, consistency, and some cunning!
- All stories in this “52” series:
1. The Cycle Wheel
2. The strong polish their fangs and the weak….
5. What happens to nice guys?
7. Growth: How did she do it?
9. When would you fire yourself?
11. What happened to soft-spoken Radha?
12. Simplicity needs common sense, not education!
14. Rushing to Conclu….
17. The importance of competition
21. A division with minimal acrimony?
22. The Everest sighting that turned out to be…
Pravin Shekar is an outlier marketer, parallel entrepreneur and a raconteur.
mic @ PravinShekar.com
For creative collusions, join: http://bit.ly/JoinMyOutlierTribe
Pravin is the author of multiple books: http://tiny.cc/PravinShekarBooks
Devil Does Care, Marketing lessons from The Art of War, Marketing lessons from Mythology, Getting paid to speak, a Virtual Summit Playbook, Climb your way out of hell, a collection of travel pics/romantic poems, and stories from the heart!
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