Sunday, 5 August 2007

Five Lessons on Goal Achievement from Badwater, Part 1

Badwater is described as the toughest footrace in the world. It is a 135 mile ultramarathon. A normal marathon, which many would agree is a tough feat of endurance, is 26.4 miles. If you ran five marathons back-to-back you would still be three miles shy of Badwater.

What's more, Badwater starts in Death Valley desert in late July where the ambient temperatures soar above 54 degrees Celsius and ground temperatures are in excess of 93 degrees. The race traverses through the desert over two mountain ranges and is run on blacktop pavement - a heat trap. That anyone would want to even be in that kind of environment, far less contemplate running under these conditions, is beyond me. Wait a minute though. There's more.

When I said back-to-back marathons I meant just that. The race is non-stop and must be finished in less than 60 hours to avoid disqualification. Only 90 elite athletes from around the world are invited to take part. In any long distance event the late finishers tend to suffer the most but with a course as unforgiving as Badwater you risk paying the ultimate penalty. On average about 60 runners complete the course.

The start line is 282' below sea level and finishes nearly 8,500' above. There are no aid stations. Each participant has to bring along their own support crew. Without a crew there is no race.

This is what "maverick, daredevil, real estate entrepreneur" Frank Mckinney set out to do in July. It is the third time he has done this event. What would make a person put their body through such torture and push their mind to its limits? This leads me to Lesson 1:


For Frank McKinney, it was his Caring House Project Foundation (CHPF) which provides one of the most basic of needs for some of the world's most desperately poor people - shelter. However, the CHPF does more than this. It also provides medical facilities, schools, orphanages, food and water in some of the world's most deprived areas.

Without purpose we drift aimlessly through life. With purpose we are able to achieve the seemingly impossible. I believe that we were placed on this Earth to serve others and so when our endeavors are not merely self-serving they take on a higher purpose. With purpose you can move mountains or run through them!

Still, it takes more than purpose to get through a race of this kind. Mckinney went through months of arduous training:

"…logging over 1,000 miles, dragging a tire hundreds of times across the Intracoastal bridge, running in a 150[66] degree sauna on a treadmill, even sleeping in an altitude simulator for 4 months (alone) to build red blood cells…"

But it takes more than physical training to prepare for an event of this nature:

"More challenges, threats and changes take place in the mind, than in reality."

So here's Lesson 2:


Without the right mindset you will never achieve anything in life. Even to be a beach bum you need a mindset that will support you in just lazing around on a beach all day. Ever notice how some high achievers aim for a life of just doing nothing and after a couple of months of doing this are half out of their minds with boredom? They can't wait to get back into the game of life. They just don't have the right mindset to simply laze around.

All your efforts will come to naught if you don't prepare your mind. Especially, when aiming for a big goal you will have those who will stand for you as well as those who will stand against you. Among those who will stand against you is your alter ego.

Who do you think you are?
This is crazy?
Why put yourself through this?
You'll never make it!

If you allow self-doubt to creep in your alter ego will win the day before you even get out of your starting blocks. You have to take control of your thoughts or your thoughts will take control of you.

"Concern for your desired outcome is healthy, but why fret over the unlikely? Why project a negative outcome that will not materialize?"

Negative thoughts will sap your energy and deflect you from your goal. To succeed identify your negative thoughts and eliminate them.

"I have learned that my faith is stronger than self doubt, if I allow it to be. I will apply this lesson to other endeavors in my life."

Whatever, you want to achieve in life you have to work on your mind in tandem with keeping body and spirit working in harmony. Your mindset is the foundation for your success or failure.

The remaining lessons are coming up in Part 2. Until then remember:

"Within you right now is the power to do things you never dreamed possible. This power becomes available to you just as soon as you can change your beliefs."
Dr. Maxwell Maltz

Please click on the link below to find out more about the Caring House Project Foundation and or to make a donation. All size donations are accepted and donations are tax deductible.

Caring House Project Foundation

To receive a copy of one of the best articles I've ever read on the subject of "Purpose" please send an email to:

Purpose Vision Goals

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