A new blog from our regular guest blogger, Karen Dabrowski. I love the way she builds this article up to lead to the main idea - enjoy!

The extra inch

I was rushing to work, in a hurry as usual. When I turned the corner into the street where my office is, I almost banged into a lady in a wheelchair. It was a manual wheel chair and she was pushing herself along slowly, inch by inch, with a suitcase on wheels attached to the wheel chair.

Determined and resolute she made her way up the street. There was no question of helping her. She would make it on her own. She would exert every effort and keep going.

As we go about our daily lives we take our good health for granted. We are not disabled and we are able to practice tai chi despite the occasional aches and pains. But what about the extra inch? We make an effort, we go to class, we practice in between classes but do we commit ourselves 100 percent to our tai chi training?

(Fiona here: Karen refers to herself as not being disabled; LTCI does have various clients with disabilities, including wheelchair users, as tai chi is very suitable for people of all abilities.)

The warm up exercises become familiar. Do we give them our 100 percent attention? We have learned the form but do we make the effort to make sure that every time we practice the form it is our best form ever? What about the extra inch?

Making the extra effort makes all the difference. At 211 degrees water is hot. At 212 degrees it boils. And with boiling water comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. Two hundred and twelve degrees is a message not only for tai chi but for life. The continual application of heat (effort) to whatever task or activity you undertake in order to achieve not only the primary objective you seek but to reap the exponential rewards that are possible by applying one extra degree of effort.

The American inventor Thomas Edison said that many of life’s failures are men who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.

In the confrontation between the stream and the rock the stream always wins... not through strength but through perseverance which is not a long race but many short races one after the other. Always remember the extra mile, the extra inch, 212 degrees.