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January 30, 2018

26 ways to success - Z for Zeal - " Zeal, Something Worth Dying For! " article published in The Hans India on 29th July 2016

Zeal, Something Worth Dying For!

Here we are, at the business end of this series. The series which was started with the letter A on 5th February 2016. It was a roller coaster of a thoroughly enjoyable ride. I am overwhelmed by the feedback and the suggestions received. I have extensively researched and came out with this series, that I am sure would be useful for all the aspiring students who want to make it big in the corporate world.

One small piece of advice, the attributes described are not for glib explanations and not to sound impressive in interviews. These attributes should be internalized and should become our DNA. They should loudly be saying “this is what I am and I am not going to compromise with what is dear to me, come what may!”

As I am penning this article my heart goes out to the brave heart, Captain Vikram Batra, an officer of the Indian army, posthumously awarded with the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil war in Kashmir.   He led one of the toughest operations in mountain warfare. He was often called ‘'Sher Shah'’ by the soldiers of the Pakistan army. His famous words “"Yeh Dil Maange More! (My heart asks for more!)".

This is the crux of this article. Zeal stands for the great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. Captain Vikram Batra was waging a battle and his pursuit was based on the belief that the cause was right. He was supremely confident of the cause and smilingly gave up his life. The Indian armed Forces slogan we should always remember “we gave our today so that you can have a safe tomorrow”. We should be standing silently and saluting our great armed forces for their Zeal and selflessness in guarding our country’s frontiers. There cannot be any better example of Zeal and pursuit of a cause.

As the year rolls on there is great excitement in the air. The quadrennial Olympics are on their way and the buzz is building up. World over people can’t hold on to their excitement. Come 5th August there would be epic clashes, records re-written and new heroes born. For most of us Olympics are one another televised event. One among many, we would yawningly say and switch on to another of those mind numbing and utterly frivolous serials or equally ridiculous movies.

The problem with television is that it makes televised events look easy and more attainable. Case in point, the TV telecast of cricket makes the game looks very simple. Bowling, batting and fielding appear very simple. So simple that the chips munching couch potato says “Shucks man, this is easy, why is that they can’t do any better?”

The reality check is very different. The 22 yards of a cricket pitch is a huge distance. It is 66 feet across and it needs great athleticism to sprint across, before the ball is fired into the wicket keeper’s gloves. The wicket keeper’s job is even worse. He does so many squats in a day that it could be mind and body numbing. And they get hit so many times on the fingers that many of the wicket keepers have crooked fingers that don’t heal very well. As a college wicket keeper, I should know!  One of my crooked left fingers is a proud proof of what serious wicket keeping can do.

Let us return to Olympics. Let us examine the issue critically and with statistics. The world record for the long jump is 8.95 Metres! So what most of you might say. Let us convert it into feet. In feet it would be 29 feet and 4.25 inches. Yes you have read it right. 29 feet and 4.25 inches. Draw it out on the ground and you would be astonished. Most of us would be able to jump 9 or 10 feet, but this is almost 30 feet! That is flying and it takes super human effort and extreme zeal, confidence and self-belief to even think of jumping that type of distances.

The world record of 8.96 metres stands with Mike Powell of USA and this record which was set in 1991 has not been broken for the last 25 years! Before the 8.96 monstrous jump of Mike Powell the record was held by another very illustrious US jumper Bob Beamon who held the record for 23 years at a distance of 8.90 metres. Only two people ever have jumped a distance of over 29 feet!

Let us look at the world record in high jump. It stands at 8 feet and 0.25 inches! Yes, 8 feet vertically, without any assistance. Watching a high jump event live would be a hair rising experience. The lithe, slim high jumpers straining very sinew in their body would race in, twist, grimace and soar over the bar. The bar would shiver and stay in its place and the crowd with let out a collective sigh of happiness and excitement. It is a once in a life time experience.

And the big daddy of them all, The Marathon. The marathon is run on the road over 42 kilometres and 195 metres. It is a distance that can only be run by the toughest of the toughest. Most of us would start gasping for air and would give up running after 100 or 200 metres. And in the marathon the runners have to run the distance from BHEL Ramachandrapuram to Ghatkesar.  The world record for men is 2 hours 2 minutes and 57 seconds. The world class runners are running at a speed of 20 kilometres per hour. At that speed they are almost flying!

The shocking aspect of what a Marathon entails has not yet been dwelt upon. The marathon is so tough that marathon runners can’t train like other athletes. They can’t run the full marathon in practice. The only time they run the marathon is as it happens. Every marathon is an epic spectacle. I have read many reports of marathoners who say that the first ten kilometers is what they remember. After that everything is a blur. And after 35 kilometers it is a torture of unbearable magnitude.

Every muscle in the body is sobbing and pleading with the runner to stop. Most of them can’t even see properly as there is so much of blood racing to their brains. They are cases of marathon runners collapsing and even dying of exertion. Next time watch the laggards (people finishing late). 

They weave, stumble and somehow cross the line. That is what Zeal is; you almost give up your life to achieve something that is driven internally. No prize for the runners coming in 4th or later! The prize is competing with one’s self and winning. That is what life is after all! Winning in our own eyes. We should try out things and should never say later on “Oh I should have tried that thing out”. It is better to have ventured out, tried and failed rather than not trying at all. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

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