In 1908 Johnny Hayes won the Olympic Marathon in a spectacular time of 2 hours, 55 minutes and 18 seconds – it was described at the time as “the greatest race of the century”
Barely more than a century later, the world record for a marathon is 2 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds – set by Dennis Kimetto of Kenya – nearly 30% faster. This is not an isolated example of breaking records.
Every day statistics are broken. As a human race, we are constantly looking for ways to improving our lives; to being more productive; to just being better than the previous record. Statistics are being broken within family units as each generation of children progress further in their lives than the previous generation. Statistics are broken within communities as people work together to build community to a better standard. And we are all familiar with how companies compete with each other to be the leading firm within their field in terms of their product, service, culture and profitability.
Before I qualified to become a Chartered Accountant, I failed my Part 1 of the Board Examination twice, before I finally passed. In the year that I passed, I remember a lecturer saying to us as a class “Your chances of passing this examination is at its highest on your first attempt and it diminishes with every subsequent attempt of this examination.” This is certainly not very encouraging words for someone who was writing for the third time! I did pass that year, and I passed in a year when the pass rate for that examination was at its lowest for the previous past years! In passing, I broke three statistics that were against me, including my personal best.
In life, you can either choose to become part of the statistic and live a comfortable life. Or you can choose to challenge a statistic and create a new benchmark for success.