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A Win Or A Loss?

March 25, 2018

Last week was a very weird week for me. I kept waiting for CATS that didn’t happen, and as I result I couldn’t make any concrete plans on any of my other activities because I was expecting those exams to happen any day. But at the end of it all, I was informed that they will not happen last week, meaning they might happen this coming week.

As a result of being in a state of limbo, stuff I was meant to do last week didn’t get done because I was on stand-by for exams. Secondly, resources in terms of time and money were wasted because I had to be close to the examination center lest I get a call a day before and I’m told I’d have exams the next day. Thirdly, the level of anxiety was too much for me; I am not very good when it comes to being kept in suspense. It drives me nutts.

All the same, it was a blessing in disguise because this gave me more time to go through the topics we’d covered and also prepare for the main examination that is coming up in a few weeks.

 

But that is not all.

 

There’s a project I am working on that I was meant to have started last week but because of the expected CATs, I didn’t get a chance to kick it off. So on Thursday when I was told the CATS won’t be happening, I decided to visit a potential partner to this project and when I got to their office, before I even told them what had taken me there, they started sharing with me about a proposal for one of their projects they wanted to involve me in.

Here’s the kicker; the proposal was going to tie in perfectly with the project I was going to share with them! Is that a coincidence or what?

I personally don’t believe in coincidences but I believe in divine encounters. To cut a long story short, working together with this partner has taken 85% of the project off my shoulders. If I hadn’t been waiting for the CATS to happen, I’d have started working on this project by myself, but it was only while I was away and thinking about the time left before the project kicks off that the idea of partnering with them came up. Talk about a blessing in disguise.

In life, there are many times we will go through things that don’t really make sense. For instance, I don’t know why the CATS have delayed till now but for me, I am taking that as a blessing in disguise because I have now been able to catch up with concepts that I had not before. I believe I am more prepared now than I was two weeks ago. In addition, I got a partner on board that I would not have thought about earlier had I been aware of the fact that the CATS would not happen last week. I’d have been up and down last week working on my plans instead, which would have been a wrong move!

Thinking about this whole scenario I was reminded about a story I read about a Mr. Clark’s family. I think the best thing to do is share it with you here.

Years ago in Scotland, the Clark family had a dream. Clark and his wife worked and saved, making plans for their nine children and themselves to travel to the United States. It had taken years, but they had finally saved enough money and had gotten passports and reservations for the whole family on a new liner to the United States. The entire family was filled with anticipation and excitement about their new life.  

However, seven days before their departure, a dog bit the youngest son. The doctor sewed up the boy but hung a yellow sheet on the Clarks' front door. Because of the possibility of rabies, they were being quarantined for fourteen days. The family's dreams were dashed. They would not be able to make the trip to America as they had planned. The father, filled with disappointment and anger, stomped to the dock to watch the ship leave - without the Clark family.  

The father shed tears of disappointment and cursed both his son and God for their misfortune. Five days later, the tragic news spread throughout Scotland - the mighty Titanic had sunk. The unsinkable ship had sunk, taking hundreds of lives with it. The Clark family was to have been on that ship, but because a dog had bitten the son, they were left behind in Scotland.  

When Mr. Clark heard the news, he hugged his son and thanked him for saving the family. He thanked God for saving their lives and turning what he had felt was a tragedy into a blessing. Although we may not always understand, all things happen for a reason. 

 

Another version of the story says he went looking for the dog that had bitten his son to thank it for saving his (son’s) life, this time not with tears of disappointment but with tears of gratitude. I guess from that day he started feeding the dog only the best meals.

Friends what is the moral of the story?

Sometimes the things that happen to us, no matter how bad they may seem, are not always meant to take us down. No. Some of them are actually placed in our path so they can help us become the best we can ever be. Having lost all their savings, how do you think they survived after that? I am sure they must have worked their butts off to make ends meet. They probably got new and fresh ideas of working better and smarter.

I have learned that it is not until you are at the bottom of the hole that you look upward to see what you can hold onto in order to get out of that hole you are in. It is in moments of adversity that we realize the strength, the creativity and the resilience in us. If you don’t believe me then read the below story.

A story is told of a rich man who wanted to marry off his daughter to a brave man. When the daughter was due for marriage, the man advertised and all suitors of different shapes and sizes came to his homestead. He took all of them to his great swimming pool and told the suitors that he would give his daughter and half his wealth to the man who would swim across the pool.

As all the men were getting ready to dive into the swimming pool, a helicopter appeared from the skies and dropped crocodiles and alligators into the pool. As all the men were dressing up to leave, they heard a splash in the water. Someone had dived into the pool and was swimming across.

All the men watched in amazement as the “brave” man was swimming across, expertly avoiding the dangerous animals. He made it to the other end and emerged from the water.

The rich man could not believe it and immediately announced him as his new son in-law. The man was immediately seen running fast to his fellow suitors and said in low tones: “After collecting my wife and wealth, I want to see that fool who pushed me into the water and almost got me killed by the bloody animals.”

 

Many of us underestimate our abilities and capacities and let opportunities fly past us because of fear of the unknown. We fear that we don’t have what it takes to take on the challenges ahead, or we fear that people will talk about us, or [...... insert your fears here]

Fear causes as to not  realize the energy and potential we have in ourselves. It makes us think that certain things are meant for certain people only. I have learned that you don’t really know what you are capable of doing, until you are pushed into the river to swim with sharks and crocodiles

Life is full of sharks and crocodiles and unless you want to be eaten alive, then you have no choice but to swim for your life. And when you do, then the other perks (wife and wealth - figuratively speaking) will be added to your life.

In the story of the crocodile above, I love the part that says, “as the “brave” man was swimming across, expertly avoiding the dangerous animals”. When you have a purpose in life, you will “expertly avoid” the dangerous traps and loopholes life will create for you.

Not everything you start will go as you intended it to, but the goodness is that you will learn many valuable lessons along the way. That is why this week in my ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book reading challenge I am recommending one powerful book by John C. Maxwell called, “Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose Learn”.  In other words, as long as you learn something from your loss, then it was not a loss but a lesson. That is why on the title he has crossed out the word “lose.”

As I come to the end of this article my humble request to you today is this; that if you were to forget all else you’ve read today I need you to remember that there is always something positive that can come out of every negative thing you go through in your life. Not everything that happens to you is a loss. Some of those “losses” are actually meant to be stepping stones into your biggest breakthrough yet.

In the words of John C. Maxwell, “Attitude is the first quality that marks the successful man. If he has a positive attitude and is a positive thinker, who likes challenges and difficult situations, then he has half his success achieved.

Just have a positive mindset, pick yourself up quickly when you fall and strive to discover the lessons learned from your fall.

 

Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.

 

PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 25th of March, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Word

 

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