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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.

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)