Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lincoln and the Kenyan runners: persistence wins out!

I just heard a piece on the radio about the Kenyan runners in London. They’re very highly thought of in their home country, and for good reason. They don’t go in for all the bells and whistles western athletes have access to – everything from heart monitors to sports drinks – because they can’t afford that stuff. They eat fairly well, of course, and get adequate rest, but they run all the time. That translates to a fairly straight-forward training regimen: eat, sleep, run.

And they’ve been running all their lives - long distances on a regular basis, many of them at 5,000-plus feet. And the result of all that will be that in London star runners from around the world will, once again, end up eating Kenyan dust.

They remind me of Abraham Lincoln. Think of this: he was one of the most gifted men ever to occupy the presidency, and yet his schooling consisted of only 18 months. And it wasn’t what you’d call quality education. To be a teacher out there on the prairie, out there on the fringes of civilization, all you needed in the way of qualifications was the ability to read and write and “cypher to the order of three” [translation: “know your three times tables”]. In point of fact Lincoln taught himself to read and write. He taught himself Euclidian geometry. He taught himself surveying. He taught himself the law. And when the time came for it he checked out books on military strategy as a newly elected President and taught himself how to be a commander in chief. And in each case he utilized the same dogged persistence 150 and more years ago that those Kenyan runners are utilizing today. And like Lincoln they’ll bring home the gold yet again.

The rule is simple enough: life yields its abundant rewards to those who, with dogged persistence, pay the price life requires in the proper coinage. It was true for Lincoln, it’s true for those Kenyan runners, and it’s true for you and me.

If you and I are persistent like Lincoln and the Kenyans – hey, we’ll bring home the gold too!