Network provider Three are running a brilliant ad currently. The ad shows a middle-aged son and his elderly father completing a marathon. That moment of celebration between the two at the finish line sums up everything that is wonderful about the human spirit.
The Wonder of the Human Spirit:
The human spirit is fascinating. Yet, the understanding of it is limited. Wikipedia describes it as the “component of human philosophy, psychology, art and knowledge – the spiritual or mental part of humanity”. The definition is vague. What is clearer is that it allows us each to do great things.
I draw parallels between myself and the father in that ad right now. Like he, I signed up to something that was at the limit of my ability. My marathon being a Higher Diploma in Psychology (‘HDip’). Our finish times are related. He was last home by a distance. I completed the two-year HDip in six years – with three time-outs/attempts to quit (the lines were blurred each time). My hair-colour composition is a lot closer to the father’s now after the HDip. However, it must be said that it’s hard to establish ‘cause and effect’ (as we say in the field of psychology) between the HDip and my increasingly ‘salt and pepper’ look.
What appears to be the strongest point of comparison between the father and I is the similarity of feeling experienced after reaching the finishing line (which I crossed last Wednesday after completing the final exam). The feeling is best described as a mix of pure elation and relief.
The Marathon – Birthplace of the Human Spirit:
That Three chose a marathon for the central plot of their ad is unsurprising. It’s arguably the birthplace of the human spirit. My younger sister completed the Dublin marathon a few years ago. She only got into running months before. To watch her at various points throughout and crossing the finish line was as awe-inspiring as it was tear-evoking.
I’ve just finished a book about the Czech long-distance runner, Emil Zatopek. He came from humble beginnings and took to running by chance. In 1952 at the Helsinki Olympics, Zatopek won gold at 5,000 and 10,000 metres. He decided at the Games to enter the marathon. He had never before ran at the distance. He won gold.
Zatopek believed that to fulfill true potential an athlete “must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head”.
Dream in my Head and Hope in my Heart:
The dream that gave me the courage to leave the corporate world – to inspire businesses and people to be the best they can be – remains as strong as ever. I’ve heightened hope that I’ll work with even more of the type of progressive and people-centric businesses that I’ve had the pleasure of working with to-date. The same hope exists for working privately with even more individuals who make the brilliant decision to establish a personal vision and career direction to allow them to shine.
Just for now though, like the father and his son, I’m going to enjoy this moment. And celebrate the wonder that exists by tapping into the depths of the human spirit.
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