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As a kid, she was youthful, vibrant, stubborn, erratic, a dreamer, an artist, a girl who wanted to achieve or say somebody very average, desperate to live the luxurious of life. She had the talent in her and the drive and resources to make it to the top. Her dreams were in place and goals, more or less listed. At the age of sixteen (1967), any teenager would be content with the situation and so was she. Gods were happy with her and she was a good human being.
In 1967 she went swimming with her friends. Slight miscalculations and she ended up in waters, shallower than her expectations and swimming abilities. Then happened a diving accident, which left her a quadriplegic. Complicated term is it â€¦ even more complicated is the definition. Quadriplegic is a state which affects the four limbs and leaves the patient in a critical paralysis condition. It is either the brain or spinal cord which bears the most serious brunt and in either of the situations, functionality is severely impaired. Once quadriplegic happens, the victim has no control and merely left to suffer the pain of destiny.
Something similar happened with her. She was in pain, a state even the strongest humans cannot dream to counter with; and she was just a young girl. She wanted to end the misery, and wished for death. She begged one and all for the final relief, but guess that was not what her fate decided to offer her. Under careful medical guidance, she was forced to live and suffer the pains forever.
Now she could have let the things the way they were and continue to spend the rest of her life as an irrelevant piece of furniture and thus wait either for an opportunity to kill her or for the natural route of death. But this is not that happened. She questioned, she questioned God and though the almighty didn't answered her questions directly, a friend read her transcripts from the bible. He laid before her the life of the Christ, the forces of good and evil and God's wish to ensure life.
He instigated the faith, the power of expectation and gave her a reason to stand up, once again.
Joni Eareckson Tada is an American Christian author, artist, and disability advocate. This is her story, the story of her life, her struggles. She is now married and has actually achieved what she really wanted from her life, while she was sixteen. But just minor alterations - resources were literally missing and faith, the power of expectation added.
"Faith means belief in something concerning which doubt is theoretically possible"
So true, isn't it? It is so damn easy to not believe, to question, but it is so difficult to believe and wait for the answer. However, as Oscar Wilde quoted, scepticism is the beginning of faith.
When we question or argue, we take a step forward, towards believing.
When hopes vanish!
It is when we do not have faith or distrust the element of expectation that we go neutral or rather blank and there is no success thereafter. We fail, we all often do, but then few of us work at it again, because only few believe that they can do it, and succeed. The rest of us, simply give away to our failures.
It is then, when we actually give away, in the name of past failures that we fail forever. On the other hand, if we learn from our mistakes and rekindle a fresh dose of expectations, every time that we start, success is just a matter of time.
What if I was more than a memory expert, say you were told that I am a famous astrologer, who has always been right with the predictions. Now if I tell you that if you work hard and keep trying, you will definitely succeed. Will you not actually work hard?
Yes you will, just because you trust me, the astrologer. How convenient, we trust whom we do not even personally know, but we do not trust our own selves, the power of karma within us. Only if we can somehow nurture this faith in us, we can make it to the top. It is just a matter of seeing there, with faith and expectation.
It is about a young boy, an average child who was busy enjoying his childhood. He was happy with what he had and absolutely nothing bothered him. Amongst things and people, what he loved most in life was his mother. She was most precious to him and even as a young kid, he never disobeyed her. They shared a very special bond, the two were more than a parent and a son, they were indeed friends. This boy's father had died when he was just six, but he never missed him, because he had his mother around. Life was good, until one day while talking the mother mentioned her secret wish to her son. She wanted the boy to become a dancer, she wanted him to specialize in either of the Indian forms and earn the fame, which his father could not do, on account of illness.
The boy instantly got worried. He had never said no to his mother and he knew that she was wise enough to not to mention anything this serious so casually. He knew the gravity of the issue and this bothered him immensely. Dancing is fine, but an Indian dance form did not really enchant him. After all it was for women to practice those dance forms, men look so silly wearing all that attire and make up and performing.
But while he was out rightly disinterested, he was not courageous enough to say no to his mother. After all she was such a devoted parent who hardly asked for anything and if there is one thing which could make her happy, he must do it.
Unwillingly the boy registered with the dance group and so the practice sessions began. He performed badly, his teachers labelled him as a lousy dancer, in fact the only one with two left feet. But while there was so much discouragement around, somebody was there to always applaud. His mother constantly told him how well he danced. She always had something positive to comment about. She was always amongst the audiences to clap for her child, even if he always stood in the last row.
And so it went on for years, until one day the boy asked his teacher if he could lead the group for just one performance. The teacher could not find words, he wanted to out rightly reject the boy's appeal, but there was something in his eyes, which made it difficult. Though the boy was a terrible dancer, yet he had been trying since so many years and this perhaps deserved at least some recognition. After much deliberation, the teacher called for a quick meeting. He informed the group members that the boy would lead the show for that one day. But he was apprehensive, and so asked the other performers to cover up if anything went wrong. He worked out an alternate step, which would help change positions of all, in case the performance would not be as per expectations. The group would pick this optional step and change the formation, so that the young boy is moved from the first position to the last. Without informing the young boy, teacher practiced this move with the rest of the group and only when he was satisfied, he signalled all to start the performance, with the young boy in lead.
Whatever followed was beyond the teacher's imagination. The young boy danced like never before. He outperformed all others and the audiences were mesmerized to see this young dancer's performance. He was better than the best of the group. Nobody could believe it, but it was true. He had finally done it, the fame and recognition were all his.
After the show the teacher greeted his disciple and honestly praised him. He told the boy about his apprehensions and also conveyed his sincere admiration. The boy simply said thank you and started to leave. Just as he turned, the teacher said 'how I wish your mom was here today. She could have witnessed it all; it is because of her encouragement and prayers that you stand here today.'
The boy answered 'she is here sir and for the first time she is actually watching me perform. She died in an accident this morning and now when she is up there, I am sure she is no longer blind. So today she has actually witnessed it all and I can hear those claps so clearly than ever.'
There is no name for this young boy; he resides in all of us. He is the faith in us; he is the capability in us. He finally succeeded, because he performed with the power of expectation, with the belief that he is being watched. He had faith and his faith succeeded him. Faith can do it for you as well, it can take you closer to your success, it is just about realizing the power.
Let the good or evil win
White, the colour of good or black, the colour of evil are in constant tussle within us. White is always striving to present a clear base; a base which does not talks about the failures of past, the mistakes or mishaps. White does not blame or discourages. White under no circumstances suggests forgetting it; it never represents the last attempt. Instead white encourages with a fresh start. It as a plain canvas offers the liberty to paint again, to again look at your dreams and use the available resources to once again sketch and thus form the life filled by colours of success.
Black on the other hand leaves no scope to colour, because it allows no colour to leave any impact. It is the frame of darkness, which occurs when we close our eyes and lie back, thinking we can never do it. Black it is, if we accept failures, if we kill hope. When the faith dies, the expression of black, of inability rules.
However if could try white over black, the former will certainly leave a mark, a much positive one!
You've got both, white and black within you. You can stand up again, plan a fresh start and there will the white path ahead, promising of success, leading to success. You could settle down and get accustomed to your failures, there's nothing but the black, dark picture ahead. You decideâ€¦ Joni Eareckson Tada learned to hold the brush with her teeth and thus paint; can you not do it with your hands?
I've said enough so far, but perhaps it's still not enough if I must make you believe in the power of expectation or in fact make you more clearer on the link between faith and success. So now I'll move on from plain discussion, to something more concrete, more validated. Have you heard or read about Pygmalion Effect?
When I was in ninth standard our teacher introduced a new study schema. As per this, she appointed nine students as the help group; she called them jewels, akin to jewels in Akbar's darbar. These nine students were expected to lead the class, they were supposed to assist whoever had any issues with their course and thus in a way assist the teaching staff with student issues, etc. These selected students were obviously expected to be the best. They were responsible for so many others and in a way were expected to prove their calibre; after all they were the selected ones. Invariably the nine students performed well. They clearly scored better than their best. They not only helped others, but also proved their teacher's confidence in them. Why??
Why do you think this happened? Well â€¦ perhaps they were academically brilliant, or maybe teachers paid more attention towards their studies.
As a student even I thought this was the answer, but today I know better of it. When the teacher appointed these students, she expressed faith in them, she expected them to perform and thus motivate others. This display of confidence and expectation ensured that the students gave their best and this is the Pygmalion effect.
You can call it any name, Pygmalion effect or whatever, but the core of it lies in the fact that expectation is a power which can pull even the weakest.
Illustrated is a simple case where teacher displayed confidence in her students and they performed, the implications are much more critical, if we understand that the reverse also works.
Consider the case of two friends X and Y, studying in the same class. Both had the same course to study and similar learning situations, save one difference. X's parents kept telling her that she was a special child, with exceptionally brilliant capabilities. They told her that they are confident that she can achieve and thus they have no doubts of her success. They told her that they are convinced of best results.
Y's parents on the other hand told her that they've never had a bright student in the family so far and statistics with girls, even worse. They kept repeating that it is not very useful for her to waste time with studies; it would anyways be of no use. None have performed well and neither would she be able do anything commendable.
Results were as per expectation, X succeeded, while Y failed miserably.
Similar is the case with sports. For instance cricket, a winning team, with good follower ship performs well, while a team with no expectation quite often fumbles.
So when there is positive expectation, the internal button says work hard and we do and we succeed, while when there is negative expectation, the internal mechanism gives up and we fumble; so serious is the connection between expectation and success.
From external to internal expectation â€¦
Alright so it is about expectations and faith, however so far this power of expectation has been generated from an external source. The teacher showcased belief or the parents played an important role, however it will not be possible, always in life, to have a positive source of inspiration externally. It is great to hear phrases like I believe in you or I know you can do it or you are the best, go for it, but what if there is nobody to make such pleasing statements? In the absence of external inspiration, you must still go on and deliver the best â€¦ but how??
This will happen if you can shift the source of inspiration from outside to inside. The phrase has to change from you can do it to I can do it. There has to be the power of expectation and faith, with you as your own source. Why depend on anybody else for your success, when you know the secret. It is just about making one change; it is about telling your soul that you have the courage to do it. It has to be your power of expectation, your faith in your success, which can cast the miracle. Not too much of an effort for success, is it??