Monday, June 21, 2021

Going The Extra Mile (MY Eng #17)

This is part of a running series about English idioms - less about language, more about life itself. Previously, we covered 'missing the woods for the trees', 'the elephant in the room', 'practising what you preach', blowing hot and cold', 'no smoke without fire', 'one swallow does not make a summer', 'apples and oranges', 'cut to the chase', 'leave no stone unturned', 'that's the way the cookie crumbles', 'can't have your cake and eat it too', 'old is gold', 'putting the cart before the horse', 'mountain out of a molehill', 'pot calling the kettle black' and 'bite the bullet'.

What's the difference between an average student and an AWESOME student? The difference that gets you a nice scholarship and job?

The answer is simple, really. There are no two ways about it. Some have it harder in life, some get lucky breaks. But ultimately, success don't just drop out of the sky.

Yes, cliche as it sounds, what separates the good and truly great is hard work.

* * *

By and large, life is fair. Success comes to those who go the extra mile.

The ones who burned the midnight oil. The ones who leave no stone unturned. And yes, the ones able to bite the bullet.

Yes, the last two idioms have been covered before. It's a point that has been made countless of times, over and over again. I may sound like a broken record. But it's an important point worth reiterating because it so often slips out of our radar.

As we're rushing to the finish line, that's when we are most complacent. Victory is in sight. We think we've got it in the bag. Few more steps, and we're there.

But sadly, many of us trip and fall just at the very last moment. Which is such a shame really. All our valiant efforts undone by a final single mistake.

Never let your guard done. Always keep your eyes on the ball. It's not over until the fat lady sings. (Yes, I'm really going the extra mile here coming up with idioms after idioms.)

* * *

There's no fun in losing. Failure is absolutely soul-crushing. Especially when you miss the mark just by a, well, single mark.

Whenever a team of students under my care fall short from victory even after putting in so much hard work and spirit, I often tell them, very bluntly: "The difference between success and failure is not about the 99% of effort that you put in, but the 1% that you didn't."

Just think about that, for a moment. The 99% may well represent 6 months of work covering 6 days a week and 6 hours a day on average. All of that comes to nothing just because you didn't - but could - put in an extra hour. That extra ten pages of research. That extra practice session rehearsing your lines.

If you don't want all your precious hard work to go down to waste, then always be sure to push yourself and go the extra mile.

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