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Friday, October 5, 2007

The Struggle For Self-Elevation

By George Chingarande

Of all people there are three types to be pitied the most, or rather who need the catalysis which in the olden days was provided by a properly delivered lash of the whip. These are; the youth who idly, slothfully and vainly waits for a new day and adulthood. Such a youth abuses his time drifting aimlessly with the wind. Next is the disillusioned and grumpy middle aged who loathes his condition but does nothing except grumble and claim that he is waiting for a more opportune moment. He waits and hesitates until all opportunities fly away. Finally, there is the grey haired old man waiting to die but looking back at the past with nostalgia and wishing he had known better in his youth. He unwittingly fails to realize that he now knows better and should be doing better than wait to die.

The common factor among these three is that they all are waiting. They do not know one of the most important truths of all, which is that the time for self-elevation, is now. Now is the time for action, for improvement, for life, success and progress. Now is the time for self actualization. Never wait until tomorrow, for tomorrow may never be. However, that is not our theme for today. Today we focus on the struggle for self elevation. Let me make bold and declare that there is such a thing as self elevation. Yes, there is a self made man or woman. If men elevate you, then at their will when it suits them they will bring you down. If men make you, then they can also demolish you. He who appoints can also disappoint. There is no more encouraging fact than that man, no matter how lowly his beginnings, can elevate himself or make himself into anything. Man can make himself a great success. Here are some examples.

• Roy Kroc is famed for founding McDonald's, the world's second most recognizable brand, second only to the inimitable Coca Cola brand. He did this at the age of fifty-two. For his idea to become a reality, he had to mortgage his house and borrow lots of money. Before launching into fast foods enterprise he had tried his hand at selling paper cups, real estate, the piano and also worked as a milkshake-mixer salesman. Up to this point Mr. Kroc could not be described as a resounding success. At the age of fifty-two many people are contemplating retirement and pension but Ray did not allow age to stymie his determination or dilute his desire. From him we learn the eternal lesson that it is never too late to be what you desire to be, but you need stubborn determination to help you along the way.

The failure surrenders without even attempting. The common man gives up after one attempt, while the mediocre throws in the towel after a couple of unsuccessful attempts. However, the great man powered by a never say die sheer determination soldiers on till the darkness of night gives way to dawn.

• Colonel Sanders drove far and wide selling his idea of a specially prepared chicken. He was turned down 1009 times. However, his break through came at the age of 65 when his recipe was realized as Kentucky Fried Chicken. He simply stuck with his idea even in the face of discouraging results. To be told NO more than a thousand times, and still retain faith in an idea is the very essence of conviction and determination.

The bible also gives us a good example of determination personified. Moses was told NO by the Egyptian pharaoh on ten occasions, but he neither despaired nor abandoned the mission. There are many other examples of people who defied odds and persevered until they attained their goals. It is not expedient to reproduce all their life stories here. However, from these few important lessons can be drawn. What are these lessons?

Winners don't quit and quitters don't win because relentless hard work in the service of an ardent ambition will in the end triumph. Determination is the catch word. It is not a stubborn and obdurate adherence to a method that is not working. Thomas Edison tried more than 9000 ways of inventing the light bulb, and he did not try the same method 9000 times. The determined super achiever keeps his goal and vision as constant as the Northern star, and stubbornly seeks different ways of getting to his destination. The goal is constant but the methods and approaches are varied till victory is attained.

Winners are those that turn their passions into obsessions, and pursue these obsessions to their logical conclusions. The determined soul, no matter under what skin color found, will not for long be denied.

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