Setting the scene
Not too long ago, I was inspired as I listened to an anecdote about a man whose friends when he was a teenager, declared their friendships with him was over. He spoke about how he was ignored when he implored them to hang out with him and in his story, he mentioned a tree whose fruits were difficult to obtain because none of the kids could climb it. In his solitude, he was determined to climb the tree to obtain the fruits for himself. He was successful at this but what would happen afterwards shaped him into the man telling the story and motivates this article. His friends came back to him wanting reconciliation because of what he had accomplished. He concluded by saying: “Failure is an orphan, but success has many friends”. This was a Pastor at Youth empowerment programme ( T.I.E conference UK, 2018)
Stories like this can seem contrived or cliché, but what meanings do they truly carry? I can already hear someone saying “Ignore the haters, you do you!” or “Trust the process!”, but is there more? What does it mean to be an icon? What does it mean to be a star? How do you shine?
Look at the Sun!
Let’s look at the sun! Wait… that’s actually quite dangerous… but you get what I mean. The sun is actually a star and yeah, it shines. It supports life and gives light to the entire solar system, so it’s quite important. However, do you know of its isolation and the violent processes that occur within it that enable it to glow? Exactly. Millions and millions of tiny particles slam into each other repeatedly at very high speeds so the energy it requires to shine can be produced. God is indeed wonderful!
What’s interesting is the fact that this same prescription for shining is found everywhere. Something’s really got to give. I mean, your glutes aren’t going to pop without those exercises and don’t get me started about leg day for toned quads! Also, mum’s got to put the Thanksgiving turkey into a very hot oven for it to taste really good. This leads me to think that the recipe (pun intended) for shining is a period of cooking, a period of development. And I’m not far from the truth.
Think about it, each stage in your life, each day, week, month and year, is a period of development and it’s what you do in those stages that determine your eventual success. You’re in university for a reason, and you’ve got to shine now! Pastor Chris said: “Success is impacting the world with the investment of your personality”. It’s no wonder the personal development industry is worth around $11b and is even estimated to grow to $13.2 billion by 2022.
Now get to work!
You’ve got to work on being and not on having! Focusing on having is the easy thing to do and a lot of people do it. The sun is remarkable to us because nothing else is being the sun and shining. Learn to listen to the right things, read the right books and most importantly, use your mind. Look out for a need wherever you find yourself and try to meet it. In the words of my Pastor: “Decide to be different. Don’t be a shadow to someone else’s dreams.”
Don’t be a follower, dare to be a trail-blazer and always remember, shadows don’t shine!