By Patrick Achitabwino:
It is everyone’s desire to be unique, to achieve more and to have their names in the books of achievers. But reaching destiny is not that easy. Unfortunately, we have the desire to love doing the easy things; hence, we achieve nothing unique. Our problem is that we have the habit of doing the same things and expect different results.
Motivational and inspirational speaker Michael Jackson was right: “Your past matters nothing. What matters is what makes you different and that is what will stand out for your future.”
It is only when we stretch ourselves beyond the expected norms that we achieve. It is imperative to note that the society we live in does not allow us to stand out, to push beyond the boundaries; it wants us to fit in.
It is not strange, therefore, that most people are average as they have to be confined within the boundaries of societal thinking.
People that have made it in life have stretched boundaries, have been crazy, have been unstoppable and have defied the limits of impossibility. Consider the life of a courageous Malawian girl whose name is Scalder Louis.
Louis says: “In 2004 I was convinced that I could start accountancy studies. The challenge, however, was that the closest accountancy college was almost 300 kilometres away. I really needed a qualification in accountancy and I had to get started.
“I enrolled with the Malawi College of Accountancy for weekend classes. I had to leave Ching’anda by boat every Friday for Sengabay, a two-hour lake voyage and from there connect by road to Blantyre. Sunday afternoon I had to travel back to Ching’anda. People said that what I was doing was not right but I kept on.”
That was indeed taking a bigger risk. Cruising through the storms on Lake Malawi and being in a minibus for hours was something most of us could not do. But Mark Zuckerberg was right: “The biggest risk is not taking any risk… in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
As if that was not more than a hill to climb, another seemingly insurmountable challenge emerged. Louis explains: “On April 25 that same year my world turned upside down. A minibus accident occurred as I was travelling from Blantyre to Sengabay to catch a boat to Ching’anda.
“When the accident happened I didn’t know what exactly had happened in me. I couldn’t feel my legs. I asked if I had my legs. I was eventually moved from Mlambe Hospital to Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital. I was there for months and I was still hopeful that one day I would feel my legs. I eventually stayed for months at Beit Cure and also got rehabilitated at Kachere Rehabilitation Centre for months.”
The bigger story is that Scalder Louis never gave up. Having suffered spinal cord injuries and being confined to a wheelchair was no excuse for her to fail achieving her dream. She ended up being the first wheelchair confined student to enroll at Pact College.
Scalder Louis is now a qualified accountant and chairperson of the Malawi Human Rights Commission.
Achieving dreams demands that we push and push as Scalder Louis did. The spinal cord injury was a silent message to her that it was impossible for her to achieve her dream. She defied that and kept on.
Impossible is nothing, the great Muhammad Ali said. “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they have been given than to explore the power they have to change it.
“Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It is a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary.
“No matter the situation you are in, the challenges you are encountering, hang to the wise words of Zig Ziglar: “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”
If Scalder Louis defied the impossible, you can also make it. She is a mortal being just like you. Stretch yourself beyond the limits; then you will achieve the impossible.