Last month, I had to travel from Mumbai to Delhi for work. I had gotten really late and was afraid that I would miss my flight! Panicked, I was cursing the bad traffic, the long signals, the cab driver and everyone and everything else. Puffing, I reached the just in time for the check-in counter to shut. If you have ever boarded a flight from Mumbai airport, you would understand how the security check there takes almost forever! Further delayed and even more panicked I responded to my name call and boarded the flight. Saving myself from many staring eyes I quietly took my seat to finally take a deep breath!

As I initiated a conversation with the passenger beside me, I found out that he was an athlete travelling to run a national Hurdle Racing tournament. I failed to keep my curiosity and ended up asking him how he handled the anxiety before a race. “It must really be stressful to see all these hurdles ahead!” I exclaimed. Smiling he said something that left me surprised and amused… Apparently, he did not experience any anxiety about the hurdles! What he had learnt from his races turned out to be an insightful philosophy for me! His targets were not ‘crossing the hurdles’ but only one instead – reaching the finish line in in the shortest time he can. Hurdles were only things he had to deal with as calmly as possible to reach the finish line!

For him, his races were simple with only two outcomes – achieving his target or not achieving it. The greater he anticipated these outcomes, the lesser energy he had to run to the goal.

The athlete’s perspective of the race made me think how we spend our resources worrying about the hurdles and almost absolutely forget how it pushes us away from getting to our goals!

I wonder now how all the cursing and paniking while getting to the airport was such a waste!