Keep Your Head Up

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I was in Junior Secondary School the first time I watched the music video “Baby Don’t Cry” by Outlaws featuring then recently deceased Tupac Shakur. Tupac Shakur was one of the most influential hip hop artists and poets of all time. So many years later, the lyrics of that song Baby don’t cry, I hope you got your head up even when the road is hard, never give up have come to mean so much to me in this torrid journey of life.

The world is awesome when things are going to plan. We feel on top of the world, get comfortable and possibly criticise others. After all, it is easy to criticise others when you are comfortable. We assume nothing could ever bring us down.

But what do you do when the tables turn? When you try your best but you don’t succeed. When you lose something you can’t replace. When you love someone, but it goes to waste.

You feel so tired but you can’t sleep because you feel trapped by something or somebody. The tears come streaming down your face; you feel stuck in reverse, leaving your vision blurrier than it was before. You start questioning if you can take another step without falling on your face.

When faced with problems, take a deep breath and keep your head up. Believe in yourself and understand that failure prepares you for success. Without failure, we wouldn’t know how gleeful and exhilarating success is.

Failure is an important part of life – it is the rate-limiting step in life. Scientifically, rate-limiting steps are the slowest steps in a metabolic pathway or series of chemical reactions, which require the greatest activation energy. They determine the overall rate of the other reactions in the pathway.

29-year-old Kenyan marathon sprinter, Hyvon Ngetich exhibited this energy on Sunday 15th February 2015. Competiting at the Austin marathon, Ngetich raced into an early lead and seemed destined to win the race at a point. However, with two-tenths of a mile to go, disaster struck. She collapsed.

Unable to walk, not to talk of run, she was offered a wheelchair by the organisers to take some respite and/or throw in the towel but she refused. She crawled on all fours finishing third the race just three seconds shy of second place and ten minutes after the winner Cynthia Jerop (of Kenya) had crossed the line. When asked about the race afterwards, she said she doesn’t recall the final two kilometres of the marrathon or the crossing line. “Running, always, you have to keep going going,” she said.

Life is like a marathon with hurdles along the way. These hurdles can make or mar you depending on how the approach you adopt. You may choose to adopt the Ngetich approach – refuse to succumb to self-pity, apathy and depression – or wave the white flag.

Whatever you are going through that has made you question your existence, always remember there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The moment will definitely hurt but don’t give in to its pain. Focus on your dreams. Never give up and keep your head up!

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