There are many times in life when an individual’s success depends entirely upon their ability to be competent. However, as happiness includes overcoming obstacles in order to reach one’s goals, it could be said that being competent can lead one to true happiness. This is one of the many lessons imparted by the booklet The Way to Happiness, which seeks to give individuals the tools they need to improve their lives, and the lives of others around them, through a simple, non-religious, common-sense moral code. That said, the power of any message lies largely in how far it is spread to others. Extreme triathaloner John Radich is just one of the many, many individuals who recognize the problems in our world and the need for help, which can be provided by the application of the precepts contained in The Way to Happiness.
Running for Youth
While running itself provides Radich with great happiness in his life, running with a strong purpose drives him even farther. In spreading the stories about his various running competitions Radich also seeks to spread awareness about the many problems today’s youth face, and the fact that there are workable solutions to these problems.
Most recently, Radich completed his fourteenth Badwater 135 race, self-described as the world’s toughest foot race. Participants must run a total of one hundred thirty-five miles across the incredibly hot environment in Death Valley, California, starting at two hundred eighty-two feet below sea level in the Badwater Basin. Runners are allowed no more than forty-eight hours to finish the race, climbing over three mountain ranges to eight thousand, three hundred sixty feet at Mt. Whitney Portal. They invariably suffer through scorching heat, sleep deprivation, muscle cramps, stomach problems, dust storms and rattlesnakes.
Participants in the Badwater 135 are preselected by invitation only, and it draws some of the best extreme and ultra marathon runners from all around the world. Radich was proud to be one of them, and though he has completed this race before, it was hardly easy. For the first half of the race, Radich kept perfect pace, diet and hydration. However, during the second half of the race he began to experience truly disheartening problems, like sleep deprivation, strange hallucinations, lead legs, appetite loss and more. For the first time ever, he wasn’t sure he would be able to finish the Badwater race. He was falling behind the strict time cutoffs and would have to do something big, quickly, in order to succeed.
Fortunately, realizing that he was about to fail in something that was incredibly important to him helped Radich to wake up and fight to the finish. He decided he had to keep his integrity in, his purpose strong, and remember that by running this race he was honoring his family and friends and helping our nation’s youth with the values taught in The Way to Happiness.
In the middle of this ultra marathon, Radich was reminded of a most fitting precept from The Way to Happiness: Be Competent. He remembered reading about how man respects skill and ability, and that the true test of an individual’s competence is their ability to reach an end result. Most importantly, he remembered reading that an individual survives as well as he is competent. With these thoughts in his head, Radich dug down deep and found his second wind, successfully pushing through all obstacles and finishing his fourteenth Badwater 135. His experience has proven to him that everyone has great potential and ability, but it is how they direct it that determines their true success and happiness in life.