The Extra Mile

We used to have a tradition of speeches in the morning assembly at the High School I studied in. Our Principal used to often chip in with a nice story and message after a student’s speech and other announcements. I remember listening to one about the ‘extra mile’ and wondering about the concept.

As a student, the concept of the ‘extra mile’ was not one that was obvious simply because most of what you ‘should’ do is well defined. And, more often than not in the Indian system, what you ‘should’ do often includes what you can and cannot do.

Image by Chris Heaton

It’s been 7 years now and I found myself thinking about it last night. I remembered a quote that said ‘excellence begins on the extra mile.’ Smart, and true.

I realized yesterday that we make ‘extra mile’ choices in practically everything we do in our lives – whether at work, at play or in our relationships. We either don’t meet expectations, struggle to meet expectations or simply make it a habit to repeatedly exceed expectations. And, all of the latter, happens on that proverbial extra mile. We are what we repeatedly do. We are what we repeatedly choose to do.

The extra mile isn’t proverbial management jargon. What we choose to do above and beyond what we are expected to do is where the magic lies..

(For magic, think expression on Mom’s face on having flowers delivered to her doorstep as a surprise!)