Writing motivational ‘self-help’ books and giving motivational speeches started off as a ‘trend’ and has always been easier in theory than in practice. The ‘inspiration’ for this blog post is a video I came across on an Advertising, Media, and Marketing Community site. The video is titled ‘Ordinary People’s Extraordinary Things’ and gives a snapshot of the lives of great luminaries like Helen Keller, Neil Armstrong, Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, John Lennon, Henry Ford, and so on and so forth. The story of their lives and endeavors have been encapsulated into a couple of lines with an attempt to give a snapshot of their journey. A self-conscious journey where they strove to turn an odd or an obstacle into a positive.
Helen Keller lost her hearing and vision at age 18 months, John Lennon’s Aunt Mimi said that he would never be able to make a living playing a guitar, Thomas Edison was chucked out of school for asking too many questions, J.K. Rowling was a single mother on welfare who decided to put pen to paper and create the legend known as ‘Harry Potter’, Jerry Yang (co-founder of Yahoo) only knew the word ‘shoe’ in English when he was ten years old, Steve Jobs sold his Volkswagen to build 50 circuit boards, Einstein apparently refused to talk till the age of three, Walt Disney started a movie company with a meager $750 and went on to win 32 Oscars, Bill Gates famously dropped out of Harvard to pursue a business idea, Michael Jordan did not make the cut for his high school basketball team, and Mother Teresa found her life’s calling when she was just 12.
These are oft-told stories that perhaps will never run their course because they hold far too many important grains of truth and courage in them. Truth and courage because before you make a wish, take a chance, make a change, or take a risk – you have to be true to yourself. True to the need for making a wish come true. True to the effort of taking a chance and making a change. And only then, will you be able to muster the courage to take the risk and break away.
Life can throw lemons at you and make all your experiences a sour one. But as somebody said, you should take those lemons and make lemon squash out of them!
Yes, a very cheesy line to include at this point of the article, but even a cheesy line can make a lot of sense at times.
Somebody told me yesterday that I live in a cage. A cage of my own making perhaps. And a cage that probably isn’t even locked. It’s a cage that I am just too conditioned and afraid to step out of. We all have our little cages and bubbles that we live in. We think setting certain limits to our thoughts and actions make us a principled people. It may make us principled people, but it should never rob the sheen of the essence of who we really are and the immense potential that lies within us all. I say this because, nothing can hurt more than lost potential.
The lost potential of a lost opportunity. Or several lost opportunities. The lost potential of something which could have been yours but you did everything possible for you to lose it. The lost potential of a future that was in your hands, waiting to be shaped and molded, the way you wanted it to be.
The stories of the people mentioned above do not seem to be full of a plethora of opportunities coming their way. It is more about how they created opportunities out of nothing. When you are born with a disability, when you are rejected, when your worth is not recognized, or even when you simply have an idea that gets no support but is something you really need to and have to work on – is where there is a secret landmine of opportunity.
To create an opportunity when you have absolutely nothing in hand but the mere floating wisp of an idea and intense desire for it to happen – is when you should make a wish – take a chance – make a change – take a risk – and break away.
Opportunity for what? Opportunity to realize that we can be happy outside of the realm of what we are so familiar and comfortable with. Opportunity to realize that if these people had not taken the chances and risks that they did take during their lifetime – it would have been a loss, not only for them, but also for the people around them. A loss for the people who sit reading about them after years and years of them passing away. Read and think that if they can do it, so can we.