Day 10: Light a candle


The Chinese have a proverb: “Better to light a candle than curse the darkness”

On the face of it, this proverb is so obvious. You wonder why the Chinese even bothered writing it down.

Yet the temptation to be a curser and blamer can at times be overwhelming. I should know!

It is just easier to blame someone, or something, rather than take action to change the situation.

Cursing and blaming can easily become a way of life. There are all sorts of trying people and things to blame – the government, the economy, the better half, our family, our genes, our situation.

While we are blaming and cursing, though, we can’t change. Cursing locks us into inaction.

To get ahead we have to take the risk and strike a match. Light a candle. Throw a switch.

Peter Benenson is one of the all-time great candle lighters.

In 1960, he read a story in London’s Daily Telegraph that outraged him.

Two Portuguese students had raised a toast to liberty in a cafe. They were jailed for seven years. Portugal’s right wing dictator, Dr. Antonio Salazar, forbade any form of political expression. The students paid the price.

Peter Benenson decided to act. He went looking for an idea and came up with a ripper.

Even today the idea that Peter came up with seems preposterous. How could it possibly work? It seemed just plain silly, ineffectual against a powerful dictator in a foreign country.

Peter decided to write to the dictator and explain clearly, forcefully that these two students were wrongly imprisoned.

In a stroke of genius he invited his friends, and their friends, and their friends’ friends to write as well. Eventually people from all around the globe were writing to Salazar.

Peter’s letter marked the birth of Amnesty International, an organization that has freed thousands of people through this simple idea of lots of people writing lots of letters.

Lighting a candle involves some risk. There is no guarantee that your idea will work. Some candles fail. Some get blown out. Some fizzle and splutter. That’s OK. Just light another one.

Each time you strike a match you become more experienced, more resilient and closer to seeing the way ahead. Come on, get out of the miseries. Light that candle.

“Success comes in cans”

Joel Weldon, a speaker who ran a series of courses for sales people in Australia in the 60’s and 70’s, was the sort of person who preferred to strike a match rather than curse the dark.

Joel had a lot of tips and ideas for selling that are still useful today.

His business card was a little different. It was a can of beans. On the label of this can  were his details, phone and fax nos. etc. The biggest text of all was blazoned across the label. It read: “Success comes in cans”

If success comes in cans what does failure come in? Failure comes in lots of things: can’t! won’t! too hard! too long! too big! can’t hack it!

New ideas will not flow until a person accepts a can do approach. When a person says, “it can’t be done” the creative juices dry up. When someone says it can’t be done you can be sure of one thing. It won’t be done.

When a person takes a different slant and says: “I think we can” ideas start to flow. Now, at least, there is a chance of success.

© 2019 well imagine that pty/ltd




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