TMC: You Are In A Marathon. Play For The Future

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TMC dre baldwinChris Rock had a scene in some comedy show he did once where he knocked down the cliche “life is short”.

“No! Life is looong.”

I wish I could remember some of the examples he used — they were funny — but I’ll make it make sense anyway.

The attention spans of humans is rapidly decreasing. Prisoners of the moment, we are — judging a persons’s entire existence based on one trial or failure, declaring sports matches “over” before they’re even halfway completed, concretely encapsulating a person’s character in 140 characters based on a story we read on a tabloid news website.

Life is long.

Social media provides and outlet for all of us to shout. About what we just did, are about to, or are doing right now. And since we’re prisoners of the moment, people will jump to conclusions that this guy is this and those guys are doing that and they aren’t this.

Life is long.

I always watch some of the track and field events of every summer Olympics. It’s fun watching people who have their last four years of training staked on a 10 or 40 second race. It’s quickly and easily digested and we can move on to the next thing. And we draw lots of judgements based on whatever see in these sub-minute events. But how much thought is put into the four years of preparation that went behind that race? And how good all eight runners have to be to even make that final race?

Life is long.

The Olympics also feature longer races, the ones so long that NBC goes to commercial during the raceand picks it up 3 minutes later as if nothing interesting happened in between. The marathon is, for the most part, uneventful. People running at a steady pace (albeit a very fast steady pace) and a lot more running ahead of them.


The race is so long that some runners run an entire lap ahead of others by the end. But no one shouts about it because the marathon is so long and we’ve been trained to pay attention briefly, pass judgement, and move on.

Life is long.

Your journey to success is a marathon. There may be some intervals of sprinting mixed in, but overall it’s a boring, steady pace. What you did for 40 seconds on any day, cumulatively, won’t matter as much as what you did over any 40-day stretch. It’s as true for others as it is for you. What people shout out to the crowd will grab your attention, but pay more attention to the slow, dull humming sound of their everyday actions.

It’s not as exciting. There’s very little shouting. Hell, you may even doze off on the job, the shit is so uneventful.

But life is long. Anyone can sprint plenty fast for 10 seconds. You’ll have a much clearer picture, though, when you check for them after 10 minutes.