I can never forget my very first experience of an actual competition. It was in nursery class; I must have been about 3 or 4 years old. For a couple of weeks, the teachers had been preparing us for a short distance race for the upcoming school inter-house sports day. The race was named the Biscuit Race – it required contestants to eat a handful of biscuits at the starting line once the whistle was blown and then race to the finish line after eating their portion of biscuits. During practice, everyone took off from the starting line about the same time, so to my innocent mind, the competition only started when we were all taking off together.
When the D-day came, we were to kneel like rug rats at the starting line with our little bowls of biscuits in tow, ready to chomp the biscuits (as my toddler says) at the blow of the whistle and then race to the finish line, just like we did at practice. At this point, my mother must have asked herself where she got it wrong, for as soon as the whistle blew, I was the first to finish my biscuits and commence the race to the finish line, and then I realized I was the only one running! – it did not look like practice.
I was yet to comprehend that it was a competition with all of us running to finish the race. So, I did the unimaginable, having run a few meters from the starting line, I decided to stop and wait for my friends – and you can imagine what happened, I lost the head start that should have given me an advantage and made me a second or third place on that race.
I recall this experience and use it as an analogy for how we all have different races to run in life. Just as in my Biscuit Race, we get to start our races at separate times, and there is usually a prerequisite for launching into the path we set out to pursue – the preparation and readiness, the steps we need to complete before our race begins.
For me, the important thing in running any race is to stay focused on the goal – getting to the finish line. It shouldn’t matter if others started before you. You may find that you need to stop sometimes during the race to encourage or inspire others to start their race, which they may then go past you.
Essentially, the goal should remain to finish well. Now you may argue, how do I win if I didn’t get to the finish line first? My answer to that is a rhetorical question, does being the first diminish the goal or objective you were pursuing?
So dear reader, I encourage you to take a leaf from brother Paul in the bible, in the book of Philippians, where he talks about the ultimate goal in life.
“I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14)
About the Author:
Chinasa Ken-Ugwuh aka ‘Nasa is a serendipitous, columnist and radio talk-show host. She works with one of the largest global consulting firms and is passionate about making a difference to humanity through her professional and personal work. She is married with two beautiful daughters and her Achilles heel is actually biscuits!
Image Credit – Adam Winger Unsplash