A young man set his heart on a journey to a diviner. He was actually on a quest to determine what his destiny was all about. He had gotten several conflicting comments and visions about what the future held for him. So he made up his mind one day to see the most renowned of all diviners in the land. And whatever he says will undoubtedly become what he is to believe. It was high time he realized the direction his life was headed. Like anyone on a spiritual quest, he set out at dawn even before the first rooster crowed. With a morsel of bread and the clothing on him, he marched on, not looking to the right or left. He was not going to let any extra baggage slow him down from getting to where his destiny will be map out for him. His vision was straight, and his mind focused as he headed into discovery. He arrived after two days looking famish and apprehensive and found the diviner sitting on his mud bed in deep meditation. “Greetings, wise one!” And without waiting for a response, he called out, amidst gasping for air, “I come from a distant land and have been on the road for two days. I want you to divine what my future has in store for me,” he added as he lay sprawled on the floor in total exhaustion. “Welcome my son,” said the diviner as he cleared his throat. “I will help you in divining what your future has in store for you, just be patient.” With that, the diviner stood up, went into his inner chamber and out again, holding two chalks, black and white in one hand, and a tortoise that had withdrawn into its shell on the other hand. He bent down and drew two large circles on the floor with the black and white chalks with some distance in between them. He took some steps backward, bent down, and then placed the tortoise gently on the floor. “My son! look and pray.” The diviner called out. “The tortoise will move soon. If it moves into the black circle, then your future spells doom, destruction, and failure. But if it moves into the white circle, your future holds lots of promise.” With that, he withdrew to his bed and assumed his former position to continue in his meditation. There was a long stretch of silence before the tortoise began to move. They both watched eagerly, and with anticipation, as the reptile crawled slowly towards the circles, then the unexpected happened. The tortoise took a turn and headed towards the black circle. The young man sat up abruptly with renewed energy and looked on still wishing the reptile will change direction, but alas! It was headed straight into that dreaded black circle. “Nooo! This is not possible” he thought. Just in a split moment of decision making, just about the moment when the tortoise was to set foot into the black circle, he picked it up gently with both his hands and dropped it in the white circle, as carefully as he could. “Why should you do that?” The diviner called out angrily. “Why should you interfere with my divination?” He added ferociously. “Why should I not interfere? How do you expect me to sit down here, fold my hands, and watch as my future, my destiny, my life, crawl steadily into destruction, failure, and doom? And you expect me to do nothing about it?” He answered menacingly and with that, he walked out from before the diviner and everything with an enlightened mind. His destiny is in his own hands, and there was no stopping him anymore from achieving all he ever wished for in life!  

Lessons for self-improvement:

Some people believe there is an unseen power that is determining the course of events in their lives. They believe being born poor always equals a life of poverty. They look at their current circumstances and condemn themselves to a life of struggle, lack, and misery. They willingly accept the reality they find themselves. These convictions aren’t truthful. You are where you are and what you are because of yourself. Your choices, decisions, actions, and inactions over the years have inevitably determined the conditions of your life at this moment. If you are always quick to surrender your will to push through when faced with challenges and difficulties, understand others have passed through worse circumstances and have become engineers, neurosurgeons, and business moguls. Helen Keller was deaf and blind. She did not only learn sign language but earned a bachelor of arts degree, wrote 12 books and numerous articles. She became a lecturer, a political activist, and went on to do several great campaigns for the deaf and blind. She dedicated her life to helping others despite her unparalleled adversity and was awarded the highest civil honor and inducted into the national women’s hall of fame. No one would have faulted her if she had chosen to live a life of solitude and misery. John Bunyan, the revered author of “Pilgrims’ progress”, a literary masterpiece was in prison when he wrote that book. John Bunyan did not wait to get out of prison to write his book. He sat on the bare floor and wrote on twisted scraps of papers that had been used to cork bottles of milk at the prison. These figures did not resign their lives to fate. They did not wait for someone to help them. They helped themselves. They did not wait for the right opportunity to come knocking. They created the opportunity for themselves by using the time and resources available to do what they wanted. Had they been like some of us, they could easily have come up with excuses for not acting. Many of us in their stead would have said, ‘we are poor,’ or there is no one to assist and guide us. We would have given in to the circumstances. But these resilient people did not. Just because circumstances seem terrible and bleak for you does not mean the situation will forever remain the same. Nothing is limiting you from fulfilling your destiny. What threatens your dreams and aspirations is not out there but within you. And that is your mind. The human mind is the place where the greatest of all conflict resides. It is where most of the things you feared were going to happen never did happen. The only person who stands in the way of your success is you. No one can keep you down in life but yourself. A man's greatest enemy is his negative thoughts. Realize that the thinking that brought you to this point in life has created some problems that cannot be solved with the same thinking that created them. That is why the sages would say you can not change a man’s life unless you change his thinking. Opportunities are all around us. A lot of people, however, miss them because opportunities often come into our lives disguised as challenges, setbacks, and temporary defeats. When things are not working the way you want, still remain focused on your dreams. Perish the idea of quitting too soon every time you run into challenges you didn’t anticipate.   Remember, your opportunity lies in your ability to make the best of the circumstances in which you find yourself. Stop folding your hands and thinking that things will fall into place at a set time. Quit believing that your destiny can be mapped out at some shrine or chapel.  Your destiny is in your own hands. The only person stopping you from realizing it is yourself. The only way to achieve success is to pursue it. To reach your goal, you don’t need to know all of the answers in advance. Get clear on what you want and develop tendencies toward taking action. Breakdown your big plan into small steps and take that first step right away. Don’t procrastinate when faced with difficult problems. Break your problem into parts and handle one piece at a time.

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Jude Aziz

Physician Assistant, Author, Entrepreneur, Medical Blogger, Life and Business Coach, Founder / CEO peFHEW and Telemed Consult