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The winner’s way: From frustration to fulfilment

Life & Style
Many observers expected him to pull out of the race and go to hospital, but instead, he received medical attention and returned to the race.

JOHN Stephen Akhwari is a former Tanzanian marathon runner who represented his country at the 1968 Olympics.

Although Akhwari did not win any medals, his story is one we will remember for decades.

Early on in the race, Akhwari succumbed to cramps that slowed his progress.

As if this was not enough, Akhwari fell to the ground, which resulted in a gashed and dislocated knee.

Simultaneously, he smashed his shoulder against the pavement.

Many observers expected him to pull out of the race and go to hospital, but instead, he received medical attention and returned to the race.

By the time Akhwari reached the stadium, he was limping, with the bandage wrapped around his leg barely intact.

Regardless of his injuries, he pushed on and finished the race over an hour after the winner.

Of the 75 men who set out to participate in the race, 18 did not finish.

When asked why he had carried on, John responded, “My country did not send me 5 000 miles to run the race; it sent me 5 000 miles to finish the race.”

After recovering from his injuries, he competed in other long-distance races.

Akhwari proved that courage, dedication and attitude in the face of adversity are what determine how the world will remember you.

Attitude, by definition, is a settled way of thinking or feeling about something.

We should all strive to have a winning attitude, we should believe in our success regardless of our position in life.

To do so, we must always focus on the positive possibilities and opportunities and be persistent regardless of life’s vicissitudes.

We should take pride in whatever we do and strive to do it well.

Below, we shall discuss different habits we can adopt to embrace the winner’s attitude.

Practise gratitude

Gratitude involves showing appreciation for the things in life that are meaningful and valuable to you.

We should always start our days by expressing gratitude.

Over 130 000 people lost their lives in Zimbabwe this year. If you are reading this, being alive is something to be grateful for.

Practise affirmations

Affirmations are phrases or sentences we repeat to ourselves, through which we assert that something is true or exists.

An example of an affirmation is, “I am in the right place at the right time doing the right thing.”

Practising daily positive affirmations helps us to overcome fear and self-doubt and reduce self-sabotage.

Find the unseen benefit

“In every dark cloud, there truly is a silver lining. To find the silver lining in your challenges, shift your perspective.”   Unknown.

A true winner will maintain a positive attitude even in the face of adversity.

Instead of falling into despair when we face challenges, we should become resilient and grow.

In the words of Napoleon Hill, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Be intentional with your thoughts

Whatever we dwell on, we become. Marcus Aurelius was a famous and successful Roman emperor.

Today, he is best known for The Meditations, a collection of his thoughts and stoic beliefs.

In his words, “The happiness of your life shall depend upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Aurelius has symbolised the Golden Age of the Roman Empire for many generations.

It is evident in his writings that his thoughts greatly shaped his attitude, which, in turn, shaped his governance.

Be kind

Take a moment to make a mental list of the five kindest people you know. Are you on the list?

Before we can be kind to others, we must be kind to ourselves. Watch how you speak about yourself; is it kind? Are your thoughts kind?

When we are kind, we increase our sense of connectivity with others, decrease loneliness and improve our relationships.

Everyone can be petty and rude, but it takes a true winner to be kind.

To win, we must keep going after everyone else has quit.

We must remain kind when it is easier to be rude or petty.

In everything we do, we must always express our gratitude for what we have while affirming what we desire.

Like Akhwari, find your positive aspect and finish the race regardless of the obstacles you may face along the way.

When we adopt a winner’s attitude, in due time we will surely win.

Rutendo Kureya is a medical student at Saint Petersburg State Paediatric Medical University, Russia. She is passionate about issues concerning the state and welfare of fellow Zimbabweans. She can be reached at [email protected]. Mobile: +7 996 274 98 66 Facebook: Rutendo Kureya. She writes here in her personal capacity.

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