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Motivation for success Chrispen Muyeche Saturday, 07 July 2012 18:46

“Oh, the worst of all tragedies is not to die young, but to live until I am 75 and not ever truly to have lived,” once remarked a preacher from Montgomery, Alabama. That is the same preacher who is well known for remarking, “We shall overcome”, and for his inspiring speech “I have a dream”, which was made before some 250 000 suppressed black Americans. That preacher is Martin Luther King II.

At times it can get so difficult to see the bigger picture; at times it is just so difficult to keep fighting and keep hoping for dreams and aspirations that seem so unrealistic and farfetched. I know for certain that at times you grow weary in the seemingly long quest for your aspirations to come to pass and, in all honesty, I sometimes feel the same.

It is difficult for you to keep believing and hoping when your children are loudly crying for a bowl of soup and you have absolutely no idea where the next ration will come from. It is so difficult to hope when your business can barely break even. What hope, when Rome is burning? There are times when you just feel like hanging the boots and settling for the road far more travelled; that common road that brings common, mediocre results of only getting by without influence and without legacy.

From my interactions with many readers and from my own life experiences, I know that seeking to be outstanding can be such a burden and you feel like you are all alone. But the days of self pity are long gone for these are our days of war against mediocrity and irrelevance. This is our moment to march ahead without apology. This is your time to shed all doubt from your mind and move towards the imminent fulfilment of your greatness. This is the time to refuse any weakness of character as we remark in a resoundingly huge cheer, “We shall overcome once more”.

I bring you lessons for greatness from the life and speeches of Martin Luther King II, and all of my quotes in this week’s article are drawn from his work. I shall be calling him MLK II for brevity.

Keep your principle . . . MLK II was fighting for one clear vision: he fought for freedom, civil rights and fought against racism, discrimination and prejudice. In his struggle, many forces tried to silence him through threats and outright bribery. He remained resolute and once remarked: “The ultimate measure


Motivation for success Chrispen Muyeche Saturday, 07 July 2012 18:46

of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy.” This I know for a fact. It is difficult to remain noble in moments where your vision and aspirations appear threatened.

There is always a temptation to create a quick fix, short-term remedy like a kick back or perceived “facilitation fees”. It is easy to be lured with promises of wealth and riches that at times you may contemplate taking off your robe of integrity for the rages of dishonesty. We should now learn to never advance any vision through a vehicle that might compromise character and nobility. It is better for us to have our aspirations delayed than to have a sip from the poisoned chalice of shortcuts and kick-backs.

Keep in motion . . . In 1958 at age 29, when MLK II was signing copies of his first book, a woman approached him and stabbed him in the chest. The next morning, a story in the New York Times stated that had King so much as sneezed, he would have died. But even that did not stop MLK II in his journey towards greatness. In that entire struggle he poetically remarked: If you can’t fly, then run If you can’t run, then walk If you can’t walk, then crawl But whatever you do, keep moving The apparent lesson we should learn from MLK II is that no matter how tired and pained you feel, never stop moving. Keep going even if it means you have to crawl. Those around you may not understand, but the truth is that you will be moving closer to your dreams with each new leap of faith you make. So, stop feeling pity for yourself thinking that your circumstances are far too intricate and cannot be conquered. Someone kept marching on even after he had been stabbed to within an inch of his life. Self-pity is the means by which mediocrity keeps visionaries down. The moment you feel pity for yourself you become frozen. You cannot move and act for self-betterment in moments of self-sympathy.

Do it well . . . The best way to create the best value of what you do is to do it well; in fact, so well that you create a reputation for an unmatchable standard of excellence. Desire to be the best you can ever be. MLK II remarked that: “If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven played music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”


Motivation for success Chrispen Muyeche Saturday, 07 July 2012 18:46

When you are in the middle of a struggle, you risk losing your touch and you risk delivering half-baked results. But it is in struggle that character is tested. We should all learn from MLK II that whichever office we hold in life we should endeavour to do well, from the CEO, security officer, receptionist and the motivation columnist. That way we exalt ourselves and our nation as a people of excellence. We should not compromise the quality of our products or services simply because we have not yet received our salaries or because our customers are yet to meet their obligations. A true person of calling and purpose knows that you do not advance greatness by retaliation, you only seed mediocrity.

Keep your vision even to the grave . . . You do not want to live until you are 75 only to realise that you have not truly lived. This, according to MLK II, is the greatest tragedy. What he means is that if you fail to follow your purpose and commit to your vision, you shall forever regret not having truly lived. In the evening of April 4 1968, while standing on the balcony of his hotel room in Memphis, MLK II was assassinated. He died at a young age of 39. There are some people who live to 50 while not having truly lived. Others, however, live far beyond that age. There is a general misconception that if you are young, you are not expected to accomplish great things. MLK II played his part even before the age of 25. You are not too young to conquer, do not fool yourself. This is the time for young people to embrace focus and purpose and rise to a common creed of greatness, a creed of overcoming and being the enzyme that catalyses true development, to feed the hungry, to clothe orphans and inspire the weary. This is your defining moment.

There is no guarantee that you shall live to old age. MLK II never knew he would die at 39, but he accomplished so much that to date even his grave cannot contain his legacy.

- Muyeche Chrispen is the author of the forthcoming motivational: “Embrace Your Ultimate Greatness”. Link up with Chris by e-mailing and join him on Facebook.


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