What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.—Ralph Waldo Emerson
The vast majority of persons in this world are living from a small fraction of their true potential, the innate ability to achieve greatness. If you look around you, 5 percent of persons are leaders. They stand out. They cut a new path. They have a vision, they influence the way people think, and they rise to the top of their chosen fields. Ninety-five percent of people are followers, “marching,” as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. puts it, “to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo.” They do not cause things to happen; they sit by and watch things happen. In fact some even do not know what happened!
The popular colloquialism, nutten na gwan fi mi, expresses a deep symptom of a lost generation, hopeless recipients of time’s vicissitudes, submissive victims of life’s turbulent seas, tossed about like flotsam and jetsam, without purpose, without passion, without pursuit.
Are you one of these people, living from hand to mouth, from pay cheque to pay cheque, waiting on that elusive promotion that never seems to come, waiting on that “break”? These are the people in the 95 percent.
They are followers, but more sadly, they are completely ignorant of the power within them, for if they understood what Ralph Waldo Emerson (in the above quote) meant, they would change their circumstances, make a 180-degree turn in life and rise to fabulous success, wealth, prosperity and fulfillment.
For the last forty-seven years I have studied the lives of success-ful men and women. I have interviewed them, watched them fall and rise again, heard their stories, and seen them fulfill their dreams, watched as they overcame deep sorrow and shattering adversity—only to rise again like the Phoenix from the ashes of temporary defeat.
What is it that they have, that we do not have? Are they more learned than we?
No, for the world is full of educated derelicts.
What they have is what we all have, a power within us, a force so great it caused Napoleon to smash his enemies and create an empire.
It caused the boy whose feet were so badly burnt, they said he would never walk again, to become a world class athlete.
It caused the great Ludwig van Beethoven to create the breathtaking, majestic Ninth Symphony, which greeted the world on May 7, 1874. What was remarkable about this great symphony is that Beethoven was stone deaf by the time he finished composing it and could not hear a note of his magnum opus, a work which is said to have had perhaps the greatest impact on Western Music. At the conclusion of the opening concert in Vienna, Beethoven remained unaware of the audience’s thunderous applause until alto soloist Caroline Unger turned him around to face the hall.
Nor is blindness a barrier; John Milton wrote paradise lost while totally blind and Ray Charles went blind at six, only to rise to legendary fame.
What is the power within Portia Simpson Miller that caused her to rise, as she put it, “from the bowels of the working class”, to the pinnacle of state power, smashing through the testosterone-charged barriers of male political dominance to become the first female prime minister of Jamaica?
Was it some divine spark within Joan Duncan which led her to create the vision of a uniquely tantalizing “unconditional love” for JMMB?
How did Muhammad “Cassius Clay” Ali, a stripling of a youngster, defeat the “unbeatable” Sonny Liston? How has Tiger Woods swept aside the history of black non-involvement in American golf to now bestride the sport like a Colossus?
And what was within Danny Williams, who started at an early age to sell cigarettes, which made him become arguably the greatest life insurance man of my generation. What led him to create Life of Jamaica at that time? The fact is that Danny saw an opportunity and in partnership with North American Life founded a local company, Life of Jamaica on June 1, 1970. What is more, encouraged by then finance minister, the Honourable Edward Seaga, that was the catalyst that propelled other foreign companies to localise their operations and thus ensuring that Jamaica has control over its life insurance industry.
Learn the secrets of other great men and women, for they will show you unmistakably how to unleash the power within you, for what lies behind you and what lies before you are indeed small matters compared to what lies within you.
Tony Williamson is a motivational speaker and author of the book, "The Courage to Conquer: Please visit www.tonywilliamson.org and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tonywilliamsonbooks. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I am an author, motivational speaker, chartered financial consultant, linguist, paramedic,
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