“The greatest legacy is not what we leave for people, but what we leave in people.”
– Joel Osteen
Monthly Archives: August 2013
Today I want to encourage us to receive God’s mercy and move forward in our lives despite our past mistakes and failures. There is a story of three men carrying two sacks each. A passerby asked the first man what was in the sacks.
“The sack on my back is filled with all the good things that have happened to me,” he said. “The sack in the front is filled with all the bad.”
He was constantly focused on the bad things in front of him that he couldn’t even see the good on his back.
The stranger asked the second man the same question but received the opposite response.
“The sack in the back is filled with the bad things,” he said. “The sack in the front is filled with the good things.”
At the least he could see the good and not focus on the negative. But both of the sacks being so full still weighed him down and made life a burden.
Finally, the stranger asked the third man the selfsame question.
“The sack on my chest is filled with my accomplishments and victories,” he said. “The sack on my back is empty.”
“Why is it empty?” the stranger asked.
“I put all my mistakes, failures, guilt, and shame in that sack, and I cut a hole in the bottom to release them,” he said. “That way, I’m weighted in the front more than the back so I keep moving forward. In fact, the empty sack in the back acts like a sail in the wind, moving me ahead.”
We should all emulate the third man. We should let go of the bad, hang on to the good, and keep moving forward towards our God-given destiny. You will succeed!
“The greatest legacy is not what we leave for people, but what we leave in people.”
WHAT STUFF IS A PRESIDENT MADE OF? (Refreshing Leadership Lessons from the Presidency of George W. Bush)
I must admit, this post is rather long compared to what I’m used to if you’re a regular reader of my blog. But suffer it to be so. I think alternatively I should have titled it – What Stuff Is A Leader Made Of? Reason being that the issues raised herein apply to all categories of leaders.
One of the books I read lately is Dead Certain: the Presidency of George W. Bush by Robert Draper. It’s a political narrative of the presidency of the 43rd US president, George W. Bush. To say the least, it was an interesting and engaging read.
I have always believed the fact that to become a leader and succeed as one (in any field) you need to know how other leaders think. You just must find a way of getting inside the brain of successful leaders. And one way is through reading their thoughts – in the form of books!
This is why I have always invested my money and time in the purchase and study of biographies of leaders – spiritual and religious, political and business, leaders of every shade and kind. Success leaves clues. And if you will follow the markings, you won’t miss your way.
Whatever you think of George Walker Bush and his presidency, I cannot but personally confess my admiration of him as a leader of one of the world’s greatest democracies. I can relate to the kind of decisions he had to make against the backdrop of the events that surrounded his leadership tenure. Reading the biographies and memoirs of him and several other presidents and world leaders like Bill Clinton, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Obafemi Awolowo, Queen Elizabeth II of England, Mohandas K. Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., I think I quite well understand the burden of political leadership. In view of this I can only pray for my dear country Nigeria: Lord, send us men!
Not boys in the cloak of men, but real men formed in the crucibles of real life: solid men and women, not political jobbers and sheer opportunists who presently bestrode the corridors of power and places of influence masquerading as leaders; men who lead with posterity in view; principled women, men of substance; strong as oaks, sturdy against the storms. Lord, send us men!
I gained some refreshing insights from the book: not new concepts but noteworthy as epitomized in a politician’s life. I highlight the lessons and put the actual words of Bush in quote:
1. REAL LEADERSHIP IS PRINCIPLE-CENTERED, if I may borrow that from the late Steve Covey. Bush said, “I ran for reasons. Principled reasons. Principles which I will stand on. And when I leave this office I’ll stand on them…” Leaders must learn to live and lead by principles. Not by whims and impulses, political grandstanding nor pandering to a crowd. As parents, CEOs, pastors or leaders in any field, we must have an internal compass that guides our thoughts, actions and decisions.
2. LEADERSHIP RUNS ON THE FUEL OF PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL STAMINA. Bush commented that in “the presidency…you get tired. Exercise helps. And I think prayer helps. I really do.” He reportedly started his days with Bible reading and devoted two hours to exercising daily. If a sitting US president thinks fitness and health that necessary, then we’d better sit up. We may not have a job like his but a responsibility no less! As leaders we need to prioritize our health and devotional life.
3. A LEADER MUST BE DISCIPLINED. “I’m sustained by discipline. I don’t think I’ll be sitting here if not for the discipline. I was undisciplined at times. Never over the edge, but undisciplined. I wouldn’t be president if I kept drinking. You get sloppy, can’t make decisions, it clouds your reason, absolutely.” See that! We need discipline to lead, ourselves first before others. Whatever needs fixing in your life right now, had better be fixed before it takes you down.
4. LEADERS ARE READERS. Reading improves the quality of your thoughts and thereby the quality of your decisions and ultimately your leadership. This blew me away when I read it in the book. Bush said, “I read an interesting book…I’m on my eighty-seventh book this year.” And not only him, he went on to mention that his senior adviser Karl “Rove’s on, like, a hundred two…” and he went on to describe what he read in the book! How I long for the day Mr. President or a cabinet minister, senator, governor or any of their numerous aides will tell us the book he/she is reading presently. God help us in Nigeria! But before you lay onto them, what about you?
Will you be that leader? Will you be that person God finds worthy to lead his/her family, company or nation to the Promised Land? I challenge you to stand up and be counted. You will succeed!
A couple moved into a new neighborhood, and one morning while they were eating breakfast the wife looked out the window and saw her neighbor hanging wash on the line to dry. She noticed the wash was dingy and dirty. She remarked to her husband, “That neighbor lady doesn’t know how to wash. Her clothes aren’t clean. I wonder if she’s even using any detergent.”
Day after day she would make the same comments: “I can’t believe the neighbor doesn’t know how to wash. I can’t believe they wear those dingy-looking clothes.”
A few weeks later the woman looked out the window and the clothes were as clean and bright as could be. She was so surprised. She called her husband in and said, “Look, honey, I can’t believe it. She finally learned how to wash. I wonder what happened.”
The husband smiled and said, “honey, I got up early this morning and cleaned our window.”
Simple lesson: What you see is colored by what window you’re looking through. “To the pure all things are pure” (Titus 1:15). Get up and clean your window. The problem is not always without but within. You will succeed!
Permit me to step aside and let this piece speak to you. Be blessed!
“When God has spoken and what He has promised has not come to pass, that is the guarantee that you are not dying yet. A promise from God will keep you alive until it is fulfilled. Do not worry that it is taking time; He is giving you a longer time to be around. Do not allow what is going on in the environment to run the Word of God out of your heart. Deprivation is making some of us desperate. We think that if it does not happen now, it is not God.
God does not measure time the way we measure it. A wise one said several years ago; “God created man, man created the clock. Man is now using the clock to time God.” Can you hold on to a promise from God for forty-five straight years like Joshua and Caleb did? If Jesus tarries, forty-five years from now, some of us will still be around and the circumstances of our lives will be proof of the fulfillment of God’s Word….Everything that God has said about your life is coming to pass.”
This is from one of the books I read lately, Success Guaranteed by the Blood Covenant by Sam Adeyemi.
Hold on to your promise, dear friend. I believe in your destiny. Whatever God has said about your life is coming to pass!