FAITH

As I am writing this piece I am in a very ‘challenging’ point in my life. I am really struggling to make ends meet, I do not have a reliable stable income that manages to cover all my basic needs, I am really not doing as well as I would like to (nor as I had hoped I would be at this point and time), and I am not moving closer to my goals in a pace I had hoped I would.

And in all that I still have dreams, not just dreams but very big dreams. Now the crazy thing about dreams when they are just not coming true, everyone kind of expects you to drop them and get a nine-to-five job just to survive, and maybe after 10 years of scrubbing floors you can afford an average four-room house, a humble Toyota and a good credit record to acquire a loan to get your kids to tertiary.

I do not intend to offend anyone living that life or planning to, but it’s very far from what I have planned for myself. I am not driven by money, but my God is my dreams. My passion, my aspirations and ambitions are what drive me; they give me the strength to rise each day even when it really seems hopeless. I guess the plan I have in my mind is to do what I love, because a wise man once said; “do what you love and you will never have to work a single day in your life”.

I think one thing that is important as much as having dreams, if not more than, is having faith in them. It is having faith that they will come true, and having faith in yourself that you’ll be able to pull it off. And that is not as simple as it sounds, for you’re not in this world by yourself. There are negative people that will see to it that they remind you every day how you do not have what it takes to make it, how stupid, imaginative to upright insane you are for believing that one day you will leave these streets to pursue your dream of becoming a pilot. The thing about “Dream-Killers” is they’ll repeat their negativity as many times as necessary for you to start believing it. Now here is the thing, you cannot control other peoples’ thoughts, whether about the world or about you, but you can however control their impact on you. The devil is a very passionate man, and he doesn’t give up very easily. So when the “Devil’s Agents” tell you a hundred times each day how you cannot make it, ensure to repeat it to yourself 101 times how you will, even go as far as 200 times if it’s necessary. There is no such thing in life such as too much positivity.

Recently I bumped into this wonderful book by a gentleman named OG Mandino; A Better Way To Live. The crazy thing is I have never heard of him before and this is his 17th offering, but I guess God has a way of ensuring that things do really reach you when they are meant for you. I haven’t written a blog article in forever and I wasn’t planning on going back to writing anytime soon. But after reading this book I had to write something, initially the plan was just to note down the rules on this book for my own personal use, so I can always go back to them for inspiration whenever I lose my way. But just before I commenced, i figured out that it would be selfish of me to just note them on a piece of paper and keep them to myself. So I decided to write this article, the plan is to share these 17 rules with you in hope to restore your faith and give you the strength to carry on.
A very close friend of mine once said: “The world belongs to the dreamers”. With that said let us not waste any more of your precious time, let us get straight to it;

RULE ONE
Count your blessings. Once you realize how valuable you are and how much you have going for you, the smiles will return, the sun will break out, the music will play, and you will finally be able to forward toward the life that God intended for you … with grace, strength, courage, and confidence.
RULE TWO
Today, and every day, deliver more than you’re getting paid to do. The victory of success will be half won when you learn the secret of putting out more than is expected in all that you do. Make yourself so valuable in your work that eventually you will become indispensable. Exercise your privilege to go the extra mile, and enjoy all the rewards that you receive. You deserve them.
RULE THREE
Whenever you make a mistake or get knocked down by life, don’t look back at it for too long. Mistakes are life’s way of teaching you. Your capacity for occasional blunders is inseparable from your capacity to reach your goals. No one wins them all, and your failures, when they happen, are just part of your growth. Shake off your blunders. How will you know your limits without an occasional failure? Never quit. Your turn will come.
RULE FOUR
Always reward your long hours of labor and toil in the very best way, surrounded by your family. Nurture their love carefully, remembering that your children need models, not critics, and your own progress will hasten when you constantly strive to present your best side to your children. And even if you have failed at all else in the eyes of the world, if you have a loving family you’re a success.
RULE FIVE
Build this day on a foundation of pleasant thoughts. Never fret at imperfections that you fear may impede your progress. Remind yourself, as often as necessary, that you are a creature of God and have the power to achieve any dream by lifting up your thoughts. You can fly when you decide that you can. Never consider defeat again. Let the vision in your hearty be in your life’s blueprint. Smile!
RULE SIX
Let your actions always speak for you, but be forever on guard against the terrible trap of false pride and conceit that can halt your progress. The next time you are tempted to boast, just place your fist in a full pail of water, and when you remove it, the whole remaining will give you a correct measure of your importance.
RULE SEVEN
Each day is a special gift from God, and while life may not always be fair, you must never allow the pains, hurdles, and handicaps of the moment to poison your attitude and plans for yourself and your future. You can never win when you wear the ugly cloak of self-pity, and the sour sound of whining will certainly frighten away any opportunity for success. Never again. There is a better way.
RULE EIGHT
Never again clutter your days or nights with so many menial and unimportant things that you have no time to accept a real challenge when it comes along. This applies to play as well as work. A day merely survived is no cause for a celebration. You are not here to fritter away your precious hours when you have the ability to accomplish so much by making a slight change in your routine. No more busywork. No more hiding from success. Leave time, leave space, to grow. Now! Now! Not tomorrow!
RULE NINE
Live this day as if it will be your last. Remember that you will only find “tomorrow” on the calendar of fools. Forget yesterday’s defeats, and ignore the problems of tomorrow. This is it. Doomsday. All you have. Make it the best day of your year. The saddest words you can ever utter are, “If I had my life to live over again. . . . . .” Take the baton, now. Run with it! This is your day!
RULE TEN
Beginning today, treat everyone you meet, friend or foe, loved one or stranger, as if they were going to be dead at midnight. Extend to each person, no matter how trivial the contact, all the care and kindness and understanding and love that you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.
RULE ELEVEN
Laugh at yourself and at life. Not in the spirit of derision or whining self-pity, but as a remedy, a miracle drug, that will ease your pain, cure your depression, and help you to put in perspective that seemingly terrible defeat of the moment. Banish tension and concern and worry with laughter at your predicaments, thus freeing your mind to think clearly toward the solution that is certain to come. Never take yourself too seriously.
RULE TWELVE
Never neglect the little things. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It does not matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark, if you’re cutting corners and shirking responsibilities. You are special. Act it. Never neglect the little things.
RULE THIRTEEN
Welcome every morning with a smile. Look on the new day as another special gift from your Creator, another golden opportunity to complete what you are unable to finish yesterday. Be a self-starter. Let your first hour set the theme of success and positive action that is certain to echo through your entire day. Today will never happen again. Don’t waste it with a false start or no start at all. You were not born to fail.
RULE FOURTEEN
You will achieve your grand dream, a day at a time, so set your goals for each day- not long and difficult projects but chores that will take you, step by step, toward the rainbow. Write them down, if you must, but limit your list so that you won’t have to drag today’s undone matters into tomorrow. Remember that you cannot build your empire in twenty-four hours. Be patient. Never allow your day to become so cluttered that you forget your most important goal- to do the best you can, enjoy this day, and rest satisfied with what you have accomplished.
RULE FIFTEEN
Never allow anyone to rain on your parade and thus cast a pall of gloom and defeat on the entire day. Remember that no talent, no self-denial, no brains, no character, are required to set up in the fault-finding business. Nothing external can have any power over you unless you permit it. Your time is too precious to be sacrificed in wasted days combating the menial forces of hate, jealousy, and envy. Guard your fragile life carefully. Only God can shape a flower, but any foolish child can pull it to pieces.
RULE SIXTEEN
Search for the seed of good in every adversity. Master that principle and you will own a precious shield that will guard you well through all the darkest valleys you must traverse. Stars may be seen from the bottom of a deep well, when they cannot be discerned from the mountaintop. So will you learn things in adversity that you never would have discovered without trouble. There is always a seed of good. Find it and prosper.
RULE SEVENTEEN
Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. Remember that there is no happiness in having or in getting, but only in giving. Reach out. Share. Smile. Hug. Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself.

After reading these rules, I had faith that if I’d commit myself to them I’d achieve self-confidence, a sense of self-worth, the fire in my soul would return and the will to keep on working towards achieving my goals would return, one day at a time. And I do hope that you will also feel the same about them. And I was hoping that we will embark in this journey together, although you can never really transform your life unless you do it by yourself, but it is always reassuring to know there is someone out there who is going exactly the same thing you’re going through, who feels exactly what you’re feeling and most importantly, who is willing as much as you are to make a difference in their life and those of everyone around them.
Thank you. Until next time my good friend.

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