There’s a story of a man who was given a wish, but the wish came with condition that whatever he wished for, his neighbour would get double of. This seriously bothered the man, because as much as he wanted have many things, the idea that someone had twice as much was a problem. Instead of wishing for that one thing that he had always dreamed of having or doing, he chose instead to wish that one of his eyes stop working, so that in turn, both his neighbours eyes would stop working. As the saying goes. in the land of the blind, the one eyed man is king. And this would allow him to reign over his neighbour.
When you think of success, what pops up in your head? Personally I think of a people coming to love God and each other. That is success to me. But what if I told you that sometimes it bothers me when someone does a better job than me at something. I have learnt to get over myself and to appreciate others and their successes, but at times my own failures stop me from fully appreciating their successes.
Why is it that some people would rather see everyone fail if it means that they do not fail alone? Over time I have seen a similar approach to political policies such as land restitution. The problem with many is that the aim is take away power from a certain group (In the case of South Africa, white people), as opposed to trying to give power to everyone. My concern is not in taking away privilege and opportunity from a specific group, but rather to give the same privilege and opportunity to everyone.
I think that if we set personal goals that we want to achieve, then what our neighbour achieves should not be so much of a concern to us. I believe in good competition, which is seeing what others can do better than you and from there on knowing that there are better things out there. But I do not believe in a competition that isn’t concerned about getting better as an individual, but rather to be better than everyone else.
Is life really only enjoyed when you are better than everyone else? I personally don’t think so, I think it’s enjoyed when you are better than the person you were yesterday. Because in the end everything comes falling down and you can’t take anything with you to the grave.
What would be beneficial to each of us is if everyone would mind their own business and take care of their own business. Don’t be too concerned about what the next person is doing. It’s your life to live and be accountable for, and thus your race to run. Record time is great, but personal best is better. Because what good is it for me to say that I am beating everyone accept myself? Usain Bolt isn’t as concerned about winning races as he is about beating his personal best.
So yes another may seem to be more successful than you at their calling, but you need to answer your calling and not theirs. If ever there was anything to achieve, I would say that let it be what YOU are called to achieve. Because as successful or unsuccessful as your mission here on earth may seem, personal goals need personal achievement. And personal achievement is personal success.
It’s been five years since I left high school. Probably my entire life has changed since then. Almost every plan, if not every plan that I had at the end of high school has either changed or taken an unexpected turn on the way. At the end of high school I had everything figured out, well everything besides myself. I knew what I needed to do in the world, but not necessarily how. It’s like knowing that you need protein to bulk up but not knowing how best to go about getting it in your body. So I had the house planned out, but no idea about how the foundation needed to look.
Experience has probably been the biggest teacher for me. In high school, I didn’t know much about what the world had to offer. I mean in terms of relationships, work, quality and viewpoints among other things. I soon discovered that indeed people perish because they lack knowledge. If you don’t know better, how will you ever do or achieve better? The story of my life is that, mediocre has followed me around until I told it to leave me alone. I have a tolerance level that I believe is probably my biggest enemy.
Tolerating mediocrity in anything is probably an enemy to any progress that one can potentially make. No one ever changed the world while tolerating mediocre. Jesus didn’t tolerate his disciples when they were mediocre in their faith and actions, in fact in one incident he offers them the door. Steve Jobs, Steve Biko. Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther and many great other leaders that this world has seen were all very revolutionary in their approach, but not once was mediocrity tolerated.
The big problem is that, when you can’t tolerate mediocre, you are very likely to find yourself either quitting a lot of things or kicking out a lot of people if you’re not the one getting kicked out. Oh the amount of people that Jobs, Biko, Mandela and King rubbed up the wrong way. The many things which they were expelled, kicked out or bought out of. Why? They were probably the worst kind of people to work with, simply because mediocre is the worlds standard.
What these men did right was build firm foundations, first in their minds and viewpoints on issues, and secondly in their skill sets. Even though, many times they were rejected, kicked out of, or left the things that they were building.
The problem with quitting or getting kicked out of anything is that you may start to feel as if you have no idea where you are going. This can be frustrating and make you wonder if this is all worth it, but the key to it all is not how big the house looks, but rather how firm your foundation is. What helped Jobs buy his company back or Biko start his Black conciseness movement were their firm foundations. They had learnt what they needed to learn. They were willing to keep on learning and they were never willing to settle for anything mediocre.
They were driven to build firm foundations for the things that they planned on doing. So even though they at times they seemed to be lost, they couldn’t be taken down simply because of their firm foundations.
We at times put so much emphasis on the house that is being built that we forget that it’s the foundation that will keep it strong. If ever a massive house is found to be mediocre, it’s most likely due to the fact that its foundation is mediocre. Because a weak foundation makes for a weak house.
In essence, the same can be said about a tree and its roots; The deeper the roots, the stronger the tree. A tree with good roots will bear good fruit, but a tree with mediocre roots will bear mediocre fruit, if any at all. So in your relationships, work, pass times, world-views and life, how strong is the foundation that you stand on? Because a strong foundation makes for an unshakable house.