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5 Hindrances to Winning the Race

By • May 20th, 2008 • Category: Lead Article, Lifestyle Choices, Personal Development, Self-Esteem

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My mother raised me a dainty child, so to this day, I don’t engage in any rough play or rigorous sporting activity. Still, I’ve run a few races in my time. Not the sweaty-run-in-the-sun kind of race, mind you, but the go-after-a-goal kind of race that everyone runs at some time or another. Not every race resulted in the success I anticipated and I walked away with the title of “also-ran” a few times.

We can make several analogies between how we run a race on the track and how we pursue our dreams or other goals we set for ourselves. One such analogy is made up of the hindrances that a runner should avoid if he or she wants to win the race.

See which of the following hindrances might be keeping you from starting right, staying the course and crossing the finish line.


1 – The false start.

Too late – anxiety and hesitation. Some opportunities shoot up unexpectedly. And although we might have been hoping for such an opportunity to come our way, when it does, it throws us in a state of shock. We freeze and sometimes that momentary paralysis is enough to cause us to lose the chance to run the race that we dreamed of and planned for all along.

Too soon – On the outer side of the starting line, is the premature start. We are so anxious that we jump on an idea before the time is right or before adequate research or some other preliminary preparation. Not only does this throw us off our rhythm, it affects us negatively, as well as those who may be looking to us for encouragement to run their own races, chase their own dreams.

Sometimes that inner voice says, “Wait, not now.” But in our enthusiasm, we hear, “Go!” Usually, a false start results in feelings of embarrassment, jeers from our detractors, rejection, loss of support, loss of momentum, and discouragement. Of course we also have to face the consequence of starting over because we missed the opportunity to jump in and sprint forward at the right time.


2 – Pulling up short.

A cramp is one of the most common reasons why runners pull up short. It is painful and debilitating. Life, like running is peppered with cramps or unexpected situations that cripple us causing us to pull up short and abandon the race.

Some of the unexpected life-cramps that stall our progress, our speed and our success can be avoided if we prepare for the race we want to undertake. Research, strategy and training, discipline, persistence and a success mindset are some of the prerequisites that help to strengthen our muscles to ward off cramps or at least to deal with them quickly and get back on track.


3 – Looking around.

In any race, it is useful to know who and where our competitors are. However, constantly looking over our shoulders to see who is coming up the rare or nipping at our heels can cause us to lose focus, waste precious time, become fearful and ultimately, lose the race.

Don’t be fooled, you must know your competition, their motivations and their intentions. Keep up-to-date on new developments in your field of interest. But don’t allow the competition to dictate the size of your dream, your passion and your life. When you are sure that the path before you is the right path, you don’t have to fear who is coming behind or running parallel to you. Stay your course, keep your eye on the prize and run.


4 – Quitting.

Have you ever seen someone run a beautiful race and crumble just before the finish line? It is sad. Physical and even mental complications can prompt the decision to stop running, to give up.

In life, quitting is not an option. Slow down if the pace becomes too hectic or take a vacation to replenish your energy. Even a sabbatical may be necessary to upgrade your skills and reassess your goals. Take a different path. But Don’t Give Up!


5 – Casting blame after the race.

At the end of the day, it is fruitless to blame the coach, the judges, the track or your competitors. We have to shoulder the responsibility for our less-than-stellar performance if we do not secure any of the three prestigious places or even reach the finish line.

Embarrassment, disappointment and feelings of inadequacy may move us to deflect our own responsibility and lay the blame elsewhere. Parents, upbringing, the environment, lack of teachers, lack of support, no money, no time are only some of the areas that we count as being responsible for our loss.

In the grand scheme of things, when we choose to run a particular race, the buck of preparation and performance stops with us. Regardless of the input of other people and the prevailing atmosphere during training and running, the onus is on us to prepare spiritually, mentally and physically for the races we run during our lifetime.

Success in a race or life demands that we not only do what we should but that we avoid the pitfalls that can cause us to lose our place on the winners’ ramp. If you’re identified the hindrances that are keeping you from advancing to the finish life, hasten to heighten your alertness, strengthen your determination muscles, readjust your focus and don’t give up. Then, if perchance, you don’t quite make it, take responsibility for your performance and prepare to run the race again.

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