“Falling down is just part of learning to walk.” Bob Gass.

Toddlers often fall down again and again when they are learning to walk. Some have had to fall down from the stairs and others from the bed, but no matter how many times they fall down, and no matter the severity of the fall, the next moment they are up starting all over again; they just won’t give up. That is the attitude of successful people; no matter how many times they experience defeat, they never get tired of trying new ideas.

It’s a lot easier to say don’t give up. But don’t give up is only a phrase until you are faced with total bankruptcy, a failed business, dismissal from work, a strife-ton marriage, divorce, a strange illness, or a mysterious fire incidence that guts your home and properties. That’s when the phrase ‘don’t give up’ takes on new meaning.

Marvelyn Brown was only 19 when she tested positive to HIV in 2003. At first she was devastated by the news, she felt the centre of her world crumbling down, and thought it was the end of all her dreams and aspirations. In fact she thought the worst has happened to her. But after she took a long hard look at her situation, she decided to do something. So she wrote her first book, The Naked Truth: Young, Black, Beautiful and HIV Positive. The book became an instant hit, and she, a highly sought-after public speaker who has traveled to many places telling her story in an effort to make more people aware of the reality of the AIDS pandemic. As a result she has had extensive radio and television appearances including CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Show, MTV, and several others. She has also made the covers of several international magazines like Newsweek, Ebony Magazine, and many others. Today Brown has earned herself international recognition as an Author, Public Speaker, and an AIDS Activist whose story and works have had remarkable impact on the AIDS community and indeed the world. She took what seemed like a major defeat and turned it into an inspiring success story.

Some events are life-changing. A life-changing event is something that rattles and shakes you up; something that radically changes your perspective. Many of the world’s heroes may never have become what they became if they never experienced one life-changing event or the other. Anytime you let an unpleasant experience overwhelm you, then the original purpose of that experience has been defeated. Sometimes you need to fail in order to succeed.

The road to achievement is a bumpy one. Imagine you are traveling along a dusty and unpaved road with lots of potholes, pits, gullies and stones, with thick bushes endlessly stretched along both sides of the road almost flapping your sides, and you have to endure endless jolting and bumping on your seat. And imagine that your car is not too strong, so that you have to stop frequently to fix it. Caught halfway in such a frustrating journey, what would you do? You could either change your plans, turn the car around and discontinue the journey. Or you could sigh and hiss and curse and swear at the discomfort and gruelingly keep pushing ahead. Whatever decision you take will depend on the purpose or reason for the trip. If the purpose of the trip is so important and urgent that you can’t wait to get there, you won’t mind to get down and jog the rest of the way if your car can’t make it through.

It was Dr. Mani who said “the courage and persistence to keep going past huddles and obstacles is powered by purpose – your purpose.” How you handle challenges and setbacks on your way to success will depend on what is driving you. If your consider something really important, and you desire it so badly that it’s the last thing you think about before you go to bed, and it’s the first thing on your mind when you awake from sleep, and all of a sudden, your purpose seem to be hanging in the balance, at that point, nothing else will make sense to you, and every other thing will be put on hold, and you won’t even consider giving up as an option.

Resilience is something all successful people have in common. It’s what enables them to endure difficult situations without breaking. No matter how badly a resilient person falls, just give him a little time, and he’s back on his feet trudging on to something else. That is why even when things get so bad sometimes, and nothing seem to work for you, and you feel like you’re in complete mess, something deep down in your subconscious keeps telling you, regardless of this present mess, you are a great man, you are more than this, you won’t end up like this.

When people say you won’t come out of a situation, that’s the time to come out of it and prove them wrong. When people assess your strengths, background, academic qualification, experience, social status, physical appearance, and age, and conclude you aren’t good enough for something, that’s the time to surprise them; let them know there’s a lot more about you that hasn’t come up yet.

Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani was rendered redundant at her former place of work. But rather than sit idle and complain about her situation, she decided to take advantage of her idle time and began writing a novel. Soon after the novel was published, it won the Commonwealth Prize for Literature Best First Book Award earning her instant fame and fortune. If Nwaubani never suffered redundancy, she may never have written her award-winning novel. Defeats are usually opportunities in disguise. Let the obstacles and challenges life throws at you become the very foundation of your own success story.

Maintaining a positive outlook doesn’t mean when you experience a setback you have to pretend as though nothing has happened. A defeat is a defeat! Admit it frankly and face the challenge. Take a long hard look at the situation and painfully come to terms with whatever you see, then list down the necessary steps you need to take to turn the situation around, and begin to act at once. The longer you allow a situation remain unattended to, the more difficult it becomes to come out of it.

Someone said “it is better to die fighting than to be taken captive.” Don’t give up without a fight.

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