“And Saul said to David, "You are not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are but a youth, and he has been a man of war from his youth. 34But David said to Saul, "Your servant used to keep sheep for his father; and when there came a lion, or a bear, and took a lamb from the flock, 35I went after him and smote him and delivered it out of his mouth; and if he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him and killed him. 36Your servant has killed both lions and bears; and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be like one of them, seeing he has defied the armies of the living God.”― 1 Samuel 17
I meet quite a number of young people with great dreams; great ideas. Some want to take over the world. A few others want to change the world in a matter of days. Having deep conversations with such, I always come to find out that there’s one thing, however, standing between who they are today and who they dream of being tomorrow― the barrier called their mindset.
Everyone hates to start small. Uncomfortable truth is, waiting for some big opportunity to come your way before you set out to chase your dreams unfortunately means waiting forever. If you are praying for some big, non-existent door to open before you take a step towards fulfilling your passion, you may have to pray forever.
Many want to be great but take little opportunities for granted. They want to enter the corridors of power but don’t want to serve first. It is great to have great dreams but the path that leads to that greatness is dotted with only little opportunities. If little opportunities are beneath you, great ones are obviously beyond you!
Never disregard little opportunities. Life has a way of hurling at us bits of opportunities ahead of the bigger ones in the future. Life has a way of somewhat preparing us for some greater tasks ahead of us by giving us little versions of those tasks. If we shun those little opportunities, we may just not be qualified when indeed the big opportunities come.
I remember my early days as a Biology teacher in St. Roses SHS, Akwatia. I was a very shy gentleman. I had lived among boys for a good part of my life and the sudden change in environment was not expected. With time, I had to convince myself that despite the fact that it was a girls’ school, I could only be the best to my students if I could overcome my ill confidence.
A few months on, I had built my self-esteem quite well, addressing students on different platforms. I had started engaging others in their Writers and Debaters Club while polishing my writing skills as well.
Guess what. All those little tasks were actually little opportunities. I was unconsciously shaping myself to be who I am today. Teaching confidently was inadvertently helping me hone my public speaking skills. Life was teaching me about organizing events with the little assistance I was giving the Writers and Debaters Club members in their activities. Every opportunity to serve today is indeed an opportunity to lead tomorrow.
Every little opportunity prepares one for something greater ahead. Small opportunities give us the experience to tackle the bigger ones that may come to us later. If you have a big dream, you first need the tenacity to undertake small tasks.
The Bible narrates an interesting story of how David shot to fame by slaying Goliath of Gath who had persistently being a thorn in the flesh of the Israelites. The Philistine cursed them. He bullied them. For days, no one could dare match him boot for boot.
Finally, when David’s ambitious desire to take on Goliath reached King Saul, the king laughed at the youngster’s dream. He thought it was some mere fantasy of a young man. At the end of the day, the whole of Israel got to know the young shepherd meant what he said. He had the head of the giant in his hands!
Many people want to be like David. They want to be famous all of a sudden. They want to slay the giant everyone else is afraid to dare. They want to be the toast of town. Like David, they want to walk into the palace with the head of Goliath. What they forget, however, is that David did not learn his art of slaying giants in a day. He used his time spent in the bush to earn some good experience. While there, he was slaying giants!
The first giant that David slew was not Goliath. It was the bears and lions in the bush. Those experiences prepared him. Even if he failed, those experiences would have taught him lessons another may never know. Every little task life brings our way is a reminder that we’d need the experience later in life. Don’t take little opportunities for granted!
Little tasks are preparatory grounds for greater tasks. Every little opportunity prepares us for greater ones. Take it seriously. If you see a man at the top of a ladder, know that he didn’t just get there. He obviously climbed from the bottom. At the bottom is where most of the ‘dirty’ work is. At the bottom of life is where one needs to fold up their sleeves and get to work. The experience from serving at the bottom is needed to lead at the top.
If you want to lead in the palace, start serving from the bush. If you want to lead thousands of men in the palace, start with the few tens of sheep you have in the bush. If you dream of slaying Goliaths someday, at least, start with the bears and lions that come your way. The only big opportunity there could ever be is the one staring you in the face right now. They who can manage little… can manage much. Cheers!
Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications ( www.scribecommltd.com ), an Accra-based writing firm.