We all have little or sometimes big things that we don’t like about ourselves. I remember during my primary school days I used to have a slight speech defect that usually provoked some jokes or even at times quite embarrassing comments from my school mates. It initially bothered me but being one of the most intelligent kids in my class, my pre-occupation was about getting the number one spot in class or being assigned some leadership role, how small it might be. Over the years I have developed quite a great deal of confidence in public speaking and overcame my defect without having allowed others to define who I really am. If it depended on other people, I would never have been where I am today. I would have been caught up in a perpetual state of paralysis of analysis, constantly wondering whether I am good enough.  

 I once heard someone saying – you have been born an original, don’t leave this world as a cheap copy. Too many of us are spending an inordinate amount of time and energy to proof our worth to others. We even try to emulate certain mannerisms, tone of speech, style of dress and whatever just to create an impression that is in most cases, not true to our character. By falling into this trap, we fail to grow in essential areas of our lives and lose credibility because people do not always know where they stand with you. The label on the outside does not correspond with the content on the inside. This brings about great frustration because you will never reach a place of contentment, fruitfulness and fulfilment… No one can be you except you.

History is quite instructive about people who notwithstanding their weaknesses and shortcomings, became trailblazers in their generation. Let’s just look at the following examples:

-Thomas Edison was known to have a poor concentration span and had difficulty with speech and words. His inventions include electric light, sound recording and motion pictures

– Moses was known as a stutterer yet negotiated with the mighty king Pharaoh and led the nation of Israel to the promised land after decades of slavery.

– Fanny Crosby became blind during childhood yet she became the most prolific hymn writer with over 8000 songs including the all-time classic Blessed Assurance.

– Richard Branson suffered from dyslexia and performed poorly in school. He however built an eight billion dollar company from scratch, expanding into eight different countries.

– Rahab was a prostitute but she played a major part in the victory of ancient Israel conquering Jericho. Her family was spared, she sorted her life out, got married and through her bloodline, Jesus’ earthly father Joseph was born.

– Ludwig van Beethoven is regarded as one of the greatest composers in history. He became deaf later on in his career but during that time, composed his greatest works.

Listen to what some of the following luminaries said about themselves in their own words:

“I did not even complete my university education but became one of the world’s richest men.” Bill Gates

“I was raped at the age of 9 yet I am one of the most influential women in the world.” Oprah Winfrey

“I used to serve tea at a shop to support my football training and today I am one of the world’s best football players.” Lionel Messi

“I struggled academically throughout elementary school yet became the best neurosurgeon in the world in 1987.” Dr Ben Carson

“I was in prison for 27 years and still became president of my country.” Nelson Mandela

“I was sexually, mentally, emotionally abused by my father as far back as I can remember until I left home at the age of 18. Yet, today I am one of the most influential preachers in the world.” Joyce Meyer

“I used to sleep on the floor of my friends’ rooms, returning Coke bottles for food money and getting weekly free meals at a local temple. I later on founded one of the world’s biggest brands, the Apple Company.” Steve Jobs

“I started Living Faith Church from a Lawn Tennis Court with only three members. Many of my friends criticised me but today we have the largest church auditorium in the world and two world class universities.” Bishop David Oyedepo 

For you to become successful in life, you must show up and do the things others are unwilling to do. You must be capable of leading people to places that they never thought they would go. One of the barriers that prevents leaders from reaching their maximum potential, is a phenomenon called risk aversion. This occurs when fear of loss stifles our attempts to gain. Fear can rob us of many life changing opportunities because we lead conservatively and try to play it safe. Our brain is normally wired that way. From my personal experience, I can without any fear of contradiction state that I tend to remember bad things more easily than good. Regrettably, we bring this type of orientation into our decision making processes as well and our decisions are framed to prevent loss instead of achieving gain. 

That hit song will never be released, the best seller novel never published, the ground-breaking technology that will alleviate human suffering not being commissioned, the winning goal never being scored, the friend suffering from an addiction not being delivered, the poor family not being uplifted to a higher standard of living….. until the real you shows up! The world is yearning for authenticity, let’s take off the masks and be known for who we really are.

Thanks heaven, my days of school concerts are over; what you see is what you get. Through God’s grace I have come to appreciate my uniqueness, gifts, talents, abilities and equally important, even my shortcomings. I will be the first to admit that I am not the full package but feel quite comfortable in my own skin.

“Do you want to do something incredible, something inspiring and something only you out of billions of people can do? If the answer is yes…. Just be Yourself.” Scott Stabile.    

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