Friday, 20 May 2022

In the end, it starts with us!

I started teaching in 1988. I spent the first term in a Grade 1 classroom, and for the rest of the year, I was in a special education classroom with learners aged 6 to 13.  Was this a problem for me? No. I understood inclusivity through the teachings of my parents long before the 1994 democratic government introduced it in schools

My father was in the Rhodesian and South African armies and was transferred every three years (except from 1975 to 1980 – our most extended stay in one place). We bounced between Harare and Bulawayo and, after returning to South Africa, bounced between Heidelberg and Potchefstroom. 

While I didn't grow up in South Africa, my Afrikaans parents made me aware of my home country. So, clearly, I knew I was an Afrikaans South African living in Rhodesia. Attending school from the age of three, and spending more time speaking English, I soon forgot how to speak my home language properly. Regardless, I never forgot my roots; I knew I was different. With this awareness, every experience in Rhodesia taught me to respect differences and support and promote equal opportunities for people to grow and excel in one way or another. For example, I enjoyed eating sadza and marog or chicken feet with our domestic worker outside her kaya (room) in Harare when I was about eight years old. When I was in primary school in Bulawayo, my friends and I sometimes played soccer with black army soldiers after four o'clock in the afternoon. We had to climb down a manhole and run along water pipes to enter the army grounds. They always waited for us. It made us feel liberated and we had respect for them. In my Home Economics practical cooking class, I was teamed up with an Indian girl, and I learned a lot from her and because of her.  

When we returned to South Africa in 1980, I couldn't write or read Afrikaans. My spoken attempt was rather amusing to Afrikaans people. From 1980 through 1984, my struggle was to learn how to read, write and speak the language. The breakthrough came when I decided to enrol at an Afrikaans educational institution in Potchefstroom to study teaching. Failure has never been an option for me. Hard work and commitment helped me to successfully pass four years of studying in Afrikaans for my teaching qualification. 

Moving from Rhodesia to South Africa was an incredible culture shock, but I immersed myself in the change and tried my best to adapt. But this is the thing about adapting to change. We encounter a new culture, whether we enter a new school, business, town, country, continent, religion, or community. From personal experience, it takes three to five years to adapt to a new culture, which means I never truly settled in any of the environments I experienced as a child or teenager. I was permanently on the move. Throughout my adult years, I mentally anticipated change long before the necessity for change was born. And quite often, I'm sure, I initiated the time for a change. But I was permanently aware of the possibility of change, and I embraced it. Not all the changes that occurred were welcomed, so I suffered many times. Needless to say, I was aware – more aware than those who didn't experience or understand change. Many people go to one primary and one high school and live in one house for eighteen years. 

I woke up this morning and thought about change and adapting to this new town that I'm now living in, which inspired the rambling of my mind. I've been here for almost three months and I'm shocked at how people in this area treat others. The corruption, the injustice, the naming and shaming, the complaining, the status orientation, the almost narcissistic love of self-opinion, and the prejudice of the people are unacceptable. But, we can say this about many, many people in many, many places. We only need to read the comments on social media to see how prejudiced and rude people can be.

All this made me think of a way forward. For South Africans, perhaps, we should go back and reflect on what Nelson Mandela said in his inauguration speech in 1994. 

That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict, and as we saw it spurned, outlawed and isolated by the peoples of the world, precisely because it has become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.

We carry pain in our hearts because still our country is torn apart in terrible conflict. We were internationally spurned, outlawed and isolated because of apartheid. But today, we are nationally spurned, outlawed and isolated because of division within our own country by our own people. 

We thank all our distinguished international guests … We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy. 

Our own government cannot tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, non-sexism, non-racialism and democracy. How can we expect the world to support us? How can we expect our government to do so if we can't live in peace with the people around us? We even abuse strangers (social media)!

The time for the healing of the wounds has come

With change and moving on to something new, there must always be a time for healing. Keeping in mind that healing is a process, we must acknowledge that we all differ and heal in our own time. The democratic government promised liberation for those in the bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender and other discrimination. Do we feel liberated? Do we allow others to feel liberated? Since it's always just about us, and our opinion is all that matters, when do others get a chance to be themselves or give an opinion?

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come. 

Suppose the new government had a plan for all its people, e.g. the white people of South Africa (including me, who did not grow up in the South African apartheid system). How did any of their actions bridge the chasms that divide us? Here I can go on to write in length about division because we tend to look at the discrimination of race in South Africa. Yet, we forget that we discriminate daily within our own cultures. We discriminate on so many levels that prejudice has become our daily food. Are we acting in such a way that we bridge chasms that divide? 

The time to build is upon us

Here, in a country falling apart, I must first analyse the world "build" to understand what the democratic government has built for those who suffered in the past during apartheid. The bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, and discrimination continues with our government's education system. Is it better to have more uneducated sheep follow an ailing government than an educated nation?

Out of the experience of and extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul and sustain all our hopes for glorious life for all.

No one alive today owns the soil of the earth. The land belongs to God. By His Grace and Mercy, we are alive today. Let me talk about human disaster and pride! No one can tell me, born a white woman in South Africa, that I must leave the country and go back to the place from where my forefathers came because Africa doesn't belong to the white people. If I honestly had to do the maths, nearly three hundred years have passed since the day my forefathers landed on this continent. Or do I trace myself back to the day the Ark landed? What is this mentality of judging people according to their forefathers' actions? What is this mentality of ownership? Does this have something to do with ownership or power? The One who owns Africa is the One who has exclusive rights and control over it, and He will not ask me to leave the country where I was born. But people are arrogant and feel powerful through status! What constant need do people have to feel important and receive respect and admiration because of their identity, be it a surname, religion, nationality or financial wealth, etc.? If only we could be utterly unmoved by badges of hierarchy, of mitres and crooks and crowns. If only we could be satisfied with who we are and what we accomplish. We can still be competitive but in a healthy way. There's nothing wrong with striving to achieve more and better, but how we go about it and how we respond to our achievements make the difference. 

It's important to understand that we don't have to suffer first to be humble and live simply! We are challenged on a daily basis, but every challenge is an opportunity for growth! Growth should be seen as a journey to self-discovery and self-love. When we pay attention to our flaws and act upon them with the intention to improve, we benefit ourselves and society. When we learn to accept our imperfect selves, physically, and the path we walk through life, we benefit ourselves and society. And this is what we should focus on: Do good to benefit ourselves AND society! 

… each one of us is as intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld. Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change. We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green, and the flowers bloom.

When we are born in a place, we breathe in its air. Growing up in a place is our experience and forms the knowledge we have. We can immigrate, but we will never forget where we were born and raised. 

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just and lasting peace. We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the million of our people. 
We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to human dignity - a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

We are not building a society that walks tall without fear in its heart. Everyone has the right to human dignity, but we don't treat people well.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

Let there be justice for all.
Let there be peace for all.
Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!
God bless Africa!

In the end, it begins with us, and it starts in the heart. Freedom begins where prejudice ends. Prejudice will never end because each one of us has an imperfect perception. We are prejudiced on political affiliation, sex, gender, gender identity, beliefs, values, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race, ethnicity, language, nationality, culture, complexion, beauty, height, occupation, wealth, education, criminality, sport-team affiliation, music tastes or other personal characteristics.

Enough of the negativity! Enough with the demolition-ball activities. 

We can move forward if we reduce the hate and anger we carry within us and start building on love, forgiveness, and empathy.

The journey of my life has turned out exactly the way it should. Since I was born, every choice my parents or I made was based on imperfect prior knowledge and past experiences. At the time, we didn't know better, so we couldn't have made better decisions. I have tried to walk the straight and narrow path and do good throughout my life, and I did it imperfectly. I am grateful for what I have accomplished. I will continue to show empathy for my fellow man, but I seriously need to work harder on self-love.

Friday, 13 May 2022

Just be!

When we look at each other with wonder, we will stand in awe of what God has made.
Ignore the flaws.
Ignore the talents.
Ignore the things that stir our own emotions.
Just be amazed at the human, the person, the existence.
When we understand that our purpose here on earth is to exist and continually strive for survival, we will be at rest with everything else.
Do you have an eye to bear witness? You have a purpose.
Do you have an ear to hear? You have a purpose.
Do you have a mouth to speak, arms and hands to work, legs and feet to move, a heart that feels, and a mind that thinks? You have a purpose.
Stop wondering why you are here.
Stop wondering what your purpose in life is ... or should be.
Just be.
Teach others to be.
In being, you are living your purpose.
Use what you have to enhance the community in which you live without the need for recognition.
Tomorrow, or the next day, when you are no longer here, when your existence on earth has ended, when you no longer have a purpose on earth, you will no longer be recognised.
Remembered? Perhaps.
Forgotten? Perhaps.
Recognised? ...
Forget the need to constantly be in the spotlight.
Forget the need to be rewarded.
Stop worrying about being loved, honoured, and respected.

Thursday, 12 May 2022

Take action

What you have to offer the world is rare and that adds value to who you are.

You weren’t born by accident. It doesn’t matter who your parents are or what the reason is that led to your birth. If your birth was not meant to be, you would not be here now. Surviving nine months of pregnancy, birth and life up to this point is purposeful. Yes! Knowing that you are here, alive and able to do something means that you are living a life of purpose.

Everyone on earth has the purpose to survive the onslaught of life’s experiences and continue living. Everyone on earth has the purpose of sharing their experiences and acting as an example for others who may be experiencing similar things. Everyone on earth has the purpose to contribute to and enhance society.

Your purpose here on earth is to survive, to continue living and to contribute to society to make it better.

You may ask: “How can I survive each day and remain worthy so that I can continue living and contribute to society to make it better?” You cannot do it on your own. That’s why so many people fall apart. They’re trying to exist independently.

God created you for His glory. To glorify Him means that you have to acknowledge Him as your Creator, and praise and worship Him every day. He’s not your Sunday-God. He’s your every-day-God. The further you are from Him, the smaller He measures in your life. The closer you are to Him, you will realise that He is big and strong and mighty.

You fulfil your purpose of glorifying God by living your life in relationship and faithful service to Him every day. Since God created you and endowed you with a measure of His qualities, your purpose on earth cannot be fulfilled apart from Him. Knowing God and making Him an important part of your life will benefit you. 2 Peter 1:2 (NLT) says: “May God give you more and more grace and peace as you grow in your knowledge of God and Jesus our Lord.” Include Him in your daily life. Build a solid relationship with Him to build all your relationships here on earth on that foundation.

It takes faith to find your purpose.

People who walk in faith believe they have a purpose in life. You, too, have a purpose in life. God has amazing plans for you. In Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV), it reads: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’” Seek Him and acknowledge that He is in control. He is the One who has plans for you. Why, then, do you worry? 

Those people who are inclined to believe that their purpose on earth is to pursue fortune and fame are the ones who lead a life of materialism. Your life should be based on spirituality. Focus your attention on God and His purpose for you. If you can believe in things you cannot see, you have faith and faith can move mountains. The amount of faith that you put out there in the world is the amount of energy that will be returned to you. In Matthew 17:20 (NLT), Jesus explains it so beautifully: “You don't have enough faith … I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’, and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”

You are a source of abundant energy.

Because you are a source of abundant energy, your quest to survive, continue living and contribute to society is energy-driven. Your passion in life is linked to all your energy. If you are passionate in life, you will have an abundance of healthy energy and you will be able to contribute your energy and passion to society. By focusing on all your strengths, you will have a positive attitude, and your contribution will enhance the society in which you live. Of course, you cannot ignore your weaknesses. You have to recognise and address them to continue to grow as a healthy and energetic person.

Many people become obsessed with looking for their purpose in life. Many feel that their life is worthless because they haven't found their purpose. The truth is that there is no perfect well-defined purpose, so don’t waste your time looking for one. Just being here now is purposeful. Even if you don’t understand why you are here or what you are supposed to do, remember one important thing: your whole life is a big picture. Living in the moment means you can only see part of your life’s picture.

By living in the moment and living to your full potential, you can contribute purposefully to the bigger picture. God is in control of your life picture. So, you can let go of the reigns. Focus all your energy on the here and now rather than the past or the future. This will ensure happiness.

Happiness is made up of small fractions of seconds. 

You live now! Everything you do and experience now should make you happy. If you can focus on making the present moment worthwhile, you’ll be creating beautiful memories, and you’ll be securing a better future for yourself and for the people who are a part of your life.

How can you make the present moment worthwhile? Focus on breathing when there’s chaos. Take a literal step back and observe what is happening around you. Focus on others rather than yourself. God didn't add another day in your life because you alone need it. He added it because someone else also needs you in their life. Yes! Someone needs you to be there for them. Look around you. The world is full of self-obsessed people who are egocentric and selfish. Step out of that crowd. Be different.

Purpose can be seen in the ability to reach out and contribute to others, helping them and trying to make a positive difference in their lives. While it may not seem as if you’re making a difference, in the future, you will have played a significant part in something or someone else. All the choices you make now will impact not only your future but also the future of others. Fred Rogers said, “If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” Your value is raised when the impression you make or leave with others is good.

 You rub off on others just as much as they rub off on you.

The more time you spend with specific people, the more opportunity you get to accept their habits and ways of thinking. Through observation and listening, you become them. The same can be said about them: they become you. The lesson here is given in 1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV): “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character’”. Choose the people you spend time with wisely.

Every day, while you focus on other people, helping and motivating them, it’s important to take responsibility for your actions. For example, if you work hard and earn a lot of money, your purpose is not to give your money to people who are suffering financially. These people are suffering for a purpose that has nothing to do with your purpose. You can listen to them compassionately and motivate or encourage them, but it is not your responsibility to support them financially. You need to help them realize that they need to set goals in life like you did. They need to work hard to achieve their goals, change their attitude and become positive like you did. It is also not your responsibility to help others on their happiness journey – especially not when it is at the cost of your own happiness.

How then can you help others? Dave Willis said, “Show respect even to people who don’t deserve it; not as a reflection of their character, but as a reflection of yours.” Do good deeds! Listen to people and show an interest in them. By doing this, you are already doing something profound. People don’t really listen anymore, do they? They don’t show any interest in others, do they? You can! Be the one who comforts, advises, motivates, encourages and sets an example of optimism. Keep the balance, though.

Don’t ever sacrifice your time and energy to such an extent that you feel drained. Try and be there for specific people. You can’t be there for everyone. Those who have a tendency to drain you are the pessimistic ones who will never change, simply because they do not desire to change. They are the people who enjoy being victims of their own circumstances and will only bring you down. So, it’s best to walk away from them rather than exert yourself over and over again. Many people out there are more deserving and will appreciate your help. If you let people walk all over you, you teach them (and yourself) that you approve. So, don’t allow people to walk all over you! 

No one and nothing in life stay the same.

As you continue to move forward on a daily basis, your perspectives and relationships in life will change, and so too your purpose. The same can be said about other people. Learn to be prepared for change. Yes! You will continue contributing, but you need to be flexible in your thoughts and actions when change occurs. When people leave, or circumstances change, be prepared for it. New paths and new opportunities emerge every day, not just for you but also for other people. When relationships like friendships become strained because of change, you should rely on your inner strength to let go. There’s no use in holding on to something that simply doesn’t work.

While you are here, live your unique and amazing life to the best of your ability. Work on being healthy. Work on being positive. Work on being energetic, passionate, happy and satisfied. Everything you need in life is within you, so spend some ‘alone’ time with yourself and get to know yourself. This is important because your feelings and desires drive you. Learn to understand your feelings and desires. Spend time with God every day so that your purpose is always aligned with His purpose for you. In doing so, you will learn the value of love, His greatest gift to you. 1 Corinthians 13: 2-3 (HCSB) says: “If I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith so that I can move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

Take action on what you feel or desire without analysing or criticising it to death. You can easily identify your purpose (what you want to do every day and how you want to contribute to society). When your feelings and desires are negative, it is important to avoid reacting to them. A negative attitude and negative thoughts attract negative things. A positive attitude and positive thoughts attract positive things. So, focus on positive thoughts and things.



Saturday, 7 May 2022

Fearfully and wonderfully made

I ended my previous article with these words: The way you think defines you. You can’t have a successful future if you think you’re average. 

Honestly, you aren’t average at all! You are amazing. There’s no one on earth like you.

You don’t have to keep up any appearances to please anyone. You don’t have to wear a mask or pretend to be someone you’re not. You are who you are, a truly remarkable person. All you have to do is acknowledge this and accept who you are. Love yourself for who you are and raise your value through investing in self-confidence. 

Why is it important to love yourself and have self-confidence? Stephen Chbosky sums it up in the following words, “We accept the love we think we deserve.” 

How much love do you think you deserve? When you step out into the world, you have to market yourself as a worthy person for a worthy job and a worthy relationship. Just like you won’t walk into a cheap shop and buy a useless item that is worth nothing, the world will not believe you – accept you – if you feel you’re worth nothing. Just by feeling worthless, you’re telling yourself you have nothing to offer society and by believing this, you contribute very little to society.

If you don’t place value on yourself, nobody else will.

The world will not raise your price. You will end up having a low paying job and destructive relationships with others. C. Joybell C. said, “Every second that you spend on doubting your worth, every moment that you use to criticise yourself, is a second of your life wasted, is a moment of your life thrown away. It’s not like you have forever, so don’t waste any of your seconds; don’t throw even one of your moments away.” 

No one on earth can make you whole and complete in yourself. Only you can.

Constant doubt and self-criticism prevent you from being whole and complete. You have to know yourself and accept who you are, otherwise, you will never learn to understand others or accept them for who they are.

Until you have accepted yourself – all of your strengths and all of your weaknesses – you will always feel inadequate. You will place very little value on yourself. You’ll transfer your doubts and criticism to others. You will spend more time gossiping about others than focusing time on enhancing yourself. In the process, you’ll harm your relationships with yourself and with them. If you’re constantly feeling insecure and looking for faults, you will never have a whole and complete relationship.

Your opinion of yourself is more important than your opinion, or anyone’s opinion, of anything in life.

The hardest part of your life journey is to accept yourself, place a high value on who you are, and believe that you are worthy to be alive. You have to look at your inner-self and deal with everything that’s going on inside of you. Steve Maraboli said, “Stop trying to ‘fix’ yourself; you’re not broken! You are perfectly imperfect and powerful beyond measure.”

Clean your inner-self of all negativity. If you don’t, you’ll carry an awful burden with you everywhere you go and eventually place that burden on the people who are in your circle of being. If you want to progress, you cannot burden yourself or others with your negativity.  

You need to be useful by contributing when you go out into the world. Your contribution is what you give to society and what you can do for society. Your contribution must be light and refreshing. No matter how small it is, every contribution you make in life is an achievement. Bob Anderson said, “There is nothing so rewarding as to make people realise that they are worthwhile in this world.” Let this then be part of your contribution to others. Make others feel worthy! Help them clean their inner-self from all negativity.

You don’t need to convince God that you are amazing.

To God, you are truly unique. Why, then, do you go around begging yourself and others to recognize your worth through false words and deeds? Just be! Be yourself. Spend lots of time with yourself. Get to know yourself and enjoy being who you are. Through acceptance, you can raise your worth. Through self-development, you can raise your worth. With this confidence, you can live a life of self-fulfilment.

When you take the time to be on your own in the present moment, and you are quiet, you become aware of God in your life. You are never really alone, are you? In Isaiah 41:10 (NLT), you’ll find God’s comforting assurance: “Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.”

Remember: He created you in His image, according to His likeness. Why, then, do you feel worthless? Why do you want to be anyone other than you, authentically you?

Awareness of God helps you change your imperfect perspective about the flawed people and situations around you. Instead of judgment, you learn to increase your ability to love and encourage others. He will strengthen you, even when you stumble. Psalm 16:8 (NLT) reads: “I know the LORD is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.”

When you have confidence, you have the courage to live your life as a righteous person. Be careful that you don’t become proud and arrogant. Steer clear of over-confidence. It will lead to your downfall. The Bible makes it clear in Proverbs 16: 18 (ESV): “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”

Friday, 6 May 2022

Choices lead to new opportunities

Many people regret the present moment and yearn for the past or future. They either live in the past, wishing they could turn back the hands of time, or they spend their time hoping for a better life in the future. If you start living each day in the present, you can make sense of your life.

Paulo Coelho describes the problem beautifully: “We have enormous difficulty in focusing on the present; we’re always thinking about what we did, about how we could have done it better, about the consequences of our actions, and about why we didn’t act as we should have. Or else, we think about the future, what we’re going to do tomorrow, what precautions we should take, what dangers await us around the next corner, how to avoid what we don’t want and how to get what we have always dreamed of.”

Are you living in the past, or are you waiting in great anticipation for your future? What about now? Isn’t the present moment important, too? According to Mahatma Gandhi, “The future depends on what you do today.” Yes! Every thought, decision or action today impacts your present and your future. Are you focused on the here and now?

You alone have the power to make good or bad decisions.

Your life decisions are influenced by the present moment and the people who are with you at the time. You must decide who or what is guiding you to make your decisions because each decision you make affects your plans and mood. Decisions determine whether you will be happy or disappointed. If you make bad decisions, you will experience adverse outcomes, but good decisions will lead to a successful future.  

The question is: How do you make decisions? Do you make them independently or allow others to help you? Do you make decisions that are best for you, or do you make decisions that please others? Do you fear that every decision you make may be a wrong one? Or do you prefer not to make decisions and allow them to be made for you?

Every moment of your life defines you.

You are who you are in each living moment. The decisions you make may stretch across many moments, but the minute you make the decision, you create a new direction. Even when the decision turns out to have been a mistake and the outcome is negative, it doesn’t have to stay that way. You may have taken the wrong path, but it’s a learning process, and you can turn it around.

At some point in the future, you may discover that a choice you made in the past is not what you planned or wanted. You needn’t regret it, though. Don’t focus on the choice as a mistake and don’t dwell on the time that’s been lost. Focus on the process of learning that came from the experience. You have grown because of it. If you never make mistakes, how will you ever learn or change?

Choices always lead to new opportunities.

Your decisions can be average and ordinary, or they can be life-changing. Joel Osteen said, “If you think you’re average, then you’ll be average. If you think you’re ordinary, then you’ll live ordinary. The truth is there is nothing ordinary about you. You have something to offer that nobody else can offer.” Do you think that you’re just an average person? Genesis 1:26 (ESV) reads: “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness”. Yes! You have been made according to God’s likeness. Do you still think you’re average? 

The way you think defines you. You can’t have a successful future if you think you’re average. You can’t have a successful future if you don’t know why you’re here. You can’t have a successful future if you don’t plan. If you want to have freedom and money one day to lead a successful life, you’ll also need to know what success means.

Don't give up! Don't give in!

Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “The mindonce stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” Once information enters your mind and you know that it exists, you can never go back and say that you didn’t know. You only have the power to accept the information and make it a way of life or reject it. Whatever you choose to do, you will grow from it.

There is a lesson in everything we experience.

You are alive today and searching for answers to your life and purpose on earth. Who isn't? For every question, there is an answer. “A question is a powerful thing. It can open doors, challenge the status quo, and lead to new ideas and innovations. A question can change your world if you ask the right one.” (Adapted from Old Mutual advertisement, S.A.). Don’t be afraid to ask questions or challenge opportunities to find the answers. 

You are given many opportunities and blessings every day. When you welcome all the possibilities and benefits that come your way, you will always make progress.

Moving forward is a way of life. It always leads to something new and something different.

You need to make sense of your life before you can enjoy new opportunities and blessings. You need to discover just how amazing you really are. Only then will you realize how significant your life is, and how you can live your life in a wonderful and fulfilling way. 

Perhaps you are weighed down because of everything that has happened to you in your life. Perhaps people have burdened you with their problems and bad attitudes, and now you, too, feel battered. Bad situations, circumstances, and attitudes have troubled your days, and you are seeking relief. All you really want is to find independence and happiness. It’s possible.

There’s a story on the internet about the palm tree, written by Kerstin Anderas-Lundquist. She speaks of the palm tree as being flexible and having the capacity to bend almost double without breaking. Kerstin says, “During storms with hurricane-force winds, only the palm tree is able to withstand without breaking or being uprooted. Not only so, but when the ill winds have passed, the tree just returns to its original position totally unfazed. Large oak trees are pulled up by the roots. Other trees are snapped in two like toothpicks, but the palm tree still stands strong amid the destruction surrounding it. It is also believed that its root system is not weakened, but actually strengthened by these storms.”

Kerstin draws a comparison between you and the palm tree. She says, “When the unexpected storms of life roll in like a tsunami, and try to wash away your dreams and drown your hopes along with them; when hurricane-force winds of doubt and worry try to uproot your faith and topple your confidence, don’t give up and don’t give in. Weather the storm like the palm tree you are! You may be bent over by the force of the winds, but get up! You may be bent, but you’re not broken! Your roots are grounded in the Word of Almighty God, continually growing stronger as the storm rages on. Don’t lose your peace! Don’t lose your joy! Know that this too will pass and your life will continue to be long-lived, stately, upright, useful and fruitful.”

Psalm 92:12 (ESV) reads: “The righteous flourish like the palm tree… ”. This is a good way to live your life. Be righteous. Do the right thing. Live a life of good morals and ethics, and you will be like the palm tree. You will flourish all the days of your life.


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