“Tell them I tried to feed the hungry. Tell them I tried to clothe the naked. Tell them I tried to help somebody.”– Martin Luther King, Jr
This was the message MLK left behind for future generations. What will your message be? If you were to record your parting message today, would you with conviction say that you tried to feed the hungry? Would you say you tried to clothe the naked and that you really, I mean really tried to help somebody? What evidence would be used to back up your claim? If you have a challenge in answering these questions, then, you better hurry up and do something before your time runs out of time! It’s time to commit to your commitments and keep the main thing, the main thing.
I recently wrote about commitment where I said that commitment is doing what you said you’ll do, when you said you’ll do it whether you like it not. It’s not about doing things because you feel like doing them. Courage and willpower are developed when you do what needs to be done, whether you like it or not. To commit is about getting off the fence by taking a firm and bold decision, compromising and improvising. These four are siblings and can never be separated, especially if one wants to live a meaningful life:
- Taking a firm and bold decision.
- Sacrificing certain things.
- Improvising – doing what you can, using what you have, wherever you are. It’s that level of maturity of not complaining and mourning about what you don’t have and instead maximising what you have.
- Committing to your decision.
For you to see beyond the storm, you need to be a possibility thinker. Possibility thinking is the management of ideas. There’s time management, money management, self-management and people management, energy management, etc. Possibility thinking focuses on the management of ideas and thoughts. So, management is the control of a resource in order to minimize waste and maximise the development of latent possibilities. In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an interesting article summarising research on human thoughts per day. It was found that the average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those thousands of thoughts, 80% were negative and 95% were exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before. This clearly shows that one of the tendencies of the mind is to focus on the negative and ‘play the same songs’ over and over again. There was another interesting study (Leahy,2005, Study of Cornell University), that concluded that 97% of our worries are baseless and result from an unfounded pessimistic perception. Unfortunately, these baseless worries are a major source of stress, tension and cause exhaustion not only for the mind, but also for the physical body. I am sharing this information so that you’ll be aware of your thoughts and manage them better.
So, as we can see from the above, a vast majority of the ideas and thoughts are negative. Possibility thinking is the disciplined separation of positive thoughts from negative ones. Positive thoughts are those that hold undeveloped potential for good. Possibility thinkers always search and sieve the good ideas from the bad ones. Impossibility thinkers, on the other hand, are people who instinctively react negatively to ideas that have potential for good. Impossibility thinkers impulsively look for reasons why it can’t be done.
Life keeps on teaching us that storms are in many ways good for us. They draw something out of us that calm seas don’t. Steve Rizzo said it succinctly, “Don’t wait for the storms of your life to pass. Learn to dance in the rain.” The mind will always play tricks on you, be awake and watch out, you are in charge. Like any movie that you might have watched, the s/hero goes through a lot of adversity and most people even ask why they have to endure such challenges and why do they have to put themselves through so much suffering? Well, this is because beyond that pain, they see something wonderful, not only for themselves but for others as well.
You were born to make a difference. You were born for greatness. Your heart knows the truth, listen to it. Nelson Mandela said, “There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” This, I fully agree with, hence you are reading this. Once again, What message will you leave for the future generations? You have the power to make your life count, Rise and Shine!
Veli Ndaba is a Professional and Motivational Speaker, Life-Coach and Neuro Linguistic Programming Practitioner, Author of three books (You Are Born to Win, Your Dream is Calling You and SWITCH ON!), Newspaper Columnist and Entrepreneur. To book him to speak at your next event or to help you and your team unleash your greatness, contact him on firstname.lastname@example.org , www.velindaba.com or +27 83 304 9773