Thursday, 16 April 2015

Find Your Passion and Pursue it

A great fire burns within me… - Vincent van Gogh (Dutch author)
When a person is passionately in love nothing holds him or her back. If you have been passionately in love with someone you’ll know what I mean. No obstacle is insurmountable. No expense in too high. No distance is too far. You can pay the price for your love because of one thing – passion.

Passion is to love what coal is to a steam locomotive. Passion is to a person what petrol is to a vehicle. Passion drives your engine. Passion moves you from point A to B. Passion gives you a chance to make a difference.

Without passion we are impotent. Without passion we stay in limbo. Without passion apathy guides our actions. You can be sure of one thing – your chance of success is proportional to passion level.

Now, in the same way that a person who is passionately in love with another can scarcely be restrained, a person who is passionate about his or her goals can scarce be restrained from accomplishing them. Success isn’t an option for the passionate person. It is an obligation. It doesn’t matter how many times you say to him or her that the set goal won’t be a reality because, for as long as he or she is concerned, it will be a reality.

I plead with you NOT to try chasing a dream you aren’t passionate about. That is one of the sure paths to failure and nonfulfillment. Instead, find your passion and pursue it!

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Dream Killers

When initially our hearts are encapsulated by dreams which excite we have a tendency of feeling nothing shall be impossible for us. This enthusiasm though wanes and there is always a tendency to kill the dream you gave birth to. In fact, it is my ernest opinion that nobody can kill your dream except with your consent. In effect, you are the only viable “ dream killer” in your life.

Three things in our lives exterminate our dreams. Paolo Coelho masterfully crafted the following words in his book, The Pilgrim, and I will love to share them with you. Over to Paolo: 

‘The first symptom of the process of our killing our dreams is the lack of time. The busiest people I have known in my life always have time enough to do everything. Those who do nothing are always tired and pay no attention to the little amount of work they are required to do. They complain constantly that the day is too short. The truth is, they are afraid to fight the good fight.

‘The second symptom of the death of our dreams lies in our certainties. Because we don’t want to see life as a grand adventure, we begin to think of ourselves as wise and fair and correct in asking so little of life. We look beyond the walls of our day-to-day existence, and we hear the sound of lances breaking, we smell the dust and the sweat, and we see the great defeats and the fire in the eyes of the warriors. But we never see the delight, the immense delight in the hearts of those who are engaged in the battle. For them, neither victory nor defeat is important; what’s important is only that they are fighting the good fight.

‘And, finally, the third symptom of the passing of our dreams is peace. Life becomes a Sunday afternoon; we ask for nothing grand, and we cease to demand anything more than we are willing to give. In that state, we think of ourselves as being mature; we put aside the fantasies of our youth, and we seek personal and professional achievement. We are surprised when people our age say that they still want this or that out of life. But really, deep in our hearts, we know that what has happened is that we have renounced the battle for our dreams – we have refused to fight the good fight.’

These three – time, certainties, peace – are dream killers we must all look out for.

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Be Friendly

A man who has friends must be a friend. - Proverbs 18:24

I have met folks who say to me, “I don’t have any friends and I am happy with it.” Then they continue to expound on their strange perspective, “When you bring people too close you give them an opportunity to take you for granted. After all, ‘familiarity breeds contempt you know.’” Have you heard something like this before?

To me this line of thought is like the classic allegory about the debate between a pessimist and an optimist over a half empty (or is it half full) glass of water. I say so because rather than see friendship only as a platform where people take advantage of our vulnerabilities, there are a zillion other ways to see it.

You could see friendship as an opportunity to experience people that aren’t like you. There are 7 billion people on this planet and the common sense of science tells us that there isn’t any one of these 7 billion people that are exactly like you. That makes you the most unique creature on the surface of the earth! That also means there are 7 billion other unique beings that are worth experiencing merely for their uniqueness.

You could see friendship as a complimentary platform. If you have studied yourself for some time you’d have noticed that there are some natural gifts and skills you have. Now, if you have some it also means that there are others (countless actually) that you don’t have but someone else does. So if you need to embark on a project that needs a natural gift or skill that you don’t have what do you do? You tap into those of friends around you (that is of course if you have friends).

You could see friendship as a trust. We all encounter times when our hearts are broken and the blue skies are darkened – it is a common path. When you have friends you’ll have shoulders to lean on and cry. You’ll have hearts you could empty yours of needless chatter into. You’ll have eyes you can look into and know that you are in safe hands. In summary, you’ll have a place you can trust when you are lonely.

Now the BIGGEST part of it all: If you have friends you can be all the above and much more to them! This way, you aren’t just taking from but giving to others. Isn’t this the essence of life?

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Let go of the steam - Forgive!

Resentment is like a glass of poison that a man drinks; then he sits down and waits for his enemy to die.

“To err is human but to forgive divine” and you probably believe it is true just like I do. It can either be taken to mean it is normal for a man to err but to forgive means operating in the divine or only the divine can forgive. I may not know what it exactly means but I do know that children have it and we need it.

Some days back, on a sunny afternoon, as I walked down the road that leads to my house, I came by two kids, boys, roughly the age of seven. They both had locally made toys in the form of cars which they pulled with a string behind them. One boy’s toy car lost a wheel and he struggled to fix it. The other in a bid to keep their fun rolling decided to give a helping hand. The first refused and pushed him away. “Ah, what a naughty boy”, I thought, “He deserves no help!” The second boy felt the same (or so I thought) and began to walk away. The boy with the broken toy tried futilely to fix the wheel. It did not take long for him to realize that he needed help. He apologized immediately and asked for help – the same help he had earlier rejected. “No way,” the judge in my head gave verdict, “here is the chance for full pay back.” But to my shame, the first boy who was by now quite a distance away, turned and helped repair the broken wheel of his friend.

I really could not believe it. With kids it seems there will always be a “happily ever after” end to a story. How was it so easy for this kid to forgive and forget? As much as my experience has shown me, it is a difficult thing to forgive. Forgetting is a completely different ballgame. That seven-year-old taught me otherwise.

Forgiveness is a beautiful virtue that the world no longer teaches. Rarely will you hear a public speaker say things like forgive your neighbor. It is one of the virtues that tag people as “weak”. And who wants to be weak? We don’t want to forgive when wronged and funny enough no one is even asking for forgiveness. No one cares if you forgive or not. It is a wild world we live in, a world of vendettas (bloody or not). Consider the words of George Herbert, “He who cannot forgive breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass.” If peradventure you want to exercise this virtue here are some tips:

·        Make room for people to fail
·        Let go of your pride
·        Don’t deny the hurt
·        Learn to forgive yourself also

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Saturday, 11 April 2015

Time to Believe

                               “Be believing, be happy, don't get discouraged. Things will work out.”                                             ― Gordon B. Hinckley

When life gets tough on us and situations build up beyond our seeming capacity to handle them we tend to abandon the one thing we shouldn’t – our capacity to believe.

Some people believe that whatever happens is meant to happen. This is the realm of fate where you accept the result of whatever comes your way. I know folks who speak of fate but haven’t yet met a person who perfectly holds on to this in actions. To hang on to fate is to accept even the results of mediocrity and so I really don’t accept it.

I believe that to live successfully you should believe in some things that govern our existence. Some of these are:

Believe in God. If you would be successful and enjoy both the process and the result, you should believe in God. To believe in God takes away the weight of major decisions and unexplainable circumstances. You simply realize that God is available for you and is watching over your every step. You realize that he will comfort you at times of difficulty and strengthen you in weakness.

Believe in yourself. Some people find it easy to believe in someone other than themselves. This stems from a person’s perceived worth of him/herself. If you think you are worth your own confidence, you will believe in yourself. If you think you aren’t worth your confidence you will not believe in yourself. Whatever you believe in this aspect determines how far you will get in life.

Believe in Humanity. It is important that we believe in humanity. I know this may be difficult sighting the various atrocities and wickedness we see around us but we should be willing to believe that essentially humanity is good and worth believing in. Like Gandhi once opined, "You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."

Believe in your dreams. It is possible to have a dream and not believe in it. Sometimes our dreams overwhelm us and we feel they cannot possibly be a reality. Some other times we doubt that our dreams are worth pursuing in the first place. If you would be an achiever you should believe in what you want to achieve. Have confidence that your dream is worth the effort. Believe that indeed the fulfillment of your dream would be beneficial to the world around you.

When you fail to believe – in God, yourself, humanity and in your dreams – you will encounter many painful failures in life. Easy things will look difficult for you and you will be quick to prematurely acclaim yourself a failure. You want to succeed? Believe!

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