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WHAT IS THE TRUE TEST OF CHARACTER?

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Following various updates during the just completed Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, I first agreed with those who feel that there isn’t any need for the Games, but on a closer look, I think that we were all wrong. We are wrong because anything that creates opportunities for competition makes room for the revelation of unknown talents, which invariably inspires upcoming people, especially the young ones, not just into sports, but also, those involved in diverse pursuits in life and career.

It isn’t news, if one says that what make anyone stand out in his pursuit are drive, determination, and desire. Many have been driven. Many have been determined; and many have been desirous to climb to the mountain top where most cowards dread – cowards, not because they fear the plain grounds, but because they are scared of heights. The fear of metaphorical heights is worse than that of literal ones. That is why a man with abundance of potentials will make excuses for building a permanent edifice in the pit, in spite of the fact that he has more than enough talents to go for the top, where he can rescue himself from the claws of despondency.

Many people say, ‘slow and steady wins the race’. They are completely wrong! They need to wake up from their drowsiness to see how speed and steady continue to win, and will forever win. Julius Kiplagat Yego wholeheartedly agrees with me on this philosophy, and as a result, he had a change of career plan. Julius, the current Commonwealth Games Javelin Gold Medalist began his sporting career as a runner, because, coming from Kenya; that was the game in vogue. Every young person in Kenya wants to become a long distance runner even if they don’t have the ability to. Julius fell into this category!

After sometime running, he realized that he was too slow, no matter how steady he was. He sat down to consider his future. With that, he discovered that if he must make progress in sports, he must go for his area of strength rather than like. He opted for Javelin. Without a Coach, he started learning how to throw Javelin from YouTube videos. From online videos, he began to study the tricks of the game from the best athletes. In 2010 during the African championship, he came third with 74.51m throw. The same year during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi, India, he came seventh with 69.60m throw. He never gave up, but kept competing. In 2011 All-African Games held in Maputo, Mozambique, he came first with 78.34m throw. In 2012, during the African Championship, he was first with 76.68m throw. His performance during 2012 Olympic Games didn’t deter him from continuing his dream, as he was in the twelfth position. Today, he is the current Commonwealth Games Champion with 83.87m throw!

The true test of character is competition! Some people are only winning in their bedrooms, competing against themselves. In their virtual imaginations, they are heroes, but in real life, they are nothing but young people playing football on video games. No matter how much they win on the screen, they don’t have the skill, stamina, and character to bring to fruition, their imagination.

Until you step out into the real world to compete, anything you learn indoors is merely theoretical. Do you know what? Another theoretical deception is ghetto mentality. Ghetto, not as a result of living in a slum, but due to forming a closed relationship community that does not take into cognizance, the outside world. When I say, the outside world, I am addressing a broad base ideology or mentality that is limiting so many people from achieving more than their current status. So shocking to say, but do you know that a person’s profession can be his ghetto? Some people, outside their career or profession, know nothing else. They are experts in their fields but apart from that, their lives are meaningless and bland.

What will determine your true character is de-ghetto-lising your mentality. You can only measure your progress when you match it against that made by the bests. Compete with the bests. Don’t live your dream in isolation, because if you do, it will become nightmare. Don’t hallucinate, thinking that you are dreaming. A dream without external challenge ends in a mole hill being tagged Mount Everest. You can only improve if you compete. Julius Yego didn’t die watching YouTube videos of Javelin’s World bests. He learned the tricks, and he followed up by stepping into the competitive world. You can’t be a champion in a cocoon. You can’t be celebrated in a hideout. Come out and compete!!!!

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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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