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Secret to success: Run with your mind, be unstoppable

Last updated on: November 30, 2011 16:42 IST

Secret to success: Run with your mind, be unstoppable

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Success in life is not defined just by talent and physical ability, says Prakash Iyer, Executive Coach and MD, Kimberly-Clark Lever. Read on.

Sometimes one single line can make a huge difference to your life.

It could be something you've read somewhere. Or a line someone said to you. And it seems to stay on in your mind and become a guiding force. Has that happened to you?

Just the other day, a dear friend of mine -- a retired Brigadier -- was narrating the story of how a line he heard many, many years ago impacted him deeply and shaped his life. Here's his story...

It was his first week in the army. He had just completed his engineering and amongst his colleagues in the army were a host of young men who had come through the National Defence Academy. Not engineers, but men exposed to the physical conditioning so essential for success in the armed forces.

It was a Sunday morning. The task ahead was rather simple. They had to run ten miles. My friend recalls starting enthusiastically, and then quickly tiring out. After running half the distance, he felt he couldn't continue any longer. He felt his legs would fold up and he'd collapse.

And just as he was about to give up and stop, he heard his commanding officer say to him: "Come on, young man. Up till now you've been running with your legs. Now run with your mind!" And those words seemed to work like magic.

While my friend doesn't quite recall what happened thereafter, all he remembers is that he kept running. And finished the entire ten mile run. And to this day, he often hears the officer's words echoing in his mind.

'Don't just run with your legs. Run with your mind.' It's been the motto that's inspired him through everything he's done in his life ever since. And it's a line we would all do well to remember.

Success in life is not defined by talent and physical ability -- but by the mental strength to stay the course, and run the extra mile. When you run with your legs, you allow the pressures to weigh you down.

You allow obstacles to come in the way of your progress. You find yourself saying "I can't!" But when you run with your mind, you become unstoppable. Your mind says "I can!"


Image: Image of a cadet from an NDA military training camp
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani
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How the Honda motor company was born

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Take Soichiro for instance. He was a Japanese engineer who dreamt of a career in the automobile industry.

He applied for a job with the Toyota Motor Corporation, but was rejected. He remained jobless for a long time -- and the temptation to give up on the automotive dream and take up a non-automotive job -- any job -- was huge.

He then tried making scooters at home. But he had no money. His caring neighbours contributed their mite to fund his enterprise. And thus was born the billion-dollar Honda Motor Company. Had Soichiro (Honda was his surname) merely run with his legs, he'd have given up long ago.

And a Honda may have never hit the roads.


Image: A woman cycles past a Honda dealer in Kawasaki, south of Tokyo
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters
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How Colonel Sanders did it

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And then there's the story of Colonel Sanders.

He ran a modestly successful restaurant serving some chicken dishes -- until the construction of a new road put him out of business.

He decided to try and sell his unique chicken recipes to other restaurants. He met over a thousand restaurant-owners and they all turned him down. But the Colonel didn't give up.

On his 1009th call, one restaurant owner agreed to buy his recipe. And thus was born the world's first Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet. Soon KFC's were opening up all over the world.

Just seven years after he started the first KFC, Colonel Sanders sold his business for over 15 million dollars. Clearly, running on your mind can be rewarding!

Next time you are staring at failure and rejection and want to quit, think of Honda and KFC.

Stay the course. Don't give up. And at all times, remember the officer's line.

Don't just run with your legs. Run with your mind!



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