Changing oneself – personal transformation – is akin to the challenge of running a marathon, considered by many to be the ultimate test of human endurance and commitment. What marathon runners commit to before they succeed and get past the 26 miles barrier is not very dissimilar to what ordinary people must do in order to change dramatically…
1. It all starts with you wanting to change yourself
Marathon runners are people who have made a conscious decision to change their lifestyle, to exercise regularly, to improve their diet etc.
We face lot’s of problems in our work and personal life because we expect others to change but do not think it is necessary to change ourselves. As someone one said : “You cannot change a single thing on this Earth except yourself. And when you do change yourself… it changes everything.”
2. Small increments of change – one step at a time
I don’t know of anyone who has become an athlete or marathon runner just like that. It can take months, sometimes years of consistent practice, of small improvements to run at the speed marathoners do for several hours.
All substantive change takes time, patience, determination and a series of small victories. There is no quick-fix – it’s rather a lifestyle change.
3. Commitment to the outcome
Long distance running means possible physical injury and occasional failure along the way. As one approaches the end game, the pain becomes intense and the desire to give up is at its greatest.
This is the time when only a strong commitment to finish is what prevails. Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of UK, said in her autobiography that she learnt early on from her father that the world was full of “starters” but few ‘finishers” and that she needed to think about what she wanted to be.