Monday, 9 January 2012

Whatever You Do, Do Not Give Up

The news that dominated headlines in UK last week was the conviction of two men for the murder of Stephen Lawrence an 18 year old Afro-Caribbean student. He was murdered for the colour of his skin almost 19 years ago. The murder of Stephen Lawrence was a callous crime which reflects the imperfection of the society we live in but what is also remarkable is the dogged determination of his parents to see justice, after 19 years they finally got what they wanted. The parents survived racism they faced from police who started investigating them rather than the murder of their son, a trial of people suspected of murdering Stephen collapsed, they brought a private trial which was unsuccessful, then there was a public enquiry which did not shed any new light about who could have murdered their son. That was followed by a judicial inquiry headed by a retired judge again nothing came of it except confirmation that the police was institutionally racist. New developments in forensic science provided a new way to re-open a trial last year which brought last week's conviction.

The determination of Stephen's parents to see justice is delivered serves as a lesson for all of us. It could have been easy for them to give up after so many failed attempts to bring the killers of their son to justice. Yet for 19 years they worked tireless, there was no way that they could have known the end result of this agonising process. Nothing else mattered in their life other than the pursuit for justice, it consumed their lives altered it forever in no way we can imagine yet they never give up.

It is the same approach needed in pursuit of your goals you cannot give up at the slightest failure. It might seem daunting at first, after all we live in a pressurised society which expects success instantly. The need to deliver success in today's world is more urgent than ever before. We are bombarded by TV images of perfect people with perfect lives who appear to have everything in life, wealthy, beauty, loving families. With those images implanted on our conciousness and coupled with the human trait of impatience it has transformed us into a now generation that think that success is at a press of the button. We are suffering from the sauna and jacuzzi syndrome in which we want to sweat but do not want the associated workout that brings sweat. We are no longer willing to work hard and bide our time to achieve success. Rather we want it now and look with disdain at any process that takes longer with little visible results. This kinda of behaviour has led many to become victims of financial fraud and perpetrators of crime. We no longer look with suspect to deals and schemes that promises to turn us overnight into millionaires. It has also given rise to the number of people who buy lottery tickets they are unwilling to make plans that will make them millionaires in 5 or ten years its got to be today.

The best advice I have encountered on the attitude of trying to take short-cuts to success was dished out by Stephen R Covey in his best selling book "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" He describes real success like a natural system. he talks of people that might have crammed to get by in school, while they can pass they never gain true mastery of their subjects. Try applying the principle of cramming into a natural system like farming which has to follow a natural process he implores us. Suppose we fail to plant at the beginning of the rain season then cram at the end the rain season expecting to bring a bumper harvest. The farm like success is a natural system, the price must be paid and the process followed there are no short-cuts in success. You reap what you sow.

Be determined to achieve that you set out to achieve, be earnest and unwavering in your quest for success. Do not give up easily or get distracted by something else, develop that zeal to achieve your goals regardless of the difficulties or the amount of time that it takes. For some it might be determination to graduate from college and get a degree despite financial hardships. It would be good to adopt the motto of the U.S. Marines, which goes something like: "The difficult, we do right away. The impossible takes a little longer." the best quote I will leave with you is by Confucius
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall."

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