[This post is inspired by the memoirs of Nelson Mandela in his landmark autobiography, “Long Walk To Freedom”, that I have just finished reading for the third time.]
After more than a century of black oppression and more than 50 years of apartheid, South Africans were over the moon in 1994 when they gained freedom from apartheid. To say that they were zeroes would be an understatement. Stories abound of black South Africans who had given up on freedom altogether, being faced with tremendous odds.
Friend, that is what a true Life Signature is made up of: ODDS.
Frankly, there never has been any inspirational story that was not entirely shaped by overcoming odds. Today, different people are facing insurmountable odds against what they desire as a life of purpose and meaning.
They can either despair and give up altogether, or gather themselves up and trudge along UNTIL they get that which they seek.
The biggest KEY in moving from Zero to purpose and prosperity is to look within your Zero and discover what you can use.
Imagine if the Nelson Mandelas, the Bram Fischers, the Chief Luthulis, the Winnie Mandelas’ the Oliver Tambo’s and the Joe Slovo’s of South Africa– to mention just a few– did not look inside their zeros? Imagine if they did not use what they had at hand to rise up against ALL ODDS to fight apartheid?
Chances are that there would still be oppression in South Africa by the white minorities.
I am in the process of developing my third book titled, Self Executive Officer: The end of Joblessness, and I can tell you that the most important thing in moving from Zero to Prosperity is to recognize what you do have. For instance, a “jobless” person mostly thinks of the job they don’t have and neglect some of the resources they could be having at the moment…but I digress.
For the most part, when people are faced with odds, they tend to look largely on what they do not have. I am not negating the gravity and the reality of the odds. I am saying that a different look at your ‘zero’ to unearth what you can use is more powerful an approach.
The following are some nuggets you could use to get started to the life that you have been dreaming about (make sure that you do have a dream to start with!)
Step1. Recognize your point A:
You know, this sounds so simple but it is extremely crucial. Did you know that very many people at their ‘zero’ seldom analyze their situation? Your point A is where you are at now. A clarity of your grim situation is important. Does it seem to be a temporary glitch? Is it potentially a medium term to long term situation? Is it possible to adapt to the situation and ‘settle’ there? The reason for clarifying your situation is so you can put it in the right ‘context’. This is because sometimes we tend to believe illusions that are not necessarily the case.
Step2. Recognize your point B:
I can tell you that one of the most inspiring things I do daily is to clarify my several point B’s in the different areas of my life. Point B is the object of my desire. The secret with this step is that you do not need to put yourself under pressure with what you don’t have that is needed to reach your point B. That kind of outlook kills this step faster than anything. You need to understand that you ‘deserve’ your point B. It is OK to want to move from your Zero to your Point B. No, it is not selfish and self-centerdness. Chances are that you will be more useful to the world at Point B than at Point A. This is one of the most powerful exercises you can undertake.
Again, clarity with this step is power! I have developed a slide show of all my Point B’s that I use to visualize each morning…and I can tell you this step exerts pressure on my character to live according to what my desire for the future dictates today! This step is what people famously call “Goal Setting”. So now you know.
Step3. Analyze what you have:
So you are at Zero…but that does not mean you have absolutely nothing! What you have is not just your Degree, Diploma or Certificate. Your life in totality should not be defined only in terms of academia…
Within your zero space, there could be unorthodox opportunities available to you. The fact that you have a degree in Finance does not mean that the only thing you can do is be a Finance Manager!
The idea with this step is that you need to get your mind wrapped on something and start pursuing it. Nothing comes out of nothing. Everything small grows. Sitting and waiting for ‘opportunities’ to come is the sure way of staying at zero. If you made an inventory of your Strengths and your Opportunities and just started out with the simplest you could do, you have no idea how much personal power you are generating. Don’t be bogged down by what you don’t have.
Step3. Develop the Character of one who has arrived at point B:
So your ‘Point B’ is to be a Billionaire for example. You need to realize that being one now and behaving like one now is the sure way of getting there. Maybe…
So what you need to do is to slowly start acting as if you have already arrived at your point B. Your character needs to change. This is a simple step yet not easy to do…but when done, it is the atomic bomb of personal development. I kid you not!
Step4. Work Hard:
Reject that notion of ‘am working smart and not hard’. It sounds nice and enticing…but working smart will NEVER ever replace working hard. Even when you have zeroed in on a way of ‘working smart’…work hard at it!! Work hard at the only thing you have right now. Marting Luther King Jnr said the following immortal words:
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed 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”.
Friend, that is how a Life Signature is built. You have no idea how many doors can be opened tomorrow on the account of your working hard today.
In short, let’s not give up for in due time we will reap if we faint not. We will be tempted to quit…especially when we think that what we are doing is not making any difference to anybody, when we do not see the “immediate monetary rewards” for our efforts. If you have found something to do, do it with world class persistence. Calvin Coolidge said the following powerful words:
“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan press on has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”.
Patience pays. That is what Madiba told his South African people upon achieving freedom for all. He said that they cannot expect to start swimming in pools, drive cars and have money immediately. He said that it will take time. The amount of time it will take for you to get to your point B will be directly proportional with your level of daily persistence.
And then, when you arrive at your point B, you realize that you need to take into account your ‘New Zero’ again…