25 Mar These 7 insightful quotes can help you gain control over your future
I love quotes.
A good quote can turn your life around.
In writing my forthcoming book, Breaking the Limits, I did extensive research on why quotes are powerful instruments of communication.
From many of my findings, there’s a phrase that stuck with me: quotes are used to illuminate meaning.
Now, more than ever, we need some illumination. Reports on the coronavirus pandemic make it look like the world is on a downward spiral. From quarantines to nationwide lockdown, society is enveloped in fear and confusion. Life has become dark and uncertain for many.
In this post, I want to share with you seven powerful quotes that can give you the illumination required to navigate these trying times. These quotes, if applied, can help you regain control of your future, regardless of your circumstances.
Here they are:
#1: “Only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. made this statement in the speech before his assassination. At this time, the civil rights movement was at a critical point in their struggle and King was facing death threats. That evening, it was obvious that he knew he was going to die. So he charged his listeners to not lose hope, but instead keep pressing on to the Promised Land.
We need to rekindle the same fire of hope today. We need to turn away from the threat posed by COVID-19 and embrace the hope of a greater tomorrow. Only then can we fight this enemy head-on and restore sanity in our communities. As King said, good things can come from a bad situation.
#2: “Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Solomon, Bible King
A lot of people don’t know the power of the human mind. Here’s an exercise: close your eyes, take a deep breath, hold it for a second and release it slowly to calm yourself. Now imagine yourself drinking a glass of your favorite wine. Smell the flavor and taste the wine in your tongue. What are you wearing? What are you sitting on? What’s the color of the chair? Who is around? Now open your eyes.
How real was the experience? Like a dream, right?
Experts have found that the mind is the tool that shapes the world we live in. That is to say, you attract everything that happens to you. Your life is the physical equivalence of your thoughts and imaginations.
In these days when information is bloated out of proportion, your job is to guard your heart and control what you let in. Don’t let fear gain access because it’ll reproduce its equivalence. Your thoughts and your life will always be the same. Garbage in, garbage out. How soon should you pay close attention to what you read and watch?
#3: “Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”– Maya Angelou
The easiest thing to do right now is to give in to the waves of negativity in society. We’re being bombarded with different kinds of bleak reports. But amidst all these hardships, you can stand tall. You must be courageous.
It takes courage to fight for your future. It takes courage to work on your ideas even when things are not certain. It takes courage to develop yourself as a force for good when everyone around you is falling apart.
The truth is, this is not the only pandemic facing our planet. There will be more days of hardship and uncertainty in the future. Look at the data, the dividends of globalization haven’t been equally distributed. Hence, the gap between the haves and the have nots keeps getting wider. You might as well gird yourself with strength right now. You might as well strengthen your courage muscles because you’d need them in the days ahead. Irrespective of what happens, refuse to go under. When you make that choice, nothing can change it!
#4: “If you always put a limit on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.” – Bruce Lee
My ambition is to create a global education company that will impact every young person on this planet. Now, I know that someone will read this and think, “Tom-Chris, you’re just boasting.”
To be clear, it seems crazy to have such a huge ambition right now.
However, I’ve learned that anything is possible. Therefore, you should not set your ambition based on your present circumstances. Regardless of what your story is, God can use you to make a definitive mark in this world. That’s what I believe. You don’t know what you are capable of, so don’t limit yourself. If you limit how much you can achieve, God cannot be a part of your work.
In 1993, when Strive Masiyiwa decided to set up the first private cellular network in Zimbabwe, people thought he was crazy. Today, some of those people are working for him. Take the lid off, set your mark, and go for it!
#5: “The story you tell yourself is largely the story you’re living.” – Terence McKenna
One of the questions that bothered me for the most part of my young adult life is: why are some people exceptional entrepreneurs, leaders, athletes, and changemakers, while the majority of others plateau?
In seeking an answer to this question, I’ve spent countless hours reading the biographies and works of high-performing leaders, artists, and innovators. From these researches and reading, I’ve excavated patterns and attributes of these individuals that separate them from everyone else. One of these key attributes is the story they tell themselves.
While everyone else is busy living and being distracted by the narratives that were sold to them, high achievers are creating their own narratives. They understand the power of stories. They understand that you are the story you tell yourself. They know that your outlook on life shapes the conditions of your life.
Think of a young girl who does not wear panties because she is a fan of a certain musician. Or the young guy who sags his pants as a sign of staying woke to the latest fashion. These are marketing tools skillfully developed for control and manipulation.
What story has become the dominant theme for your life? Is this story holding you back or moving you further? Are you a slave to someone’s narrative?
#6: “Success is the outcome of drive, discipline, and meticulous attention to detail.” – Tony Elumelu
One of the values we hold dear at SFAN is our unique sensibility and taste which helps us to deliver our work to high standards. It’s not enough to talk about excellence, we are motivated to consistently deliver our work above and beyond the expectations of our stakeholders. We teach and live that value.
Our world today is built on distractions. There are several things that can distract you from your goals and values. A lot of people are distracted right now without even knowing it. They’re obsessed about the news and Social Media.
If you want to live your dream, you must go beyond the rhetorics. You must choose to win this fight. You must put in the effort to be different. Equally important, you must pay attention to the little things. It’s often the details that make the difference between the people we call successful and the other ones.
#7: “You are only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with. So if you find yourself surrounded by people who make you doubt yourself and make you question your self-esteem and they don’t support you or make you feel loved or appreciated, then it’s better to be alone.” – Cristiano Ronaldo
We say this all the time, you are only as good as the company you keep.
There’s a concept I like to call “A-Game Partnership.” It says that when you surround yourself with people that hold you to high standards and make you want to become a better person, your results improve exponentially. Whether virtual or physical, you need some good people around you. And, don’t just find one, create a network of A-Game partners. Immerse yourself in a community of people who inspire you to become better.
When I was younger, I did so many stupid things for people to like me. In high school, I desperately wanted the cool kids to accept me. The more I lived up to their expectations, the more I hated myself. Today, a lot of these people are nowhere to be found.
Understand this, people who like you will accept you for who you are. Those that don’t like you will always find fault. So don’t stay in a negative environment just because you feel lonely. Avoid all forms of transactional relationships. They often end badly, anyways. Opportunities lost can be regained but the time spent with the wrong company cannot be regained.
Here’s a piece of science that supports this thought. Solomon Asch, a 1950s Swarthmore College psychologist once asked a group of volunteers to estimate the length of a vertical black line on a plain white card. As they submitted their estimates, Asch made an intriguing observation. Each person’s estimate was largely influenced by what everyone else thought. For example, a person that was surrounded by people who overestimated its length overestimated it too. Likewise, a person that was surrounded by people who underestimated its length underestimated it also. People saw the line differently depending on who was around them.
Let your relationships be built on trust and growth, not selfishness. Remember, relationships thrive when each party is pulling along. So, don’t just take, give back. For a start, sign up to join our community.
This Saturday at 16:00GMT, I will be leading the first SFAN Webinar on how to secure the bag in a post-COVID-19 2020. It’s completely FREE and you can join from anywhere in the world. Register now for an invite at bit.ly/sfanwebinarep1. Limited slots are available. All the best!
Tom-Chris Emewulu is the Founder & President of SFAN (Stars From All Nations). When he’s not building SFAN and helping entrepreneurs and rising professionals create fulfilling careers, he’s telling African innovation stories or advocating for people-centered policy. Tom-Chris is a former consultant at Mastercard Foundation, Seedstars Ambassador for Ghana, and the author of the forthcoming book: Breaking the Limits. He is a thought leader on youth development, social entrepreneurship, technological innovation, and the future of work.