The number one (1) figuratively stands for unity, wholeness, completeness, togetherness, strength and power. It’s the beginning of all great accomplishments. Nothing happens in life until the first (one) step is taken. Even when many people come together to get something done, the set objective is never achieved until the people attain a state of oneness. Almost always, the purpose of that endeavour becomes the rallying point and serves to achieve the unity needed to get the job done.
In March 2011, my wife and I appeared on a television station preparatory to a TV programme – Matters of the Heart – which I anchored for three (3) months. During this particular segment, we talked about success in marriage. The presenter asked my wife what she thinks the secrets of a successful marriage are. My wife made a fundamental statement. Paraphrasing now, she said: “The first secret to a successful marriage is for each person in a marriage relationship to see himself or herself as a complete and whole individual. I’ve heard married people refer to their spouses as ‘my better-half’, giving the impression that half and half persons come together and become one. That’s not true. There’s nothing like better-half. In my marriage, I see myself, first and foremost, as a whole woman. I believe that mindset is critical to making a success of a marriage…” She went ahead to explain why thinking as a complete and whole person can create an atmosphere of mutual interdependence and reduce friction in marriage. I believe her mindset has contributed immensely to our 141/2 years old marriage.
What my wife observed as being critical for success in marriage is true for virtually all human endeavours. It’s important that we recognize that each of us can make a significant difference, on our own. Without this mindset, everyone tends to resign to a state of helplessness. You have a situation whereby Mr. A is waiting for Mr. B to act before he acts and Mr. B is in turn waiting for Mr. A to act before he acts. Because none of them acts, the waiting game continues and nothing gets done.
Recent events in my home country necessitate an exposition on the power of one person. Of particular importance is the plane crash that occurred on Sunday, June 03, 2012 and claimed the lives of 146 passengers and 7 crew members together with an estimated 10 people in their houses! In that crash I lost 5 friends. It’s just the mercy of God that another friend and I were not on that plane. Days after the crash, we started hearing stories of near-misses that passengers had had on planes belonging to the same company. Two of such stories are worth retelling.
There was an account of an aerospace system engineer who, before boarding the plane, saw flight engineers doing a rather shoddy work on the plane’s hydraulic system. This was eleven (11) days before the June 03, 2012 plane crash. According to him, he took the flight supervisor and pilot up on the issue. In response, they gave him some flimsy reasons and told him not to worry. One of the things the would-have-been saviour did was to ping his family and friends on what he saw and the names of the people he spoke to (in the event anything adverse happens)! He claimed he also asked (who we don’t know) that the plane be taken off (the airline’s fleet, I suppose).
Even though the aerospace system engineer said he logged his story in the airline’s logs at the airport, I mentioned his case because of the concluding part of his story. He wrote: “… but I’m just a simple powerless passenger. This statement gives the impression that whatever effort our aerospace man made was half-hearted. For an aerospace system engineer to think like that is really sad. I ask: “How many aerospace system engineers can Nigeria boast of? I believe they are very few. I actually got to know about that discipline for the first time from his story. When someone who could have saved 153 lives through focused efforts thinks he’s just a passenger, we are in trouble. The two words ‘simple’ and ‘powerless’ that he used are dis-empowering to say the least. No wonder he did nothing thereafter to ensure his observation got to the right audience.
Another story has it that a relative of a serving Governor of a State had a nasty experience aboard a plane belonging to the airline whose plane killed my friends. Apparently, the plane in which the Governor’s relative flew crash landed. What we read was that the Governor reported the case to the management of the company, warning them to put their planes in order! Very ridiculous! How can you report a clear management error to a company’s management and expect any positive response? One would have thought that the highest public officer of a State would contact the regulatory body in charge of airline business operations to drive home his point.
There are several other accounts of scary flying experiences with the same airline all pointing to the fact that nobody, recognizing that s/he can make a world of difference, took the bull by the horn by acting appropriately. The resultant effect of this attitude of indifference and / or simple-mindedness is what led to the lives of some of the best minds in the nation being lost on a plane that shouldn’t have been flown at all.
Talking about aloneness, Charlie Tremendous Jones said: “We grow alone… Nobody grows or dies for another.” Still on aloneness, he asked satirically: “Have you ever seen a monument in a park that is dedicated to a committee?” Based on Charlie Tremendous Jones’ comments, one is bound to ask: Where did we get this idea of waiting for others to act on issues we can act on? Quite to the contrary, evildoers recognize the power of an individual. That’s why they wreck havoc independent of one another. Their independent mindedness is the main reason behind the success of suicide bombing, for instance.
History is filled with individuals who, in the face of obvious threats to their lives, made a difference in their chosen endeavours. People like Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, Rosa Park, Martin Luther King Jr., and many others readily come to mind. As they say, every big successful corporation, and, I add, unforgettable accomplishment, are traceable to an individual. What’s more? The saying that “If you want to kill an idea, set up a committee” is very true.
The Scripture makes us understand that sin came into the world through one man (Adam) and in the same vein salvation came through another man (Christ Jesus). In effect, the two major changes in the course of humanity were brought about by one person in each case. I suppose we all take a cue from our creator – God. Throughout the Scripture, God is always looking for a man (not men) through whom He will perform His mighty acts. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, not to mention the judges were all individuals God used at different times. At a time the stench of the wicked acts of Israel’s leaders got to God, He waited for someone to rise and plead for His mercy so that He would not visit the sins of the people with indignation. Unfortunately, God found no one. In Ezekiel 22 verse 30, we read: “…I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one.” God is still looking for a man. The question is: Would God find that man or woman in you?
The main thrust of this article is to make you and I realize that God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness. It’s now left to us to discover our gifts and use them to be a blessing to humanity. It’s high time we stopped waiting for someone to come and turn us on, bearing in mind that that someone may never show up.
Discover your life’s purpose and start fulfilling it! The time is now. Tomorrow may be too late.
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