Hunt for Greatness: You can change your story

To doze off at the most critical time is to cast away opportunity.

Complaining about your lemons when others are converting theirs into lemonade is asinine.

Alfred Nobel
Alfred Nobel

Whatever wakes you up is your friend. Whatever comforts you in self-pity just makes you a miserable victim. Complaining and blaming are not an evidence of special insight or wisdom nor a pointer towards analytic rigour. Choose to wake up to your greatness and take massive and determined thoughtful action.

The wake up call sometimes comes at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. The bitter and sweet experiences of life are all valuable.

Never forget to give thanks for whatever comes your way. Adversity is always pregnant with opportunity. Challenge is a channel to greater things. Your misery could be the trampoline that you can use to bounce to your greater station.

An obituary could be your powerful wake up call. A chance conversation could open new insights and meeting someone new could change your life forever. Be alert, mindful and ever grateful.

You do not afford the luxury of resigning to hopelessness. A tragedy is not an end to your life. Adversity is not anathema; failure is not final and a delay is not denial. Refuse to be boxed out of the ring, flung out of life and dismissed into despair. Whatever you face, you can outlive. Whatever challenges you face, you can conquer.

You can reinvent your life and become whatever you desire. Burn with thoughts of possibilities ahead.

Without a burning desire and passion to do something worthwhile, you are just a walking corpse. Greatness belongs to those who burn with passion and know what they want. They may not have it yet, but they will not rest until they get there.

Life is not for the despondent. Fan your desire and vision for life. Burn with a purposeful desire in such a way that everyone you contact should feel your passion. Without passionate and action, you will inspire no one. No one wants to deal with anyone who is a flat battery.

Being knocked down is not being knocked out. You can begin again, fight and win again. A dark past can be changed into a bright future for many. Your failures can be turned into germs of learning.

Your checkered history can be turned into a new story. Never allow the past to haunt you and siphon life away from your dreams and projects.

Dream big and bold. Your small steps of today could just change the destiny of many. See possibilities beyond the dark sky and the burdened heart. Gloom is not doom.

A merchant of death whose inventions killed many saw a new path when he came across a “wake up” experience. He decided to invest his life differently as a promoter of science, medicine, economics, literature and peace. You, too, can become whatever you choose. Life is either a daring adventure or an empty nest.

Your struggles of today are seeds of greatness and fertiliser to your dreams. Your struggles are simply birth pains. Such is the story of Alfred Nobel, the founder of the coveted Nobel Prize Awards.

The Nobel Prize Awards are a revered annual honour that celebrates achievements and recognises the potential of the human spirit and outstanding efforts in progressing culture, science and peace.

Many people are not aware that the Nobel Awards have a rather dark and confusing origin. They show that a dark past is just a background view to the luminous light that vision exposes.

Never let the guilt of yesterday destroy you and others.

Build on the ashes of despair and pain.

The Nobel Prizes are presented for outstanding achievement in literature, peace, economics, medicine and the sciences. They were created by Alfred B. Nobel (1833-1896), a man who amassed his fortune by producing dynamite and explosives.

In 1888, when a humble Swede by the name of Ludwig Nobel died, the French press confused him with his younger brother Alfred.

They wrote a stinging obituary as a tribute to the famed Swedish entrepreneur and inventor who amassed his fortune by making dynamite and ballistics.

They described Alfred Nobel as having made a fortune as a callous “Tradesman of Death.”

The newspaper described him as a man who had made it possible to kill more people more quickly than anyone else who had ever lived. Reading his obituary, Alfred Nobel was mortified.

He had to swallow the bitter pill and face the fact that this was the legacy he was going to leave behind.

He was heartbroken, tormented and knew that he had to change his story. You, too, can change your story at any moment.

You may not alter your history, but you can change your future for the better.

Alfred Nobel had run a great business, but at this moment in life his greatness was nothing he could be proud of.

Success without values is value-less. Your obituary should never be a chance event that is written when you are dead and gone.

Decide what you want it to be and live every day with a determination to make it as you wrote it.

As he read that mistaken obituary, Alfred Nobel realised two things: That this was how he was going to be remembered; and that this was not how he wanted to be remembered.

He gave this matter some thought and he decided to act. Thought without action is dead. Action without thought is perilous.

On November 27, 1895, Alfred Nobel went to the Swedish Norwegian Club in the Marais in Paris and sat down at a writing desk and wrote his last will and testament. Over four pages, he set out what he wanted to give to his relatives and staff.

He had no children and never married. He requested that the rest of his estate be invested into a fund, “the interest on which shall be annually distributed in the form of prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind.”

The interest was to be divided into five equal parts and each part given to the person who had made the most important discovery each year in four fields of physics, medicine, literature and economics.

Finally, he also asserted that there would be an award for Peace given to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for what he called fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congress.

Alfred Nobel thought big and saw beyond the little partisan interest. In his will, he expressed that it was his wish that in awarding the prizes no consideration whatsoever should be given to the nationality of the candidates, but that the most worthy shall receive the prize, whether he be a Scandinavian or not.

Alfred Nobel died the following year, leaving his 25-year-old assistant Ragnar Sohlman entrusted with executing Nobel’s wishes.

Not everyone will see what you see or feel what you feel. Never let those who are not moving forward stop you from doing what you need to do.

Nobel’s will was met with enormous resistance at first. His relatives, completely unaware of his plan, were shocked.

The Swedish royal family condemned him for being unpatriotic by setting up a prize fund that disregarded nationality rather than rewarding Swedes only.

His staff was outraged by the enormous administrative and organisational costs of such an operation, that they thought Nobel didn’t consider when he made his will. They did not see the future, all they saw were costs.

This did not deter those who saw the bigger picture. You are dreaming small when everyone agrees with your dream.

Never be so absorbed with your little world that you fail to see the rich bigger picture and possibilities ahead.

The first awards were awarded five years after the death of Alfred Nobel and today they continue to be a coveted recognition of achievement.

Heed inspiration.

Desperate circumstances are not meant to kill you, but they are just a little tonic to motivate you to take action and to make the changes that you need to make. Desperate situations require you to take desperate measures and steps.

Progress favours the bold and greatness favours those who take time to reflect and act. Whatever wakes you up is your friend.

Whatever comforts you in mediocrity is your enemy.

Dreams inspire and move people. Dream big and bold.

Work your life backwards starting from the future and like Nobel you will be amazed at what you will create. Without passion, desire and vision, you are just a dressed up cadaver.

Refuse to die while you are still living and to expire when all your faculties are still intact.

That is an abuse of life, waste of thought power and spirit potential.

Do not wait too long to act, because life is not waiting.

Milton Kamwendo is a cutting-edge international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, leadership and management consultant. His life purpose is to inspire people to release the greatness trapped in them. He can be reached at: [email protected] and on WhatsApp at: 0772422634

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