“A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step”
-Laozi (Chinese Philosopher)
As the father of two children, I have the wonderful task of getting the kids up in the morning, dressed and out the door. My lovely wife is up and out of the house well before we wake up, which gives me this monumental responsibility. I cherish this time with my daughter, especially, because she is the epitome of “mommy’s little girl”, and I often gaze in amazement at how she emulates her mother at such a young age. One morning, not too long ago, I was perusing my Facebook timeline when I saw a friend talking about how he observed his daughter, of similar age, attempting to complete a task. His brief story reminded me of a recent interaction with my daughter that spoke volumes about human nature and the characteristics that are innately in us from a young age. So here goes a brief synopsis of what I witnessed the apple of my eye trying to accomplish.
Now I already established that my daughter absolutely adores her mother, so needless to say, whatever mama says, she says; whatever mama does, she does; and whatever mama wears, she wants to wear. On this particular morning, my daughter became fixated on getting into her mother’s jewelry box so that she could wear her mother’s “amulet”. Now if you don’t know what an amulet is, don’t feel bad. It wasn’t until after watching an episode of Disney’s Sophia the First that I recently learned that an amulet is a fancy word for “a piece of jewelry thought to give protection against evil.”
Now, In order for my 23 month old to reach the ultimate prize and achieve her goal, she would need to scale “Mount Olympus” (the dresser) and fend off the “evil monster” (daddy). For about ten minutes I watched her out of the corner of my eye as she made multiple attempts to scale the mountain. She first tried to climb the dresser by pulling herself up, but was met with resistance as she is not quite strong enough yet. She then utilized her resources and climbed on the bed and tried to reach over to the dresser but was snatched out of the air by the evil monster and told “no”. Now here comes the moment that opened my eyes. After two failed attempts and many prompts from me to “stop, and watch Mickey Mouse Club House” and threats of being in timeout, she wiped the tears from her eyes and scanned the room. She left my bedroom and re-entered with the key to her success, her potty. She silently walked past me with the potty in her arms, stumbling along the way and breathing quite heavily. She placed the potty directly in front of the dresser and slowly stepped onto it while using her hands to grab the top of the dresser and secure herself. As a father, I had two options. I could either play the role of the villain and knock her from the top of Mount Olympus or concede defeat. I smiled as she proudly grabbed the “amulet” and looked at me asking for me to “help put it on please”.
“However, what I do believe to be true is that the appearance of the mountains in our lives does not constitute the end of our journeys, but rather, the beginning of an opportunity.”
Now some of you are reading this story and wondering what this has to do with Seizing Opulence? This story illustrates that from a very young age, human beings are born with the innate ability to persevere, be resilient, and strive for greatness. Unfortunately for many people, somewhere along the way, we lose the desire to face the mountains that are placed before us. I will not spout rhetoric such as “if you believe it, you can achieve it” or “anything is possible if you put your mind to it”. However, what I do believe to be true is that the appearance of the mountains in our lives does not constitute the end of our journeys, but rather, the beginning of an opportunity.
Embrace the journey that you have set out on, and do not allow yourself to be consumed by the fear of failure. Whether it is within the work force, education, or your personal life, it is paramount that you keep pushing. There will be instances in which life happens and things that are beyond your control may put your dreams on hold; but just like my baby girl, you have it within you to conquer the mountains in your life. Far too often, we focus more on how daunting a task is, rather than breaking it down piece by piece. When facing the mountain to success, you must be able to figure out the best way to navigate the terrain. Study that mountain and the many obstacles that it may present, but don’t stop there. Once you have an understanding of what achieving your goal entails, devise a workable and measurable plan to make it happen. Just like my daughter utilized the resources afforded to her in order to scale “Mount Olympus”, you too have resources at your disposal. Identify the individuals, institutions and natural supports that may be helpful on your journey and be strategic in how you utilize them.
Most importantly, understand that your dreams cannot come to fruition if you are not bold enough to set out on the path to accomplishing it. So whether it is going back to school to finish up a degree, starting a new business, jumping into a new line of work or simply getting off of the couch and into the gym, YOU have the ability to be as great as you allow yourself to be.
Sometimes the greatest lessons that we learn are taught by those that we are placed on earth to teach, guide and protect. Hopefully as you think about your life and the greatness that is within you, you will remember the story of the little girl and her quest for an amulet. Seize opulence, my people, and be blessed!
By Tai Richardson