Ever looked at Eliud Kipchoge, Ferdinand Omanyala or Usain Bolt in the field? They seem to not use a lot of energy to win and make it look so easy but before getting to the field they go through very tough exercises and have to beat all odds. Sports is a metaphor for overcoming obstacles and achieving against great odds. Athletes, in times of difficulty, can be important role models. I remember when I was in secondary school at Anestar High School, Madam Gatimu would always tell us to be fighters and push for our place in the society and be the best.
Too often, we tend to focus on the problems and difficulties along our path.
Rarely, a dream or goal comes true easily and effortlessly, without delays, problems or hurdles. It is far more common, however, that you have to overcome many obstacles and suffer some pain before achieving any meaningful target. And the bigger your dreams, the tougher your challenge, the more ambitious your goals, the more likely it is that you will face difficulties on your way towards it.
When this happens, what will you do? Will you just give up? Or will you persist and struggle and succeed?A lot of that depends upon your attitude and experience. Some of it depends upon your skills and network. And a tiny bit depends upon luck or chance.
Let’s say you set out on a holiday trip for example to Maasai mara or an adventurous jungle drive to Mount Kenya. You load up your car with all the gear you need to enjoy a lazy week-long vacation, plan your destination, and set out on the drive.
Halfway along your planned route, the road gets rough and bumpy. You’re driving along an unpaved path with potholes and pits, bushes and bramble scraping the side of your vehicle. It’s an uncomfortable ride, with a lot of jolting and bumping in your seat.
But unfortunately, this is the only way you can get to that lovely camping spot you remember fondly and love relaxing at. What do you do?
You could change your plans, turn the car around, and go back home. Or drive back to the highway and go somewhere else, even if your heart is set on this holiday spot. Or you can curse and swear at the discomfort and keep on going.
Or you can count your blessings, be happy about having a vehicle to get you there, a path (even if a bad one) that leads to the place, and a map to direct you along the right route and even with your buddies ready to enjoy the adventure. Plus, you really, really love that spot – and want to be there soon!
That journey is your life. And your business growth path. The vehicle is you. The driver is your attitude. If the ‘driver’ is decisive and determined, he just won’t give up!
Its like when applying for a job, you have to bare the tough time of writing applications ,visiting different recruitment sites and attending a number of interviews. Personally I have in life applied more than 1000 different jobs and some interviews disappointing me but inside I knew that if I gave up looking for my dream job then I would have faced the consequences.
I’ve learnt that the only things we are in control of are the choices we make at any one given moment. Never give up, and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds. I do what I do because it is the right thing to do. I am a warrior, and it is the way of the warrior to fight superior odds.
When something is important enough, you do it even if the odds are not in your favor. Never think of giving up even. Press on. The courage and persistence to keep going on, past hurdles and obstacles, is powered by purpose. Your purpose.
My friend, don’t take the option of giving up. Fight! Winners don’t quit, They have no choice. To give up is to die. And they are survivors.
Stop looking for excuses and justifications. Look for solutions. Our mind tends to find whatever we are looking for. If we’re seeking out excuses to fail or to justify our decision not to push forward, we’ll find them – in the form of set backs, constraints and limitations. But if we obsess about finding a way past any of these restraints and breaking through to the level of success we set out in search of, then magically we discover these solutions.
To survive, you’ve got to keep wheedling your way. You can’t just sit there and fight against odds when it’s not going to work. You have to turn a corner, dig a hole, go through a tunnel – and find a way to keep moving.
I studied Bachelor of Arts in Economics at Moi University but my first major job was as a safety instructor at St John Ambulance. Though a challenge, I had to beat all odds to meet its expectations and surely I have saved hundreds of lives, trained thousands of people and impacted thousands through this opportunity.
Do what matters, do not major on the minors. When you find work that matters, giving up is not an option. So choose only the kind of work that matters. No, it does not have to necessarily be ‘life saving’ or ‘world changing’. But it should matter enough to you that you will not casually think of abandoning it when a distraction or obstacle crops up.
Isaiah43:1, But now, this is what the LORD says– he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
How do we force ourselves to love what we do or do what we love? Each one of us has had this experience at some time in our life. We get involved in something, and forget the world around us. Maybe it’s a book, or a movie, or a game. Maybe it’s writing a story, or a poem, or a painting, or programming a project. Maybe it’s cooking or a hobby. You get so deeply involved with it, that suddenly you look up and discover with startled surprise that hours have slipped by in just minutes!
That happens when you do work that you really and truly love. Stuff that fascinates and engulfs you. That you’re passionate and excited about. And when you’re engaged in such work, you do not want to stop. Even when you’re tired or hungry or have other things to do, you stretch to try and keep doing it.
Find work that you love, and you won’t have to work another day of your life… you’ll just be having fun all the time!
Do what you’re good at. Delegate or automate (or maybe even ignore) the other things that you can afford to, and you won’t ever run the risk of giving up. When you’re good at it, you don’t want to give up. Even difficulties become challenges to be conquered, not barriers to keep you down.
In life we read stories of great people like Abraham Lincoln, Isaac Newton, Napoleon Hill, Nelson Mandera, Mother Theresa, Apostle Kimani William my mentor Rev Elijah Maina and others who had to beat all odds to overcome the forces of nature. And that enriched their lives and powered their dreams along exciting and unimagined directions. They made even greater impact on their world than if they hadn’t faced those misfortunes at all.
When you look for the ‘hidden’ good behind all the ‘bad’ things that happen in your quest for success, purpose will help you past any blocks and sustain your momentum and progress.
We should have the strength like that of a single mother, I have the greatest respect for single parents who struggle and sacrifice, trying against almost superhuman odds to hold the family together. They should be honored and helped in their heroic efforts. But any mother’s or father’s task is much easier where there are two functioning parents in the home..
Isaiah41:10, So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
By remaining focused on the outcome of everything you do, every day, in every way, you cannot help but be encouraged and inspired to keep on going.
When you pick your tasks carefully so that the work you do matters, keeping that ultimate goal in mind as you do it can be remarkably motivating. Why are you doing this? Where do you plan to go? What will happen when this is done? The answers will energize you.
We cannot live in splendid isolation – as attractive as that may sound! We need people around us, for many different reasons. And having more people in your circle is generally a good thing.
When you feel like giving up, ask for help. The challenges that are scaring you or threatening to break you are probably not as rare, unusual or even impossible to overcome as you once thought. You can tap into the collective experience and wisdom of people like you, who probably have even had difficulties like yours. In any case, Paul Kagame once said that, ‘only fools learn from their own mistakes.”
And people love to help others. Especially when they have faced and overcome a similar challenge. Just ask someone about simple things like how to get rid of your acne, or what to do when your cellphone gets soaked in water, and chances are you’ll get a flood of helpful responses. Having supportive people in your corner will help you keep going – until you catch your ‘second wind’ of inspiration and motivation from within.
Passion is contagious. You can’t hang around a passionate person without some of that positive energy rubbing off on you!
Being in a group of passionate people who are solving their own problems, living their dreams, and pursuing their mission in life can help tide you over any temporary set back. On the other hand, surrounding yourself with nay-sayers and pessimists who always see the worst possibilities can quickly dull your enthusiasm – and make it easier to simply give up. So choose your friends and network wisely.
Finally and after all is said and done, put God first and let Him be the Lord in all that you do. He will help you discover your purpose and give you direction in life. His hand will hold you firmly and you will not slip no matter the circumstances. God will show you your purpose on earth just as he took Joseph though to His place of purpose, a prime minister.
Psalm32:8, The LORD says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.
Exodus33:14, The LORD replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest–everything will be fine for you.”
The courage and persistence to keep going on, past hurdles and obstacles, is powered by purpose. Your purpose. Discover it. Tap into it. Achieve it.

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About the Author


Amb. Steve Mbugus is an enthusiastic Ambassador of Safety and wellness with in-depth training, safety advisory and Workplace Safety Behavior Change Coaching experience. He is the am the Founder and Executive Director of Makinika Afrika Int’l , a Health and Safety Training Firm in Kenya  and Group CEO  Nairobi Safety Shop Limited, the largest Security, Safety and Health Store in the East and Central Africa and Managing Director, Stewa Safaris Kenya Limited a Premier  Tours and  Travels Company in Kenya.

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