Once upon a time, a 68-year old man took part to run in
a 1-mile senior-citizens race. His wish was not to win the
race but simply to complete it. He arrived at the starting
point and saw that many participants were already lined up at
the starting line. He also lined up and the race started.
Going some distance, he noticed that there were more
than a hundred runners and all were young. He got a feeling
that perhaps he was in a different race. His doubts were
confirmed when he asked a participant, who replied that it
was a 25-mile marathon.
The man thought he simply could not complete it, but
the crowd on the streets was cheering him up. Somehow he
ran, then walked to catch his breath, then he ran again, and
again he walked to catch his breath, and like this he went on,
without stopping. He came last and a good three hours after
all participants had finished.
When he arrived near the finishing line, he thought he
was going to die. Most of the spectators had gone; however,
many had remained and they were wildly cheering him. Some
participants at the finishing line also clapped enthusiastically
as he came. This motivated him to give the supreme last
effort and with extreme difficulty, he crossed the finishing
line. He was immediately given oxygen and other first-aid
treatments. When he recovered completely, he learnt that the
1-mile senior-citizens race, for which he had enrolled, was
scheduled on the next day.
The next day, his photo was in the newspapers for
completing a 25-mile marathon, at his age. That day, he also
took part in the 1-mile senior-citizens race. This time he was
the first to reach the finishing line. Again, his photo was in
the newspapers, for winning the 1-mile senior-citizens race.
At the interview for the newspaper, he said, “After the 25-
mile marathon, the 1-mile race was easy.”
Excerpt from the book “Once Upon A Time: 100 Management Stories” by Rajen Jani