Tuesday, 22 May 2007

The Will

Perhaps one of the most important tools to take when traveling on the road to success is the will. You can have tall dreams, and even have a great plan, but if you don’t have the will to pull through, the desired cannot be achieved. When discouragement comes and failure looms, as it sometimes will, all that will make the difference is the inner will. Certainly not a thing that can be bought neither is it transferable from person to person, the importance of a strong will to the success of any venture or situation cannot be overemphasized.

As Farrah Gray rightly said, “It’s not the size of the dog in a fight that matters, but the size of the fight in a dog”. It’s a thing that comes from within; an unconquerable consciousness that dares the impossible. Doctors have proven that most survivors from cancer are often those that have the will to live. Even in sports, victory does not often go to the physically strong, but to the strong-willed. In Muhammad Ali’s words, “Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.”

One of the greatest men that ever ruled the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, was a man of strong will so much that when he died in his sleep on January 6, 1919, the then Vice President Marshall said, “Death had to take him sleeping, for if Roosevelt had been awake, there would have been a fight.” What a testimony to his die-hard lifestyle! Roosevelt had the strong will to conquer. He was an ultimate man of action. Not only was he an effective leader, but he was the most flamboyant of all U.S. presidents. British historian Hugh Brogan described him as “the ablest man to sit in the White House since Lincoln; the most vigorous since Jackson; the most bookish since John Quincy Adams”. No wonder why he made it to the most exalted seat in the United States in the first place!

If you desire to win any battle whatsoever, resolve to follow through though the heavens fall. Are you facing a seemingly difficult situation today? Do you have health challenges? Say no to defeat! It’s not over until you surrender. You can redefine your destiny by willing your way to good health, wealth and success. You can challenge fate to it. You can win!

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Don’t Quit.

Should there be a set of commandments for successful living, ‘Don’t Quit’ will certainly make the list. At one point or the other, we all must have succumbed to situations we deem to be above our control, whereas, should we hold on a little further, our desires would have been fulfilled. If the going gets tough, as it sometimes will, quitting should not be an option. As Martin Luther King Jr. advised, “If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. If you can't walk, crawl. Just keep moving.”

America was discovered by Christopher Columbus because he didn’t quit. Despite the fact that his men were sick, and the voyage seems to be a fruitless effort after unending weeks of sailing in the vast open Atlantic Ocean, he only exclaimed the two words ‘Sail on’ till something was discovered. If you’re going to get that dream job, or the contract you so much covet, whatsoever you desire, hold on to it no matter the trials. Trials are the universe’s way of eliminating the weaker ones. Even in the academic world, you must pass the examination before you are promoted to the next level. Those that persevere are often those that win the crown. No wonder why Abraham Lincoln remarked that “Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

It is not enough to dream, we must strive to attain our goal. As the popular musician Raymond Usher remarked: “Strivers achieve what dreamers believe.” If you must wrest the best from life, you must cast away all thoughts of ease or inertia. You either struggle or you stagnate; no two ways to it. Edgar A. Guest’s poem “Don’t Quit” below did justice to this subject:

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must – but don’t quit!

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometime learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow –
You might succeed with another blow…

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt –
And you can never tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit –
It’s when things get worse that you mustn’t quit!

No matter the intensity of the famine in the jungle, the lion will never eat grass; a lion does not quit until it gets a game even if it means waiting for days. If the dream is big enough, the problems shouldn’t matter. Have you written several bank tests without success? Or is yours ICAN? Have you applied for visa several times without success? Whatever the case may be, don’t quit trying. Don’t quit on your dreams no matter the odds. Or will you rather consent to creep when you’ve got the impulse to soar? God forbid.

Finally, I leave you with the words of Robert Heap; I quote “The human will falters only when it gives up hope. It is invincible while we go on fighting; we fail only when we give up. As we continue to fight, no matter how hopeless the odds, from somewhere we are given new strength; as our efforts increase, so does our strength, our hope, our certainty of victory. Keep fighting and we are sure to win. That is the truth that makes miracles possible. We can only lose if we lose hope. We are bound to succeed if we carry on.”

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Thoughts are Things

Sometime ago, a TV commercial in Nigeria goes like this “…someday, cars will run on water. At Bank PHB, we’re already thinking like that.” What a thought! Believe me, before the end of our generation, cars will indeed run on water. You bet.

The thinking process is the first step in creation; all that exists are products of deep thinking. In my humble opinion, there are no impossibilities in our splendid universe. A thing could be impossible at a time, but once someone thinks of it, and dares to act on the thought(s), the impossible becomes possible. There was a time there was no such thing like electric bulb, but Thomas Edison later turned darkness into daylight. There was a time only birds ruled the skies, but the Wright brothers challenged the status quo (Though they were carpenters, they flew the first airplane!) Ever wondered why Neil Armstrong remarked that “This is a step for humanity, a great leap for mankind” after he landed on the moon? Apparently, it was impossible for man to fathom reaching the moon talk less of stepping on it at that time, but it happened anyway. Thanks to thinkers, none of these milestones would have been reached without them.

Of a truth, civilization could be said to have come a long way. But still, there is still so much to do, such things to be. An automobile cannot still drive itself. There’s still no alternative to water. There’s still no vacation package to planet Mars yet. A five star hotel is yet to be constructed on the moon. Till date, there’s still no cure for AIDS. The list is endless. “The glories we have known are as nothing to the glories yet to be. The mightiest achievements of the past dwindle into insignificance besides the conquests still possible” remarked Robert Heap. There’s still more to be achieved. The best book is yet to be written. The best song is yet to be composed. Man’s abilities are limitless.

Men and women who think deeply are the architects of the future. To advance, we must think. We must not only think; we must act on our thoughts. We live comfortably today with the luxury of having to travel kilometers in minutes with an automobile or airplane because some people thought of inventing the incredible machines. We’re not naked today because some thought of clothing. Our tomorrow is in our hands for us to create.
Our personal lives are no exception. To achieve our dreams, we must think. The importance of constructive thinking cannot be overemphasized as one cannot feature in a future he can’t picture. Allow your mind to roam. Think big. Act on your thoughts and nurture them into maturity.

Your thinking is the ruder which guides your ship over life’s tempestuous sea. So, think constructively, confidently, wholesomely and healthfully. Ideas, they say, rule the world. Would you rather think and rule the world or will you prefer to cheat the world of your brilliance and die with your potentials? Think twice.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Hard Work

As it is in computing, life operates on the garbage-in, garbage-out principle. The output of our lives is dependent on our input. If you were not born into a wealthy, royal, or influential family, then you are probably stuck like me - the only legitimate route available to attain greatness will be through hard work; there is no other shortcut!

History has it that all men are born equal – mostly with the same number of hands, legs, brain; name it. With the same abundant grace available to all, men can however work out their future – either decide to remain ordinary or become great. If you examine the life of successful people, you probably will marvel at their determination to succeed and the sacrifices they had to make on a daily basis to attain those lofty heights and to retain it. For instance, the basketball legend Larry Bird became an outstanding free-throw shooter by practicing five hundred shots each morning before he went to school. Demosthenes of ancient Greece became the greatest orator by reciting verses with pebbles in his mouth and speaking over the roar of the waves at the seashore – and he did it despite having been born with a speech impairment! No wonder why Henry Wadsworth Longfellow summarized that

“The heights by great men reached and kept,
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”

Your profession does not matter; you can make waves in your chosen career if you work hard. Are you an artist? If you work hard, you can paint a masterpiece that will challenge that of Michelangelo! If you are into music, who says you cannot compose better than Beethoven? Are you a software programmer? You can compete with Microsoft Corporation and give Bill Gates a heart attack if you work very hard! The list is endless. The impossible becomes possible once you are prepared to pay the price. There is no such thing like overnight success. In our modern world, an elevator could take you several floors in seconds, but when it comes to success, you will have to climb the stairs – one step at a time!

Perish the thought that success is going to come to you on a platter of gold without toiling. Successful men are those that have paid their dues – they worked harder than their contemporaries! According to an achiever, B.C. Forbes, “A price has to be paid for success. Almost invariably those who have reached the summits worked harder and longer, studied and planned more assiduously, practiced more self denial, overcame more difficulties than those of us who have not risen so far.” Forbes’ judgment is true to the latter, there are no gains without pains.
Do you need any other evidence that the solution to your problems is not spiritual? As the Yorubas will say, ‘Work is the cure for poverty.’ If I’m to put it the Obafemi Awolowo way, I’ll say that ‘The gospel of heaven may be rest, but the gospel of earth is work.’

Greatness beckons. Heed the clarion call by working your way to the top. Don’t cut corners, endure the due process. Savor the arduous process, therein lies your breakthrough.