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My Success Mantra: Running To Write And Writing To Run

15/05/2016 8:28 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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There are two kinds of unsuccessful people in this world -- the garrulous, and the reticent. Just like every dichotomy ever listed, the two have one thing in common -- they have little success in finding success.

One way or another, every single one of us is unsuccessful to a degree. Think about the last time you tasted success in anything you set out to do. More often than not, there's always that one item you failed to strike off your list. And if you found success too soon, maybe you didn't aim high enough to reach your full potential.

But what if you've been programmed to believe you're the best of the best, destined for glory, unassailable, only to 'draw' a blank reality check in the prime of your life. When one has been brought up in a plastered bubble with a straitjacketed 'correlation implies causation' mindset, all is well as long as the plaster remains secure. As soon it bursts open, you're thrust into the real world, and that is when Murphy's Law becomes emblematic of your existence.

[Writing] is like heading to the bar to sip your staple lager. You're aware of what too many pints could do to you, and yet you binge...

Success, which had become second nature; now seems hard to come by. Soon, the possibility of failure  --  which hasn't yet been tasted  --  begins to loom large. One searches the world-wide web and the web-wide world for anything that could provide motivational succour, and yet the wisdom eludes.

One becomes more vulnerable, seeks the approbation of others, but forgets to seek one's own. The dreams and aspirations of the past play second fiddle, financial success takes centre-stage. Nothing against anyone who finds motivation in obtaining riches, but accumulating wealth at the expense of one's identity inevitably leads to failure in realizing the greatest objective of human life: self-actualization.

On writing

The dilemma continues to gnaw at me. The author within me wishes for all the riches the world has to offer and what my talent could possibly bring me. But it is only when I stop thinking about the dollar do I write stories that come through for me. My characters smile at me and play along as I write their destinies. I almost feel like a demigod; all-powerful, exhilarated, inspired.

Whether it turns out to be an abyss of darkness or a river of dreams, you'll never know until you take the leap of faith...

But writing is an immensely draining investment, both temporally and financially. It's like heading to the bar to sip your staple lager. You're aware of what too many pints could do to you, and yet you binge, ready to face whatever lies on the other side of sobriety. You could end up making a fool of yourself, get into a quarrel, or pass out on the couch of an absolute stranger. All of which seem like very plausible scenarios.

OR

You could end up meeting your best buddy, boss or even the love of your life. But even the most remote odds are reason enough to never give up. It is our raison d'écrire (reason to write).

My tribe of writers; we combat deterrence -- many a time our thoughts dawdle on the negative, and the fear of failing never allows us to tread into the unknown. But we keep fighting.

Whether it turns out to be an abyss of darkness or a river of dreams, you'll never know until you take the leap of faith and share your gift with the world.

On running


If motivation comes really hard to you (like it does to me), start thinking of ways you can spill success from one activity to another. I used this concept to become a dedicated runner, which in turn, has helped me become a more consistent writer.

If you can jog a few hundred metres, then a mile is within sight; and if you can run a 5K, you can sure as hell run a 10.

Let me explain:

If you can jog a few hundred metres, then a mile is within sight; and if you can run a 5K, you can sure as hell run a 10. And that's just how I did it. A few fatigued days later, I vowed to run at least 5 kilometres whenever I hit the local park. When it started to get too mechanical, I set myself a bigger goal: to bring my average lap time below 5:30 minutes and reduce my overall running time by at least 4 minutes. In a little over a month, I was able to clock a 5K five minutes faster -- from 31:06 to 26:05 minutes! Interestingly, the day after I clocked my best ever 5K, I ran a 6K in 31:05 minutes.

I had two reasons to feel jubilant. First, because I was someone who dreaded running even a single lap: I'd find all the excuses in the world not to. Whenever I did find the grit, the endless panting and sweating would put me off. I knew I needed an attitude adjustment or else I was going to fail over and over again. My life changed when I decided to take the first in a series of baby steps to get to where I am today.

While the first reason was apparent, the second hit me quite late.

Each time I hit a mini-milestone in the park, I know that the writer within me would be desperate to equal or even best his road-running rival.

Whenever I exit the lush joggers' park in the evening, a sense of cosmic quietude permeates my body, staying with me long after my run. The post-run "window of Zen" helps me make sense of every single valuable thought that occurs to me throughout the day, in an automated yet conscious manner. The rush of endorphins I experience by running faster, better and stronger has caused a positive spillover effect on my entire life -- reading, eating, and most importantly WRITING.

The Mantra

Writing is now my excuse to run, it is my raison de courir (reason to run).

Each time I hit a mini-milestone in the park, I know that the writer within me would be desperate to equal or even best his road-running rival.

The mantra should work for anybody:

Find any two endeavours/hobbies that drive you the most; pit them against each other, raise the bar, challenge the slacker, enjoy the enhanced results.

Succeed at endeavour 1, raise the bar with endeavour 2. Repeat.

Happy running and writing!

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