by Christopher Kabamba
It takes the whole village to raise one man.
That is the message of a well known African proverb; the moral of which highlights the truth that the achievements of one person are the work of many people. My own achievements are no exception to this tenet of life. Family, friends, colleagues, strangers and authority figures in society and the world over, have all played a part in shaping me into the man that I am today. For each one of these, I am eternally grateful.
Today however, allow me to single out the one man who has inspired me beyond measure. I wish to pay tribute to this unsung hero of his time. I now have an empowering worldview and philosophy of life, thanks to this man. I now know that everything is truly possible for me thanks to his inspiration.
I first met him in the year 2004. I was just a young man fresh from university when I first came across this true legend. At the time, he had been dead for 92 years. Yes, the accomplishments of my life, including the ones for which I am being honored today are as a result of the inspiration of a dead man. You see, there is hope for you. Even you, can impact many lives long after you die. The secret lies in you living for something greater than yourself. May be at this point I should pause and ask a question I heard from author and motivational speaker Steve Pavlina: How many of your goals will you still care about even after you die? If you have none, it is time to re-evaluate your life. You are shortchanging yourself. You are shortchanging the world.
The man that has impacted my life has been described by many as a mystery man. His inspirational writings are behind the success that you see in me today. He has touched many other people worldwide and yet to this day, he still remains largely unknown. This has been compounded by the fact that none of his writings give a clue to his life other than to mention the place where he lived ? Ilfracombe, England. He is truly a mystery man, an example of an unrewarded genius; an unsung hero.
James Allen is his name. He graced this world from 1864 to 1912. He is credited with as many as 19 books but well known for his second classic, the book entitled As a Man Thinketh.
I first came across James Allen?s most celebrated book in the year 2004. A year before, I had experienced a great personal awakening concerning human potential in relation to the fact that he is the image and likeness of God. It was nothing dramatic, but just powerful revelation knowledge of the capability of the crown of God?s creation. As a Man Thinketh is the book that in many ways grounded me in this philosophy, set me on course and opened me up to the world of personal growth and development.
Two years later I experienced a most severe personal tragedy. Even in those dark moments of the soul, I held on to those eternal words which exemplify James Allen?s message: We ourselves are the makers of our destiny.
Years later, here I stand sure and steadfast, a budding author and motivational speaker. For this I am deeply indebted to Mr. Allen. I sure have a lot of things to learn to develop my craft but with this self belief which is as a result of Mr. Allen?s work, not even the sky is the limit for me.
Mr. Allen, as you stand on the balcony of heaven, I wish to say that I am deeply indebted to you. Because of you, I now face life with the attitude of the champion that I am. Through your inspirational writings I now know that man is not the feeble creature that we thought he was. From you, I have learned that man is always the master, even in his weakest and most abandoned state. I now know that man is a being of power, intelligence and love and lord of his own thoughts and that he holds the key to every situation. Yes, every situation. He has within himself the transforming and regenerative agency by which he may make himself what he will. Everything in his life is really up to him and this is the gift of God.
This is the philosophy with which I face life, thanks to you Mr. Allen. I receive this award as a tribute to you, Mr. Allen. You lived in different generation and culture from mine but because you taught timeless and universal wisdom, your words impact every culture and every generation.
As I prepare to take my seat, I wish to thank God for your life, Mr. Allen and I promise to take this message to the ends of the world. With God?s unfailing Love, this I will do.
Thank you everyone for listening and may God bless you and may He bless the memories of His humble and obedient servant, James Allen.
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