During my sojourn to San Francisco, I cruised the shoreline dotted with seals. As the noontide sun glistened with The Golden Gate Bridge behind me and the wind sweeping my hair in every direction. I braced the bad hair moment and marinated in the enticing reality. The epic backdrop! The historical foreground, this is what dreams are made off.
Then pondering the essence of this tourist hot spot. One of the attractions that hijacked my attention – Alcatraz Prison, often called ‘The Rock.’ During the age of 1930s prohibition, many famous gangsters and criminals were housed there, most notably Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly.
During its entire history, no prisoner managed to successfully escape Alcatraz. In total of 14 escape attempts, 36 prisoners tried to escape, 23 were caught, 8 died on the run, and five remaining are considered missing and drowned. Inmates Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin managed to exit the prison complex walls and enter the icy waters of San Francisco Bay. Their bodies were never found and although the officials claim that they most certainly drowned, U.S. Marshall Office still investigates this case.
Granted the nickname of the prison ‘The Rock’ did live up to its reputation. So, what gave these men the remote possibility to venture outside the square and think they could escape and live to tell the tale. Many factors may attribute to their curated plans. I simply zoomed in as an engrossed tourist to note that a few men saw an opportunity where no opportunity even remotely existed. In fact, all efforts spelt nothing but demise, yet they took the plunge. Granted motivation kicks us all with zeal and imprisonment may just do that. But for those that are not incarcerated do we hone into opportunity where the world has planted nothing but obstacles?
Are we conditioned by a culture to always profess defeat to anything that requires elbow grease and tad bit of proactive planning? Do we sprinkle our lives with negative dust of deceit from the onset by making negative remarks? ‘This is too hard,’ ‘I don’t have the time,’ and I ‘I don’t have the money; skills or talent to do this.’ Wake up your instinct to be rational and look for the opportunity to find a solution. Steel yourself of first impressions. Learn to objectively evaluate the threats and consequences. Learn to identify and resolve the real problems. Master the art to swift out the exaggerated imaginary issues. Build your internal hide to ignore reactions and focus on improvements.
Obstacles are packaged as physical, mental, emotional, cultural or global constraints – it’s limiting but not impossible to conquer. Every barrier provides a learning curve and rich experience. Looking for opportunities begins with your mindset. Seek the lesson from every curveball and use it to build your cathedral of victory. You need a strategy with a realistic roadmap. Expect to encounter problems – things go wrong and people will let us down. Zoom into solutions and improvements rather than grumbling around the same mountain. Cultivate inner fortitude and discernment. Evaluate every predicament or opportunity and give it realistic context. Build muscles to endure hardships and grow. Let wisdom guide you with finesse to take charge and control or simply walk away. Become competent to discover the art of losing the battle with grace to win the war with honour.
The solution is always in your hands. Setbacks are just steppingstones for a comeback to carve your next leap forward. Ultimately you are in control of all the possibilities and the circumstances don’t dictate your direction. Unfair conditions simply reveal the grit we are composed of to sink or soar. Authentic characters will not let changing obstacles direct their lives. Define your goal and resolve to attain it regardless of the obstacle course that spins you upside down.
Failure also teaches us how to analyse, remediate and retry. So never shy away to gain a stripe of experience that will one day transcend to excellence. Tackle every obstacle with zeal and you may achieve what’s branded as the ‘impossible’ leaving the whole world to wonder just how you found the pluck to break that rock. The possibilities are endless…
Fear speaks of what if, faith declares EVEN IF – know the difference. Have you ever seen a weed finding a tiny gap in a crack of a concrete floor and growing, blooming and flourishing like someone planted it there on purpose and rendered it with a healthy dose of tender loving care! It’s an image to me that captions EVEN IF YOU POUR CONCREATED OVER MY HABITAT – I WILL FLOURISH PERIOD.
The concept of hope sounds static but is in fact dynamic. Both you and I can find that tiny hairline crack of hope in every situation to push our way above and beyond. Do not conform to the rigid taboo to give up based on the presented harsh circumstances. Resolve to offer your life the hypothesis which has intrinsic merit to create something beautiful from the scraps that steal your tears. Be a creator, it’s very easy to create when you have the resources however the merit is framed when you create something significant out of the dregs. Relish the amalgam of experience, opportunity and knowledge to be a master builder. Develop your own destiny. When it is the season of lemons then make lemonade.
You don’t have to wait a decade for the humiliation to drop off your life. Absorb the influence of the current state then no matter how harsh it may seem dig up your confidence and zeal one day or hour at a time. Eventually, the shame topples off instantly then practice for your behaviour to catch up! ‘The art of knowing is to know what to ignore’ – Rumi. Seen and unseen disease enfeebles both our mind and body so create a path to find your focus. Find something to guide you out of the dark season to a better tomorrow. Go laugh in the places you cried, change the narrative and re-write history while you transition your conscience.
There are millions of goal slayers in this world. They have climbed the ladder to success and found that there is meagre fulfilment at the summit! Cultivate the path with your own mental leap. Attach your self-worth to your net worth. Strategically be aware of what gives you your net worth. When you know your core values then you will march to that beat and live it out loud. The riddle of life is tantalising but that gets lost when you don’t understand your values, what you can and cannot do. When you don’t know your limit and direction then others influence you to sing the song that rocks their world. You slowly lose the essence of you.
The seeds of a miracle are frequently planted in the soil of an unpleasant situation. There is vast opportunity in every circumstance. It comes to life when you begin the act of the deliberate – not accidental – effort. What you bond with, you become bound to. Don’t be a prisoner in life of your own lies also don’t spend your entire life honouring other people’s expectations of you, break free and live your own zeal’s out loud. Forge a life that makes no apology for its opulence, character is a class act. Grow the enthusiasm to flourish even where others see no opportunity. Refrain from allowing your ego to bind you to be loyal to your mistakes. Don’t live in a prison of your problems. Only you can break free, men even escaped from ‘The Rock’ so what’s holding you back?
You are not living your best life because you are surviving your old life. The pain of walking into the unfamiliar may stifle you but millions of old and young rich and poor people take risks every day. Risks that benefit their experience and growth. Alacrity is still active and passionately alive even now so take the plunge. Dive in and tame that beast to your tone. You may have received corrupt indoctrination in apprenticeship days, now is the time to shake it off like the snake sheds its skin and leap into something new. You don’t have to live with that old thing that was created for you.
Sometimes our wants may be irrelevant but what is evident is what ticks all the etiquette boxes to forge to the next level – a new and enhanced you rising out of a bad situation like a phoenix who is stronger than ever before. What made you cry yesterday will give you strength next week. Forge ahead if you really want to do something, you’ll find a way if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse. Awaken the fake up. We are suffocating in an influx of information while the deficiencies of wisdom starve in startling styles. What do you starve in your life and what you feed will define how you find opportunities in the forest of obstacles?
We degenerate rapidly to points where we are haunted by memories that we were too afraid to re-engineer or plan…then sudden siege compels us to introspect. Grow from the vision in the mirror as well. Graduate from your barren decisions and become pregnant with finer choices, that will feed future generations and alter the tides of fate. ‘Every storm runs out of rain.’ – Maya Angelou. Outlive that storm…rise and grab your territory of opportunity to make a difference no matter how minor or significant.
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