It is only one life. You can’t come this way again. No! Never! The time you live is a record of your life. The saying “Not how long, but how well” still holds true today as ever. Life is a resource to be invested and to gainfully profit from, but many are merely spending it. Some others are experimenting with it. Being in this world now is not by accident. You are born for now! This is because God raises men for each generation to fulfill specific purposes. Noah, the ark builder, was raised to preserve a remnant in the deluge; Joseph, the dreamer, to preserve a nation in the time of famine; Moses, the prophet, to bring the Israelites out of Egyptian bondage; Joshua, the general, to bring in the people and allocate the Promised Land; David, the king, to establish and expand the nation of Israel; Solomon to build the Temple; the list could go on and on particularly if you are familiar with the redemptive history of Israel and the Church. The thesis is God does nothing in our world without the instrumentality of man in each successive generation. However, people that made impact did not just rise up one day and made exploits. They had to struggle with and overcome various limitations, obstacles and barriers in the way towards achieving their God-given destiny.
Some of these limitations were physical, others were psychological and possibly some were spiritual. The terrain of impacting and meaningful living has not changed. It is only that in recent times it has become highly populated with people with myriads of opportunities and advantages but are chained in their minds with various excuses.
Many are the excuses, but I assay to address the commonest ones bedeviling many people in this generation.
1. I am too young: Many people think that impacting the society lies at the prerogative of the older people. They wrongly assume they have to wait a little or for some years to roll by so that they might become old enough to do something great. Thomas Mann writes that “ Time has no divisions to mark its passage; there is never a thunderstorm to announce the beginning of a new year. It is only we mortals who ring bells and fire off pistols.” Many of us are wasting precious invest-able but unrecallable years of our lives simply because we think we are too young to strike the iron when it is hot.
Friend, age is not a parameter to determine who does what. To prove this, I present here a list of some persons who rose early to success, greatness and achievement at tender age of their lives.
- Aristotle, one of the most famous ancient philosophers, was already a Greek philosopher of distinction in the order of Plato and Socrates at age 17.
- Blaise Pascal proved himself a mathematical prodigy when at the age of 16 he formulated one of the basic theorems of projectile geometry, know as Pascal’s theorem.
- Alexander the Great, at the age of 16, was a distinguished soldier in the Greek army: by 20 had become the king of the ancient Greece and ruled in Macedon and by 25 had conquered the whole then known world and wept because there was no more land to conquer.
- William Pit was only 24 when he became the Prime Minister of great Britain.
- Isaac Newton was 24 when he discovered the law of gravity.
- Napoleon Bonaparte was 25 when he became the General Commander of the French Army.
- George Washington was 25 when he became the General Commander of the US army.
The list could go on and on. Neither age nor youth should stop you from reaching success and excellence in life. You can never be too young. Rise up to the purpose for which you were packaged. This is your time. Never put off until tomorrow what you have been empowered to do today. Being young is no excuse for non-performance.
2. I am too old: I am conscious of the fact that some readers would think “well, I am already old. There is nothing I can do again. It is all over.” Get rid of such a thought. There will always be something you can do. Believe it and be the better for believing.
James A. Garfield writes that
“if wrinkles must be written upon our brow, let them not be written upon our heart. The spirit should not grow old.”
Age is only a barrier to those who erect it. Your old age could be better than when you were young. History is replete with people who made landmarks at ages considered unproductive by many others. Here is a list of few of them.
- Noah Webster wrote the great Webster Dictionary at 70;
- John Wesley in his 80s preached twice in a day; rose up 5:30 am daily;
- Mary Carter Endicott at age 40 in 1945 went back to school to study law. She soon became a successful lawyer. In 1958 she was listed among the 1st edition of “Who’s Who” of American Women. Life surely begins at 40.
- I knew of Papa Sadela, a contemporary of Apostle Joseph Ayo Babalola the founder of Christ Apostolic Church Worldwide, who continued to preach at age over 105 years unaided in any way before he later passed on at an advanced age.
Space fails me to mention by name many retired but not tired servants of God who at old age are still young at heart and continue to preach and write as opportunities come.
As usual the list is endless. I do not know how old you are. Age is a thing of the mind. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. So long as you do not give up, you can go as far and as high as you desire and dare, no matter how old you may be. So don’t let your age be your cage. Robert Browning succinctly puts it this way
“Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be.”
3. I am handicapped: As you go through life, you will find many people who have one disability or the other. Disability is no news. What makes news is what the disabled do with their disabilities. There are many handicaps in life, but none is as serious as mental handicap. This is the one that happens within a person. The handicap that makes a person throws up hands in defeat. Dear reader, it is one thing to be physically handicapped,it is another thing to be mentally handicapped. Disability is first and foremost a state of mind. Being a woman does not hinder you from excelling above male gender.
What would you say about people like Margaret Thatcher, Aimee Semple Macpherson and Kathryn Kulhman, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the first elected female president on the African continent? Each of these was handicapped, gender wise, in male-dominated societies but excelled above even many male counterparts in their fields of endeavor.
So you should not be tied down by handicaps. You can be like Homer and the English poet John Milton. Both were blind but they were great poets. Fanny J. Crosby, the author of over 8000 songs, was also blind, but that did not stop her from using her talent. Though dead, she is still the world’s most prolific song writer. She was blind without but lighted within. Have you ever heard of the disabled who use their legs and/or mouth to draw and paint and their works are on high demand. Many of them now abound and are making marks on the sand of times. At least I have heard and read about two from America and two others from Nigeria. The challenge to you is to not see yourself as an object of pity. Turn your handicap into capital and step on it to success. Someone aptly writes “Ask not for our lot to be transformed; rather that we be transformed instead. Then we will see in our lot the blessing awaiting there for us.” You don’t have to go cap in hands because you are handicapped.
I have done it once but failed: Is this why you have stopped giving success a trial?
Let me tell you a story. Thomas Alva Edison gave the modern man electric bulb light. He made a total of 1099 other patented inventions. To make the bulb, it was only at the one thousandth time that he had breakthrough. Before the breakthrough, many people told him he was only wasting his time, but he forged ahead. Had he listened to the discouragers he would have nothing to show for his 999 failed attempts. There is something in you that the fear of failing would not allow to come out. Will you die with your potentials and dreams?
So, don’t give up! As someone said,
“falling down doesn’t make you a failure, but staying down does.”
Robert Schuller adds
“failure is never final…”
Are you going through academic, business, financial, career, moral, etc failure? The experience is simply teaching you that the way you did it was not the right one; get up to re-arm yourself and get going to do it right and better. There is no success story without its time of failure. This seminar is to assist you address and break from some thought pattern, lifestyle, philosophies, mindset and way of life that would build a great barrier between you and excellent living. Oliver Goldsmith writes that
“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.”
So, get up and get going as I show you the winning way!
Olubunmi Obalade PhD.