It is difficult for anyone studying literature in English to escape Charles Dickens second novel “Oliver Twist.” Perhaps the most popular characterisation in the book is that of the poor Oliver, an orphaned and hungry boy asking for some more food.
He had to get more. He needed more.
In the same vein, have a positive dissatisfaction and noble discontent. Keep asking for more.
This little that you have experienced in life surely cannot be enough. Ask for some more from life and your world will grow in a corresponding measure.
Refuse to retire early from active living. The biggest tragedy in life is not death, but the things that you allow to die while you are living.
Do not take yourself off the shelf of life before your “sell-by” date. So long as you have breath, live and let live.
Do not be a shadow of death.
Oliver Twist was born into a life of poverty and misfortune in an unnamed town’s workhouse. He was orphaned by his mother’s death during childbirth.
Oliver was meagerly provided for under the terms of the Poor Law and spent the first nine years of his life living at a baby farm in the “care” of a woman named Mrs Mann.
Oliver was brought up with little food and few comforts. Around Oliver’s ninth birthday, Mr Bumble, the parish beadle, removed Oliver from the baby farm and put him to work, picking and weaving oakum at the main workhouse.
Oliver toiled with very little food and remained in the workhouse for six months.
One day, the desperately hungry boys decided to draw lots, the loser was supposed to ask for another portion of gruel. The task fell to Oliver, who at the next meal tremblingly came forward, bowl in hand, and begged Mr Bumble for gruel with his famous request: “Please, sir, I want some more”.
It is perhaps this punchline that should animate and inspire you to ask from life with the Oliver resolve: “Please, sir, I want so more.”
There is always more. There is more abundance than there is shortage. Count your blessings but never think that that is the end of your ability to count or calculate. Expand your vision, stretch your expectation and increase your demand on life. Whatever you ask for, you will receive. Life is for the living, willing and daring.
What do you gain by expiring while you are alive?
What is the benefit of dying while you are alive? Who benefits from your victim mentality and complaints?
You will be dead for a long time and its useless for you to keep wishing you were dead when life still has a hold on you. Shake off the complacency and despair. Today’s difficulties are not an end to life.
Are you learning enough?
Be hungry to know more, do more, love more, give more and be more.
Seek to grow your capacity, sharpen your expertise and valorise your knowledge. Your greatest liability is always what you do not know. Your biggest threat is your ignorance. The biggest terrorist is self-conceit and a froward attitude.
The world belongs to the humble and growing learners; not the arrogant learned.
The world is sprinting forward and remaining in the same place will not make you a hero but a mummy.
Keep pace with your industry, trends, challenges and profession.
You cannot rely on past credentials in an ever-changing world. Are you learning enough? If you stopped reading when you graduated, you are mentally disabled.
If you are reading one book every year, you are mentally starving. If you are reading two books a year, you are mentally malnourished.
If you are reading three books per year, you are in professional jeopardy.
If you are reading four books per year you are anorectic.
Change your lazy ways – fast.
Ask for more, learn more and you will be more effective.
In times like the ones we live in, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves puffed up, but irrelevant.
Are you hungry enough?
Never be satisfied to stand still in the middle of the traffic of life. Stay hungry, wanting more. Stay foolish, asking questions and learning more.
Keep learning and growing.
In 1971, Steve Jobs was gripped by the message in the final issue of the Whole Earth catalogue.
This was a the catalogue of a business that sold useful tools and educational materials.
At the back of this final issue there was a photograph of an early morning country road and above it was the caption: “Stay hungry. Stay foolish”.
This statement was to grip him and motivate him all his life.
On June 12, 2005, 34 years later, Steve Jobs was invited to give the commencement speech at Stanford University.
He told the graduands: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Stop living in the shadows of life. Rise above the sand clouds of despair and popular discontent.
You are an actor and not a victim.
Jobs went on to relate a story from his early life: “When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand who brought it to life with his poetic touch.
“This was in the late 1960s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors and Polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along. It was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.”
Whatever you have to work with, work your life into shape.
Bounce out of complacency.
Steve Jobs went on to deliver his punch-line life philosophy: “Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age.
“On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish”.
“It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.”
This was not just a message for this graduating class but for everyone. Stay hungry. Stay foolish.
Be passionate and daring. Always have the beginner’s mentality. Never be satisfied to just arrive at any station.
Stop comparing yourself with those in your village and your vicinity.
There is a whole world waiting for you and your gifting. Keep stretching and growing. Keep learning and developing.
Keep preparing for your moments of greatness. May these moments and opportunities find you ready and willing.
Past success is not a franchise on the future.
Be passionate about personal growth. Be a protagonist.
You are the main actor in the movie called “Your Life!”
Be bold, learn and grow daily. Make growth your overriding priority and learning a daily habit. Have the beginner’s mentality, the protagonist’s boldness and the fool’s sincere questions and courage.
Ask upstream questions and ignore popular opinion.
You cannot go far asking old and tired questions. Ask new, bold and inspiring questions. Challenge yourself to break the bar of your limits.
There is more that has not been done compared to what has been done.
Have the mind of the inexperienced. Inexperience rubs out fear and hesitation. If you do not know what is impossible, everything becomes possible.
Are you hungry enough? Are you growing enough? Are you learning enough? Stay hungry and stay foolish.
Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.
Knowing that whatever you do not know you can always learn.
Whatever you have learnt, you can always improve and deepen.
Go for greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He can be reached at: [email protected] and Twitter: @MiltonKamwendo or WhatsApp at: 0772422634
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