At the final selection stage for a popular Nigerian reality TV show in 2005, an examination paper was introduced to reduce the 100 remaining contestants to about 10. They were given 60minutes for 60 standard and general questions with no extra time, yet scoring the highest marks was the only way to secure the ticket! The first part of the paper read, “Read all instructions thoroughly before answering any questions” and there were about five instructions, “Write your name in blocks (capitals), Pick the best option for all the answers, Do not shade two answers per question, etc.
By the time the stop bell rang [60minutes on the dot], only about 25% had confidently concluded while others just had to submit. The results were to be announced within a very short period so everyone’s heart panted in the waiting lobby. It wasn’t long before the chief examiner came up and announced, “Only three people passed!” What happened?… He referred them to the last instruction on the exam sheet which read, “Do not answer the questions below:”
Wow!! They all rushed back to look at their question papers again… Behold! The last Instruction was there! But… but… they assumed… Eventually, it wasn’t so much about the most knowledgeable or the fastest thinker but quietly about the one who had enough patience at the beginning to read the instructions thoroughly, the one who had the capacity to follow it and a good “Start attitude” towards completing tasks. Unfortunately, there was no opportunity to re-write the paper, so the larger percentage of them were sent back to their homes. See what a little patience costs!!!
Life is like that, most people, seeing how far the journey ahead of them lies and the grandeur of their dreams and goals, suddenly cannot afford the time it takes to start well, plan well, build well, sharpen their skills first and run according to the laid down procedures and rules. The short cut becomes the most appealing and the fastest path while the laid down procedure looks too slow and nonsensical. Fast, Fast! Sharp, Sharp! Quick, Quick! Even though it may quickly put you ahead of others, does not always imply a good start neither does it always make one the winner! Eccl.9:11 says, “Fast runners don’t always win the race, intelligent people are not always famous…,”
Eventually, everyone who did not start well would be forced to start again when others have hit the finish line!
Start your career well! Using a fake certificate or a false “declaration of age” is not a good start! Start your marital relationship well; Engaging in pre-marital sex and lying about your past is not a good start! Start your future well; choosing pleasure rather than enduring the toughening process is not a good start! Start your own business well; Stealing from your former employer or swapping his/her customers to create your own is not a good start! Start that ministry well; Seducing all the church members of the former church to your side is not a good start! Start that prosperous future on a good note; Spending every dime you make with no serious savings… is not a good start! Start your children’s future well; occupying them with all the lesson teachers in the world without spending quality time to train them yourself is not a good start! May you never be forced to start again when the finish line is just at the corner and the capacity to finish well had been traded since you began.
One more thing: Don’t be too quick to start till u have fully grasped the foundational requirements to finish! Don’t travel through life at anyone’s pace; or else, you may loose your personal winning tracks! Don’t be over bothered with the speed of others;since you don’t know their start attitude, they are not good enough indices that you are slow or backward! Having a boyfriend in your early days in school may be a fast start but it definitely doesn’t mean a good start!
May this message birth its relevant meaning in your heart right now and may the Good Lord give you the grace to Harken. It is always better to re-start now than to hit the wall at quarter to finish… There your folly would be plain to all and the news of your fall would go global. Once again, I beckon on you: START WELL!
story by Segun Coker “Wisdom for Living”
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