The girl who refused to complete a 200m race
“You should be ashamed of yourself!”
Those were the stern words of the school sports teacher, as the girl quit the 200m race mid-way.
The girl was had been filling in for a missing athlete, and was otherwise used to participating only in 100m. races. Thus, she saw nothing wrong with not doing justice to a given task that she was not capable of handling in the first place.
She assumed the same attitude for every other failure in life- “I was not capable anyways, and this should not have fallen in my kitty in the first place!”
Fast forward to 20 bitter-sweet years, the same girl found herself standing at yet another starting line — this time for a 5km. marathon.
But by this time, she was no longer the 15 yr. old who did not understand the disappointment that follows after shying away from one too many opportunities. She was no longer the 15 yr. old who was not aware of the cost one pays for being left wondering, “What if I could just have mustered enough courage?”
Thus this time along, the girl chanted a new mantra — “I alone am capable.”
Every time someone half her age overtook her in that race, she repeated the mantra. Every time her legs threatened to buckle under, she repeated the mantra. Every time the thought of her health issues cajoled her to let go of the fight, she repeated the mantra.
She repeated it till she won that marathon.
While 3km was not a big deal when seen from the marathon perspective, it sure was a big deal for the girl she once was.
That day, she realized that she had, in fact, been capable of completing that 200m. all along - and perhaps much more.
That day, she realized that one could choose to lead a small life with small possibilities-to the extent of bowing out of a race early.
Or finding that self-belief to attempt what seems impossible, and running straight ahead!
Today, that same self-doubting girl that I once was makes it a point to remind I remind my little daughter of my life’s biggest learning from that marathon -You alone are capable!!