Is it talent or hard work and experience or simply having the right equipment that counts most?

One of my quotes of all time is from Albert Einstein that goes “I have no particular talent, I am merely extremely inquisitive”. Now I make no claim to be anywhere close to the genius that was Einstein but I would say that  I too have no particular talent except perhaps for being curious.  And that can get you a long way sometimes but perhaps curiosity is not all you need (cos we all know that love is all you need).  I’ve, in the last couple months, been having a recurring conversation with a few different people on the topic of natural talent versus hard work towards a goal versus having the better tools on hand to finish the job and buying some luck with that.  The conversations seem pretty pointless because they inevitably lead nowhere because this debate is as old as time. I mean I’m sure even the early cavemen had hunters who made more kills because of a better spear or fishermen who caught fish easier because they were fishing 7 days a week.  But let me give you my take because you’ve already read so far in, you might as well read on…

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I’m making 2018 my year of influence

So full 2 weeks of the New Year have come and gone.  If you are still holding on to your resolutions good on you!  If have already you broke them for whatever reason, well you only 2 weeks in so you can always wake up, shout “Mulligan!” and start over.  If you didn’t make any, you do you as best as you can, because you never know who’s watching and looking up to you!  My resolution for 2018 is actually something along those lines, but before we get there some background.

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2017 in rear view…

I know what you thinking. “Hold up, hold up, you can’t just be writing a year in review when the year is not yet over! Its not even Christmas!” But let’s be honest guys, as a South African the year officially ends on the long weekend of the 16th December and the new year begins after the 2nd January, maybe only officially the 8th January.  The two week period in-between is neither the old year or the new year, filled with the haze of balmy summer nights, sweet over-indulgence, instagram posts and stories and travel to local or exotic destinations; all the while surrounded by dear family and friends. We should really start a petition to get the South African Government to make the 16 December to 1 January summer leave for everyone. So, for me at least, the year ended a few days back already unofficially and therefore I can just!  So here are my two highlights of 2017…

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I have walked my 500 miles…

Forrest Gump’s momma was a wise women.  One of her pearls of wisdom was that “You can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, where they going, where they been”.  I got to thinking the other day and began to wonder about where my own shoes have taken me and where I still have to go.  I had just been in to the shoe shop in Dunkeld, got my feet measured for no reason because I was just getting the latest version of my now trusted running shoes, New Balance 880 version 7’s, which were replacing the now worn down version 6’s I had worn for more than 18 months which themselves had replaced a pair of version 5s.  The 880s are one of the few running shoes that actually come in my size; UK 10s with 2E width, so I am pretty much limited to them.  And I began recalling all the shoes I have worn.

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So-Sweat-o

Sweating through Soweto

Every year, early in November, thousands of people gather to run through the streets of Soweto.  Some run farther than others, some faster and some, like me, much slower. The strange thing, I am told, is that they are not running from anything.  No dogs or policeman.  The absolute definition of insanity apparently.  I must say though that by the end of this year’s race I really was questioning my state of mind, like many of the spectators who lined the streets were as well!

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There’s a hole in my jacket…

One of the jackets I run in when it gets cold in the winter has a tear in the sleeve.  Its a rather old jacket that I probably bought in 2011 when I first took up running and probably gets about 3 to 4 months of on and off use every year. But the tear is not the result of old age.  I actually tripped and fell while running one morning.  I was going through a load of stuff in 2012, when I could still run 7:30min/km and was distracted by my own thoughts.  I turned a corner and didn’t see a paving stone that was out of place but one that I had probably ran past 20 times before that.  And as the saying goes, I saw my own ass…

I went down in slow motion.  In my head anyway.  But I managed to stick my right hand out to break my fall.  Being a stubby right hand, the sleeve ends halfway down my palm so actually got the worst of the fall and saved a few grazes. But it ended up with a hole in it.  And I ended up just lying on the ground watching the traffic go by.

I picked myself up eventually.  But that tear in the sleeve remained.  I looked at it this afternoon and was reminded how it got there and of a couple other things as well.  That often whatever it is you are worrying about will pass if you give it time.  And I was also reminded that there was a time when I was faster.  Not too long ago in fact.  Which goes to show that the only person you need to better than is the person you were yesterday does not always hold true.  Or in my case it doesn’t anyway.  But I know how to get better and that I can be better and that’s what counts right? Lastly I was reminded that even though this jacket of my has a hole in the sleeve it still works as it should.  We all are a little flawed with our tears.  Stitched together with random memories and hope that tomorrow will be better…

10 Things I learnt from Forrest Gump…

For me “My momma always said life was like a box of chocolates…” is, and probably will always be, the most iconic movie line of all time.  There are a few that come close, “Always” from Harry Potter, “Not all those who wander are lost” from Lord of the Rings, “Are you not entertained”from Gladiator.  But Forrest will remain my favourite.  And its probably not the only line from the movie that find myself reciting every so often.  I watch the movie at least once a year, often more.  And each time I do, I inevitably find myself taking something new away from the movie.  I think each of us have that one movie we live by, and for each of us it is probably for different reasons, so let me try to explain what the famous Mr Gump has taught me over the years.

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Avert your eyes Marguerite!

On the reasons I run…

If you know me well enough or for long enough you will have probably had the misfortune of seeing my with my shirt off.  It’s not a pretty sight I am told, and should come with a warning.  However I have never been one to shy away from owning my own body shape, choosing rather to show it off, waxing lyrically about my lovely legs or  my hairy chest which should actually just be waxed! I would argue its confidence while classical psychology would put it down to overcompensation.  Classical psychology would win, but not without a fight. Continue reading “Avert your eyes Marguerite!”