Cross country impresses me so much. Especially when its kids. Hundreds of children, running thru the grass, legs racing, breath straining. We watch faces fly by, pinched in exertion as they struggle to move, to pass, to keep up.
The winners have it easy. You see it in the way they run. It practically looks effortless. Gliding. Fast. They run with confidence, knowing they have all it takes to win. Their talent comes naturally. They receive mountains of positive reinforcement. The world bends to support them.
They keep at it so easily because it's expected. The crowd stands behind them, cheers loose in the air. The only effort required is being themselves, as they soak up applause and ribbons as well.
And winning is cool for sure. It's quite an accomplishment. Even with talent, it isn't easy. It takes work. It takes talent. But the people holding blue ribbons are rarely the ones who impress me the most.
Because in the back of the pack, there's another race being fought. It's the runner who hobbles. Their balance is weak. There's no keeping up with the pack. Their feet are still moving but no one's nearby. The spectators gone to follow the lead.
Yet this hobbling runner keeps moving their feet. Even though their pace is slow it's relentless, and never gives up. No one cheers as they pass the stands because nobody's there. The finish line sits empty when they finally arrive. The lights are turning out. The people have left. But the runner keeps onward.
And when that hobbling child can finish dead last, yet still get up the next morning and lace back up those running shoes, that's the one you follow. Perhaps running isn't their thing. But persistence clearly is. And if they can keep running when nobody cares, just image what they'll accomplish when their talent improves. For their work and their effort are investments in skill, and their skill set's improving each day, every hour.
And you've already seen this inside your own self. You know what will happen when they finally take notice. As the winners' skills becomes yours you keep piling on the effort you've already been bringing for years. The world finally takes notice. The world finally cheers, but you'll no longer need it, because your power's persistence and its growing everyday.