The United States presidential elections are now over and Barrack Hussein Obama, an African American has not only emerged the winner but also overwhelmed the whole world by becoming the first black American president of the United States of America.
It definitely was not an easy task for this young man, as he had to overcome formidable racial barriers and other challenges. He is passing on to us great leadership lessons.
Barrack Obama is quoted to have said in one of his speeches in Perry Iowa on January 1st, 2008 that “five years ago we had just finished
paying off our student loans... we hadn't been able to set up a college fund for our kids, we had some credit-card (debt) outstanding, we were living in a condo too small for our two kids”. All the couple could boast of then was their degrees from Harvard Law School.
Nonetheless this noble achievement goes a long way to confirm what one Michael Fox said “Ones dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but cannot be taken away unless it is surrendered”. Barrack Obama never surrendered.
I have found several young men who particularly for various unacceptable reasons have ended up as failures or permanently frustrated in life. Others resigning their jobs prematurely because a superior officer or a colleague insulted them. They were never able to see beyond their difficulties.
As another saying goes “it is only those who can see the invisible that can do the impossible”.
Most of us mistakenly think greatness comes on a silver platter. It takes time, patience and in most cases tremendous effort. Greatness is like a chasm that cannot be crossed in two small jumps.
This philosophy is true for not only personal achievements but businesses too. The problem with most failing businesses is not that their owners do not have adequate knowledge of finance, marketing, management or operations. The problem is the will to carry on in the face of challenges.
The following true story about the Japanese should inspire us to face all challenges head on.
“The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades. So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever.
The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh.
The Japanese did not like the taste. To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish.
The frozen fish brought a lower price so fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks, fin to fin. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive.
The Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste. The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish.
Japanese fishing companies became very frustrated but determined to solve this problem to satisfy their customers and not lose business.
To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks but they now add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state.
What have you tried and failed? What do you think is impossible for you? Watching the moments now and seeing how people like Obama have seized it, it is difficult to conclude that some things are impossible, for the dreams of yesterday are now the realities of today.
Commit yourselves to whatever you believe in and rest assured providence will move in to support your efforts. Begin whatever you can do or dream you can, now and take inspiration from Obama.
“Barrack Obama sought election as one of the youngest Presidents, and one of the least experienced in national political affairs. His meteoric rise from a mere senator to the first black president of the United States of America is historic. He says “Yes, we can make it.”
By W. B. K Safo