Written by Regina Jele-Nube
It is kicked, thrown about, head-butted, maybe spat at. Sometimes it finds itself being used by those who can dribble it and display great skill, as an object to show off. It covers great distances and is accepted by men, women, boys and girls alike. Such is the life of that dead skin, stretched and sewn, turned into a football and produced in a variety of lovely colours.
A football will always be a football, an inanimate object. There is no life, neither growth in it but, it fulfils the lives of others, gives joy to those who love the game and enables them to grow into their love of the sport. Do I then wish I was a football? NOPE. How can there be growth where there are no feelings or emotions.
Have you ever been in a place where you have asked, questioned or maybe complained as you have been going through difficult situations? I have done more than just that. I have cried, screamed, thrown massive tantrums and, believe it or not, profaned and ushered out expletives to vent my feelings. These reactions are testament to the growth that takes place when I go through experiences. I am not an inanimate object. I have feelings and make choices.
My growth through experiences can only be realised as I accept and acknowledge each one. Be under no false elusion, reader. I have not mastered the art of accepting those unwelcome experiences. I do put up a struggle and as my energy wanes, I realise I can only survive from a point of total surrender and reflection. Darwin is quoted as having said, ‘It is not the strongest of the species who survive, nor the most intelligent, but those who are the most adaptive to change’. I couldn’t agree more.
This phenomenon called life is unfortunately, whether we like it or not, comprised of ups and downs, with the downs seeming to outweigh the ups. I have experienced growth in realising I do not always have control of my experiences, but I certainly have control of my choices and of how they impact or improve me as an individual. Accepting this fact has offered me what I can comfortably say is a sound understanding of what growth through life is.
I used to think I could only learn from the good events in life - how wrong of me. In life one should allow themselves to grow in both the good and bad experiences and, I would go on to say, even more so, from the bad ones, to learn to adapt, accept and allow growth, to ‘ride the experience’, as it were. As I have grown as an individual, I have learned to allow myself to grow along with life, allowing me to embrace the sentiment of Darwin's quote without reservation.
I can choose to go through life without any growth at all. To do this would be to remain static, to grow in my chronological age but not to be an emotionally intelligent or socially adaptable individual. It also means that I would have stunted my maturity raising the chances of it becoming an irritant to those around me.
The choices I have made to either grow or refuse it, define who I have become - this goes for all of us. When I allow growth through life, my attitude changes, instead of seeing failure, I begin to envisage opportunities for success and I become courageous in my endeavours.
Picture this, reader: a surfer out at sea having a blast of a time. Years of experience and determination swimming on smaller waves increases the hunger and ability to tackle the big waves. The surfer aims to ride the power of the wave and travel for miles much to their delight. Do not allow life to force you to the crest of its negatives. To do that will be to allow it to break you and refuse you the opportunity to grow.
The question could be asked, has allowing growth made me a better person? Well, maybe not, but it has taught me to reflect and allow learning to take place. I find I am getting better at dealing with each experience.
One of my favourite quotes from Stella Payton says, ‘I find opportunities to fall, falter and fail when I refuse to surrender and change. Change will come into my room and rearrange my tidy world. Then like dominoes, one thing changed falls upon another until it feels like the world is collapsing around me. But when I yield, when I surrender to the necessary change, I can stand back and look at the beautiful picture created by what seemed to be my world falling apart’.
Deduce what you can from this quote, acknowledge those opportunities that cause you to fall and fail, but do not stay down. Rise up, ride the waves and be the best you can be, for only your best is good enough.