Lunacy or Testing the Limits of Endurance?Have you heard of the Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands)? This is really the ultimate test. It is, dare I say, the toughest footrace ever, equivalent to almost 6 regular marathons taking place over a period of six consecutive days where you carry everything you need, over this period (food, clothes, medical supplies and your sleeping bag) with you as you race. Question : carry a sleeping bag- you mean they sleep?
Water is rationed and handed out to you at certain checkpoints. The point here – it’s challenging enough for any of us to even do ONE marathon. But 6 marathons over 6 days and you do the race across the Sahara, in the Moroccan desert. Yes, that’s right. In mid-day temperatures that can soar up to 120F and where the ground alternates between rocky terrain and at times sandy dunes.
Why does anyone put themselves through this gruelling exercise? Is this a test of your physical capability or your mental endurance? Is this the ultimate test of mind over matter?
What does this have to do with you? Endurance. Aka sufferance. It refers to the ability to exert yourself for a long period of time. Of course, what’s long varies according to the situation and the person involved. But that is something we need to build on, if we are to survive. In our personal lives and in the workplace. You have to endure jibes and insults from jealous colleagues, you have to endure your boss at times. You have to endure the monotony of daily traffic to and fro work. You have the endure the realities of working with big teams whom you dont get along with. You have to endure people who cannot seem to get your ideas. That’s a lot of endurance called for.
And the fact of it is that if we fail to endure, we simply don’t last.We dont make it past the post. We cry and we complain about how hard it is, how the promotion will never come our way, why the project was never hand-delivered to your team. But what is your complaint now in comparison to someone who undertakes the Marathon des Sables? And those who do, do it out of choice. You too have choice. You have the choice to sit and complain about your situation or you can do something about it. And doing something about it stops it from spiralling out of control. You feel more connected to what you’re trying to achieve, you see the momentum building up and you get results from your action. Not always positive results, but even negative results bring positive outcomes and learning experiences.