The Final Hour

The Final Hour

We hear a lot these days about ‘stay at home fatigue’. People are plain ole’ tired of not being able to do the things they are used to doing. They are ready to give up, to give in – they don’t want to wait until there is a vaccine (read: until it is safe) to resume ‘normal’ life (See article- Power of Now)

That would be a big mistake.

Throughout my life I have seen people who work hard in a particular endeavor, only to give up just before the final bell. In college I remember kids who worked hard throughout the year, studied effectively for their first few finals, then took on an attitude of ‘I just don’t care anymore’ with a week or so left until school was over. Those last few A’s quickly turned into Bs, and months’ worth of hard work was all but wasted.

When I was sailing for Tufts University sailing team, it didn’t matter the ‘score’, nor where we were in the race; I always went as hard as could until the final gun. I remember one race where we were so far ahead of our nearest competitor, we could barely see them. We were going to win the race for sure. My crew (sailing partner who sat next to me on the boat and helped with trimming sails, hiking out to keep the boat flat, etc.) sat up and said, ‘well we won that race by a mile, good job’ with about 100 yards left. I told her to immediately keep hiking at full tilt, to which she gave me the evil eye (we were college kids 😊). Afterwards I explained to her my attitude was to keep going 110% until the very end, you never know if someone may catch up, and in any case, I wanted to psychologically crush the competition. So, no matter how you looked at it (from an internal or external perspective), the only path I would follow was maximum effort until the very end. She realized that was the attitude it took to win, to dominate, and from then on, she never let up until we crossed the finish line.

Today, even those who have done all the right things vis a vis the virus since the March time frame are ready to give up, to give in. But now is not the time to let up, or to let down your guard. The reasons we did the hard work to begin with are still in place. If anything, you need to double down on the effort, be it on the health front (staying smart with mask wearing, hand washing, etc.), the business front, or in any other realm. This too shall pass, so the only question is: did you do the right things until the coast was clear, or did you give up and give in 3/4 along the way.

I understand that each situation, each person’s circumstances are different, but the point remains: whatever you are doing, finish strong. Whether it is the last few yards of a running sprint, or the preparation for a business meeting, or anything else in life, don’t lose the benefits of the other 95% of effort due to ‘giving up’ the last 5%. Ultimately it is just a mindset that can be trained like anything else. Picture yourself working hard until completion, and the positive feelings associated with that and then go execute until the final bell.

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