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Take that big step

Getty Images/iStock

Getty Images/iStock   | Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStock

Giant leaps come from large hearts and bold dreams

‘I don’t know where the limits are; but I would like to go there’ was tweeted by Eliud Kipchoge, the Kenyan marathon legend, before he set off on his history defining run in under two hours in Vienna last month. This was his second attempt. The fact that we witnessed this human feat in this lifetime is a lesson in humility and resilience. There have been many defining moments in sports such as Nadia Comaneci’s perfect 10 in the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games or the eight golds won by Michael Phelps at the 2008 summer games in Beijing. This was one such. The commentators on the live telecast eulogised his feat as akin to Neil Armstrong’s first walk on the Moon back in 1969, the ‘one giant leap for mankind’.

As I watched I couldn’t help but marvel at the audacious quality to Kipchoge’s feat. As many would have, I have found myself trying to imagine how the thought would have first struck him and how the daring idea journeyed inside him until the decision to go for it. Such courageous pursuits that redefine our perception of what is possible for a human being to achieve must be born in brave minds, inside rare souls.

There is one aspect that differentiates a feat like Kipchoge’s from the mere breaking of an existing record — breaking the mental barrier of what is individually possible and pinning your fame to it, is a large-hearted dimension. We can assume that the possibility of failure always underpinned his attempt, but that was not going to deter this extraordinary athlete.

Who are these souls who willingly put their heads on the block? Who are they who boldly declare their intention for unsurpassed goals? Their motivation must be beyond fame, beyond the lure of the limelight. The driver of their individual brilliance lie beyond the full stop — in a searing hunger to put their personal limit to trial.

Big leaps

Can we, lesser mortals, replicate ‘big leaps’ within our own measure?

The superhero movies are replete with instances of heroes acting in anonymity, like Bruce Wayne’s intense discomfort with being found out as Batman, the saviour of Gotham city. Their motivations are beyond fame; beyond failure, and they do fail; yet having quashed fear and shame, they arrive unfailingly and undeterred.

It can be much the same for us once the goal is to better our personal best. When we bet on the possibility of surpassing our proven excellence, when we challenge our perceived limitations, when we decide to work the hardest ever, with clairvoyance to visualise the last two seconds to the finishing line; the fear of failure loses teeth. The phrase ‘play safe’ has no bearing in the context of unsurpassed feats. Signing up for uncertainty is impertinence; a certain route to surpassing our last best.

“Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing,” Muhammad Ali.

The writer is a life coach, blogger and writer who simplifies the patterns and archetypes she encounters at work and in life. nivedita@lifealigncoaching.com

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 12:22:15 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/take-that-big-step/article29930154.ece

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