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“Three more rounds! Three more rounds!” My coach voice bellowed across the the desolate stands at The Nyayo National Stadium. I slowly cursed in between my deep bated breaths. I was at my limits, my body almost shutting down; my frantic gesticulations seen didn’t work, my wobbly sprints didn’t do me any favours, and even if I played dead, I doubt my obdurate coach would have burged…’

I had just done five, 200 meters sprints under an oven of what was the Nairobi sun, and all that slowly transgressed to spewing what was the previous nights dinner in the gutter. My coach, however, had been reduced to an obstinate ox. Not even the one of the stadium’s stewards commiserations moved him a tiny bit. Yes folks, this is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to what athletes go through. But away from that, what stunned me the most wasn’t even remotely related to the track, it was Martin’s inability to wipe the smug look he had worn on his face for a while. He had a wry smile that seemed to egg on the coach. I was appalled. If anything, I had expected him to be forlorn. Martin and I have been incredibly good friends for almost seven years now (The origins of the friendship would make for another great medium post). He is what I would call a true racer of the human race. He is a polymath, seamlessly fitting into any sphere he decides to weave himself onto. The only things I knew he was bad at are probably drawing and cooking. But knowing him, he has probably improved on the latter whilst surviving the terrible weather while studying over in Leeds, very far away from his mum’s cooking.

Frank Raudo

Martin had insisted on accompanying me to my track training session, something that caught me off guard as he had hardly ever showed interest in athletics. But what completely baffled me that day is how he seemed to urge on my coach to ‘make me suffer’ going by his subtle cues and innuendos. He had not at any one point showed any sympathy, neither did he attempt to making my calm down my coach. Little did I know that all this would make greater sense over the coming months and years.

Fast forward to present day, after almost 18 months out injured on the sidelines, a precarious failed start up and balancing undergrad dynamics, things are slowly but surely falling into place. As Jim Rohn once said, “If you are not willing risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary .” I’m sure as hell, that I was not born to be ordinary, have an ordinary education, have an ordinary life, die an ordinary death. I was born to transcend the normal, break boundaries, and live extraordinarily. Hell, even my death will be extraordinary. The funniest thing is that in the midst of all the angst I have experienced, I have friends who keep on pushing me to do more. To do more sets, do more sprints, do more studying, do more self introspection, do more prayer. But what has stuck with me is what my two great friends, Martin and Lee (no Lee isn’t Asian) and I have constantly reminded ourselves, “To fail more.” I’m sure you are wondering what has failure got to do with positivity.

Flashback to when I was failing to complete my sets, while my coached and friend endeavoured to squeeze my weaknesses out, even though I continuously collapsed after every failure sprint. It all played into my self realization on how great failure is and how greater it is to have friends around you are able to transform that into greatness.

Positive friends bring the best out of you by constantly encouraging one to embrace failure. A paradox it may seem, right? I reiterate, failure in itself only guarantees despair when it begins to become superfluous, and you don’t seem to learn anything out of it. Positive friends have the knack of transforming that failure into the impending success it so cries out to be. Positive friends, don’t settle on ‘what ifs’ and regrets. “Screw it, just do it” is the mantra they constantly abide by daily. Their inscrutable countenances scream “Get back up?” or “Stop Slacking” when needed. Their impenetrable eyes light up at possibilities and even bask in challenges.

That my friends is what transforms an ordinary person intro an extraordinary person, or as Martin would say, “A true racer of the human race”!

I’m slowly redefining my entrepreneurial journey in the midst of friends who constantly push me, and that excites me even more than the possibility of success. That is what I call, the power of positive friends!

—Frank Raudo

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