This happened in 2003. It was one of those weeks where the whole week was pretty hectic and things weren't going the way I wanted. I was feeling fed up and tired with the same old offshore project which had started five years back. That weekend I took a break from work and began watching the Singapore marathon on television. The marathon had a sea of participants that extended around half a kilometer behind the start line. Participants were from all over the world. It was meant for both men and women and there were separate prizes in both the categories.
There was a person from Kenya who used to walk 40 kms everyday from his village to the city. After he started running and earned some money, he bought a bicycle to travel from the village to city. There was another man from the US, 60 plus years, and who recovered from a terminal illness. He too took part in this competition and completed it.
After a few kilometers of running, the runners spread thin. What was initially a block of people crowded together, now became a thin long line with some smaller blocks interspersed in between. Every 2 kms there was water available where they would grab it and pour it over their face and head and continue running. There were cheer leaders along the way, cheering the participants. Almost every kilometer, there was a distance indicator showing them the distance that was covered. Somewhere at the half way mark, I noticed a huge banner. It said, "KEEP GOING".
I thought to myself, for a person who is running the marathon and who is not amongst the first three, what is the motivation to go on? Some of them would be really tired, probably with cramps in the stomach. They would be thinking, “I am not going to be in the first three places anyway because, there are others who are way ahead of me. So why not quit and just go back home”? Our life(work) is sometimes like this marathon race. Sometimes you feel low and tired. Other times you are all...
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