Everyone has someone they admire. They may be our heroes for a variety of reasons. It might be due to their wealth, good looks, intelligence, moral character, or other qualities. Some people have the guts to want to be the people they look up to. The people they look up to serve as inspiration for improving oneself.
Even though they might not succeed in matching the accomplishments of those they aspire to be like, they come a little bit closer. For me, the majority of us are merely admirers.
The courage within us to become a much better version of ourselves is frequently shattered by the little voice within us that tells us about our inabilities and flaws and how we will never be able to become those whom we admire.
Unfortunately, we frequently trust that voice.
I recall those times when we used to cheer on the Ethiopian athletics team more than a decade ago. The Ethiopian crowd was united by athletic icons Haile Gebreselassie and Derartu Tulu, who kept us excited to watch the Olympic athletic competitions, particularly the long distance running competitions.
People in my generation and older will remember the numerous songs that were popularized idolizing our sports figures, who have assisted in raising the Ethiopian flag with pride.
Of course, a lot of us would also recall the phrase “yichalal,” which means “it’s possible!” I feel like the motto kind of sums up life. The athlete is saying, “I have shown you that it is possible, so you can also do it.”
I’ve often pondered whether Ethiopian athletes excel in winning long-distance races because they have the necessary anatomical structure or because they’ve succeeded in doing so.
Wouldn’t we have believed that swimming and biking are Ethiopian sports if Ethiopians had shown others that an Ethiopian could break competition records? I am confident that we will.
My point is that all people need is a little encouragement to believe that anything is possible, that it can be accomplished, and that it can be won. People have a habit of discouraging others and themselves to the point where you believe their heads are filled with a million reasons why something or someone will fail.
It is difficult to persuade oneself and others that something different is possible, particularly in our conservative society, which does not like to venture into the unknown or the untested. When everyone agrees that something is impossible, the idea that it is impossible is strengthened because no one takes action to demonstrate that it is possible.
And those who want to make it happen only have a small window of time to realize that it is, in fact, feasible. It is a vicious cycle.
So, how does one escape this vicious cycle? Should we wait for someone brave to show us that something different and better is possible, or should we take the risk and try it ourselves? What if our fear prevents us from acting?
I’m afraid I don’t know the answer. But one thing I know and believe is that we have a chance to break the cycle for our children, if not for ourselves.
That little encouragement we give our children in everything we do is the seed we plant to break the cycle of fear that keeps us from believing that anything is possible.
If planted early in fertile and fresh ground, the seed of possibility, the seed of “I can do it,” will most likely bear fruit.