The Amazing Benefits of "Going the Extra Mile"
Align yourself with the laws of nature and your life will bloom like flowers in the spring.
Still recuperating from my battle with cancer, I’m sitting in a Baltimore federal courthouse bullpen (there are no Baltimore Orioles relief pitchers in this bullpen) with a newly imposed 101-month federal sentence. So much for robbing banks to leave my family financially secure. I’d gone the extra mile alright, most of my life, in the wrong direction. Back in 1995, life didn’t look all that promising for SJ White, aka, “Bicycle Bandit.” That’s not the case today.
You may not be sitting in a bullpen waiting for the feds to ship you to Timbuktu, but whatever situation in life you’re in, committing to go the extra mile can take you from ordinary to extraordinary. As long as you’re heading in the right direction. I know, because once I began going the extra mile in the right direction, opportunities to improve my situations in life (I think you’ll agree cancer and prison are situations) began to show their face. And, when there wasn’t an opportunity showing its face, the habit of going the extra mile had me creating my own. Going the extra mile is the one thing we can do without asking permission. It also brings us to the attention of those who are in a position to provide new opportunities.
Stay on target:
Once you acquire the habit of going the extra mile, stay on target and you’ll begin to enjoy what you’re doing instead of complaining about it. After all, it’s your decision, nobody is asking you to do it, nobody expects you to do it, and nobody, other than you, can make you do it. Now let’s keep it real if everybody went the extra mile the world would certainly be a much better place to live, but you and I wouldn’t be able to cash in on this principle because of all the competition. Don’t worry, that’s not going to happen. When you go the extra mile you join a class of people that are far and few between. That makes you special. You’re the marksman others wished they had the determination to become. If another should catch fire to your flame, your reward will be even greater. It’s a small army and every soldier your recruit pleases the one who sent you.
Professional athletes have to go the extra mile to make the big leagues. And, once they make it, they have to continue going the extra mile to stay there, no matter how talented they are. It’s no different for you and me. If we wish to become successful at anything it’s going to take extra effort on our part. Extra effort means exactly what it says, doing something extra, something above and beyond the normal mundane effort those who wish to remain stuck in the mud put forth. No way do I want to insinuate you have to run around like a chicken with its head cut off. The type of extra effort I’m talking about is engaging your mind with your body, and keeping it engaged on the task at hand, whatever that task may be. The idea is to make the most of what we do by committing to always go above and beyond what’s normally acceptable for most people. When we do that we align ourselves with the laws of nature.
Nature is as nature does:
Examples of how nature works are all around us. An apple tree doesn’t produce just one apple, and it certainly doesn’t rain just one raindrop. I truly believe that nothing pleases our Creator more than seeing us go the extra mile. Everything in nature does. Imagine what would happen to a Lion in the jungle if he didn’t go the extra mile for food? Or any other creature for that matter. Nature is as nature does and they’re no exceptions. All you have to do is look around you. Come spring, the flowers won’t try to bloom, they’ll just bloom, and so do we when we align ourselves with the laws of nature. Anyone who doesn’t believe they are part of nature better check back with the hospital where they were born.
Reap what you sow:
Keep in mind this principle is not all about what you do for yourself, it’s about what you do for others. In other words, you reap what you sow, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, what goes around comes around, do under others as you would have them do unto you. I’m sure you’ve gotten the idea by now. As they say in the eastern religions, every action generates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind. They believe karma is nothing more than an echo from the past. I know from personal experience how true that can be. I’ve known a lot of people who were important in the world I grew up in; lots of cash, lots of influence, and lots of power earned by injecting fear into the hearts of business associates. To a young kid such as myself, they appeared invincible but time has a way of separating the important from the unimportant, and time has taught me that no one is invincible. We may be able to avoid man’s laws for a while, sometimes for quite a while, but there are some laws we cannot avoid.
Balancing the books:
If you don’t think nature has a book on you, you are fooling yourself. And believe you me, nature always balances her books. When we develop the habit of going the extra mile, which means we do more than paid to do, and we do it with a pleasing personality, nature balances her book in our favor. The tree, the idea, the plan, whatever you plant, always bear more than one piece of fruit if you tend to it properly. Now, after you’ve gone the extra mile for someone, your boss, family, friend, stranger, don’t turn around and ask for two or three favors. That’s not how this works. Give more than you expect to receive and let nature do the rest.
Natures no fool:
There may be times when people you know (let’s hope not) may begin to feel shown up by you for not going the extra mile themselves. Generally speaking, people don’t adjust well to change. They’ll want you to go back to your old habits so they won’t feel so bad about themselves. When they don’t see any immediate benefits in your new approach to life they’ll use that to try and make you go back to the old you. Forget that! They don’t understand things take time. Nobody who has not gone the extra mile for years can expect tremendous rewards after going the extra mile for just a few months. Nature is no fool. You don’t plant the crop and go back the next day to harvest it. You’ve got to tend to it, nurture it, and that takes time, but when that crop comes in, you get back a lot more than you ever gave out. You don’t outsmart nature, you adjust.
The laws of nature:
If you never do anything else other than getting yourself in the habit of going the extra mile you’ll discover the greatest thing any person could ever do for themselves, as well as the people they love, and society in general. The laws of nature are not complicated, you can’t avoid them, you can’t go around over or under them, but you can learn their nature, adjust to them, and therefore benefit from them. Nature always balances her books and when she does, your reward will always outweigh your contribution. During my seventy-three years on this planet, I’ve witnessed nature do it’s human behavior thing time and time again. I even experienced its wrath a few times before I finally caught on. Give “Going the extra mile” a try, and then come back and leave me a comment on how well you’re doing. If you follow this formula you’ll be doing great.
The benefits of “Going the extra mile:
- Becoming a constant challenge to yourself ignites personal initiative, shoots holes in procrastination, and leads to a positive mental attitude.
- Brings you to the attention of those who are in a position to provide new opportunities.
- Leads to mental growth and greater ability in one’s chosen profession.
- Develops a sense of purpose.
- Attracts others to go the extra mile
- Eliminates fear, doubt, and discouragement.
- A habit that keeps one continuously seeking new and more efficient ways of going the extra mile.
- Extra-milers are can-do people as opposed to no-can-do people.
- Produces champions
Don’t think in terms of what you can take from the world, think in terms of what you can give.
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