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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Don't Bow and Never Give Up

By George Chingarande

What is your problem? Why are you not where you ought to be in life? Why are you not at the top, or on top of the situation? Why are you stuck in the rut? Why are you settling for so little, when there are limitless possibilities? Is it that the market conditions are depressed, or is it that there is something in you that is depressed? What are the bitter lemons that you have had to swallow?

It is in the nature of all humans to seek refuge in cogent arguments, and to seek solace for their failures in excuses. The most monumental of all human failures is this failure to confront reality as it is. And this is actually the womb that breeds all excuses. I would like to challenge you to look at what you think are your valid reasons for not being and becoming all that you could become. However, let us begin with some examples.

Micheal Inglis is an amazing man from New Zealand, with an insatiable appetite for achievement. His dream was to climb to the top of the highest peak in the world. However, in 1982, he suffered a great set back. While scaling Mt Cook in New Zealand, he was trapped in a snow cave for fourteen days. When he was rescued he was barely alive and consequently lost both legs to frost bite. They had to be amputated from the knees downwards, so he is a double amputee. Most people would have been very grateful just to survive the ordeal, complain about life's cruel and unfair hand, quit their ambitions, and make a career out of begging for alms. After all, how can a double amputee climb a flight of stairs let alone scale Mt Everest? However, this was not the case with Michael. From the ashes of despair, he decided to resurrect his dream and live it to the full. He was not content with nursing his excuses and pitying himself. This year Mike undaunted by his disadvantages defied the odds and became the first double amputee to climb to the top of Mt Everest. An amazing feat, isn't it?

That is a small part of the story. On his ascent, he actually broke one of his artificial limbs. How cruel can fate be? Wasn't it time for him to kiss goodbye to his dreams, and join the great mass of humanity that daily gets itself drunk with the tranquilizing drug called "EXCUSES." He could always tell the world that he tried but it was not meant to be because luck was not on his side. Undaunted by this set back, fired by fierce determination and spurred by an indomitable never say die commitment to his ambition, he soldiered on until he stood triumphantly at the top of Mt Everest. He made it in spite of the odds.

Mike is not extraordinary. He is an ordinary guy who dared to do extraordinary feats. Further more, he is not the only one. He is part of a great cloud of impeachable witnesses who defied the odds, conquered the appealing and tantalizing seduction of excuses, and declined the invitation to give up that adverse circumstances dangle before our eyes like carrots every day. Think of people like Beethoven, who was deaf and yet endowed the magnificent symphonies to us, Helen Keller who was a frail and blind girl and yet became a great motivator and author; Nkosi Johnson the African boy who did a man's job and became an articulate campaigner against HIV/AIDS; Thomas Edson who was ejected out of primary school because he was too challenged yet became the greatest inventor; Domosthenes the Greek who was reviled, ridiculed and jeered for his stutter and yet defied his speech impediment, perfected his art and became the ancient world's most articulate orator; Franklin Roosevelt who was crippled by polio but defeated its vagaries to become American president for a record four terms; Richard Branson the self confessed dyslexic who dropped out of school and is today the most celebrated maverick billionaire.

Winners Find Opportunities in their Problems

All these examples and many more that we could not mention here attest to one immutable truth. Winners see opportunities in their problems. However, to the contrary losers see and find problems in their opportunities. Are bank loans an opportunity? I think it is. Have you ever heard how many grumble about the problems of bank loans? I rest my case, but not before I put it to you that life itself is an opportunity and a call to greatness.

For every entry you have in your catalogue of excuses- whether it is lack of capital or support, or deep poverty or handicap; disease or divorce- you name it, there is a more compelling example of a person who triumphed over greater odds. So what is your special problem? Is it because you are black? There are many blacks from as bad a past if not worse than yours who are millionaires. By the way, it was never a case of black and white but light and darkness. There are many blacks with light in their minds (I am proud to say I am one of them), and there are also many whites with darkness in their minds.

I confess I do not know your specific mix of problems, but I can aver with a firm conviction that you do not have to bow and genuflect before them. Embedded in every disappointment, is an appointment with destiny and in every set back is a perfect set up for success. If life forces lemons on you, it is an opportunity to make lemonade. Don't bow before you circumstances no matter how colossal they may seem. Man is not defeated when he is down but when he quits. Burn your excuses, and pursue your wildest dream. There is no CANT. So what is your problem? Mine is that I am Anti-excuses.

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