The Lesson of Ben Comen (and your New Year’s Resolution)



Ben Comen is a runner.  Specifically, he’s a cross country runner. He’s never won the Olympics, nor is he likely to.  In fact, Ben will never make it to the Olympics other than as a spectator.

So what lesson can a runner you’ve never heard of, and who has never won a Gold medal at the Olympics possibly teach you?

Possibly the most important lesson of all.

Make a decision.  Follow it with Action. 

There’s a little more to it, but that’s the core right there. Here’s the rest of it.

1. Make a decision and follow it with action.

2. Never stop giving that action everything you’ve got.

3. Be 100% committed to your decision and the action that flows from it.

4. Only compete against yourself.  Forget everyone else. What they do doesn’t matter.

Sounds simple, right?

It is.

The hard part comes when the inevitable tidal wave of people tells you to quit, to give up, to stop making a fool of yourself, to just stop trying at all, and they will.  They always do.

That, I suppose, is where the most valuable part of the Lesson of Ben Comen comes in.

Never listen to the naysayers who will tell you endlessly (even though you never asked them) that you’ll never do anything useful; that you’ll never amount to anything;  that you’re an idiot for even trying.

Ben is not a great runner, although that’s not from any lack of effort on Ben’s part. You might even say Ben isn’t even a good runner.

You see, Ben Comen isn’t like you and me.  Ben has cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy is a disease that affects his balance, among many other things.

Balance is essential for a cross-country runner.  Ben doesn’t have it.  Ben also doesn’t care that he doesn’t have it.  He runs anyway.

As you’ll see in the video below, Ben simply never gives up, no matter what.  Here’s why, in his words.

Anybody can find something they can do – and do it well. I like to show people you can either stop trying or you can pick yourself up and keep going. It is just more fun to keep going.”  -Ben Comen

So today, as you step into a brand New Year and wonder what’s ahead for you, think about the lesson Ben Comen.  Think about the obstacles he faces and how he takes on that challenge with joy in his heart each and every day of his life.

Then take this simple lesson and apply it to your own life.

Ben did and, as a result, he is the only person I’ve heard of who both has cerebral palsy and is also a member of a championship cross-country running team.

That’s quite an accomplishment even without cerebral palsy!

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