Sunday, April 21, 2024

FAMILY FUSION: Get life in positive gear


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Change is hardest at the beginning, messiest in the middle and best at the end. – Robin S. Sharma

It is a tragedy for anyone to be “stuck in gear”. Years ago my car was stuck in gear and it refused to go forward or backwards. For years the vehicle was doing exceptionally well and the performance was first class but this particular day in question the vehicle just refused to go anywhere.  

The engine was turning over beautifully; on the spot acceleration was flawless; the engine oil and transmission oil were at the recommended levels; but when I attempted to put the car in a particular gear, it refused to respond. When my mechanic analysed the problem, he looked at me, shook his head and gave me news for which I was not prepared.  

He told me that everything about my car was intact but the transmission which was responsible for the vehicle getting the power to go forward and backwards had a major problem. His recommendation was to consider changing the transmission because trying to repair the current one would not have been worth the time and effort.   

A vital lesson struck me when I thought of my car’s transmission experience. There are so many people who are just “stuck in gear” in different areas of their lives and have not been taking any steps to make their lives productive.

These individuals can think, they can walk, run, talk, use their hands, have tremendous potential but have developed “transmission” issues and deliberately refuse to make any progress in their lives.   

I grew up with a young man who performed very well in the Common Entrance Examination and subsequently attended one of the leading secondary schools. He later graduated from university and held an enviable job in a Government institution.

To my surprise, when I saw him a few years later, he had left his place of employment and took on a lifestyle that made him less than approachable and productive.   

He refused to listen to anyone and began to oppose everything for which he previously stood. He began to blame society for his way of living and seemed contented to remain at a standstill in his way of life. Whatever took place in the young man’s life that caused him to be in that stuck position one may never know, but from my observation he had lost energy to further develop any area of his life. He was “stuck in gear”.

Think of this story which I have seen repeated over and over. Here is a young woman who at an early age was repeatedly abused by her mother in numerous ways. Although she showed great leadership ability, she had great difficulty moving forward to develop to a place where she could become a success story.

She made her mother her reference point for lashing out in anger at authority figures as a way of revenge and decided not to develop her excellent latent capabilities. This young woman remained “stuck in gear”.

The two examples I just gave speak of individuals whose lives could have accelerated to a place of greatness if they had sought help to have blockages removed from their lives.

Fortunately, there are other individuals who refused to remain “stuck in gear” although their past could have easily caused them to surrender.

A young woman once called herself the “black sheep” of the family. She saw herself as less than valuable and began to treat herself in a manner that reflected those feelings. As far as she was concerned, her life could never climb the hills to success and she saw herself staying in a position of lethargy for the rest of her adult life.

One day a discerning educator was talking with her and observed some positive sparks emerging from her personality and began to encourage her to fan those hidden gifts. She sought help to deal with her challenges and decided to take the advice of her teacher. This woman now has a very optimistic outlook on life and her outstanding entrepreneurial skills have made her a success story in the country in which she resides.

This woman got her life’s “vehicle” out of a stuck position and drove forward to a place of progress.

I was in a casual conversation with a mature, self-employed businessman, who told me he grew up in poverty and did not go very far in school and felt stuck in a particular low-paying job.

He said that as a young man he began to read some books on refrigeration and after several months of reading, his quest for the profession grew. He then took the initiative and signed up to write the examination and did very well. That initial success gave him the drive to continue to pursue further studies in that field and now he has a thriving business.

This young man decided to change the “transmission” of his life and was able to move his life’s vehicle from a stuck position onto the highway of success.  

I endorse what Jeffrey Immelt said: “I’m an optimist. I’ve always believed the future is going to be better than the past. And I also believe I have a role in that. The great thing about human beings, myself in particular, is that I can change. I can do better. If you can get up every day, stay optimistic, and believe the future is better than the past, those few things get you through a lot of tough times.”

If you remain “stuck in gear” and keep your life’s “vehicle” parked on the sidewalk of your negative experiences, you may never know the joy of real fulfillment.

On the other hand, if you make a decision not to blame your past for your present state and be determined to discover and develop your God-given capabilities, the pleasure of a pleasant and fulfilling drive toward your future goals can be exciting.  

• Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant.


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