Life is like a race but most of the time it feels more like a marathon than a sprint. Our lives begin and then they end, we do not have a choice in that. But we can decide how to run the race. What is your strategy for winning in the long run?
I like to learn from those before me, from their failures and successes. There is so much wisdom to be gained from listening to those have been there and done that, people whose success speaks for itself, like Oprah. In one of her Oprah’s Masterclass interviews she said something that I thought was significant:
“Don’t waste your time in the race looking back to see where the other guy is or what the other guy is doing. It’s not about the other guy. It’s about what you can do. You just need to run that race as hard as you can.”
You just need to run that race as hard as you can.
Oprah goes on to relate how, in all the years that her talk show was running, over 100 other new talk shows came on air. They came and went and Oprah’s team never lost focus, they ran their race. But exactly how can we translate these powerful words into action? How do we apply it to our lives?
1. Train hard. This is the hardest part. And the most important. Athletes know that the race is not decided on race day but on training day. Training is the foundational phase. This is where you discover your strengths and weaknesses. If you want to pursue a career in the financial sector, for example, one part of your training may be getting a degree in accountancy, and then articles. Your training phase is where you gain the basic skills that you need to run your race well.
2. Run for the finish line. There are no prizes for those who make it to the starting line, or even those who make it halfway through. The prize is at the finish line. Keep your eye on the prize and take your eye off everything else. Do not worry about what everyone else is doing, focus on what you have been called to do. Stop comparing yourself to those around you, remember this is your race, not theirs.
3. Run to win. Why bother running if you are not going to run to win? Imagine this: an athlete has spent years being groomed and trained for the Olympics. The year is 2016 in Rio and it is seconds before her big race. What do you think she should be thinking? What about: “You know, I’m okay with coming last. I’m just happy to be here.” That kind of thinking is not only ridiculous but it pretty much guarantees that you will lose.
Train hard, run for the finish line and run to win- all these only mean something if you are running the greater, something more than yourself. 1 Corinthians 9:24 teaches us that
“Now everyone who competes exercises self control in everything. However, they do it to receive an perishable crown, we do it to receive an imperishable one.”
When the degrees are obtained, the awards won and the goals are achieved, what matters is how disciplined you were in following Christ’s mission, not your own.
Starting today, do you commit to running your own race?