Personal Development - I Believe I Am Therefore I Can

September 3, 2010

The award winning runners of the gold medal fame

Like all people born in an environment of success in a particular field, I had never really thought about what it takes to win a gold medal in important races like the Olympics. 
I am born in a country of world renowned Olympic Gold Medal holders, Kenya. Most of us are content to hold a celebration and dance because another runner has done us proud yet again without agonizing too much about how they got there.

The reality of the cost these gold medalists pay to actually hold that world title in their hands only became clear to me while on a working trip in the neighboring country, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, famed the world over for famine, the Legendary Bob Marley, or their gold medalists, is a nation of amazing and breathtaking beauty. Everything there just had a certain tinge to it that made it natural, wholesome and inspired by the purest of the Divine.

How we stumbled into the gold medalist's training field
We were a working team of eight and we all concurred that we felt like we were on a spiritual pilgrimage for the months we stayed there. To get the best of that we took a morning run daily up the hills just to interact with the essence of the land.

One morning when we were off duty, feeling fairly adventurous, we ventured to the peak of a now dormant volcanic mountain.  

We got to the mountain-top, being tourists who were stopping to enjoy the view, sitting unnecessarily often to catch our breath, or just standing to stare dreamily at a rare herb, at a little after nine in the morning.
We noticed as soon as we got to the top, that there was a well beaten path running right around the volcanic edge. We paid no mind to it, except to wonder aloud who in this land of the Divine would create such traffic in such a deserted environment.

We found an answer to that question soon enough. 

As we were languidly looking for a spot in the thick vegetation to set ourselves and simply enjoy the view; for the depth of what used to be a volcano is as breathtaking as it expanse, a runner startled us by zipping right past.

Startled because he passed so fast, we could only manage to stare in shock at one another wondering, 'what was that?' I mean, no one had heard his steps, none of us had seen him from a distance, and frankly his speed was amazing.

In the span of about two hours another five or so zipped past and by then we had intelligently figured who these human missiles were.

'Aha! We said to ourselves', feeling full of wisdom, 'these are the award winners of Ethiopia.'

It takes resilience to hold that gold medal
About mid-morning, we had an opportunity to chat with a coach who explained that they would be at the mountaintop at the crack of dawn.

If they get there any later the athletes couldn’t achieve their training target because under the intensity of the hot Ethiopian sun they would be severely dehydrated. They had a strict training programme requiring each athlete to make a slight improvement over the previous day. Cumulatively, that increase would be a marked increase.  

Being a bunch of Personal Development trainers, we all had a field day with this chance of extraordinary encounter. At individual level, the price of a gold medal and its subsequent value was imprinted forever on my mind. Winning is not an accident of fate or a stroke of chance, it is a deliberate and definite plan crated by the individual.

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