by Jurgen Grosse-Heitmeyer
(Centurion, Gauteng, South Africa)
Numerous times I heard of individuals who set out to do something, acting upon their plans and actually start what they set out to do, but then for one or other reason quit before achieving success. What these individuals surely didn’t know is that success could lie behind the very hurdle they are facing at the stage of “giving up”.
I have experienced this during the Easter week-end of 2011.
My wife, her sister, brother-in-law and I set out to enjoy a relaxing long week-end in lovely Mpumalanga, South Africa. We had reservations in the stunning little town of Pilgrim’s Rest and would do sight-seeing from there for most of the week-end. And sight-seeing we did. Man, I never walked that far in my life before that week-end.
The four of us were convinced that to see what Gods Window (so called for the panoramic view of the Lowveld) had in stall for us was a viable way to spend a Saturday morning. Now, for those who haven’t been there, it is a stunning sight to see – if your view is not obstructed by mist that is.
Coming back to my reason for writing this…..to see Gods Window one has to climb an awful, and I mean an awful amount of stairs. Gasping for breath, like a Rhino charging a poacher, I lost count at, I think, hundred and fifty two stairs. Now, for a health freak this might sound like nothing, to me it felt like eternity. And don’t forget, once you reached the top you have to walk all the way down again still, as well – this is not just a one-way “ticket”. It might be all the way downhill, but if your legs (and all other parts of your body, for that matter) tremble the way mine did, this is not something one looks forward to at that moment in time – even if it is downhill.
Eventually I stopped. That was it. I can’t remember how many stairs I had done at that stage. But that was it for me, and my mind agreed. I was so far up the stairway I couldn’t see where I started. Both, my mind and I took a vow to not take a single step beyond that. A great team this mind of mine and I.
We sat there for two or three minutes, people passing us on their way to the top, when my mind suddenly came up with the bright idea of wanting to push forward. What!? Was all response I had to such a ridiculous suggestion. But the mind is a powerful thing. I was persuaded that if I ever wanted to see Gods Window I could either reach the top, now – I was long past the half way mark already anyway –or I could quit, now, and go back down just to come back some other time and do everything all over again. Against my will, still puffing, I did the former.
I was pleased when about forty or so stairs later the forest started and the scenery changed from stairs to the most beautiful indigenous plant-enriched environment I have ever seen. I was enjoying this magnificent view, fascinated by what I was experiencing, when my brother-in-law made a comment saying that he didn’t hear me panting anymore. Have I suddenly grown fit? Nope. That’s what happens when you change focus. If you focus on the negative things, you’ll get negativity and your whole existence responds to it, and vice versa. While I climbed the stairs I was focusing on how difficult climbing the stairs was hence the puffing. Once I entered the “forest” part of it, my focus was on the beauty our Creator has designed and the panting ceased.
We had a few more steps to take, cross one or two wooden bridges and there it was…. the awesome view everybody, I spoke to, raved about. It felt great to be there. I felt proud knowing that we (my mind and I) were on the brink of calling it quits, but didn’t. We were rewarded with the most incredible, indescribable view ever. The panting was gone. The wobble was gone.
From where I stopped, wanting to quit, to that magnificent view must have been what?.......maybe another eleven or twelve minutes’ walk. Just imagine had I quit when I wanted to and realized, the next time round, how close I actually was to reaching the top. How disappointed I would have been? This is a “small” victory if one takes it at face value, but psychologically it has no equal. And the more of these moments one experiences the better equipped one becomes to handle future challenges.
Don’t quit. Never mind how insignificant the achievement might seem. Never ever quit. OK, quit smoking….quit over indulging on liquor - if you really have to, and I’m not saying you should. But when you are chasing a dream and that dream is one of your true desires, don’t quit at the first, second or even third hurdle. Go for it! Stretch yourself! Victory could be just across that next hurdle and the reward could be bigger than you ever imagined.
A man with a dream will not be denied.