Last fall I ran my first half-marathon. There was a sense of exhilaration when I crossed the finish line, but there also was intolerable pain. I decided never to run such long distance races again. They are too tough on the body, I reasoned. After all, the goal should be to stay healthy, not torture one’s body running up and down hills for over 21 kilometers. My friend who had helped me train for the race told me that I could target a marathon next, but I told her I would just stick to running 5Ks and 10Ks. A person should be crazy to run marathons, I thought. Of late however, I seem to have got a change of heart. Last week, I spent an entire evening looking up information about different marathons I could run. I haven’t registered yet, but I’m targeting to run a couple of marathons by the end of this year.
What caused my change of heart? How do people develop the courage to attempt things they earlier thought was impossible for them? In my case I think smaller achievements in the past gave me that courage. Finishing a 10K and 15K gave me the courage to think about half-marathon. I also did cover the marathon’s distance of 42.2 kilometers last winter, hiking for an entire day. Few months back, I won a medal for finishing first (in my age group) in a 5K. These small victories sure boosts a person’s confidence for attempting something bigger, however are past achievements the only factors which motivate people to think bigger? Some people think big first, set a goal accordingly and then prepare short-term objectives to help them work towards that goal. In other words, while I never thought big until I achieved smaller ‘big things’, others may think big first and then go about targeting smaller objectives to ultimately achieve their big goal. I for myself have also tried the latter method with respect to my career goals. It would probably be wrong to ask which method is better. However, are there certain personality types who prefer one method over the other? Or are there certain types of task which are more suitable for a specific method?