You could have heard a pin drop as he got up to speak. Everyone in the gathering waited with bated breath to hear Mr. Smith tell the story of his life. Almost everyone in the city knew him. He had affected the city in more ways than one. Chairman or Director on the board of almost all the big corporations in the city, his efforts had created more jobs for the citizens of the city than even the city council had. He had earned the honour that was being bestowed on him. He began.
“Friends, thank you all for this great honour. Thirty years ago when I walked a windy dusty road into this town, all I had for clothing was the suit on my back, and the shoes on my feet. Every other possession I had in the world then was wrapped in a red bandana which I tied to a stick and carried over my shoulder. Fast forward thirty years and today, I practically own the city bank and I am Chairman of its board. I have a chain of hotels, several apartments and office buildings. My three companies have branches in almost fifty cities across the nation. Currently I sit on the board of almost all the clubs in this city. Indeed dear friends, your city has been very kind to me”
At the end of his story, the hall erupted in a standing ovation while many people were seen wiping tears from the corners of their eyes.
As soon as the festivities were over, a young man who wanted to be further instructed and mentored by this enigma’s “rag to riches” story mustered the courage to walk up to him and asked,
“Sir, if it is not asking too much, could you please tell me what you had wrapped in that red bandana when you came into this city thirty years ago?”
The man calmly answered, “Well son, I think it must have been about half a million dollars in cash and about one million dollars in government bonds”!
To each one of us, God has given a “red bandana” containing the seed for our success. It is His plan for your life. The bandana contains your road map to success, the raw material for becoming ALL you were created to be. It is called potential, the exploitation or investment of which constitutes the platform for our achievement of what we would love to be honoured or remembered for. In the journey of success, you must first know what is in your own “red bandana”. True success is not likely to happen without that knowledge because everything you need to succeed is wrapped in that bandana.
The secular world defines success simply as the achievement of set goals and the attendant acquisition of whatever one desires, as long as nobody’s rights are violated. In this context, self rules. As long as one can meet his needs and afford a few luxuries to boot, he is totally detached from feeling accountable to his environment or its people. The drive for recognition and accolades makes him so self-absorbed that he hardly thinks about anyone else needing a hands-up!
But true success is never about accumulation of things at the expense of others even when their rights are not being flagrantly abused. True success is about the discovery and dogged pursuit of a vision or cause that creates or contributes significant value for humanity in a way that significantly enhances the lives of others. In this context, a leader becomes successful by helping others to solve problems or to become their best under God.
The red bandana and its contents are a metaphor. It is the encoding of all that God has given to every man to succeed on his journey to and sojourn on planet earth. It is also known as potential. The difference between those who succeed and those who fail is in what each one does with the contents of his red bandana. While Mr. Smith travelled, I doubt if any robber or miscreant would have been attracted to the queer red bandana tied around a stick, even though it contained a fortune. Even the first few people he had an encounter with in the city would have despised him and treated him as a lone, forlorn traveller who needed help. In its raw, unexplored form, the contents of your “red bandana” hold no attraction to anyone for good or for evil.
So what does the red bandana contain? The first is ideas or what we sometimes call flashes of inspiration. We all have these flashes from time to time. About one thousand thoughts go through our minds daily. Some of them, if acted upon, are capable of making us hugely successful because they connect us with others whose problems they were designed to solve. However, we often despise them and so they remain hidden treasures in the bandana, unable to attract or bless anyone. After all, what you despise can hardly confer appreciable benefits on you!
To profit from any idea, develop a gripping vision around it. Then set specific and motivating goals with detailed action plan on how you intend to see it achieved.
The next item in the bandana is capacity. God has empowered us all to unfold and invest the treasure in the bandana if only we can pay the price to stretch and go out on the limb, sometimes taking what many would regard as crazy risks. Capacity is encoded in materials, opportunities, networks, expertise, experiences and your persona. It is the real money that you need for all that you will ever accomplish!
Your capacity must be developed. But it demands a process. First you must wake up to the realization that you must succeed. Then you get up and dress up in preparation for embracing your destiny and its challenges. Next, look up. You cannot succeed without God, the Source of the treasure. There are also human mentors who have travelled that road before you. Seek them out and learn all you can from them. The road of destiny accommodates no excess luggage or weight. So you must give up some things and pleasures in order to shape up. On the road to destiny, life becomes a school where every experience is a learning opportunity. Develop yourself and your skills. To embrace destiny, you must be willing to grow up. Immaturity is a disservice to sustainable success. It’s a travesty when babies become kings.
Finally, if you intend to go up, you must sign up and commit yourself to follow through the course. Every letter gets to its destination because the stamp commits to the envelope. If you want the world to be kind to you, you dare not do less!
Have you unwrapped your bandana yet? If not, your time starts NOW!
Remember, the sky is not your limit, God is!