The Will to Stretch

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you are good but the thing that you do that makes you good” – Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers.

It is just practice and nothing but practice.

I just reviewed one of my practices for over six months which I call Jowar, for jogging walking and running. I stretched myself by doubling my output today to find that I could do much better, if I wanted to. The numbers were 2 Hrs 30 minutes – 18 Kms in place of my regular 9 Kms in 70 minutes.

Why do it?  Unless we challenge the  present we would never transcend any of our limits and no history is made?

There is nothing great about my walking performance  and I am not out to create a new record. I know that my performance can improve three fold or more. I maintain my interest in these numbers as a test of my will to stretch mySelf. For a lazybones champion of idleness  for over six decades, to beign something of this sort and to stick to it certainly needs some rudiments of that thing called will. More than stretching myself physically it also involves my mind and spirit. I talk to myself while I am at it, ” you are not doing it just for yourself, you are running for all the seniors and the would be seniors and you are much more than your 58 kgs of clay .”

It is spiritual since in many ways it has become the ‘most meaningful’ – the anchor activity – of my routine.

I don’t keep any metrics of far more worldly important aspects of my performance as I have little faith in most popular metrics

I was ‘walking the Brigade’ in Bangalore with one of my students, a practice that goes back forty years to my student days. I remain a student and continue to walk the same road.

He has been ardently working on converting me to a vegetarian and as usual I have been resisting. I hold the view, in arguments, that being a vegan is no big deal and the perceived benefits derive from the bias created by randomness of being born in a vegetarian family with me falling in the opposite camp.

There is a whole array of my other argumentative missiles that I keep in stowage to be deployed when required, some of them so effective that I have done my share of conversions in the opposite direction. I take one of them out

Come, let us do a KFC. Show me that you can do it. I can any day turn a vegan but can you become a non ? I am more evolved  since  I have  more options to choose from. In a game those with more options than the opponant  comes out the winner. Survival of the fittest. You are a vegetarian because you have no other options!  As a one-time (circus?) trainer, at times,  I do a little bit of arm-twisting.

Your  treat?


I ‘m game.

My student proved smarter than me. He went on for a second and third helping and I was flabbergasted. This was a first for me. And  that was not the end of it.

How could you pull it off ?

Sir I have made it a practice to walk your talk.

What is that?

Do the most difficult. I just did that. That is all. Sir, can I ask you something?


How long have you been smoking?

Over 40 years

How many a day?

Used to be 30-40, now 6,7.

Why don’t you quit smoking?

It is been a friend of my lonely days and sleepless nights. I don’t see any reason to quit. The most well-known of them do not appeal to me.  Why should I quit?  May be this is an expression of my death wish! (This was a major insight. We all have it. We only are responsible for death. Nature or god has nothing to do with it. Our best efforts at defeating death is what accelerates  it !)

Sir,  it is your advice.  Do the most difficult.  Why don’t you quit?       ………….NOW!

This was a moment of truth, the bolt of lightning from the blue. There was  thunder and  silence. That was on 23 Feb 2010 .5.36 PM.

I threw my death wish down and stamped on it. I haven’t smoked since then.

Would you become a vegetarian now?

No way, I will eat less and practice non-eating. Vegetarians also kill to eat. Besides the non-vegetarian food is more advanced in the pollution chain which means it undergoes a further processing in the animal system. They die for us in advance.

So what is the learning?

Cut the crap.

Manipulate if you are ready to be manipulated

End of teaching. Learn together. Practice the Will to stretch oneSelf


1 thought on “The Will to Stretch

  1. Pingback: Meta: The post on posts | First Discipline

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