Saturday, 4 July 2009

Heroic failures

It is the desire of most individuals to succeed in whatever they do. Nonetheless, there are certain spirited souls who are never destined to make it big, no matter how hard they try. But for some of these `lucky' ones, being not successful actually made them famous (well, to a certain extent, at least).

I am now re-reading an old book of mine titled `The Return of Heroic Failures' by Stephen Pile. It is the second collection of failure stories compiled by Pile after his successful first book, which I wrote about -> here.

While it can be hilarious to read about other people's bungling attempts, there are some inspiring stories too. I am sharing one today... about the spirit of never giving up.

Marathons Can Be Fun

In 1966, Shizo Kanakuri set a new record for the Olympic marathon. At Stockholm, he completed the 26.2-mile course in an unbeatable 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds, having started in 1912.

He had run several miles before passing a group of people having a pleasant drink in their front garden. As he was suffering from chronic heat exhaustion at the time, he did the only sensible thing and tottered over to join them. Being a sociable sort of man, he stayed for a few more drinks whereupon he changed his race tactics dramatically, caught a train back to Stockholm, booked into a hotel for the night, boarded the next boat to Japan, got married, had six children and ten grandchildren, before returning to the villa where he had stopped and completing the marathon for the honour of Japan.

It is never too late to finish what you have started. This feat of Kanakuri's got him an entry in Wikipedia... and that is more than most of us straggling mortals can claim to have. So, never despair. If you think you did badly, don't worry... someone else has done worse.

12 comments:

Pak Zawi said...

Oldstock,
The moral of the story is to finish what you started. Most people don't, me included.

mamasita said...

O ok..so very happy to hear there are worst failures then meself..I can continue making mistakes then..hehe

VersedAnggerik said...

this is a very comforting post. I'd say!

Patricia said...

I'd like to think that nothing's ever 'too late'. So I like this story.

It's not always possible to finish what we start; and sometimes, it's not too wise.

Live and learn, and do what you want to do: that's what I think is best :)

drbubbles said...

Hehe..this is funny pak oldstock!mana boleh beli buku tu?

Tok Snake said...

saya pun tengah sambung semula something that i started more than 30 yrs ago..

Oldstock said...

Pak Zawi,

I'm with you there. I've not finished many things that I started too. A good example is the short story that I wrote (or tried to write, actually). I've posted two parts of the story in this blog. Still need to fine tune the text before I can post the subsequent parts... if I post at all, hahaha.

Oldstock said...

mamasita,

It's okay to make mistakes. Just don't make the same ones too often :-)

Oldstock said...

Verse,

As for you, I need not worry. You have proven that you are an achiever. That's more than I can say for myself.

Oldstock said...

Pat,

You're right on the part of `do what you want to do.' The operative word here is `do'. That's why I like Nike's tagline.

Oldstock said...

drbubbles,

Ini buku lama, published in 1988 (paperback). Mungkin susah nak dapat di kedai buku, kecuali yg jual 2nd hand. Maybe the National Library keeps a copy.

But if you're really interested, I'm willing to donate my copy to any one of the libraries you have helped set up.

Oldstock said...

Alahai Tok Snake... 30 tahun lama tu...