Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Going the extra mile

This is not the usual story that I dish out daily
In our sprawling colony there are many young boys playing cricket in the large open area. There was this boy Vignesh living in my block whom I have never seen playing with others. He is a well built boy and appeared sound in health. I have heard that he topped his class. I asked him one day why he was not playing like others of his age do and whether he did not like playing cricket. He kept mum. Prodding him further I found that he did play earlier and that he usually got out very soon within an over or two and that when he bowled the other players thrashed the ball to the boundary. As a result he found himself all the time picking the ball and throwing. He felt he was not good at the game and gave up though he liked cricket very much and watched the boys playing through the window of his apartment. I knew where the problem lay and spoke to him at length on the need to persevere to give him the confidence he badly needed.
I told him the best cricketers of the world like Tendulkar, Lara or Ponting do not succeed all the time and that they make centuries or fifties only in about 25% of the matches they play. Likewise even Pete Sampras, John Borg or Federer rarely succeed in more than 60% of their first serves. There are many successful actors who are sent away as unfit several times before they are accepted. I told him trying half a dozen times will not just do. Success in the chosen field rests largely on the staying power and that people fail because they lack perseverance. I narrated how Columbus in search of new land wandered in the unchartered and hostile sea for 65 days with no sign of sighting a land. The other sailors insisted that they return as they were tired, depressed and lacked the confidence. The morale of all was very low. None would have criticized if Columbus had returned without finding a new land. But Columbus would not give up easily but persisted with determination. He hung on even when odds were against him. He went the extra mile that most do not go. He got his reward soon and discovered the great country known as America.
When told not to give up playing, Vignesh asked me whether he should continue to play the game even when he was failing repeatedly as he did. I told him perseverance is not doing the same thing again and again without correcting the past mistakes. I told him to watch others play, their stance, and their footwork, give more concentration and effort. I said it applies not only to cricket but to all things that we do. One should be hungry for more knowledge of the things we take up, its technique and the likely problems. For a marketing man, it means learning more about the product, its end uses, meeting more customers, spending more time explaining, finding new contacts making more telephone calls, getting up early and going to bed late. He should always be on the look out for better ways of doing his job.
There cannot be a better example for perseverance, I told him, than Abraham Lincoln. In his political career he failed many times in the elections and suffered personal tragedies too but he persisted till he was elected as President. He never thought defeat as a failure but as a postponed success.
I told him Perseverance in action means:-Finishing what is commenced no matter big or small-Doing more than what one is asked and contributing more than what is required-Continuing to work when others have quit. There is no competition in the extra mile.-Practicing constantly the principle of self esteem and exhibiting a positive attitude especially when the going is tough
I could see in the face of Vignesh, a rush of blood, a new determination and a firm resolve to succeed in cricket. He promised that he would give the game a fresh try keeping in mind my advice.
Soon after this incident I left India. It was years later when I was chatting with a neighbour of my colony at a marriage function, he asked me “Do you remember the boy Vignesh living in your block those days? He plays for the Ranji Trophy and has been included in the list of probables for the national eleven. People tell me that he is a very sound batsman with proper technique and will go places.”


  1. Nice story with its emphasis on the value that if one has determination and persevarance, he is bound to succeed.

  2. It reminds me of the saying" Perseverance is the bridge between dreams and reality'. Its true that if we have a passion for something, nothing can stop us from achieving our goal!!!

  3. dear partha,
    a real good post indeed!cricket is not my cup of tea;but yes,their lives are.iam mad after reading and knowing the real life experiences,how the great people have struggled in the initial stage and later with mere will power and hard work with sincere prayers,how they have climbed the ladder of success.and these life histories make me excited.:)
    and here you have won the praise for the feathers added to vigneh's cap.
    keep blogging.we like your stories a lot.

  4. i liked this one a lot because i could relate to it. Is this story true. There is a guy named ganapathy vignesh who played ranji and ICL and now IPL for KKR

  5. Thanks for the Inspirational story:)

  6. you set him on the path of determination and focus..sometimes that little push is what it takes to move ahead, just that little bit to take a leap forth.

  7. Very inspirational story sir! Liked it :-)