Beware: You are now entering enemy territory...
It is official: Thursdays have become my “lesson-learning-days”. It seems that every Thursday something happens to me that touches me so deeply that I find myself compelled to share the experience with my readers.
This last Thursday I was alone in the office over lunchtime, when a stranger walked in. On asking him how I could help him, he told me he wanted to take a few minutes of my time to introduce his company and their products. Well, since he was already in the office anyway, I couldn’t tell him no, so I decided to be courteous and told him I’d give him ten minutes of my time. As he was talking to me somewhere along the way he told me that he was a programmer but his passion was in photography. However, his passion has never been met with enthusiasm by his family but instead, he had gotten so much discouragement from his parents and older brothers, that he decided to move away from home to avoid the negative vibe they kept sending his way every time he would say he was going out to cover an event. According to them, photography is for losers and not for highly educated people like him.
His story reminded me of a story I once read on the Internet about two little boys who were playing on some ice during winter. As they were playing one fell through the thin cold ice. Surprising enough, the little fellow who was still on top of the ice did not panic but instead attempted to save his buddy. Unfortunately, the little boy was literally too little and too short to reach his buddy, though he could see him through the ice, slipping further and further away from him.
His brain working overtime, he looked around trying to look for something he could use, and that’s when he saw this big tree a short distance away. He quickly ran to the tree, climbed on it and broke down an enormous branch from the tree, ran back with it to the spot where his buddy had fallen and madly started beating the ice till he broke through. His fast actions saved his friend’s life.
When the paramedics came, they didn’t believe that the little boy had saved his friend’s life. They were scratching their heads asking themselves how this could have happened. I mean, how could such a small boy climb and break off such a big branch, then run back with it to his friend and save his life? They came to the conclusion that it must have been a miracle. As they were arguing, a wise old guy happened to be passing by and overheard them wondering how the boy could have done it. He said to them, “I can tell you how he did it”. In unison they all chorused, “How?”. The old man said “Well, there was no one here to tell him that he could not do it!…”
Wow! What a profound revelation!
The thing is, it is almost always a struggle to get things done when you have people around you that keep telling you how it is not possible to do what you are thinking. They even convince you that you don’t have what it takes to accomplish what you are talking about. In fact, they go an extra mile by constantly pointing out your past failures, constantly reminding you of all the things that you don’t have going for you.
As a result of all the stuff they feed your mind with, you start doubting yourself and end up not doing what you wanted to do. You sit and talk yourself out of it. You “re-examine” yourself and suddenly “realize” all the odds are against you and you finally agree with the nay-sayers and “admit” to yourself that you cannot do that.
My question to you is, what would you achieve if you did not have the nay sayers in your life? What would you do if you had this resounding belief in yourself like the little boy in the story above? What would you do if failure was not on the table? What would you do if you had unshakable faith?
You walk into a room full of graduates, knowing that you only hold a certificate in some course, and you talk yourself out of being qualified for the job, just because someone said you don’t have the right qualifications on paper. That’s ok. But what about the wealth of experience you have accumulated working in a similar position elsewhere, doesn’t that matter?
Similarly, you probably are a businessman and want to approach a certain company to do business with your company but you talk yourself out of it because the tender document said you must have minimum ten years experience in the industry and a revenue turnover that is ten times higher than what you’ve ever seen in your three year old company. Why not believe in what you can do and table your documents anyway? What is the worst thing that could happen to you, besides being given a resounding NO?
You know, it has been said statistically 87% of people allow the fear of failure to outweigh their desire to succeed because they’ve been convinced by the evidence at hand, by being practical, by being logical and by being realistic about the situation at hand that they cannot make it, that they don’t qualify. This young boy had all the odds against him. The evidence right before his eyes would have been enough proof to convince him that there was nothing he could do to save his friend’s life. He neither saw the evidence, nor disbelieved in himself at all. His one mission was to save his friend.
If you believe in yourself, if you constantly remind yourself that after every defeat, after every setback, after every time you get knocked down that it is still possible to do the impossible, then to quote my favorite motivational speaker, Les Brown “eye has not seen and ear has not heard what you will do...”
Never fear failure. If you have to, then by all means fail yourself to success! It doesn’t matter how many times you try and fail, it doesn’t matter how many times people tell you otherwise, if you believe in YOU, then no matter how many times you fail, you will rise up and try again and eventually you will succeed.
Last but not least I’d like to point this out to all of us…. “if there is no enemy within, the enemy without can do us no harm”. Make it a point daily to believe that as impossible as it seems, it is POSSIBLE to do it. Feed your mind with positivity. In fact, feed your faith and your doubt will starve to death.
As I come to the end of my article today I have this question to ask you; do you really want to succeed? Really? Then there is only one way you can do this; Make up your mind to believe in yourself even when no one else does and everything else will be possible. There’s nothing unstoppable like a made up mind.
May you make all your dreams possible this week by believing in YOU.
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 2nd June, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"