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Opinions of Thursday, 12 February 2015

Journaliste: Dr. Ignatius Otchere-Asamoah

Discover your greatness: Ordinary wouldn’t do!

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Heights by great men reached and kept were not obtained by sudden flight but, while their companions slept, they were toiling upward in the night - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

It is impossible to finish well in the race of life while doing what everyone else is doing! Great people are ordinary individuals who fulfilled their God-given purposes in extraordinary ways. Ordinary measures, attitude, actions and thinking wouldn’t cut it; only extraordinary steps and sacrifices will.

If you want to achieve what no one has achieved before in any enterprise in life, you have to be willing to do what nobody else is doing by going the extra mile, and taking the quality of your efforts a notch higher than all your contemporaries. Reaching monumental heights in life calls for monumental input!

Maybe you are playing it too safe in life, staying in your comfort zone, avoiding any uneasiness or unusual measures in fulfilling your dreams, purpose and aspirations. All your endeavors are grossly marked with ordinary results .

On your job, you’re just an ordinary worker; at home, you’re an ordinary husband, wife, son, daughter, mother, father, or grandparent; in your country as a politician, you are always a backbencher, not proposing an lasting and impactful policies or never been heard fighting for your constituent on any issue; in your industry as an entrepreneur, you fail to blaze a trail by initiating cutting-edge ideas to have a competitive edge; at church, you’re an ordinary worshipper, leader, and for course an ordinary pastor —you never dare to push beyond the ordinary in anything in life.

But I come to announce to you that ordinary wouldn’t do in this season! If you really want to attain success in any department of life , then you have to be willing to add the "extra" to the ordinary in all that you do.

Erik Weihenmayer, born on September 23, 1968, was diagnosed with a retina disease called retinoschisis, and was told by doctors that his vision would most likely deteriorate slowly and be gone by his early teens.

Consequently, at the age of 13, Erik became totally blind but prior to his blindness, though with limited and deteriorating sight, he played basketball, ran, and even rode bicycle. He also read books by wearing glasses—putting the book up to his nose just to get the wisdom contained in the book.

As a freshman in high school, Erik resolved to take the quality of his life above the ordinary blind person: he signed up with the school wrestling team and insisted that the other wrestlers on the team should not take it easy on him but handle him as any other person on the team.

One summer, while Erik was in a wrestling camp, his father showed up to break the devastating and unexpected news about his mother being killed in a car accident to him. Erik, who described his mother as a closest companion, bemoaned her death by saying, “Her death is a thousand times as painful as going blind.”

Erik completed high school with a solid senior year of wrestling, highlighted by 33 pin victories, and ranked second among Connecticut high school wrestlers in his weight class.

He proceeded to further his studies at Boston College, and spent most summers taking long challenging hikes with his father and brothers in mountainous remote regions in countries like Peru, Spain, Pakistan, and Papua New Guinea.

Upon graduation from college, Erik enrolled into Cambridge for his Masters degree in education. With his Masters degree in education, he tried to secure a job but was met with countless rejections due to his blindness.

Finally, he secured a job as an Elementary School fifth grade teacher in Phoenix, Arizona where he subsequently began climbing local hills, which he had learnt earlier during his high school days at summer camp.

Erik being enamored by the experience of mountain climbing began expending most of his free time hiking and conquering the local mountains. Relishing a bigger exploit and challenge, he set his eyes on conquering Denali (Mount McKinley) in Alaska, the highest peak in North America measuring over 20,000 feet in height.

Erik Weihenmayer achieved his goal by reaching the top of Mount McKinley in Alaska, and ultimately went on to conquer Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, in May 25, 2001 and became the first blind man ever to climb Mount Everest.

Scaling Everest is no child’s play, 9 out of 10 Everest climbers break down and at least 165 since 1953 who attempted never came home at all; their bodies lying uncollected where they fell.

Four climbers had died the same month Erik and his crew ventured their quest, but in spite of these incidents, peril and numerous criticisms that Erik would be a possible burden to his team, he said, “… I refused to be the weak link of the team. I wanted them to put their lives in my hands as I would put mine in theirs. I would carry my share. I would contribute as any other team member. I would not be carried up to the mountain and spiked on top like a football. If I were to reach the summit, I would reach it with dignity.”

Erik Weihenmayer understood from his teenage years that to reach the pinnacle of his God-given purpose, Ordinary Wouldn’t Do! Hence, he needed to always go the extra mile and work even harder than his colleagues in all his endeavors despite being blind.

Claude Thomas Bissell, a Canadian author, educator, and the eighth president of the University of Toronto, declared, “Risk more than others think is safe. Care more than others think is wise. Dream more than others think is practical. Expect more than others think is possible.”

Stop playing life too safe and shoot for "The moon." For if you miss the moon, you may land among one of the stars. No one has ever had a lasting impact in the history of humanity playing life safe. Resolve today to press beyond the ordinary in life by taking the following suggestive steps:

Stop Pitying Yourself: Some people go through life feeling sorry for themselves and apologizing for who they are. Self-pity is always indicative of defeat. When you pity yourself, people can just see through you the moment they come across you and you may most times be victimized. Present yourself as a victor not a victim .

"With everything that has happened to you, you can either feel sorry for yourself or treat what has happened as a gift. Everything is either an opportunity to grow or an obstacle to keep you from growing. You get to choose," Wayne Dyer .

Walk With Positive And Success Minded People: You become who you hang out with. In other words, if you want to know your future, look at your folks or people you’re hanging out with now. If you walk with positive and success-minded individuals, you will inevitably start to thinking positive and successful with time. Oprah Winfrey advised, "Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher."Erik Weihenmayer applied this same principle. He hung out with achievers, individuals who were hungry to discover their greatness in life, people who were always asking positive questions not nitpickers, the disgruntled, or comrades milling about with negative vibes infecting everyone around them.

Be Passionate About Life: Being passionate about life means being ready or willing to suffer for what you believe in. Most people want to achieve great feat in life but few are really passionate (ready to suffer) for it. Being passionate also stirs up a hunger and thirst in your heart to discover your greatness. when you are hungry and thirsty, you take the necessary measures to satisfy your hunger and quench your thirst.

"Passion is one great force that unleashes creativity, because if you're passionate about something, then you're more willing to take risks," Yo-Yo Ma.

Take Risks : Quit playing life too safe. Let your desire to discover your greatness consume you than the fear of failing. Even if you fall seven times, bear it in mind, you will bounce back regardless . Have a winning mentality not losing attitude. "The biggest risk is not taking any risk... In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks," Mark Zuckerberg.

As you dare to take extraordinary steps to fulfill your dreams and challenge yourself to push beyond the Comfort zone, let me leave you with a brilliant thought someone wrote: “When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great, and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be.” May God empower you to succeed!

Dr Otchere-Asamoah is an Inspirational Speaker, Psychotherapist, Author and Entrepreneur.

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