MOTIVATION & INSPIRATION
By Deion Sanders with Tejado W. Hanchell, Ph. D
In this world, you will have tribulations. That’s the Bible, not me. I’m here to let you know that life is filled with obstacles. In some ways, life is like a pot-filled road. Those who are successful have learned how to swerve and maneuver their way around the obstacle course of life. We’ve ALL had to deal with some kind of challenges in life. It’s not what life hands you that defines you. You are defined by how you handle what you have been handed. Let me say that another way, everybody is dealt a hand full of cards, it’s how you play them that make you a winner. Some of the greatest success stories are those who have overcome the greatest odds. Never let where you start determine where you finish. Obstacles are only opportunities in disguise. When you overcome the obstacle and open the door to the opportunity.
Here me clearly, the only thing worse than a quitter is someone who stays in the game but doesn’t give their all. I’d rather you sit on the sidelines to stand or even cheer than for you to just wander around the field trying to avoid the play. That’s how people get hurt. Success is not found by avoiding obstacles. It’s found by overcoming them. Obstacles are a clear sign that you’re headed in the right direction. Listen to me closely, IF EVERYTHING COMES EASY TO YOU, IT’S A GOOD INDICATION THAT YOU’RE GOING NOWHERE. The Bible says, “straight is the gate and narrow is the way” that leads to life. Don’t take the path of least resistance. It usually leads to the place of least rewards.
Sometimes in order to get the dream, you have to overcome the nightmare. I’m gon say that one more time, real slow. Sometimes in order to get to the dream, you have to overcome the NIGHTMARE! In order to get the BEST, you have to overcome the WORST. In order to have SUCCESS, you have to overcome FAILURE. Remember that FAILURE serves a purpose. Failure should help motivate you to succeed. If you’re constantly failing at something, and you haven’t learned something from it…something’s wrong with you. That’s why we NEED obstacles in our lives. Obstacles help us to focus. And that’s one thing the enemy is after…our focus. Obstacles keep us sharp and prepare us for what’s coming next. You can’t really appreciate, enjoy, and embrace success if you have not had any obstacles. That’s why you see so many people acting a fool on TV. When people become famous simply because of who they know (or are married to), they didn’t have to overcome the obstacles, trials and tribulations associated with success. Therefore, they are not able to fully appreciate that success. I played in Super Bowls where there were 80,000 in the stadium, and millions watching on TV, but only 22 people were on the field. Only they knew what the battle felt like.
That’s why I like to fellowship with people who’ve had to struggle. The kids and parents in our TRUTH organization and Prime Prep Academy know a thing or two about struggle and overcoming obstacles. Every day I’m inspired by their tenacity and will to win at this game called life – focusing on their education and athletics. They overcome tremendous odds, and do it with a smile on their face. Don’t let your struggle DEFINE you. If you do, your struggle will CONFINE you. Obstacles are meant to be overcome. Just like those potholes in the middle of the street, you can make it past them. Here are a few key principles we can all use to overcome the obstacles in our lives.
Slow down (or as the young folks say, “slow your roll”). The worst thing you can do when you come to an obstacle is to try to run full steam ahead. Obstacles are often speed bumps designed to cause us to slow down and think things through. Life happens too fast sometimes and God allows obstacles in our lives to cause us to slow down, think, and pray. You ever got sick all of a sudden, but you ended up getting the rest that you needed? That was God. So don’t just see that obstacle as an unnecessary distraction. View it as a necessary timeout to give you time to develop your winning strategy. Every good coach knows when to call timeout. Remember, if you speed through a road filled with potholes, your car will get tore up! So just SLOW DOWN! Slow your roll, baby, slow your roll.
Obstacles often come with warning signs. Pay attention to the warning so you don’t end up in a wreck. Don’t let a pothole become your pitfall. The easiest way to overcome an obstacle is to follow the directions of those who have overcome them before you. First of all, we need to respect and honor the people who have come before us. I was just having a conversation with my high school football team about girls the other day. I told them that Coach Prime knows what it’s like to be fifteen, but you guys don’t know what it feels like to be 45. In other words, I’ve been there and done that. You’re not the first one to go past that pothole. WATCH the car, I mean, man, woman, child, in front of you. You can learn a lot from how they handled it before you got there. If they successfully maneuvered around it, you now have a path or directions you can follow to get past your own pothole. Even if they hit the pothole, you now have clear direction on what NOT to do. We all have learned some good lessons of what NOT to do! Be as it may, learn from those who have gone before you. Follow the directions, and overcome that obstacle!
It’s one thing to slow down when facing an obstacle. It’s an entirely different story to stop. The only way the obstacle wins is if you stop. Never let an obstacle stop your progress. Even though it may be difficult and you may feel like giving up, make up in your mind to keep moving. Quitting, shutting it down, or walking away ain’t in our vocabulary. Every time I caught an interception on the football field, there were 11 obstacles trying to stop me from scoring a touchdown (well, 10, because you know no quarterbacks wanted to tackle anybody J). I had to maneuver my way through the obstacle course in order to make it to my goal. There was only one simple rule: Get the ball, Prime, and KEEP MOVING. The moment I stopped moving, my obstacles were able to stop me. I actually used to tell my defensive teammates to lay down, so I could get a better look at my obstacles.
You’ve got the ball in your hands right now, and it seems like you’ve got obstacles flying at you left and right, but this is not the time to stop. Believe me, stopping can be hazardous to your health! Just keep your eyes on the goal line, block out the cheers and the jeers, and keep moving. No obstacle can stop you. No weapon formed against you shall be able to prosper! Only YOU can stop you. You can stop you with doubt, uncertainty and fear. Keep moving. You may be tired, but keep moving. You may be hurting, but keep moving. They may talk about you, but keep moving. They may LIE on you, but baby, keep moving! If you keep moving long enough, you will overcome every obstacle and leave them all behind you – wondering how you got through it, by it, and over it. Then all that’s left for you to do is put the hand behind your head, hold the ball up so they can see it, and high step your way into the end zone of life. Then, when you get there, baby, do your dance! Now when you dance, make sure they’re looking because somebody has to take the picture and talk about it!