“The moment we believe that success is determined by an ingrained level of ability as opposed to resilience and hard work, we will be brittle in the face of adversity” – Joshua Waitzkin.
The more I read the above quote the more I debate in my head whether or not, success includes a total of the above factors. I do believe that there is an element of personal drive and a need to contribute more and achieve more. At the same time, just that by itself can be deemed as wishful thinking. To balance it out we do need to take cognizance of the fact that life does happen and we need to be able to withstand that.
This brings me to the story of Saray Khumalo, the first black African woman to scale Mount Everest. Summiting Mount Everest is not for the faint hearted. Less than 5000 people have scaled the peak since the first summit in 1953. Reading Saray’s story is not only inspirational but is a real confirmation of the saying that “where there is a will, there is a way”. Her story brings to bare Akash Karia’s definition of resilience i.e. “ able to withstand or recover quickly under difficult conditions.
As we celebrate Africa Day on the 25th of May, Saray’s story as an African woman is a good story to tell. It is a story about Africa’s renaissance. As an African I am always particularly inspired when I read a story about someone achieving a first. The 2019 theme of “Healthy Lifestyle Prolongs Life” augurs well with what Saray has achieved at a physical level however it is deeper than that. At the core of this is navigating the personal level of resilience at a pace that is congruent with our level of determination.
In conclusion I would like to end this blog by sharing Akash Karia’s work where he deals with the behaviors of emotionally resilient people and these are:
- Acknowledge their emotions;
- Accept responsibility for their emotions; and
- Learn to interpret the positive intentions of their emotions.
As we celebrate Africa Day , let us remember we have the inner strength to conquer everything we put our mind to. At the same time we should be mindful of life shocks. We have to build our survival muscle and endurance so that we, like Saray can reach the peak of our mountain of success. In the words of Madiba…”It is impossible until it is done”.