Friday, June 17, 2011

SLAP! If You Want It - Get It

To be knew this was coming

If you’re a fan of the Facebook page "Dirty Words," then you’ve already seen the video below. If you aren’t a Facebook fan…well. Thanks for nothing I guess. You’re really missing out on stuff and things. Seriously, go be a fan. I need nearly constant validation.

ANYWAY. This is a video about William Kamkwamba who wrote a book about being a boy in The Republic of Malawi, in southeast Africa, during the famine of the early 2000’s: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope.

Okay, let’s be very very clear here from the start: we aren’t talking about the 1950’s, or the 80’s or some other equally ancient time. We’re talking about now.

This boy was living in a town that had no running water, no electricity, no plumbing and in a home with a thatched roof. When the rains didn’t come his father’s tobacco crop failed and his plot of maize didn’t grow. People around him literally starved to death.

In THIS time, this boy watched friends die with those distended bellies we think are just the fodder for vintage National Geographic. If you’ve watched the video you see that William isn’t some quaint provincial boy from another place and time. He’s a young man with brains to spare who was “lucky” enough to be a DNA combo belonging to people who were living under one of the most corrupt governments on Earth.

Let’s take two seconds and thank our lucky stars if we’re Americans or Western Europeans, shall we? This is hardship we left behind a long time ago. I eat asparagus in December, kiwis anytime…even though I don’t remember a kiwi being native to my hemisphere. But William was looking for a ball of corn and water…to survive a day, during the same time we were worrying about cell phone contracts and gas prices for our SUV's. 

He rummaged junk yards; he pieced together rudimentary elements and brought wind powered electricity to his village, which was teetering on the verge of extinction. He did this without formal education (which cost a crippling $80 a much is that cell phone bill of yours again?), without the Internet, without food and without support from his community.

He decided to do it, and he did it.

So what’s going on in your life that you think is impossible? What THING needs to be done, needs to be removed, needs to be grown? Whatever it is you can do it. This boy William is a most human example of how much we can do when get out of our way and START.  He didn’t ever talk himself out of it and he didn’t listen to detractors who thought he was smoking too much pot.

He put his face toward the goal and he STARTED. What’s out there that you’re not starting? What are you talking yourself out of? Are you your own worst detractor?

I certainly have days where I’m pretty sure I’m smoking too much pot behind my own back! I think I’m crazy, stupid, lazy, wasteful…you name it. But then I read a story about a boy like William.

And then I slap myself in the face. Since I’m such a giving person, I like to pass the slap on to you! Slap yourself, you fool!

Excuses are words we use to mask inaction. If you have something out there that you truly want, go get it. It’s yours if you do the work to take it. And you probably aren’t looking at the kind of work William did to have your desire! My guess is that most people reading this don’t need to start from the very most ground level…most people aren’t lacking basic sanitation, water not carried in from miles away, or just a light with which to read after dark. But is your less monumentally basic desire less important?

Not to you.

Get out of your way, take the first step and then keep on stepping. Sometimes you’ll slow down for sure; some days you may have to stop. But if you keep your face pointed toward the goal, you’ll get there. William Kamkwamba made electricity from wind…first for a light in his own room, then for his home, then for a water well in his community…he changed the lives of the people around him.

You can change yours too.

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