One humid afternoon, there was a soccer match in an African village.
Those were the days when there were no swimming pools. While most people were gathered at the local football grounds, the chief of the village excused himself from his bodyguards and went to a pool in the nearby woods for a quick swim. Having satisfied himself that he was alone and there were no prying eyes, he took off his clothes and folded them neatly before placing them on a rock by the pool. He then proceeded to dive into the cool water.
While the chief was enjoying himself, seemingly totally oblivious of the outside world a scantily dressed vagrant who happened to be passing by the poolside saw the clothes and was attracted to them. The vagrant took off the tiny clothing he had, grabbed the chief’s royal garb and adorned himself. Just as the vagrant was tucking the shirt into the trousers, the chief suddenly became aware of his presence. In an instant the chief jumped out of the water; shouting and threatening the vagrant and ordering him to return his clothes. The startled vagrant panicked and started running away. The chief gave chase, but to his utter dismay the vagrant ran faster and faster. Not to be outdone the chief also increased his pace. The vagrant soon changed course and ran towards the football grounds where the people were gathered for the match. The chief, being a man of stern staff and blinded by fury and his determination to regain his precious clothes, pursued still. Without the chief realising it, the racing pair reached the football grounds with the pilfering vagrant in front and the raging chief hot on his heels.
When the crowd caught sight of the astonishing race, they took their attention away from the football match and cheered on in utter amusement. At that point, it dawned on the chief that he was naked and he ran back into the woods. As the chief bolted away the noise from the cheering crowd reached a crescendo. On the field of play, the goalkeeper from one of the teams caught sight of the astonishing off field event, and could not resist taking a peep at the fleeing naked chief. At the same time the striker who was in possession of the ball, assumed that the noise was coming from his team’s supporters who were urging him on. He therefore, responded to the cheers by unleashing a thunderbolt that caught the goalkeeper unawares, thus scoring the cup winning goal. What do we learn from this tiny story?
What are you chasing in life? What are your pursuits? At any given time most people are pursuing some agenda or another. Everyday we wake up to commence another chase. Our pursuits lend meaning to our lives, and also determine our priorities. What we chase is so important that it does not only determine how we spend our money and time but the nature and outcomes of that pursuit also have a bearing on both our physical, spiritual and emotional wellbeing. Whereas it is far better to be chasing something specific and distinct, than to be sitting idle, one must always be careful of what one pursues. Some pursuits simply do not add value to our lives. For instance, many people pursue grudges and vengeance, but reap nothing but frustration for their efforts. For some people the problem is pursuing the right things at the wrong times.
A student who spends most of his time cozying up with a girlfriend instead of preparing for an examination, is probably pursuing a good thing called love but at the wrong time. So too the worker who spends her time in the office playing computer games or cards or chatting on Facebook instead of working. Leisure has its place, and so does work.
Always count the cost before you pursue anything
What did the chief lose by chasing after the madman? One must always bear in mind that any pursuit that one chooses to engage in will cost something. There are no free lunches in this life. Attempting to recover his clothes was a noble goal, but chasing the madman all the way to the football ground was imprudent. The chief’s greatest undoing was his inability to know when to stop. Most people once they start on something they increase their commitment to that project without assessing the progress or lack thereof. It is not unusual for entrepreneurs to continue pouring money and emotion into failing projects, and for people to be more emotionally involved even when evidence suggests that the object of the amorous affections is not reciprocating. It is difficult to accept defeat, and even more difficult to accept that things are not working well, or as well as they should. Most difficult of all is probably accepting rejection. But all these are facts of life. In economics, there is what is called sunk costs. These are irrecoverable losses. Life also has its many versions of sunk costs. There comes a time when wisdom dictates that the battle is no longer worth fighting and one must direct one’s energies and resources towards other things.
Always keep your eye on the ball especially your ball
Many opportunities are lost in life when people lose sight of the main thing or the larger picture. The goalkeeper conceded the all important goal because he granted himself to be distracted by the chief and the madman. There are many things, some amusing; some subtly seductive but others utterly vexatious that seek to distract us.
Many people are actually kept busy by distractions and get so taken in by them that they lose sight of what really matters. Worse than losing is actually running a race that is not yours or fighting a battle that is not yours. Many busy themselves with other people’s vain and petty issues, and neglect the weighty matters of their lives to their ultimate detriment.
Learn to make focus your perpetual servant in your pursuit of greatness.
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Submited at Monday, May 9th, 2011 at 4:00 pm on PC games by admin
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