Going the Extra Mile
Not hard to shine when you’re the only light on the road
By SJ White
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, in the wrong direction. When it was all over, the money was gone along with the people I did it for. 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, making a commitment to go the extra mile can take your life from ordinary to extraordinary. As long as you’re heading in the right direction. I know, because once I started going the extra mile in the right direction, opportunities to improve my situations (I think you’ll agree cancer and prison are no small situations) began to pop up like corks in water. And, when there wasn’t an opportunity popping up, I found a way to make one pop up. Going the extra mile was the one thing I could do without asking permission, so I dove right in. What did I have to lose? What do you have to lose?
Once you acquire the habit of going the extra mile you’ll begin to enjoy what you’re doing instead of complaining about it. For one thing, 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, 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, you start going the extra mile you’ll be in a class all by yourself. It’s mighty easy to shine when you’re the only light on the road.
“Professional athletes have to go the extra mile in order 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. I don’t know why it works. I only know that it does. Personally, I believe it’s because you’re falling in line with something that always goes the extra mile – nature itself. After all, an apple tree doesn’t produce just one apple.“
Keep in mind this principle is not all about what you do for yourself, it has a lot to do with what you do for others. It’s the old reap what you sow theory. To put it as simply as possible, nature says that whatever we give out – will come back to us greatly multiplied. It may take some time, but positive or negative, it will come back. Don’t poo, poo that theory. I know from personal experience that we may avoid man’s laws for a while, but there are some laws that are unavoidable. If you don’t believe that, try and stop a hurricane. Now, after you’ve gone the extra mile for someone, don’t turn around and ask for two or three favors. That’s not how it works.
Warning: Some people close to you may feel shown up for not going the first mile themselves. They’ll want you to go back to your old habits. The heck with that.
I never pass on life-changing principles without pointing out the benefits I hope and pray will provide you with the incentive to give them a try. Check out the bullet points below.
- 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.
- Develops a keen alert imagination because it’s a habit that keeps one continuously seeking new and more efficient ways of going the extra mile.
- You’ll become a can-do person instead of a no-can-do person.
- Produces champions
Don’t think in terms of what you can take from the world, think about what you can give. Peace of mind is not out there, it’s within you.