A Spark of 2 Seconds in a 3 Hour Journey

2 seconds.


2 seconds is worth everything.

Me and David Harvitz when we met as friends on Semester at Sea 2005

My friend David Harvitz just spent the last several years of his life, hundreds of dollars, limited his food intake, changed his entire body composition, took time away from girlfriends and family; he changed everything…to obtain 2 seconds.

This weekend David ran the Disney Marathon to qualify for the Boston Marathon. He accomplished this goal by obtaining 2 seconds.

To qualify he needed to run in in less than 11,400 seconds.
He ran it 11,398 seconds.

The most important part of his 3 hour, 9 minute, 58 second run
represented less than .0001% of his entire effort.
That is one-ten-thousdandth of a percent!

Other than being fiercely proud of him, David is a living example of what it takes to accomplish the big goals in our life. David took his sparking desire, ignited himself and the resources he needed for an entire year, and exploded for 3 hours…to obtain those 2 seconds.

What focus!
What discipline!
What an amazing Herculean feat he has accomplished!

The Heartbreaking Realization

The heartbreaking realization about this is about other people, and those fall into 2 categories.

The first category is the obvious one; people that are not sparking their lives, do not care to accomplish any great task so will never face the demand of focus or discipline. The second category of person is a less-obvious but equally heartbreaking one; sparked people who did not ignite their lives with the focus and discipline they needed to explode.

That is not nearly as heartbreaking as the look on their faces when they realize that those who did exercise discipline and focus earned the small 2 seconds that separates the average from the extraordinary.

The Revelation of 2 Seconds

The second category of person I mention above probably had a powerful goal, such as David’s to qualify for the Boston Marathon. As the responsibilities associated with the goal began stacking up, they probably just cut corners where they thought they could afford to.

“I will not run my 20 mile run this weekend. I will just do a 5 mile jog.”
“I will just do the running plan a friend handed me. I won’t talk to runners who have done it.”

Along with justifying doing other things, life happens. They have to attend weddings, hang out with good friends who just have different goals, sleep a little later, stay up a little later, spend a little extra money and take an extra 15 minutes to accomplish things.

The revelation comes with a thunderous collapse as they come around the corner of their own race, notice that the timer is ticking away minutes passed their goal, and are crushed in a ball of chest-heaving tears.

That revelation is the weight of Jupiter on their chest, their mind exploding with each and every moment dawdled away over the last year, every penny and dime spent on amusements and distractions. It is a flashing episode of thousands of shards in the mind. The tempest swirl of anger and regret and heartache and pain is unbearable.

“I knew I should have practiced more.”
“Why did I go out last night?”
“I HATE that I took that season off for vacation.”

The ancient author is accurate when he says ‘its the little foxes that spoil the vine’ and again when he says, that ‘your joy will turn to mourning.’

All the enjoyable memories darken into regrets and anger. This switch rotates on the axis of focus and discipline and has a very quick revolution; just 2 seconds.

The only reason I know how this feels is that I have been there. I have watched other people go on the mission field. I have watched other people live an adventurous life. I have watched others live the life I wanted to live.

They were willing to do today what I was not willing to do,
so that they could do tomorrow what I could not do.

I learned this principle early on and chose not to be a victim to it.

The Accumulation of 2 Seconds

What sparked-but-not-exactly-ignited people then consider is this: what they thought was only a few seconds here or there added up to the sum total of the greatness they wanted to have.

Take all of the slivers of 2 seconds, compact them together, and it adds up to a life, the life they wanted to live but missed out on. I am willing to bet that the difference between those who are happily sparked and those who are miserably dull is that span of 2 seconds.

So, What is Your Discipline and Focus, and What Are Your 2 Seconds?

As I sat down to write this morning, I received the text from David that he had beat his goal by 2 seconds. When I hung up the phone, I turned to Marissa and asked “what is our 2 seconds?”

If we wanted to be on the field and living a life of missions, or if we wanted to travel, or if we want an amazing relationship…what is our most critical one-ten-thousandth of a percent that we need to prepare for?

What disciplines and focus should we apply to earn that 2 seconds to a life of greatness?

What are yours?
What is your finish line, great goal, or mission field?
What would you give complete commitment to, ignite every resource to achieve and obtain?



Grant R. Nieddu