When I first came to America, I came with a heart filled with ambition but with very little knowledge on how to achieve my goals. I quickly learned that I had to surround myself with like-minded people, people who not only wanted to succeed but wanted to do according to God’s will. As soon as I did that, I started doing things that I didn’t know I had the ability to do.
I think the most grossly under-emphasized lesson that Jesus taught us is the importance of community. Jesus didn’t need assistance because he was God in human form but yet, he surrounded himself with the 12. While Jesus didn’t expressly tell us that he chose these people in order to show us how important it is to be surrounded by like-minded people, I think it’s an implicitly taught message that resonates throughout the word of God. After Jesus left, there were the apostles, the early Christians, Paul and Silas and the list goes on and on. I think we can theorize that Jesus was just following the nugget of wisdom recorded in Ecclesiastes 4:9 that says “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor” (NASB).
Thank goodness we don’t have to be pioneers who had to pave the way; those people who had to reach places that are devoid of footsteps of any forerunners. The first doctors, engineers, politicians, Pastors must have been extraordinary people who dug deep within themselves to find the courage to achieve that which has never been done before. Thank God that we have the examples of those men (and women) who had no examples to follow.
Sociologists have claimed for years that you are product of your environment (the theory of learned behavior). They support this postulation by citing many children of university educated parents who tend to go on to get University educated themselves, even exceeding their parents’ highest level of education. As a humble intellectual, I have to agree with this idea but only to a point. If this theory of learned behavior were absolute, then we would have no pioneers, no innovation, no development because everybody would just follow the ways with which they are familiar. Cavemen would have been cavemen forever. There is a spirit that I believe God gives every man that makes us want to create and that is how I believe the pace-setters ignited the fire of innovation, change and development.
This innate spirit of creativity along with a community of excellence will ensure success. The power to create is innate. How do I know? We were created in the image of a God who created everything. It only makes sense to conclude that we can create also. After all, Psalms 82:6 does say that, “We are gods. We are all sons of the most high God.”
The community of excellence however is something that we must consciously build. We must seek out and connect with people with the spirit of excellence like Daniel had Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Imagine for a second that Daniel surrounded himself with people who are greedy for the life of luxury that living in the King’s court would have afforded. What a disaster that would have been.
If you want to be the best you can be, surround yourself with people who are pursuing GOOD success. If you can, make friends with people who have achieved a lot more than you have. When you have successfully surrounded yourself with the right people, learn how to ask them the right questions. One of my favorites is “what do you do and how do you do it?” Find some of your own good questions. God bless.
‘Being the best I can be’ continues next edition.
Written by Ayo Sopitan