How to master the art of walking an extra mile

How to master the art of walking an extra mile

“It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are looking to be successful, be a hill seeker. Most of us try to avoid hills, but what’s so good about flat? Think about it; flat tires, flat hair, flat returns, and the ultimate flat lining. Life happens only when you climb up the hills.
They are opportunities to prove to yourself that you are stronger than you ever imagined. If you never attempt the ascent, you will never know the thrill of swooshing down the other side.
“There are no limits. There are only plateaus and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”

In every walk of life, you have two paths to make a choice from — one to brood over ‘what is in it for me’ or to walk an extra mile, to go beyond the call of the duty. And there are no prizes for guessing who would be successful.

Of course the ones who are willing to explore and walk an extra mile. It does not matter whether you are a student, an entrepreneur, a teacher or just any other person, as long as you have the right attitude to make the right choices.

Remember, there are zillions of books and resources that teach you, “the art of saying no”, but there are hardly any that teach you to walk an extra mile, be it for your client, for your parents, for your teachers, or your employer or employee.

But if you seriously come to think of it, the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives merely following, is the extra mile.

This obviously is taking the tough path and can pose plenty of difficult obstacles in the path. But if you want to excel, don’t allow yourself to become one of them and stop focusing on the ‘what’s in it for me’ attitude.

Steve Jobs once famously said: “I am convinced that half of what separates successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” So brace yourself with the enthusiasm to do things beyond the obvious.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. So when the opportunity presents itself, walk the extra mile, do things beyond what your customers expect from you, beyond what your friends and family expect and beyond what you think you can achieve.

The challenge to cultivate this attitude is always in getting started — the secret of getting ahead. The brave is not the one who does not feel afraid, but the one who conquers the fear. The good thing is that once this attitude sets in, you are wired to go as far as you can see, when you will see farther.

The better news is that there are no traffic jams along the extra mile. So don’t look back, go the extra mile, it is never crowded.

As they say “It is your talent that determines what you can do. It is your motivation that determines how much you are willing to do. But at the end, it is your attitude that determines how well you do it.”

It is not as difficult as it sounds. Look around, and you will find successful people who have not only spoken about this, but have also implemented this policy and succeeded in life.

They possibly are those who have risked going too far to possibly find out how far they can go. You don’t need to be extra ordinary or do things that are extra ordinary. You don’t have to burn the midnight oil or walk on fire to impress anyone.

At work, don’t be boxed by the idea of working only on what’s on your job description and say if you are in business, don’t shy away from giving your customer a few extra perks. Leadership and success begins on the extra mile.

Those among us who craft extraordinary careers and spectacular lives are those who spend most of their time giving their best out on the extra mile. Yes, ordinary people don’t, but whoever said you were ordinary?

You never know how things will manifest from this simple gesture of yours. It could have a rippling effect and bring you success quickly or abundantly. “Tomorrow’s destination is determined by how we walk today.”

And when you start doing this, don’t be surprised if people look at you suspiciously or try to decode the meaning behind your attitude. Be willing to shed mediocrity, think outside the box or rather live outside of the box. And if you want to master this art, do these four things:

  1. Invest in inventing yourself. In most cases people are surprised to know what they don’t know about themselves. Invest in knowing what you are good at and what you are not good at, what do people expect from you and what do you expect from them. Last but not the least, how can you get there.

  2. Be open to new thoughts and new thinking. No one has ever grown by having a closed mind, so be open to ideas and thoughts.

  3. Leverage your network and net worth. You may be surprised to know how many resources you have access to which you never tap into. Leverage them.

  4. Change the environment. Don’t let those that won’t even take the first step, talk you out of going that extra mile.

Successful people always prefer walking that extra mile from where the unsuccessful people return.

Mr Bharatam is the founder and chief mentor of Kuza Biashara Limited, a capacity building organisation coaching youth and SME owners across Africa. Sri chairs Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for Africa. He can be reached via Twitter: @Sbharatam or email:

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