What’s their secret?
You wonder how they do it.
How do your favorite sports people, speakers and entrepreneurs keep performing and excelling at the highest levels? How can you live such an inspirational life and touch countless lives. After all that’s what it’s all about. Living a purposeful life and fulfilling your potential.
Yet all your attempts to be like them have yielded nothing but frustration and shame. In some cases your very attempts have thrown you deeper into financial despair. You feel that you are doomed to mediocrity.
But right there is the challenge. The reason you are struggling is you are not being true to yourself. You are attempting to operate as a photocopy of someone. It won’t work. But it is not your fault because we are being wired to mindlessly imitate people. Inspiration does not have to be an imitation.
It’s important that you begin to appreciate yourself. I remember how people made fun of the fact that I was quiet and equated it with stupidity. Unfortunately, their words had an effect , I am sure some of you can relate to the doubts and lack of confidence when you try to express yourself but you know that you have already been shut down before you utter a word.
The fact that you are unique is important to unlocking your true potential. It is your personality that will showcase your uniqueness.
But what if you could latch on to secretive strategies that will turn you into an influencer and a success?
First you need to understand some truths about life.
#1 Truth: Talent is not everything.
It is only part of the ingredient. Some people have phenomenal talents that enables them to accomplish great things with ease. But for the rest of us merely having the talent does not guarantee success.
#2 Truth: Education does not nurture talent
The education system is not there to develop individual talent. It is there to teach skillsets that are supposed to enable people to be contributors to society. The system favors those who are able to grasp the basics that are required. What you decide to do with the basics you get is important.
Now that we have got those verities out of the way, let me reveal the six ways that will help you utilize your talent effectively.
What Do You Want To Be?
God gives each of us talents (aptitudes);
1 Peter 4:10-11 Amplified Bible (AMP)
10 Just as each one of you has received a special gift [a spiritual talent, an ability graciously given by God], employ it in serving one another as [is appropriate for] good stewards of God’s multi-faceted grace [faithfully using the diverse, varied gifts and abilities granted to Christians by God’s unmerited favor].11 Whoever speaks [to the congregation], is to do so as one who speaks the oracles (utterances, the very words) of God. Whoever serves [the congregation] is to do so as one who serves by the strength which God [abundantly] supplies, so that in all things God may be glorified [honored and magnified] through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
Aptitude, I love that word because it makes it less mystical. So no one can say that they don’t have an aptitude in one area or another.
The first thing is to determine what you want to do. You have to know whether you want to improve upon or you want to learn a skill from scratch. For example no one is born a neurosurgeon or a lawyer, there is a process of training that is undertaken.
When you determine what you are doing. It gives you clarity on the steps you have to take. This is important because it will stop you attempting to be a Mark Zuckerberg when you do not have similar aptitudes and similar conditions do not exists.
Whenever, you read biographies of famous people beware how you interpret the information. Especially when you are in Africa, your experience will be wildly different. That doesn’t mean that I am saying you will not make it. I am saying don’t expect the processes to be similar.
You don’t need to sound like Les Brown et al to be a great speaker, by all means watch and learn from great speakers but do not kill what makes you stand out. They are where they are because they worked on their aptitudes.
The advantage you have is that people have already seen what the greats have done, it might not have changed their life so they are seeking for something that will work for them. When you come in, you must do things differently.
Understanding this will help you invest in your talent;
Matthew 25:14-17 Amplified Bible (AMP)
14 “For it is just like a man who was about to take a journey, and he called his servants together and entrusted them with his possessions.15 To one he gave five [a]talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and then he went on his journey.16 The one who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he [made a profit and] gained five more. 17 Likewise the one who had two [made a profit and] gained two more.
NB: A talent was a measurement of weight, usually 58-80 pounds. One talent of silver was worth more than 15 years’ wages. One talent of gold was worth even more (SOURCE: www.biblegateway.com)
A fifteen year investment and he hid it in the ground! Some might laugh at the guy but that’s what most of us do. We hide our talents. I know a pretty talented artist but he chooses to hide it because in our society being a creative is not valued. So he wastes away his life scavenging.
How Can You Know What Your Talent Is?
Our aptitudes determine what we can do successfully. Some people have great coordination skills and they are capable of being great sports persons
It’s also revealed in the things that make us happy, our previous success in conjunction with ability.
We cannot all be doctors, singers or soccer players. You can only be what you want to be if you work on your aptitudes. Parents can attempt to force children to take certain paths but it will end in confusion and frustration.
But clarity in this matter can map out a path that will result in success. By investing time in the basic skill you can develop into a master.
Do You Have An Action Plan?
You have to have a plan that will help you master your craft. It is strategic to be deliberate.
Even if you have insane amounts of talent, if you are not deliberate about mastering your skill you will never get to the top. If you do get to the top you will soon fall away because others who are better, faster and wiser will come along. They always do. We have a limited shelf life, it’s pragmatic to use it wisely.
The race in not for the swift only but everyone has an opportunity. One of the greatest football players ever Cristiano Ronaldo is known to put a lot of time into his training even though he is superbly gifted. He challenges himself to rise to higher levels every time.
Ecclesiastes 9:11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
It’s important to be ready for the opportunity because it will come to you also.
The question is what will be your strategy when it comes. Most times we are not ready and have challenges identifying opportunities because we have been schooled to see doom in problems that arise.
You have to map a deliberate strategy that will take you from basic skill to master. If you want to be a medical doctor then find out what you need to sacrifice in order to get there and pay the price.
How To Be Deliberate?
Isa 28:10 For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Making deliberate choices might seem tedious and dull but it is effective method of learning. Break down what you have to do into simple tasks and allocate time to developing that area. Just like building a wall, brick upon brick.
You must not be all over the place as this affects your focus. Sports people do not learn their skills at one go. Footballers learn to dribble defend, move the ball, pass at different stages and then they bring the skills together during practice and competitive matches.
Opportunities don’t come gift wrapped in a perfect package. Some opportunities will come with grief but you have the ability to turn them around if you are willing.
It’s critical that you gear yourself to be a problem solver. When a challenge comes into your life see it as an opportunity to stretch your capacity to innovate rather than to hide under the blankets.
What Is Your Attitude?
Are you humbly enough not to depend on your gifts and commit to practice?
Talent alone is not enough. The world is full of people who are given extraordinary aptitudes but they never achieve much because they are not willing to pay the price to be at the top.
It’s possible that through circumstance that were not of their own making they never got a chance to develop them. It does happen but there is another group of people who don’t use opportunities that they are given.
I am sure we all remember that fellow classmate who thought they were too intelligent to read for tests but raised “hell” when the results or end of term reports arrived and other students outperformed them. Remember how they would contemptuously dismiss the results, claiming that if they wanted to they could be the best student. Truth is, they are probably right they could have been the best student, marketer or salesperson but their attitude brought them down;
Philippians 4:8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
8 Finally, [a]believers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God’s word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]. 9 The things which you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things [in daily life], and the God [who is the source] of peace and well-being will be with you.
A wrong work ethic is a cause for the destruction of man. It takes patience to be a master for the majority. We are not born prodigies. We have to mature into mastery.
How Do You Develop The Right Attitude?
It is a matter of the heart. You have to realize that your talent is just a small part of the equation. Have a teachable spirit because no matter how gifted you are even those you think are beneath have something to teach you.
What Is Your Routine?
John 21Amplified Bible (AMP)
3 Simon Peter said to them, “I am going fishing.” They said, “And we are coming with you.” So they went out and got into the boat; and [a]that night they caught nothing.
4 As morning was breaking, Jesus [came and] stood on the beach; however, the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. 5 So Jesus said to them, “Children, do you have any fish [to eat along with your bread]?” They answered, “No.” 6 And He said to them, “Cast the net on the right-hand side of the boat (starboard) and you will find some.” So they cast [the net], and then they were not able to haul it in because of the great catch of fish. 7 Then that disciple (John) whom Jesus loved (esteemed) said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” So when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer tunic (for he was stripped for work) and threw himself into the sea [and swam ashore]. 8 But the other disciples came in the small boat…
Just like Peter some of us have the routine. We do the same things over and over expecting that we will get to know our talents. But Jesus told the disciples to try a different routine. Instead of fishing in the night he asked them to do it in the light of day. A single routine limits and hinders our growth potential.
You can develop a successful routine from watching others and adapting it to suit your experience. Reading motivational biographies gives people hope that they can also accomplish great things. However, like I said some of these biographies have to be read in context.
Just because you drop out of college does not mean you will become the next big thing. There are more nightmarish stories of people who dropped out of college than stories of victory.
Truth is most of us might not have the discipline and commitment that is needed to pursue our dreams. We need to mature through the process. When you drop out of college do you have a routine that will keep you from being all over the place?
When you read Steve Jobs or Bill Gates stories you will note that even when they dropped out of college. They still had an area of focus. They worked on their projects making iterations as they went along. This was their routine.
But these days it seems we are all being encouraged to drop out of college just because it’s fashionable. For all its faults tertiary education is a vital component for changing the circumstances of African people.
How To Develop An Effective Routine
Move out of your comfort zone- do not do the same thing over and over if it is not resulting in progress change. I once read how a top golfer changed coaches because he needed to change his golfing swing. He was at the top of his game but was stagnating and needed to develop another way of winning. He was not complacent with his strategy.
He changed before it became obvious and he stayed ahead of the curve. But most times we keep doing the same thing over and over but we don’t become masters in our chosen endeavors.
Developing new habits that stretch your aptitudes is an effective way to develop a successful routine.
Do Not Fear Failure?
Have you been through a situation where by you have failed and you have thought that it was the end to the world? I am sure that if you are like me, you have a greatest hits of your failures. Nothing to be embarrassed about, even when people have told you that it was the end of the world.
We are taught that failure is some kind of apocalypse. The definition of the end of life. But I have learnt it was not the end of the world. Do not be afraid to fail. Change your thought patterns and see failure as part of, but not an end of a learning process that will help you develop an effective routine that will result in mastery.
Jeremiah 8 Amplified Bible (AMP)
4 “Moreover [Jeremiah], you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Do men fall and not rise up again?
Does one turn away [from God] and not repent and return [to Him]? Proverbs 24:16 Amplified Bible (AMP)
16 For a righteous man falls seven times, and rises again,
But the wicked stumble in time of disaster and collapse. Proverbs 24:16
The system of the world teaches that once you fail you are doomed. But God encourages us to get up and try again.
The great nations of the world, the great companies in the world, the great individuals did not get to where they are on the first attempt.
I promise there was a lot of trial and error.
Yes maybe Africa has been a wasteland for the past sixty years after independence but out story isn’t over until we see the victories we desire.
All you have to do is try until you get it right.
How Not To Be Afraid Of Failure
Firstly understand that in your pursuits problems will come but they should not be the hammer that destroys your vision.
When you are doing something it rarely flow smoothly. Problems will arise as a result of your ignorance or since we leave in communities, other people will create problems for us.
There are billions of people is search of health, happiness and wealth. It’s inevitably that you will meet a wall, speed bump or mountain on your journey.
When you accept this inevitability, you can react in a less destructive manner.
When problems arise take your vision apart and analyses the steps that you need to take to get to the final picture you have imagined.
Anticipate a problem before it happens and brainstorm the solutions rather than waiting for it to happen. It might not happen exactly the way you imagine but this will teach you to be a problem solver.
Just look at what the western nations are doing to prepare for the changes that are happening in the world. There is robust debate around the ethics of technologies being developed, something that is missing from most African countries, which will probably wake up after the fact, when they are at a great disadvantage.
Do You Have A Mentor?
Is there someone who has been where you are and who can guide you towards your goal? Probably you desire to be a great writer but you cannot even get your story published in the newspaper. Or you have tried to start a business but after a few weeks or months it always falls apart?
Most of us have the mentality that we should do our own thing and be lone rangers who are able to see further than anyone else. This thinking creates problems.
The most celebrated visionaries have not achieved greatness on their own. The Elon Musks’ of the brave new western world would not be where they are if they had tried to do it on their own.
We need support systems. A mentor will help you to understand the dynamics of success.
In a way they will sometimes make you twice or many times more powerful than they are;
2 Kings 2Amplified Bible (AMP)
9 And when they had crossed over, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, “Please let a double [b]portion of your spirit be upon me.” 10 He said, “You have asked for a difficult thing. However, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.” 11 As they continued along and talked, behold, a chariot of fire with horses of fire [appeared suddenly and] separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. 12 Elisha saw it and cried out, “My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!” And he no longer saw Elijah. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces [in grief].13 He picked up the mantle of Elijah that fell off him, and went back and stood by the bank of the Jordan. 14 He took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him and struck the waters and said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he too had struck the waters, they divided this way and that, and Elisha crossed over.
Elisha asked for a double portion from his mentor. And he received it.
When we have a teachable spirit we are able to access treasures from the people who speak into our lives.
How A Mentor Unlocks Your Potential
I believe a mentor narrows your focus and makes you accountable. S/he enables you to develop routines and strategies than make you disciplined.
Without discipline you will never get to the top and if you get there you will not have the willpower to stay there.
The Art Of Discipline
For change to come you have to discipline yourself. It’s a challenge, there is no easy way, you have to struggle your way through yourself but at the end you will become better:
Focus, accountability, purposeful, insight and MASTERY are some of the fruits of a discipline.
It’s Up To You
You are the only one who is able to change your circumstances.
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