You might laugh [please do] but when I came across this saying recently my literal mind skipped it’s metaphorical intention and took its meaning to the letter [I often do this]. My thoughts wandered to when we have walked an extra mile or so on a beach or in the hills or cycled just that bit further and felt smug as we left the crowds behind. The saying is spot on; going that extra mile often takes us to a quiet corner and to somewhere special that we can embrace as our own for a short time. By just taking a bit more effort I can enjoy an undisturbed experience of a location with the space and tranquillity to really see, smell and feel the place.
The quote attributed to Wayne Dyer, author and self-development guru, is, ‘It’s never crowded along the extra mile.’ After thinking about all those idyllic places we have found it eventually dawned on me that this quote isn’t to be read literally and instead encourages everyone to believe that by putting in the extra effort you can reach the top. My mind turned to those times when I have gone the extra mile on a task. Doing just the minimum required can be an easy option and I have times when I need to cruise through jobs because my mind is preoccupied with other stuff. But I feel much better about myself when I put the extra effort in and give my absolute best. And yet, the number of people who will reach the heights of the elite in any field is limited [or never crowded] and unfortunately not everyone can be outstanding otherwise outstanding becomes the average. For myself, I don’t expect to be award winning, I go the extra mile to compete against myself, stretching my performance and improving my skills.
I consider myself a slow writer; certainly each time I write a travel article or blog post I spend hours rigorously writing, editing and re-editing. I do this for two reasons; I am certainly terrified of the shame of making a mistake that makes it in to print [although they do and I have to deal with it] but I also want to produce work I can feel proud of. I constantly review, learn new techniques and apply these and I feel that my writing has improved over the years. I don’t go the extra mile for promotion or a higher salary, my editor is not pushing me to write differently, I am self-motivated to do better and throwing together a piece of writing with the minimum effort has never been an option. By going the extra mile I might not reach the top but I do maintain my self-respect.