Saturday, 14 April 2012

Going the Extra Mile

What does it mean to go the extra mile?

Literally, it means to walk further but to go or walk the extra mile is an idiom that means to try harder to please someone or to get a task done correctly, to do more than or put in a greater effort than is naturally or normally required or expected to reach a goal. I need you to think of how a friend has gone the extra mile for you.
Now when I say extra mile note that I don't mean extra mile in cheating, irresponsibility, laziness, dishonesty or any of such vices that I'm sure some are a part of. I mean going the extra mile in positive things. It is possible to go the extra mile for and by yourself e.g. studying. God knows that if a credit in Mathematics was compulsory for Art subject I may not have gone to the university. In my first attempt I walked out on my Math exam but when I realised I needed at least a pass even to study Philosophy, I had to go the extra mile.
So what motivates you to go the extra mile either for yourself or for others?
Before we continue, let's go into the Bible to read about 3 instances of going the extra mile:
1. Gen 24:14-27 Rebecca went the extra mile to make the 450 mile journey by Abraham's servant worthwhile.
2. Mark 2:1-12 4 men went the extra mile for a paralysed man.
3. Luke 24:18-35 Going the extra mile led two men to dine with risen Jesus.
In all these instances there is something that is obvious.

In the 1st example, Abraham's servant was on a journey and Rebecca was on a journey though shorter. In the 2nd example Jesus journeyed to Capernaum and the four men journeyed to meet him. In the 3rd example two men were on a journey to a village called Emmaus, Jesus who was also on a journey met them. Friends you can NEVER go the extra mile while standing aimlessly. You may not be able to soar, you may not be able to fly just yet, but make sure you are moving and your movement MUST be purposeful. None of these people set out on a journey to an unspecified location or for an unspecified purpose. Purpose was their motivation for going the extra mile. What was the purpose of Abraham's servant? Rebecca? The four men?
What purpose motivates you to go the extra mile in your friendship or relationship?
You can either be internally motivated or externally motivated but you must find a reason to go the extra mile in life otherwise it is just the beginning of the end for you. When you motivate yourself and make decisions based on your personal reflection to actively improve your performance; when you find a reason to believe in you and in your ability to make a difference; when you strive for your 'personal best', you are on course to determine your success. This is internal motivation. Internal motivation is the doing my best and deriving joy from counseling people, bringing smiles to faces and impacting lives. External motivation for me to achieve a Pass in Math was the fact that I wanted to go to the university. External motivation is caring for the man of my dreams because failure to do so may cost me heartbreak. We are motivated by internal and external reward to go the extra mile.
As you strive to go the extra mile don't expect it to be easy. When you plan to fast is when you are hungry the most or that is when a stingy person decides to offer you steaming cup of chocolate with sausages or hot abula with choice abodi, shaki and ogufe. There would be internal and external distractions; your thoughts, your friends, your parents, losing your job, getting a “no” to a woman you proposed to etc.

The four men should have been discouraged by the crowd, Abraham's servant should have been discouraged by having to travel 450 miles when there are readily available women around him, the two men should have become upset by Jesus seeming ignorance about the recent happening... but their determination to go the extra mile paid off.
A number of people drop the Nigerian culture of respect when they get abroad so it is not unusual to find our Nigerians calling professors old enough to be their fathers by their first names. But I made it clear that my culture does not permit it. Some funds came into my department and the new director didn't know how to disburse it so he asked the former director and guess what he said, "Let's give it to Omolola, she is very respectful! I got free unsolicited money for just going the extra mile; doing what I could have held back from doing. The habit of going the extra mile brings you to the favourable attention of those who can and often will provide opportunities for self-advancement.

What is the important principle of success in all walks of life and in all occupations?

This is the willingness to Go The Extra Mile; which means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid or rewarded, and giving it in a positive pleasing mental attitude. Very important! So if you choose to help a man because you expect him to notice you or fall in love; that is not a right motive. The story of Ruth tells us how Boaz went the extra mile. The mental attitude and motive must be right.

Let me share my story.

Even though Bola had shown no commendable interest in having a relationship, I decided to go the extra mile. When we met, he was depressed from being out of job and was letting himself go but instead of being concerned about what he couldn't offer me, I encouraged him, got him to exercise and helped him put things together in his apartment. Months later I asked what nailed it for him, he said the fact that I went the extra mile. Verily it pays to go the extra mile, for every time an individual does so he places someone else under obligation to him or her. No one is compelled to follow the habit of going the extra mile, and seldom is anyone ever requested to render more service than that for which he is paid or rewarded except of course in reference to parents. Therefore, if the habit is followed it must be adopted on one's own initiative which is propelled by a motive.

Another story
You may have read online the story of a clerk who went the extra mile help to woman in the store where he worked. He discovered later that the woman he helped was Andrew Carnegie's mother! Andrew Carnegie was a United States industrialist and philanthropist who endowed education and public libraries and research trusts (1835-1919). The young man was later sent to Scotland and he received an order for several hundred thousand dollars worth of household furnishings.
Interesting story. Carol Downes and many others also took their destinies in their own hands by going the extra mile. Their success stories are wrapped up in this one lone privilege of every human: the right of personal initiative through exercising the habit of going the extra mile.
People do things or refrain from doing them because of a motive.

The soundest of motives for cultivating the habit of going the extra mile is the fact that it yields enduring dividends / profits in ways too numerous to mention, to all who follow the habit. We know the rules by which success is attained. Let us adopt these rules and use them intelligently to acquire success and personal benefits which would have a ripple effect of adding to the quality of citizenry and wealth of the nation as well.

Should you encounter weariness as you go the extra mile

Remember the words of this poem titled Footprints which ends this way:
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you, you'd walk with me all the way
But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life,
There is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when I needed you most you would leave me."
The Lord replied:
"My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your times of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you."
Prayer Points:
1. Lord thank you for all those who have gone, go and will go the extra mile for me
2. Lord help me to go the extra mile where I need to
3. Lord make my going the extra mile count
4. Lord as I run the Christian race, send me divine helpers and divinely connect me