Image for post
Image for post

“Three things are necessary,” says nineteenth century statesman Charles Sumner: “Number one: Backbone. Number two: Backbone. Number three: Backbone.”

An encouraging start is nothing without backbone, echo's Swett Marden:A man who cannot stand erect, who wobbles first one way and then the other, who has no opinion of his own, or courage to think his own thought, is of very little use in this world. It is grit, it is perseverance, it is moral stamina and courage that governs the world.”

“Accept that you are afraid, and then move forward,” says Les Brown. …

Image for post
Image for post
To believe a thing impossible is to make it so.

How many people had told the diminutive rugby player from South Africa, Faf De klerk, that he was too short for Rugby? In a sport where the average player stands at 6”4 (190cm) 246 lbs (112kg), he seems rather out of place as a professional rugby player, but his bravery has earned him Man of the Match on several occasions during his international games. De klerk stands at just 5”6 (170cm) and weighs 176 lbs (80kg) but during the 2019 Rugby World Cup final in Japan which saw South Africa beat England for the world championship, De Klerk earned the nickname “Giant slayer” due to the fact that he was never shy of challenging even the largest opponent in the game and always took them down on a tackle. …

Image for post
Image for post
Hidekichi Miyazaki, 105, is the World’s Oldest Competitive Sprinter

The biggest regret in the latter lives of older people is the knowledge that if they had taken a different path, they could have become all that they dreamed of becoming, if only they tried.

When nursing home residents were asked what their greatest regret in life was, they all said that they wished they had taken more chances. They felt that they had held themselves back all their lives due to circumstance, fear, or duty and saw only a fraction of their potential self. Only in latter years did they come to realize how fabulous they really were, and how much more of themselves they could have offered to the world if things had been different. But alas, regrets are now useless and only eat away at their souls. …

Image for post
Image for post

How many people today believe that they could achieve great things in life if only the right opportunities presented themselves. Or that something out of their control always hinders their progress and that once fate and the stars align in their favor, they will surely succeed. So they wait patiently for their luck to turn up, meanwhile changing nothing in their lives. Occasionally, one or two opportunities present themselves, but because they can never recognize them, they completely miss them.

While luck plays an important role in the destinies of many people, it is an unreliable pillar for the ambitious young man or woman who is better off relying on their own abilities to get on in life. Some people go so far as saying that success is largely a matter of “luck and fortune” and that no matter how good a person gets, they can never succeed if fate does not allow for it. While it is true that some people get a better head start in life than others and are presented with better opportunities, it is also quite true that we are all given opportunities on a daily basis to catchup and make amends for it. Failure, is mainly due not to the lack of opportunities — but to the neglect of taking advantage of them. The old proverb is right that says that, “There is nobody whom Fortune does not visit once in his life; but when she finds that he is not ready to receive her, she goes in at the door, and out through the window.” The secret is to be ready for opportunity when it comes. The careless, slow and unobservant man fail to see it — or embrace it when it is at the door. But those who are of ready mind see it at once and hold onto it while it is there. Effective people do not wait for “something to turn up”, but they make it turn up. Like the Chinese proverb which says that “A man who waits for a roast duck to fly into his mouth will wait a very long time,” so too does the unobservant man who waits for opportunity, for roast ducks do not go flying into peoples mouths. …

Image for post
Image for post

There is a story of three men in a fishing boat who were far from the shore when a sudden storm threatened to capsize their boat. The largest and strongest in the crew was gripped with fear and said: “Let us pray!” But the older and wiser man said: “No, no, my man. Let the little man pray, you grab the oar!”

All men at times must rely on their own ability to get out of difficult situations. …

Image for post
Image for post

“How wonderful it is,” says Anne Frank, “that nobody needs to wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

The remarkable story of Dashrath Manjhi proves that if a man has the willingness to start and see a thing through, nothing can stop him from attaining his goal. Few words rival Theodore Roosevelt’s call-to-action that you should: “Start now. With what you have. Where you are.” …

Image for post
Image for post

When William Kamkwamba first built his famous windmill in Malawi in 2001, he used what he had around him and salvaged the rest from nearby junkyards. His story is a true example of the illustration that if one can start with what they have, where they are — there is no telling what they could achieve if they persist and stick at it.

While everybody in his home village was praying for rain, the 14 year old was working at solutions. William’s family were self-reliant subsistence farmers who lived in the breadbasket of Malawi — an area which produced the most maize in the country. Some farmers, like William’s dad, also grew tobacco plants in order to supplement the sale of the maize. As subsistence farmers, they used some of the harvest for food, some for fodder for their livestock, and the rest as stock at the local market. …

Image for post
Image for post

Back In the 1800’s, fish breeders began breeding the common carp for color in Japan, by the late 19th century, a number of color patterns had been established, this new breed of brightly-colored fish became known as the “Koi” — stemming from the Japanese word that means “carp”.

These fish were well adapted to aquarium life but were especially bred to have better advantages over the common pond fish: They were tolerant of extreme cold and could also survive in low quality water. This made them quite popular in Japan and they soon caught the attention of sojourners and westerners.

The breeders then began exporting them en-masse to Europe and North America as demand grew, but they soon discovered a challenge: After the long trips on cargo ships and the small tanks in which they were held — they arrived at their destination brittle and weak, and had lost much of their multi-color scaling. …

Image for post
Image for post

“Shoemaker! Shoemaker! Work by night and run about by day!” Shouted a boy outside of Samuel Drew’s workshop window before darting off.

This was due to the fact that while self employed as a cobbler, he developed the habit of spending most of the day idling about and discussing matters of politics and current affairs with his friends. His workshop became a favourite resort of the village politicians and when they did not come to him, he went to them.

This ate up his time and it would find him — when the moon was up and the sun was down, and all his friends retired at home — hammering away at the sole of a shoe, working by candlelight until midnight to catch up on the missed day’s work. …

Image for post
Image for post

Richard Branson has the nickname “Dr Yes” among his staff members at Virgin due to the fact that whenever he is presented with a question, request, or a problem — his automatic reply is always a positive one rather than a negative one.

His philosophy is that it is important to find reasons to do something rather than not to do it. If something looks like a good idea and there is an opportunity to learn, the best thing to do is to just do it. His motto really is: ‘Screw it. Let’s just do it.’

Whenever he is asked at what time a particular thing should be done, his automatic reply is always, “As soon as possible”. When boat builder, Ted Tolemann asked him to sponsor a powerboat event in order to win back the Blue Riband for Britain, he ”accepted the offer at once”. When asked when preparations should be made for the competition, his answer was, “Immediately”. …

About

Paul Gwamanda

“Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing.” Ben Franklin

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store