Taking Chances

James Ouma
Posted February 10, 2016 from Kenya

"A man who hangs around a beautiful girlwithout speakinghis intention ends up fetching water forguests at her wedding," an African proverb.

That is what happens when you fail to take advantage of the chances that life keeps giving you every single day. Before I dive into today's sharing, let me share a story.

There was this new girl who arrived in our village, back in the days when there were no cell phones, Facebook, Whatsapp or Twitter. Her name was Truphosa. Though we saw her in school at Kajomoko Primary School, we couldn't face her. We therefore had to send a boy who had access to her home. Many of us wrote and quoted Boyz II Men's 'I'll Make Love To You' and drew love hearts on a piece of paper, rubbed a piece of Rexona Soap on it then folded it into the shape of an envelope. But no reply ever came back.

Most of the time, we would see the boy we had sent escorting her to Pong' Jokamaganga while chewing a piece of kampala sugar cane. We also saw the two of them dance to Kanda Bongoman's 'Inde, Inde Monie, Inde Moni-ee!' And it was then that we realized that a man who hangs around a beautiful girl without speaking his intentions ends up fetching water for guests during her wedding!

Taking Chances

What if Julius Yego had not taken a chance, would the whole world be talking about the Youtube Man? It isn't that Julius is the one who discovered and came up with Youtube? It isn't that he was the first to ever watch a javelin being thrown, or anything for that matter, on Youtube. The difference is that Julius did what most of us seldom do. Julius didn't know there is a box and that we would demand he thinks outside it. He simply stepped out of his comfort zone, considered his options then he took chances and it has paid hugely.

Right now, even the people who can't pronounce his name are celebrating his achievements because he defied the odds and became a hero. He took on the fearless dragon, slay it and held a bloody sword in one hand and the dragon's head in another, in a celebratory salute.

I remember arriving at Dagoretti Girls Rehab Centre for our Wednesday mentoring session on August 26th 2015. All the girls were gathered inside the dining hall, watching the Beijing World Championships on TV. Even though the event was far away, you could feel the tension, anticipation and self belief as Julius Yego stepped to the plate.

As his name was read out all the girls punched the air in jubilation. What we didn't know was that history was about to be made. Julius run forward, stretched his right arm muscles to their absolute limit, and just after he had thrown the javelin, he fell down and watched it sail in the air. His 92.72 meters throw is not only an African record, it is also the longest throw in 14 years!

The roar Julius gave said it all. Julius could finally be referred to in the same breath as Andreas Thorkildsen, whose throwing techniques and training methods he watched on Youtube.

What You Can Do

Unlike our long gone days in the village when we used to send notes to the girls we fancied through other boys, technology has changed the world a lot. Quit moaning about lack of opportunities, being disadvantaged, having no mentor and being curtailed by political systems that have gone bonkers. Start taking the chances that life keeps throwing at you each and every single day. While you are busy criticizing those who have the guts to do what you fear most, history is being made and the best that will be written about you is that, you were among those who cheered the most.

"There were no coaches to guide me. I was just alone in the field, training. My father wanted me to give up javelin. Everybody here in Kenya is a runner. I took that as a challenge to find another way to succeed. I started watching videos... I could see that training like these people could improve me."

Julius Yego

Comments 2

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Feb 10, 2016
Feb 10, 2016

Dear Hawi, Thank you for your journal. Although it's (a little) risky, I also sometimes take chances whether it will succeed or not. However, I sometimes  feel even regret if I don't take chances. Therefore, there is also a time to take chances.

Thank you.

James Ouma
Feb 10, 2016
Feb 10, 2016

True, I concur. Taking chances gives you a peace of mind and joy that you didn't just sit and let life pass you by!