Classic Motivational Moment…
The Race Is Long AND It’s GOOD!
Do you sometimes think that you are challenged with more than you can handle in life? With responsibilities for so many different things and having to be accountable to both yourself and others for all of your actions, it might seem that trying to live a well-balanced life is just short of impossible. When things go wrong or even just go differently than they were supposed to it is very easy to get discouraged. Discouragement is a normal and healthy emotion so don’t push it away. It is important though to see things in the big picture of life to really understand what you are going through.
A couple years ago I was watching the “Iron Man Triathlon” that takes place in Hawaii. This is a competition for men and women that starts out with a 2.3 mile swim in the rough Pacific Ocean and then goes to a 112 mile bike ride through the hills in sweltering heat and is then followed by a 26.2 marathon. I have spoken of this event before because I think that ALL of the athletes who compete are absolutely incredible people.
Yet today I would like to focus on one man in particular named John MacLean. He is an Australian who was one of the most talented professional Rugby players in the country. At the height of his professional career he was hit by a truck while jogging and which made him a paraplegic. Most people would have given up on life itself after such a horrendous setback – but not John MacLean.
He trained harder than he ever had before. John decided that he was going to FINISH the Iron Man by qualifying for each time trail just like everyone else. The race starts in the morning and has to be completed by midnight or you don’t finish. You have to qualify in a low enough time on the swim to move on to the bicycle and you have to complete the bicycle portion in a low enough time to qualify for the run.
As the race began John started into the water by pulling himself with his hands. He swam 2.3 miles with just his arms as his legs dangled in the water. When he completed the swim his team put him on a machine that he propelled with just his arms in the same motion that a bicycle is pushed forward. You could see the agonizing pain his arms must have been in but he kept on going. He qualified for the marathon portion in plenty of time.
His team placed him in a wheelchair and he was off into the late afternoon sun. As the sun dipped below the horizon the cameras followed John into the night. His team asked if he was all right and with obvious pain on his face he said, “I’m doing great guys – just a little sore but doing GREAT!” Then John came to a huge hill. He was so exhausted and his arms were in such screaming pain that he could not make it up the hill. As he thought for a moment at the bottom of the hill his eyes lit up.
He turned himself around in his wheelchair and went up the hill inch by inch with agonizing persistence. He made it over the hill and never looked back. John MacLean enthusiastically popped a wheelie over the finish line that night with lots of time to spare. A crowd of hundreds erupted in wild cheers and screams of support as John achieved his goal.
After his extraordinary feat he was interviewed on NBC. The reporter asked him what he would like to say to the world. John looked into the camera and said, “You know you don’t have to do the Iron-Man to be successful…but just DO SOMETHING!”
When you feel the pain of life just think of John MacLean as he inched his way over that hill. When you think that you can’t achieve your goals because they are too hard, think of John MacLean training for thousands of hours in a wheelchair to accomplish something that most people can’t do even if they can walk. Remember to just, “DO SOMETHING” that you believe in and your life WILL be fulfilling.