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Challenging life’s challenges

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 We limit ourselves in how far we can go with any initiative. A race is lost not at the finishing line but at the beginning or even along the way. It is an athlete who instead of concentrating on his abilities to win starts thinking that his competitor has advantage that loses.

The best football strikers in the world are not the best because they have extraordinary legs to dribble and score; they are the best because they conquer their mind. They strongly believe they can score, they strongly believe they can dribble. No wonder they fear no battalion of defenders in front of them. It is the battle of the mind that matters most.

We confine ourselves to tattered shreds of poverty because some economies and people labelled us the poorest country on earth. They won the battle of the mind, they made us believe we are too poor hence our thinking ability is within the parameters of the poverty walls that we built with our minds. In the end we, cherish the status quo and never question why we are seen to be a people that have nothing to offer the world but continued misery and being the eyesore in the conscience of humanity.

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When he was young, Mike Mlombwa walked on foot from Mwanza to Blantyre in pursuit of his dream. He never feared the distance. He never feared hyenas and other animals on the way. He conquered the mind. When Jimmy Koreia Mpatsa lost his job, he survived on writing short stories. Dr Thomson Mpinganjira was denied a bank licence several times, he never gave up. If all these people had lost the battle of the mind, there could have been no Countrywide Car Hire, no Mpatsa Holdings and no FDH Financial Holdings Limited. It is the mind; the battle is fought, won or lost in the mind. It is your fear that stops you.

Ordinary people achieve extraordinary things because they believe. Mahatma Gandhi, a common man, touched hearts and became a father of the Indian nation. It is said think big, think fast. Think ahead, ideas are no one’s monopoly. James Cameron, a truck driver, created marvels. A nurse inspired the idea of the ‘Red Cross’. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, just a mere nun, became a mother to all. Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, became a cycling champion. Arthur Clarke was right; the only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.

Win the battle of the mind. Question what people call the impossible. Phelippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York on the morning of August 7 1974. Steve Jobs invented Macintosh, Typography on screen, Mouse, iMac, iPod, ipad, iphone. Question what people call impossible.

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Les Brown gives us a good lesson. ‘It is necessary to know that everybody won’t see your dream, that everybody won’t join you, that everybody won’t have the vision… You are an uncommon breed. You know, you have to know within yourself. Believe that I can do this, even though no one else may see it I must see it myself.’

There is no bigger battlefield in the world than the mind. It is those that have strong belief in themselves and their capabilities to achieve that will never be wiped off the face of the earth with the nuclear weapons of humiliation, the tanks of self-doubt and the rockets of being labelled failures. The point is, we judge ourselves on the basis of the opinion of others. But who told us that what others say is the gospel to us and that we have to believe it at all cost? We are our own worst enemies.

Some believe that, because we come from poor families, we can never be rich. Others condemn generations into the dungeon of academic failure all just because none in their family had ever excelled in school. We do not believe in ourselves to the extent that when someone does something exceptionally better we usually say amene uja ndi mzungu, literally manifesting that only the azungus can do good things.

We are failing to break the yoke of corruption because in our minds we believe we are too corrupt. We lost the battle. We are still in the bondage of pessimism such that to any idea we doubt its practicality and even if the idea triumphs we still believe something wrong will happen along the way. Until when shall we keep on trapping ourselves in self-doubt? How long shall our exodus take to reach the promised land of optimism?

Defeated you will be if only you accept to have been defeated. A failure you will be if only you accept to have failed. It is knockdowns and knockdowns that make heavyweight boxers great. The bottom line is, in life you are standing on the edge of the unknown. Let your sadness go, let your frustrations go. Let the hard past go. Free your mind and you will make it. Nothing will take you down than a conquered mind. Try a little harder to be a little better.

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