our way to the hotel. After going in circles we stopped at a few places to
seek directions. One or two had no clue. Yet others gave us tips that
confused us more. But one gentleman took time to give us clear directions
supported with a clear sketch. Here was a person prepared to go that extra
mile to help a couple of strangers in a spot.
Every day we come across plenty of opportunities to ‘go the extra mile’. We just need to keep our eyes and hearts open to extend aid that may not cost us much but makes a difference to those who seek our help. Sadly however, we often remain indifferent to the needs of others or even sneer at them.
Instead, if we cultivate the habit of ‘going that extra mile’ and make it the norm rather than the exception, the very quality of life will be transformed. That is what men and women of substance and compassion did to bring solace to millions of less privileged ones in society by sparing their energy and wealth for a lifetime of humanitarian service.
On a more sentimental plane, we see mothers revealing this quality in their bonding with their children from the day the new born arrives and makes heavy demands on her time and attention. She has no second thoughts about going the extra mile to keep her baby safe and cosy. She maintains this special care and love even when the baby grows into a teenager and beyond.
Going the extra mile can also be termed ‘going beyond the call of duty’. We know how members of the defence forces, police officers and fire fighters go beyond the call of duty and risk their lives to save other lives. I remember reading about the band members on the sinking Titanic who stayed on to play spiritually calming tunes to the passengers waiting anxiously to be rescued on to the limited number of life boats. These too were prepared to walk that extra mile even at that moment of peril and tragedy.
Napoleon Hill, the American motivational thinker and writer analysed in depth lives of successful men like Ford, Edison and Carnegie and concluded that their achievements were the result of certain positive patterns of behaviour. He mentions willingness to “Go the extra mile’ as one of the most important principles of success. He highlighted the various benefits of such an attitude with profuse illustrations and anecdotes.
In a pragmatic context it can mean greater success at work in terms of better monetary compensation, promotions and recognition. Going the extra mile consistently is what separates high-achievers from those struggling to find their way.
He points out that the American industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie had a knack of identifying and nurturing several successful leaders of industry. The first test he applied was by determining to what extent the employee was willing to go the extra mile. Initially, he applied this principle as a matter of sound economics. But later on, it became for him a philosophy of ethics and sympathy for the weak and the unfortunate.
Going the extra mile even once will create a sense of accomplishment that will encourage us to repeat the action time and again. That will bring joy to others and greater joy and satisfaction to us. Hence let’s go ahead and give it a try.
n Excellence is not a destination; it is a continuous journey that never ends.
— Brian Tracy
n The Extra Mile will have no traffic jams. — Anon