Posts

Living on Borrowed Time – Leon on Life

I’ve learned that each time we are faced with life-threatening situations or lose our loved ones, that’s the moment we get wake-up calls that we are not gonna live forever (as yet). We’re reminded that we are not as superior beings as we thought. Death has a way of humbling us. We are just ordinary mortal beings and one day we shall return to the dust which we come from.
 
In a recent incident that nearly took a life of my best friend (Leon), I re-learned a cliché lesson: “life is too short and tomorrow is not guaranteed”. I learned to love without conditions, give without expectations, work without complaints, and to share without groanings and moanings.
 
I have learned how to appreciate the little I have because many people wish they were in my position. I have also learned to take my life and opportunities presented to me very serious, because one minute I might be texting you this message and the other I might be gone from your presence. Life is really that unpredictable.
 
During a hospital visit, Leon (my friend) said to us “Comrades, the little things you see as simple to you, to me it’s luxury. Walking from here to the door is a mission. Bathing myself is a big task for me. I wish I had that luxury.” In my mind, I kept thinking of the privilege I had. The luxury of being able to do things myself without a need for help. Such, is a blessing we never get to appreciate.
 
I got home that Sunday evening and listened to Musiq Soulchild who, in his song “Don’t change”, shares lessons on how we should never give up on people and love. In the music video, Musiq narates a story of a man who receives news that his fiancé had will never be able to walk again due to a car crash that took place the same day he proposed to her. At the end of the video, the story is fast-tracked to years later when they are old with grandchildren and the man is asked how he was able to marry the wife even when she was crippled and could have gone for other “abled” and beautiful women. He responded and said: “if you know that you love someone with all your heart, just love them and God will see you through.”
 
When Leon recovered from a tragic accident of that stole away his loved one, he then sent a short but yet compelling email to few of his friends saying: “While in ICU and barely conscious, I had to go through something I would call ‘fighting for my life.’ See, you make a decision to either live or die. The decision is totally in your hands. It’s just like deciding to wake up on a cold winter morning at 4. There were times I slowly felt life slip away from my grasps. Giving up is easy, you just tell yourself you can’t take this anymore.”
 
Don’t stop fighting! Fight to live and love.

#FillUpYourFaith

WOW WOW WOW!

That is what I have to say after what we have experienced over the weekend. What a moment prestigious moment in the history of South African music we had this past weekend. If you don’t know what happened, then you need to read your local papers.

A young man from Mafikeng, South Africa by the name of Refiloe Phoolo famously known as Cassper Nyovest has done it again. He has proved to South Africans and the rest of the world that nothing is impossible with God. In his famous thanks giving speech, he likes to say “Good is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.” Indeed that is what we should believe without any single doubt.

The past year (2015), a South Afrikan Hip Hop artist by the name of Refiloe Maele Phoolo famously known as Cassper Nyovest shared his big dream with millions of us. His dream was to fill up one of the biggest venues used by most international musicians called Ticket Pro – The Dome. The venue takes about 20 000 people to be filled up. Firstly, I have to admit that I am not a fan of Hip Hop, be it South Afrikan or international. I however am a number one fan of faith and dreams. His dream to #FillUpTheDome is moving and inspirational. Cassper’s leap of faith is not something we should ridicule as Afrikans. It is bigger and very possible if we all believe.

Cassper’s dream didn’t stop with filling up a 20 000 seater venue. He wanted to do more. He was hungry for more. This year, he aimed higher. He wanted to do double the size and went for Orlando Stadium. By God’s grace, planning, preparation, determination, focus and prayer, his dream came true on the 29th of October 2016 in Soweto, South Africa. He filled a stadium with not just thousands of people, but with a bundle of faith.

One of the most powerful words ever said by Jesus Christ are found in the book of Matthew 17:2 when He said “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “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.”

When Cassper sold us his dream about filling up the dome, millions of South Afrikans didn’t believe that it could come true. They thought he was being too ambitious or just crazy to even dream of doing such. They thought it was suicidal for his career. Honestly? Cassper transformed my faith into greater dimensions. His journey of faith towards filling up the dome has rekindled the fire in me. He inspired me to think and dream bigger than before. For that, I just want to thank everyone who bought tickets to prove to me and millions of other young people that indeed dreams come true and that nothing is impossible if you believe.

Today, I want you stand up and #FillUpYourFaith. There’s nothing stopping you from achieving your goals. There’s absolutely nothing standing in your way of success. Let go of those excuses. YES, it is possible. Keep telling yourself that all the time. Focus on your goal. Increase your faith. When you feel like it is drying out, get up and fill it up. Cassper has done it.

Join me on the 19th of November at the State Theatre as I launch a book that shares Cassper’s story on how he did it through social media. The book is called “A tweet from my bedroom” You don’t want to miss this great night of inspiration with other friends who are doing incredible work in empowering young people in Afrika. Hurry up and book your seat on www.abutirams.co.za/events/a-night-with-abuti-rams

See you soon!

A powerful story

There was a daughter who complained to her father that her life was miserable and that she didn’t know how she was going to make it. She was tired of fighting and struggling all the time. It seemed just as one problem was solved, another one soon followed. Her father, a chef, took her to the kitchen. He filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire.

Once the three pots began to boil, he placed potatoes in one pot, eggs in the second pot and ground coffee beans in the third pot. He then let them sit and boil, without saying a word to his daughter. The daughter, moaned and impatiently waited, wondering what he was doing. After twenty minutes he turned off the burners. He took the potatoes out of the pot and placed them in a bowl. He pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. He then ladled the coffee out and placed it in a cup.

Turning to her, he asked. “Daughter, what do you see?” “Potatoes, eggs and coffee,” she hastily replied.
“Look closer”, he said, “and touch the potatoes.” She did and noted that they were soft. He then asked her to take an egg and break it. After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard-boiled egg. Finally, he asked her to sip the coffee. Its rich aroma brought a smile to her face. “Father, what does this mean?” she asked.

He then explained that the potatoes, the eggs and coffee beans had each faced the same adversity-the boiling water. However, each one reacted differently. The potato went in strong, hard and unrelenting, but in boiling water, it became soft and weak. The egg was fragile, with the thin outer shell protecting its liquid interior until it was put in the boiling water. Then the inside of the egg became hard. However, the ground coffee beans were unique. After they were exposed to the boiling water, they changed the water and created something new.

“Which one are you?” he asked his daughter. “When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a potato, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

Here’s something I want you to understand; in life we ALL go through hardships, struggles, pains, tortures and adversaries. It is how we view and take them that we become either stronger or weaker. Next time you encounter a challenge, do not be reactional rather be responsive. Don’t let the hardships or life take you down. You are stronger than that. You are powerful and can influence things to favour your way.

You will get out of your pit situation

We all have our pit moments and situations. We fall into pits that may seem like there’s no escape. We try everything in our strength to pull out but it becomes difficult for us to do.

“Praise the Lord , my soul, and forget not all his benefits— who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,”Psalm 103:2, 4 NIV

The Psalm written by King David says that God redeems us from the pits we are in. He doesn’t only end there, but he continues to say that He crowns us with love and compassion. This means that, even after we go through our traumatic pit experiences, God further provides us with counselling for our souls. He doesn’t leave us in despair.

I may not know what kind of a pit you have been thrown into, however I know that there you can be pulled out of it. The Bible in the book of Genesis 18:14 asks “Is anything too difficult for the LORD?” and then affirms to us that indeed there is nothing too hard for Him. Even if you feel like you are down and have no hope of rising up again, I am here to let you know that God is going to give you a helping hand to get out of that pit of misery. You will no longer be in despair and feel hopeless. You will restore your confidence. You will recover from every tragedy you’ve been through. The pit you find yourself in today, will never be no more.

Trust, believe and have faith that you will get out of your pit situation. Soon enough, favour will find you.

BIG dreams require BOLD decisions

Do you believe that you have BIG dreams to achieve in your life? Of course you do. Everyone does. But what happens when you have BIG dreams but afraid to take bold steps?

It was 2012 when I took a bold decision that not every young man in his early 20s would. I had just completed my national diploma in IT and everything looked great for me. Finished my internship programme with a fresh and growing company in Pretoria. There was room for growth and a big fat salary in just few months to show for the years of studying. It was easy for me to continue with the work I was doing and focus on it for 5 years at least and then move on to another company, but my heart was telling me to do the unfavourable. It was telling me to take a bold step and a great leap of faith. I made a decision to quit the job and focus on doing work for an NGO whilst running a small company that didn’t have offices, let alone a telephone line. Family and friends thought I was crazy. To them, I totally wasted the three years of my life studying IT and only to do work that was not related to the course.

What a BIG risk I took. Was it worth it?

Fast forward, 4 years from then, the decision I took has totally transformed my life and lives of thousands of people in Southern Africa. That NGO I focused on, is the same organisation you now know as Agape Youth Movement. That small company I worked on, is now competing with larger communication firms in Gauteng and growing to greater heights each day. Was it scary to take that bold decision? Hell yeah! Was it worth it? Without any benefit of the doubt.

See, in life, you’ll always be presented with pleasurable and the not-so-pleasurable choices which you must choose from. Most, if not all times, the pleasurable choices you take, don’t enable you to explore greater success and fulfillment of our life goals. It takes a person who is willing to take BOLD decisions, in order to have breakthroughs in many aspects of his/her life. All the BIG dreams you have about your life, require you to take BOLD decisions. Bold decisions are always uncomfortable. They want you to give your best.

Today, I want you to take a BOLD decision and do that which you’ve always been afraid to. It might not be quitting your job, but whatever it is, remember that every BIG dream you have, requires you to take BOLD decisions. Don’t compromise.

Invest in yourself

If you were given the opportunity to ask God for anything, what would be your first wish? Would you ask for wealth, money or fame? Don’t you just wish you were treated like a king or queen? You wake up to enjoy your wealth and not work for anything. That is what most of us dream of. How are you investing in yourself?

“God said to Solomon, ‘Because your greatest desire is to help your people, and you did not ask for wealth, riches, fame, or even the death of your enemies or a long life, but rather you asked for wisdom and knowledge to properly govern my people.” (2 Chronicles 1:11 NLT)

One of the most interesting passages of scripture in the bible is that of King Solomon who was a rich king with many wives and concubines. He literally had everything many of us wish we had. Being a king in Israel mean that he had wealth but to our amazement this well-spoken king, out of all the things in the world, he only asked God for wisdom.

“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” – (Proverbs 4:7)

What are you doing to invest in yourself? What are daily things are you doing that are promoting your gifts, skills and talents? How many workshops are you attending? How many seminars in-line with your vision have you attended thus far? How many books are you reading about the things you are passionate about? How many times a day do you think about the things that motivate or inspire you to become better?

If you value yourself, you will invest in yourself. You will be worth a great deal throughout your lifetime, both to yourself and to your community. People will identify with your success when you have invested in yourself. People are more drawn to your success and not your ideas.

What you know today is important, but if you don’t improve it, it will become irrelevant in the future. To invest in yourself, you need to give more time to yourself than giving it to other people – especially those who do not value your time. Do not spend your precious time thinking and doing things that do not add value but instead subtract value in your life.

Extract: Beyond Inspiration (Get yourself a copy on books@aym.org.za)