Be All You Can Be—Part 1
From the Roadmap series
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Each person is different. Each person is unique. We each have different gifts, callings, and ministries. You are an individual creation, and the Lord in His wisdom knew what He was doing when He made you the way you are! He wants to use your individuality and the talents He has given you and help you to develop them so that you can go further and make the most of your situation.
He wants you to be all that you can be. He wants you to strive for your personal best.—That is, taking your particular gifts, talents, life experience, and really doing something with it, investing in it, and making the most of it possible; not being content with halfway or almost or kinda, but wanting to do the most and the best with your life.
Why be content with going only so far? Why not be the best you can be? There’s a certain happiness and fulfillment that comes as a reward to those that push themselves to be more, those that give their all in a commitment to a higher goal. Really awesome accomplishments often come as a result of hundreds, even thousands of small sacrifices and right decisions. Anything great in life costs, and that cost often comes to you through lots and lots of plodding along, day by day, come rain or shine, no matter how you feel.
Every great man who has gone far and accomplished amazing things did so through years of hard work, sacrifice, vision, determination, and faithfulness. If we’re willing to learn that, then we will have hit on the secret to success in any situation that we find ourselves in, because we will have learned what it means to make the most of our circumstances, to rise to the occasion, to be all that we can be, and to reach our personal best, by God’s grace.
You have what it takes. The Lord gave you the personality, the unique gifts and characteristics that you have, because He knew that through your yielding all of that to Him, He could use all that you are and all that you have learned and accomplished to benefit and enrich not only your life, but the lives of many others. He has great plans for you.
Many have overcome difficulties
Here’s an excerpt of a book called Developing the Leader within You by John C. Maxwell.
Many of the Psalms were born in difficulty. Most of the Epistles were written in prison. Most of the greatest thoughts of the greatest thinkers of all time had to pass through the fire. Bunyan wrote Pilgrim’s Progress from jail. Florence Nightingale, too ill to move from her bed, reorganized the hospitals of England. Semi-paralyzed and under constant menace of apoplexy, Pasteur was tireless in his attack on disease. During the greater part of his life, American historian Francis Parkman suffered so acutely that he could not work for more than five minutes at a time. His eyesight was so wretched that he could scrawl only a few gigantic words on a manuscript, but he wrote twenty magnificent volumes of history.
Bury a person in the snows of Valley Forge, and you have a George Washington. Raise him in abject poverty, and you have an Abraham Lincoln. Strike him down with infantile paralysis, and he becomes a Franklin D. Roosevelt. Burn him so severely that the doctors say he will never walk again, and you have a Glenn Cunningham, who set the world’s one-mile record in 1934. Have him or her born in a society filled with racial discrimination, and you have a Booker T. Washington, a George Washington Carver, or a Martin Luther King Jr. Call him a slow learner and retarded—writing him off as uneducable—and you have an Albert Einstein.
A study of 300 highly successful people, people like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Helen Keller, Winston Churchill, Albert Schweitzer, Mahatma Gandhi, and Albert Einstein, reveals that one-fourth had handicaps, such as blindness, deafness, or crippled limbs. Three-fourths had either been born in poverty, came from broken homes, or at least came from exceedingly tense or disturbed situations.
Why did the achievers overcome problems while thousands are overwhelmed by theirs? They refused to hold on to the common excuses for failure. They turned their stumbling blocks into stepping stones. They realized they could not determine every circumstance in life, but they could determine their choice of attitude toward every circumstance.
Here’s an excerpt from the book Developing the Leaders around You, also by John. C. Maxwell.
No one, the experts said, would ever be able to run the mile in less than four minutes. Then, in 1954, a young medical student named Roger Bannister did the impossible by breaking that barrier. Today, every world-class runner can run the mile in less than four minutes. Why? Because one man decided to keep improving. One man decided to pay the price of personal growth. He was willing to lead. As a result, he created a climate for those achievers who followed him.
Maybe you’re discouraged; things aren’t working out for you. Here’s another story of someone who took the major obstacles and difficulties that life threw at him and turned around and used them as stepping stones to success.
In 1938 when Mr. Honda was at school, he took everything that he owned and began working on a special piston ring that he could sell to Toyota.
He labored day and night to create this—often sleeping in his workshop. He even pawned off his wife’s jewelry so that he could stay in business.
When he finally developed the piston ring, he presented it to Toyota and was told that it did not reach their standards. He was sent back to school for two years to improve the design. After this, Toyota gave him a contract.
Then, the Second World War began and he couldn’t get the concrete to build a factory and mass-produce his new design. He and his team created a new type of concrete to build the factory.
Honda’s factory was bombed twice, and he had to rebuild it.When bombs dropped, he and his team picked up the empty shells and called them “gifts from President Truman” because they provided him with the raw materials for his manufacturing process.
Finally, an earthquake leveled his factory and he had to sell his piston operation to Toyota.
After the war, a terrible gasoline shortage hit Japan, and Honda couldn’t even drive his car to get food for his family. So, he then attached a small motor to his bike to help him get around.
Many people asked him to make one for them so they could also have a “motorized bike.” So many asked him that he wanted to open up a factory and make them—but he didn’t have the capital. So he wrote a personal letter to all 18,000 bicycle shops in Japan and told them of his new invention. He convinced 5,000 of them to give him the capital he needed to build his factory.
After modifying the motor, it became an “overnight success,” earning him the Emperor’s Award. Honda today employs over 100,000 people all over the world, all because of Mr. Honda’s commitment to making powerful decisions and not giving up on his goal.
Mr. Honda once said: “Many people dream of success. I believe that success can be achieved only through repeated failure and self-analysis. Success is only one percent of your work, and the rest is bold overcoming of obstacles. If you are not afraid of them, success will come to you itself.” Today’s prosperity of Honda Motor Co. proves the truth of its founder. 1
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”—Viktor Frankl
What choices will you make today to be all you can be?
Roadmap was a video series created by TFI for young adults. Originally published in 2010. Adapted and republished on Anchor January 2020. Read by Simon Peterson.
1 The legendary businessman Soichiro Honda died on August 5, 1991. By the end of his life he came up with a large store of achievements, which were 470 inventions and 150 patents, honorary doctorates at Michigan Technical University and Ohio State University, the highest honor of his country—Japan’s Blue Ribbon—and many other achievements. Starting a business having $3,200, he created a company with an annual revenue of more than $30 billion. (https://astrumpeople.com/soichiro-honda-biography-a-great-history-of-japanese-car-manufacturer.)