Monday, April 22, 2024

FAMILY FUSION: Never say never (1)


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“Never give up and be confident in what you do. There may be tough times, but the difficulties which you face will make you more determined to achieve your objectives and to win against all the odds.” – Marta

TODAY, LAZINESS APPEARS to be a badge of honour that some people seem to wear with pride.

I continue to meet men and women young and not so young, whose drive and enthusiasm to achieve the very best in life is highly commendable. I also come face to face with too many individuals who have been endowed with many gifts and acquired skills, but just waste their precious capabilities by doing little or nothing with them. What a tragedy!  

I have watched bright and intelligent individuals, who have allowed their lives to fade away into the darkness of lethargy and slothfulness, and died with nothing meaningful to show for the years they lived here on earth. Alternatively, there are those, who I am aware of, who grew up in dire poverty, never had opportunity to attend an institution of higher learning, and others with physical, emotional and social disadvantages but decided that the word “never” would in no way be a part of their vocabulary. With diligence and dogged determination, they applied themselves and have risen admirably to places of excellence, leaving many who grew up with gold spoons in their mouths in the penniless pits of wastefulness and worthlessness.

Today, I am suggesting that no matter your station in life, you can rise from the ashes of your circumstances and enjoy life to the fullest. You must be prepared, however, to develop a mindset where you see endless possibilities in every legitimate thing you put your hands or mind to do. You must never say never.  

Years ago, I met a young man who I have grown to admire for his fortitude and fervency. There are times I would sit with him and enjoy his perspective of life. He grew up very poor but was determined that poverty was not going to be a barrier to his vision of being a leading businessman in his country. He told me that day and night he would visualise himself accomplishing goal after goal and for him nothing was insurmountable. He refused to be daunted by those who scoffed at him and tried to discourage him. He kept going forward assertively and confidently.  

I kept on following his progress over the years, and I am pleased that today he was able to beat the odds and has risen to heights in business that many, even his critics, are forced to respect. What an excellent role model of a youngster who refused to follow bad examples but decided to dig deep into the wells of success. Young men, never say never. See yourselves as winners.

I can think of one young woman who was carrying deep emotional gashes which were inflicted on her because of some unfortunate circumstances that took place in her childhood. Depressed, despondent and suicidal, she had begun to give up on life, but a few words of encouragement kick-started her desire and drive to “never say never”. She went back to school, expanded her knowledge base, dumped some negative influences from her life, and worked tirelessly as well as conscientiously at whatever she did. She is now a successful manager at her place of employment. Young women, never say never. See yourselves as winners.  

At age 65, Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC, received a social security cheque of $105 and was hopping mad. Eventually he stopped murmuring and complaining and decided to explore the possibilities of making special fried chicken for which he developed a liking. He thought that restaurant owners would jump for joy at his recipe and he would live happily ever after. Walking around in his white suit knocking on doors and sleeping in his car, he tried 1 009 times before he finally got one “yes”. The rest is now history.  

At the time of his death 25 years later, the Colonel, as he was affectionately called, had over 6 000 KFC outlets across 48 countries in the world, with annual sales of over US$2 billion. What a success story! Never give up. Never say never!  

The words given by President Theodore Roosevelt, in Paris on April 23, 1910, have challenged me ever since I read them:

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.

The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.”

It is my observation that the theatre of foolishness seems to have many faithful followers, while a watchful walk in wisdom appears to be a waste of time for wanderers who believe the world owes them several favours.  

I want to repeat the words of George Kirkpatrick who said: “Nature gave men two ends – one to sit on and one to think with. Ever since then man’s success or failure has been dependent on the one he used most.”  

If you keep on saying to yourself that it can’t be done, you will never accomplish anything that is worthy of acclamation. Never say never!

My counsel to you is to step out of the doldrums of your indecisiveness, and begin to see the capabilities with which God has blessed you. Never underestimate the innate power in you to accomplish great things. Always make decisions to win. Never see losing as an option. Never say never!

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


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