I am a family doctor dedicated to helping people take charge of their lives. I have for that reason, been empowering people to become instruments of positive influence and to lead their best lives. I have often wondered why some people to do not live their dreams. Through my experience as a life coach and my own personal life experiences of adversity and challenges in life, I have found the answer.
Of course like a lot of people, I am a spiritual being having a human experience, so I too battle the struggles of everyday life. But I know that we can be stronger than we think, especially when we fill our heart with God’s word. One of the great gifts of God is to use scripture to cultivate inner strength and spirituality, and to build hope for the future and tough times. Some of the wisest counsel on how to experience our best lives comes from scripture.
It has been my observation that success is framed in character traits because they not only determine who we really are, they also build our inner strength. In my book, Leadership for Success, the first in my series of inspirational books, I have great stories of people who found my techniques and principles for achieving success to be very useful.
In the book, I tell the story of Jack, whose great eye opener came after his relationship failed. It was a wake-up call for him because he realized that he had to go out and work much harder in order to pay the bills that his former wife had been handling for him. The giant came out of Jack once he realized that fear is not a fact, just a feeling that kept him from a life of abundance and personal satisfaction. He released himself from the comfort zone of false security. He realized that he was the sole creator of his experience and his life became limitless.
I was born in a village called Awing, in West Africa. My father had enough money to be able to send me to school, but he chose not to. He spent money to educate my step brothers, but not me. My mother did not want me to react to the situation. She thought that it would make the situation worse in the way of making me bitter. She was right. At the time, as a teenaged boy, I did not understand the situation until later in life. Knowing now that it made me the person I am today, I know that I benefited greatly from it.
I had no choice but to think of alternative ways to support myself through school. I had to learn how to be self-reliant and take the initiative to get things done, such as doing holiday jobs and creating my own businesses in order to make money and pay for my education.
Having to fend for myself indirectly motivated me to learn how to be hardworking, take initiative, reflect deeper and become tougher. Little did I know that these seemingly little things I did would contribute significantly to making me who I am today. At the time, I rebelled against my father. It was only after many years in retrospect that I realized that his actions were a blessing in disguise.
Later on, I noticed that most of my stepbrothers had everything handed to them never really garnered any of these great leadership qualities, as I did. They became so ingrown that all they wanted to do was be like our father. They could not use the two most important gifts of life – intelligence and time. Each time they were faced with a problem, rather than use their mind as an ally in success, they ran back home to get more money from our father.
I think that part of the explanation is that in such circumstances where we know that there is nothing to depend on, we have to summon our very best from a physiological, psychological armamentaria. Nothing left behind. We get thrown out of our comfort zone too and that puts even more pressure on us to perform. That is how the giant in us gets released. Because once you are out of the comfort zone – the zone of false security – you start to thing out of the box. You start to think options and opportunity, not problems. That is when the ‘poor me’ mentality dies! It then gives way to the giant within.
Adversity is a great hope-builder. Never fight adversity because that leads to internal psychological conflict, which prevents you from fully understanding and accepting who you truly are. When you try to resist rather than welcome and accept it knocks you off balance and out of your comfort zone. For some people, a negative experience can be so scary that it numbs their feelings.
When you acknowledge adversity and see it as a stepping stone, you can emerge stronger from it. It is a great recipe for learning new lessons in life and becoming psychologically secure and confident.
Until you understand and accept who you are, you will always be tied to the past or circumstances. You will lack inner validation which leaves a void behind. You will always need external validation to fill the void. Your happiness will then depend on it. That is on people and circumstances. So other people and circumstances or crisis will hold the key to your happiness. Instead you should be the one in control. Through adversity, you come to the realization that you are tougher than you think. Once you are faced with the problem and you conquer it, then you gain a measure of confidence and boldness. Scripture teaches us to count everything that happens to us, all joy. Part of the reason is because as human beings, with our tunnel vision, we rarely see the whole picture, but God does. And he is always on our side. Scripture gives us some of the wisest counsel for experiencing our best life and achieving true happiness.
In Mark 5:35-36, Jairus’s crisis made him totally despaired. Jesus’ words to Jairus in the midst of his crisis speaks volumes to us as well: “Don’t be afraid, just have faith.” In Jesus there is hope. The next time you feel hopeless, look at your problem from Jesus’ perspective, and don’t be afraid. Just have faith.