God has placed talents in each one of us here…. One talent or the other. If we do not agree with this, we have no business to strive for success… We have no business to dream.
To dream, to succeed, we must first of all become strikingly aware of our talents. Well, if I have to speak for myself, I must become aware of my God-given talent – teaching, writing and mentoring. Yes, once I have become aware of my talent, I should believe in my capacity to encash these talents… I must constantly strive to hone my talents into fine skills…
Success is always field-specific. In the field of our expertise, we can always shine… provided we give our all… and pursue it sincerely and passionately. I am never tired of telling young-ones, to get in touch with their talents… believe in their self-worth… and follow their dreams.
Many weeks ago, my friend, Jaypee, had shared with me this story of Michael Jordan…
Michael Jordan was born in 1963, in the slums of Brooklyn, New York. He had four siblings and his father's earnings were not sufficient to provide for the whole family. He grew up in a poor neighborhood. Exposed to mindless violence and heavy discrimination in the slums, he saw for himself only a hopeless future. His father saw in Michael, a lost soul and decided to do something. He gave Michael, who was 13 years old, a piece of used clothing and asked:
"What do you think the value of this outfit would be?"
Jordan replied, “Maybe one dollar."
Jordan’s father asked, "Can you sell it for two dollars? If you can sell it, it would mean that you are a big help to your family."
Jordan nodded his head, "I'll try, but no guarantee that I'll be successful." Jordan carefully washed the cloth clean. Because they didn't have an iron, to smoothen the cloth, he levelled it with a clothes-brush on a flat board, then kept it in the sun to dry. The next day, he brought the clothes to a crowded underground station. After offering it for more than six hours, Jordan finally managed to sell it for $2. He took the two-dollar bill and ran home. After that, everyday, he looked for used clothing, washed and ironed it, and sold it in the crowd.
More than ten days later, Jordan’s father, again, gave him a piece of used clothing, "Can you think of a way you can sell this for 20 bucks?"
Aghast, Jordan said, "How is it possible? This outfit can only fetch two dollars at the most."
Jordan’s father replied, "Why don't you try it first? There might be a way."
After breaking his head for a few hours, finally, Jordan got an idea. He asked for cousin's help to paint a picture of Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse on the garment. Then, he tried to sell it in the school where the children of the rich studied. Soon, a housekeeper, who was there to pick his master, bought that outfit for his master. The master was a little boy of only 10 years. He loved it so much and he gave a five-dollar tip. 25 dollars was a huge amount for Jordan, the equivalent of a month's salary of his father.
When Jordan got home, his father gave him yet another piece of used clothing, "Are you able to resell it at a price of 200 dollars?"
Jordan's eyes lit-up. This time, Jordan accepted the clothes without the slightest doubt. Two months later, a popular movie actress from the movie "Charlie's Angels", Farah Fawcett, came to New York for her Movie promos. After the press conference, Jordan made his way through the security forces to reach the side of Farah Fawcett and requested her autograph on the piece of clothing. When Fawcett saw this innocent child asking for her autograph, she gladly signed it. Jordan was shouting very excitedly, "This is a jersey signed by Miss Farah Fawcett, the selling price is 200 dollars!" He auctioned off the clothes, to a businessman for a price of 1,200 dollars!
Upon returning home, Jordan’s father broke into tears and said, "I am amazed that you did it, my child! You're really great! "
That night, Jordan slept alongside his father. His father said, "Son, in your experience of selling these three pieces of clothing, what did you learn about success?"
Jordan replied, "Where there's a will, there's a way."
His father nodded his head, then shook his head, "What you say is not entirely wrong! But that was not my intention. I just wanted to show you, that a piece of used clothing, which is worth only a dollar, can also be increased in value, then, how about us - living and thinking humans? We may be darker and poorer, but what if we CAN increase our VALUE?”
This thought enlightened young Jordan: “If even a piece of used clothing could be made dignified, then why not me? There is absolutely no reason to underestimate myself.” From then on, Michael Jordan felt, that his future would be beautiful and full of hope. He went on to become the greatest basketball player of all times.
A few days ago, I chanced upon a video about an incredibly talented Romanian girl. She had no arms… but, she played piano with her feet and sang in a voice of angels. It was a talent-show and she left all – including the panel of judges – stunned, speechless and in tears. If what we see in this girl is not the power of one’s talent, self-belief, dogged determination and hard-work – well, nothing else is.
Was God fair to Jordan or was He unfair? Was He fair to this Romanian girl or was He unfair? And, what about us?
Hope, the answers to these questions will inspire us to believe in our talents and self-worth…