“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you” – 1 Peter 5:6
We are confronted on a day to day basis with what we perceive to be one problem or another. Many get consumed with the negative emotion of worry to the extent that they cannot see a solution to the problem. They do not realize that, as Branch Rickey of baseball fame says, “Worry is simply thinking the same thing over and over againâ€¦and not doing anything about it”.
Some of us attempt to soften the blow psychologically and refer to these problems as challenges. That is a good start, because implicit in this positive change in perspective is the comfort that the problem will be solved and hence the worry factor will be mitigated.
My training as a mathematician has prepared me to be a problem solver. With a mathematical background one assumes an attitude that there will be a solution to the problem and sets about pursuing it without having any a priori timeframe as to when the solution will emerge. It then becomes a matter of diligence and persistence until a solution arrives. I say “a” solution and not “the” solution because very often we do not get the solution that we want and think that we have failed. Sometimes the failure to get the expected solution may be instructive, if we learn from our mistakes, and hence it may ultimately contribute to a solution.
For relaxation, I play the computer game “FreeCell”. Very often one is on the verge of submission, when there is no apparent solution to the problem faced. Given the philosophy that there is a solution, I persist and have, so far, always been rewarded with a solution.
Indeed, as Bjorn Borg has shared, “My greatest point is my persistence. I never give up in a match. However down I am, I fight until the last ball. My list of matches shows that I have turned a great many so-called irretrievable defeats into victories”.
Thomas Edison observed: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up”.
As Jim Rohn, the world’s leading motivational speaker, philosopher and entrepreneur, says: “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practised every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day. It is the accumulative weight of our disciplines and our judgements that leads us to either fortune or failure”.
My experience in business and observing other people’s businesses is that you must lay a sound foundation and then build brick after brick ensuring that the best quality materials are used along the way. If one compromises on these principles, progress will be made but not as quickly and not as securely as one would wish. Sometimes you have to take one step backwards in order to advance two steps. If you make an assessment when you are taking this step backward you may very well be overwhelmed with despondency. This is where the belief in the vision and persistency can help you to pull through. Remember there is always a solution to the problem! It is your Adversity Quotient, your ability to persist in the face of countervailing forces, not necessarily your Intelligence Quotient, that will solve your problem.
I have always been faced with challenges in my business and professional life. Whether it was setting up a Biometrics unit to service the Research & Development needs of faculty and students at UWI; being a pioneer in the indigenous management consulting industry in the Caribbean towards increasing the efficiency of business enterprises and institutional strengthening; pursuing the concept of The Future Centre, as a sustainable development centre, so as to educate our children what to do today to preserve planet earth for their children and grandchildren; introducing the Caribbean Business Enterprise Initiative to assist in turning innovative concepts into commercial realities; it has never been a piece of cake. In each case, however, persistency has led to some reward as a few simple disciplines were practised every day.
On the facetious side, from an unknown author, there is a widely publicised piece entitled “Why Worry”. “In this life there are only two things to worry about. Either you will be rich or poor. If you are rich, there is nothing to worry about. But if you are poor, there are only two things to worry about. Either you will be healthy or sick. If you are healthy, there is nothing to worry about. But if you are sick, there are two things to worry about. Either you will live or you will die. If you live, there is nothing to worry about. If you die there are only two things to worry about. You will either go to heaven or to hell. If you go to heaven, there will be nothing to worry about. If you go to hell, you’ll be so darn busy shaking hands with all your friends, you won’t have time to worry!”
On the serious side, we can take comfort in the words “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you”.