That extra mile
Swami Gulagulaananda said:
"Going that last extra mile is harder than the entire journey..."
When placements were going on in our college, the college director told us that the placements go by the 80:20 rule. We had three tiers - Tiers 3, 2 and 1 depending on the salaries - lowest to highest. What's the 80:20 rule? Basically out of 100 people, 80 would be placed in tier 3. The 80:20 rule gets applied to the remaining 20, and thus 16 would get placed in tier 2 and 4 in tier 1. The question is, what is it that makes people to get divided in these proportions?
When we were in school, my teacher used to say that God has given us all equal intelligence. But if you look around, that's not true. Each of us has different levels of intelligence and different levels when it comes to talents and natural skills. There is nothing that you can do about something that you are born with. Some people have a spectacular memory. But this essay is not going to discuss that. What's really worth looking at is "that last mile"
When I was in lower primary school, my parents told me that they would buy me something cool (I think it was a bicycle) if I could come first in class - I was always around 2nd or 3rd but never first. The interesting aspect is that the first position was always taken by one of the top 3 girls in my class. But I could never get the first rank - The reason was not that I was not clever enough. The reason was that I could never bring myself to put in that extra effort to become perfect. And this is what makes some people top notch. That extra effort that is needed to go that last mile - Most of us don't do that, some do - and they go places.
Many times, it so happens that we know what's supposed to be done, but we don't do it for a variety of reasons - Maybe we are just too lazy to turn off the fan that's on in the other room which is empty despite knowing that power should not be wasted because it involves walking all the way across and turning it off... or maybe we just don't give enough importance to it or give more importance to some thing else... Whatever it is, over a period of time, our attitudes result in "skill accumulation" being skewed - If two people had 4 hours of free time, one guy might end up watching sports while the other ended up studying something new - and incidentally, the next day at office, the manager gave a requirement that could be solved by guy 2 because he studied it. There after, because of what he was working on, it is possible that that guy will be able to do something phenomenal mainly because he got that opportunity, an opportunity he would have not got if it was not for that effort that he put in during those four hours.
I have a friend who can draw and paint extremely well. I used to sit next to him in college and watch him draw beautiful drawings, sketches, portraits - you name them. And he would do all of this effortlessly. I naturally was amazed, so I asked him where he learnt to draw like that. He said he hadn't attended any classes and had learnt to draw himself. Naturally he's very creative, but he is also very dedicated to what he does, which is why his skills have reached the level at what he is at now. You might say "Sure, he practised enough to become a master... If I practice enough, even I can become a master" and I will say "Absolutely! If you practise enough, you can become a master too. If you exercise and eat right, you can get six pack abs, if you practise enough, you will find that we can do quite a lot of things that we ordinarily are incapable of doing. Heck, if we practise enough, we will be able to do things that we would have thought as impossible. If I study hard enough, I can become a 'rocket scientist' - But that's the catch. We DON'T practise, we put in no effort. As time passes, those who put in the effort constantly move ahead, those who put in lesser effort are trailing and those who put in no effort end up last"
And this is not something that will affect only them. Let's assume an average man who is not the son or daughter of some rich man or politician and who has no links to such people - as they are capable of achieving things through underhanded or unconventional methods. So, if this average guy did not achieve anything significant, he may not have enough money to get his child educated properly and that could result in a domino effect.
Take Apple products. Sure a lot of people say that it is just greatly hyped, and is brilliantly marketed. But if you have used Apple products, you will notice a lot of subtle features that make it a lot nicer than other devices. I am not saying that these subtle features warrant such a great difference in price. But a simple example that's often given with Apple laptops is the magnetic charging point so that the laptop doesn't come crashing down if someone trips over the wire... Instead, the magnetic jack just pops out. A simple feature, but makes a difference. There are tons of such small pleasing add-ons that make Apple laptops greatly coveted.
Going that extra mile makes a lot of difference. Why don't you try it once, and see the world change around you.
Comments from Facebook:
Hemanth Pai: nice :) going the extra mile and saying , 'your posts are indeed a pleasure to read , nik' . Keep at it .... i for one , dont miss any of your insightful posts :D
Susheela Sadashivaiah: very nice post :)
Nikhil Baliga: Thanks a lot guys :) Means a lot
Srivathsan Lakshmipuram: Aah, I'm glad I read the article! :D
Nikhil Baliga: Srivathsan Lakshmipuram, I am sure you were able to relate to certain aspects as you read them and felt like things had happened to you :)
Srivathsan Lakshmipuram: Hahaha!
Ashwin Kumble: as always amazing article :)
Nayana Kv: this article is brilliant