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Excerpt for Between Her Womb & Your Tomb by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

BETWEEN HER WOMB & YOUR TOMB EMMANUEL CISCO

Between Her Womb & Your Tomb

Copyright © 2015 Emmanuel Cisco

Smashwords Edition





All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.





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DEDICATION

To the two amazing ladies that have sandwiched my Opportunity of Life: Yancon Kaimah and Ceecee Cisco.

I love you so much.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

A book is never written by an author unless it is first planted in his mind as seed by the Author of his life, the Almighty Creator. I thank God for His awesome grace. I’m also grateful to all the great leaders and writers (past and present) that have inspired me by their works.


I’m profoundly grateful to my friend, Solomon Tetteh Gberbie, and the rest of my Efforts Group Ghana (EGG) team members: Ernest Ransford Asare, Michael Kofi Forson and Yaw Ofori Badu. You guys have been the best A & B (Academic and Business) team members to work with.


If this book had a speaker, you would hear the applause. I’m applauding individuals and organizations that have added value to my Opportunity of Life. I can never mention them all, and if I attempt sharing how each of them has blessed my life, I would produce a new book. If you’ve played a major role in my life and this small page didn’t capture your name; I want you to know that your name is forever written on the tablet of my heart. I’m absolutely grateful to all those who have played a parental role in my life at a point, including: Mr. William Jerome, Rev. Augustus Z. Smucker, Rev. Joshua C. Newman, Mrs. Marylyn Duayenneh, Mrs. Esi Mensah, Mrs. Christabel Harvey-Ewusi, Mrs. Mallah Toe-Ross, Mrs. Odell Cole, Mrs. Katherine Gaye, and Claudia Eul.


And these young men who first helped me to discover my purpose: Rev. J.C. Mulbah, Rev. Natt E. Miller II, Dr. Yaw Perbi, and Joseph M.D. Johnson (my partner-in-progress). I’m also grateful to Alhaji Mohammed Lamin (my boss), Mr. Anselm Ezemson (for believing in me), John Benjamin Yanney (the designer of the excellent Cover and Nana Yaa Asantewaa the Inner Layout of this book).


I wish to salute all the young people who have placed so much demand on my potential, including: Esau Collins, Joyce Holmes, Siafa Draper, Andy Chea, Nahnsejay Mouwon, Andra Grant, Trokon Kanneh, Elikplim Medicine, Annice Nagba, Gustavus Boygeh, Thelma Geleplay, Togar Caesar, Zobada Vessilee, Elizabeth Asare, Emmanuel Gibson, Dave Newton, Majestu Pennue, Mohammed Sheriff, Joyce Amegunu, Pokolo Brown, Owusu Mainu, Christine Mumuni, Peter Nyenabo, Shadrack Mentowah, Asha Jerbo, Jeral Tamba, Augustine Williams, Esther Cole, Luportue Doe, Samuel K. Duodu, Jennifer Brown, Michael Johnson, Cecelia Zota, Norris Dogba, Jefferson Karr, Brenda Wreh, Sylvanus Sahn, Davidetta Togba, Henry Mah, Nick Wento, Augustine Sackie, Allen Mulbah, Clarence Thomas, Isaac K. Adusei, Fatu Kamara, Wilfred Zeon, Emmanuel Kortu, Aloysius Dickson, Philip Sumo, George Donkor, Gloria Zayzay, Randy Sekyi and Marvin and Augustine Yeahgar.


And my siblings: Gloria Cisco, Jerry Cisco, Oretha Cisco, Fedesco Cisco Tolbert, Anthony Teage, and Beatrice Cisco.

Let me thank the organizations that have directly and indirectly contributed to my Opportunity of Life in various ways: Youth Empowerment for Progress (YEP), Bethel-Ghana, Christian Council of Ghana (CCG), GIMPA, Action Chapel International (Mataheko/Afyienya), Legon Baptist Church, Agape New Testament, Light House Chapel, International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) (all in Ghana).

Thank you all for being part of this journey with me through your prayers, supports and encouragements.












































TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dedication

Acknowledgements


PART I

POEM: Between Her Womb & Your Tomb

Introduction

What does ‘LIFE’ mean to you?

1. The 5 Secrets of a ‘GREAT’ Life

i. The God Factor

ii. The Relationship Factor

iii. The Excellence Factor

iv. The Abilities (Skills) Factor

v. The Time Factor

PART II

2. Life and the Power of Environment

3. Life and the Power of Experience

4. Life and the Power of Faith

5. Life and the Power of Values

6. Life and the Power of Choice

PART III

7. Life and the Power of Knowledge

8. Life and the Power of Thought

9. Life and the Power of Action

10. Life and the Power of Money

11. Life and the Power of Health

12. How I Slipped Through the Fingers of Death

Conclusion

Praises for the Book

Connect with Author



PART

I

Part I basically discusses the big picture of the Opportunity of Life and the five major factors of a ‘GREAT’ life.


BETWEEN HER WOMB & YOUR TOMB

There is always a first day and then, a final day.

And probably few thousands or so in between

Life is the best game ever in history, press ‘play’

In the game of life, it’s always your choice to lose or win.


You started out naked, helpless and ignorant

And you gurgled and giggled your way out of diapers into childhood.

As you grow, know that you’ve been DNA-coded to do something different

Sometimes Life may deal you a bad hand, but you’re to play it good.


See each day as a small-scale version of your entire life.

As the sun rises, you rise out of bed like you came out of the womb;

The night falls and you fall back in bed like you’ll fall into your tomb

And you abandon everything to sleep like you’ll do in afterlife.


Between your mom’s womb and your tomb lies your lifetime opportunity

Be grateful because someone out there just took their last breath.

They wish they could at least do more for their generation and posterity

But their Opportunity of Life has been taken away by Death.


Someday your womb-to-tomb journey shall also come to an end

And you’ll finally close your eyes and fall into that eternal sleep;

You’d look back on the opportunity of time you had on Earth to spend

And wonder as they lay you to rest, how many people have time to weep?


Today, your Opportunity of Life seems like a real open highway

And death might only seem like a millennium away;

The truth is, your days here on Earth are also numbered

So, do something great with your life to be remembered.

INTRODUCTION

The devil doesn’t have to steal anything from you; all he has to do is to make you take it for granted.” -Max Lucado

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Before you read the next paragraph, let me assure you one thing: you’ll be a different person altogether if you read through this book and reach the page titled Conclusion. I’ve said this for two main reasons: the first reason is, because it is the book that contains the most important aspects of the most important subject in the world, Your Own Life; and the second reason, I’d like you find out and confirm it for yourself. Every chapter is loaded with inspirations that will get you directly on the path of success and significance. Regardless of your age or your condition, your color or your creed, your location or your occupation, this book will certainly provoke you to improve your personal and professional life in ways you haven’t imagined. Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014), an American writer and actress, once made this profound statement:

There were people who went to sleep last night, poor and rich and white and black, but they will never wake again. And those dead folks would give anything at all for just five minutes of this weather or ten minutes of plowing. So you watch yourself about complaining.”


Aren’t we all between wombs and tombs? We are. Right ahead of you lies your future, like a road leading into a long distance. It’s called the journey of life. But along this journey of life, there are obstacles to overcome and dreams to accomplish. When you look back (at your mother’s womb), you can’t even remember how it all started. When you look forward (at your tomb), you certainly cannot tell how it will all end. But in-between your mother’s womb and your tomb is your golden opportunity of Life. Yesterday is forever gone. Tomorrow might never come. But today is your life.


Kindly permit me to ask you this poignant question? To live long or to live well; which one would you rather prefer? It’s a tough question, right? Don’t worry, reading and applying the secrets contained in this book could allow you enjoy both. Life is a once-in-a-history opportunity, and as you know every opportunity has an expiry date. You didn’t ask for this opportunity, but it has already been given to you freely by an All-knowing God for a special reason. The devil doesn’t necessarily have to take away your Opportunity of Life from you through the evil instrument of death; all he has to do is to simply make you take it for granted. And sadly, that’s exactly what he has been doing to some people. He has made so many people to simply take their Opportunity of Life for granted.


Life can also be viewed as a busy airport (as Bishop T.D. Jakes has described it). Some people have reached their final destination, while others are just beginning their journeys and some are still on a layover (or transit) with many more miles to go still ahead of them. Some people’s flights have been delayed because of bad weather. We are all travelling through the various stages between wombs and tombs, we all are moving rapidly between birth and death. We all have different flight routes, flying on different airlines at various altitudes. We are all on different legs of our journey, with different schedules. Some are currently enjoying a smooth flight, some are experiencing turbulence in the air, some are being delayed at the airports, and some won’t take off now until flying conditions are improved. It might only seem like our departure times and places are different, even our estimated time of arrival at our destination may be different; however, the truth is, ultimately we all have one final destination - eternity. For reaching that destination, we all most certainly will. The only concern is whether the trip will be enjoyable or endurable. That is why God has placed this book in your hands to help you enjoy and not merely endure your flight.


I don’t know your age or the stage of your life trip currently, but what I know is that as long as you’re still between your mother’s womb and your tomb, this book is meant for you. It is a book on life that could put your name in the Book of Life. While you still have this Opportunity of Life in your hands, I just want to remind you that someone out there just took their last breath. Their flight has just landed at the final destination. They would give anything for just few hours of your Opportunity of Life, but God knows better. You have been given this Opportunity of Life because God knows that you are strong enough to live it. However, Life is far bigger than you think, my dear. It was an epiphany that made me realize life as an opportunity, when I slipped through the fingers of Death (an experience I’ve shared in this book).


This book brings all the major aspects of life together, including: the 5 key factors that determine a GREAT life: acknowledging God in the equation of success and significance, building fruitful Relationships with people, fuelling your dream with the spirit of Excellence, recognizing and utilizing your unique Abilities and talents to succeed, and appreciating your greatest asset of Time. It also contains the 10 most powerful elements of life that will inspire you to make your Opportunity of Life worth celebrating, namely: environment, experience, faith, values, choices, knowledge, thoughts, action, money and health.


God knows you cannot afford to be a burden to your generation; this is why He has put this book in your hands to make you a blessing to the world before leaving the stage of life. Your birth may have been normal, but this book will challenge you to let your death make history. Reflect on the words of General Douglas MacArthur, “There is no security on this Earth. There is only opportunity.”


Many people hardly think about life as an opportunity until they see people dying or when they hear about death. Life is the biggest and greatest opportunity a person has. But if you still doubt in your heart that life is an opportunity, go visit the mortuary. There you would realize that life is more than just a breath for the living. There’s a big difference between being alive and truly living, and this book will show you that difference. How you lead your life all depends on how you look at it. To put it matter-of-factly, Life is GOD (Greatest Opportunity Disguised). Therefore, before you die, learn how to live and lead a life worth celebrating!


WHAT DOES ‘LIFE’ MEAN TO YOU?

You fall out of your mother's womb; you crawl across open country under fire, and drop into your grave.” - Quentin Crisp

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According to Science (man’s observation), your mother was born with about two billion eggs for fertilization purposes throughout her entire lifetime; but your father started generating billions of sperm cells from puberty. On that fateful day that you were conceived in the womb, only one of your father’s billions of sperm cells produced that day actually survived to fertilize just one of your mother’s billions of eggs and the result of that unique sperm-egg combination became YOU! That’s amazing, isn’t it? The interesting thing is: your parents never had the slightest idea of the actual outcome of their moment of fun.


However, according to Scripture (God’s affirmation), “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5 NIV). Truth be told, God definitely and purposely formed you even before you were conceived in the womb. God is not a scientist to experiment with your life. He never guessed. Even Albert Einstein, one of the most intelligent scientists who have ever lived, confessed this truth, “God doesn’t play dice.” God is always sure about what He does. Thus, you were born out of fun but your mission here is to brighten the world like the sun.

One of the most astute 21st century diplomats, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, aptly said, “The meaning of life cannot be explained by Science.”


“What is Life?” This was the simple question I once asked a group of young people during one of our weekly youth meetings at church. The answers were not too different from what I expected: “Life is the breath we have that enables us to experience and feel things…Life is the ability to live… Life is the chance we have to do something before we die, etc.” I was so inspired by what Life meant to those young people. I took the marker and graciously walked to the white board and wrote:

1929-1968

1914-2003

2000-2010


I turned around and stared at their stunned faces; I knew they desired and deserved an explanation for what I had written on the board. And I know you do too. Now, let me explain. When you visit any cemetery, you’d notice such inscriptions on various tombs, right? Each line clearly represents the combination of the year the person buried in that tomb or grave was born and the year he/she died. The first represents the year the person entered this world and the second indicates the year the person exited this world. For instance, for the first line above, the person was born in 1929 and died 1968; the last line says the person was born 2000 and died 2010. The interesting thing is that the two periods are always separated by a simple ‘dash’. This is it, what we call “Life” is simply that dash (-) between each of the two years for each person in the grave. Therefore, what we all know as life is just the period between birth and death; it’s the distance between your mother’s womb and your tomb.


Life is the journey a person travels from their cradle to their coffin. Life is the sum of all the moments you have to spend between your first day and your final day on Earth. Now, hear this: you could not decide which window or door (womb) you entered through into this world but you can somewhat decide which door (tomb) you exit through. In other words, you had no choice over how you were born; but you could choose how you would love to be buried. Some people entered this world as children of peasants, and they left as presidents.


The dash may appear so small when it is written on the tomb, but it represents a huge Opportunity of Life given to each of us by our Creator to do something worthwhile that will prepare us for eternity. When your dash is finally written in The Book of Life by the Author of Life, it will have the same length and thickness as everyone else’s. That dash symbolizes the only chance we have to create something we shall forever be remembered and celebrated for. This is why the Creator makes it clear in His Word that:

The race [Life] is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11 NIV), Emphasis mine).


Life is all about time and chance. Irrespective of our color or creed, our location or occupation, we all have been blessed with 24 hours a day by the Creator as a divine opportunity to find and fulfil our purpose on this Earth. This is what Life means to our Creator: time and chance; the time and chance He has given you to solve the problems you were created to solve; the time and chance to live and prepare for the answer to the one question you’ll be asked in eternity. And that question is: what did you do with the Opportunity of Life I gave you?


The basic difference between the dead and the living is simply the difference between ‘COULD’ and ‘CAN’ as used in the English dictionary. The dead is referred to as ‘the late’ because they could have done something new or different but they have lost the chance to do so; it’s late. But right before the living is a whole world of possibilities; you can still think and do something new or different. It is your opportunity and this opportunity is called Life.


Can I ask you a question? What life really means to you? It has been said that, “Nothing really has meaning except for the meaning we assign to it.” To some people, life is a blessing; and to others, life is a burden. Your life can only be what it means to you. As you think about the meaning of your life, let me clarify something quickly: Life is not merely about your duration on Earth, it is about your donation to Humanity. Don’t worry about longevity (its length); concentrate on your legacy (its width and depth).


In my Microeconomics classes, I learned that ‘more is better’; if one is good, then two is better. It’s self-evident that some people in the world today prefer quantity to quality; they prefer volume to value. But truth be told, Life has more to do with quality than quantity; the value your life adds to the world is far more important than the volume of things it contains. Life is not about your consumption of the world’s goods and services at all; it has more to do with your contribution towards providing the world’s goods and services. It’s not about the bread you are consuming; it’s about the fruits you are producing. And most importantly, life is not about you, it is about humanity: your community, your country, your continent; the world at large, because when you are done and gone, they will still be here. Life is about glorifying God through your service to humanity.


You log on to Facebook and other social media platforms and see people posting the popular abbreviation ‘HBD’ on their friends’ walls on their birthdays. In my opinion, HBD is not just an abbreviation to express Happy BirthDay; I think it also poses an intriguing question: What’s Happening between your Birth and Death? In other words, “What are you doing with your Opportunity of Life now? Yesterday’s forever gone. Tomorrow may never come. Your Opportunity of Life is NOW. What are you doing with it? Think about it.


As I write this page, one particular story making the headlines in Ghana is all about the missing musician ‘Castro’ who had gone riding a jet ski with a female friend on the Volta lake. Most of the story is mainly about the popular musician who had won so many awards in his musical career and only a little or almost nothing is said about the girl. Probably, it’s because she had not done so much to get national attention before that fateful incidence. This incidence only reminds me of what a childhood friend told me when we were growing up in Firestone. The boy sternly told me one day, “.If only my death news could be a headline on CNN or BBC, I think my soul would be happy.” Can you imagine that? That’s how some people define fulfilment in life – when the world can mention your name. However, the truth of the matter is, the way you see your life now will determine how the world might discuss your death when you’re gone.


On Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s tomb, it is written: 1929 - 1968; on my grandfather’s grave, it is written: 1914 - 2003. Today, the whole world remembers Martin Luther King Jr., but almost all of my family members have even forgotten my grandfather so soon. They only remember my grandfather as the one who acquired the few parcels of land they are fighting over today.


So why is this huge discrepancy between the memories of Dr. King and my grandfather? The question is simple in nature but the answer is deep in essence: Contribution to Humanity! I don’t know the actual purpose of each of those two fine gentlemen who were given this golden Opportunity of Life, so I cannot judge who was more successful and fulfilled than the other. I don’t even have the right to do that, and no one has the right to judge them. My only point here is: When I typed Deysieh Kaimah (my grandfather’s name) and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Google Search separately; I got “no results” on my grandfather, but I got about “46,000,000 results (in 0.41 seconds)” on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. alone.

Although Dr. King lived for only 39 years on this Earth, he is still remembered and discussed by more people than my grandfather who lived for about 89 years. Interestingly, today it is said that if Google can’t find you, then perhaps you don’t exist. Can you believe that?


Just a free advice: Don’t fight to put your name in Google Search engine and forget to put it in God’s Book of Life. Remember, Google Search is temporary, but God’s Book of Life is permanent. In fact, Google is not God to know everything! There’s only one All-knowing God, and it is not Google. Google has only been around since 1998 but God has been around before the beginning of time.


If only you really knew and believed Life is an opportunity, you would cherish it a little more. For most people, life seems like an open highway and death might seem like a millennium away but I hate to remind you: your days are numbered. It’s a hard truth, isn’t it? The average life span today is 25, 550 days. Compared to eternity, life is extremely short. It is temporary. The Holy Scripture says, “Our days on Earth are as transient as a shadow” (Job 8:9 NLT). It means we are only on a temporary assignment here. Life is such a priceless gift no one can recreate once it’s gone. Death only reveals two things to us: the ruthlessness of the grave and the true beauty of our great Opportunity of Life.


I want you to imagine the number line in Mathematics, where zero is indicated as the middle point of the line with neither a beginning nor an end. Any point to the left of point zero is negative; any point to the right is positive. Life is just like the number line. Everyone actually stepped on the stage of life through the curtains of birth right at Point Zero; not knowing where they are coming from or where they are going. At Point Zero, you knew nothing; you had nothing of your own, therefore, the world considered you as nobody. But Heaven and Earth eagerly watch to see how you utilize your golden Opportunity of Life.


This number line analogy depicts that life has more to do with direction rather than speed. It’s not how fast you are moving, but which way you are going. If you end up on the negative side, you’ll be condemned as a failure; if you end up on the positive side you’ll be considered as fulfilled. Who is the judge? The Judge is God. Why is He God? Because He decides who is a failure or fulfilled. The truth is, God can only judge a person at the end of their Opportunity of Life. Therefore, there’s nothing like failure in life; if you don’t like the result you get at a particular point in your life, you can still change the action that produced such result. However, no one knows when their Opportunity of Life shall end.


Some people treat Life in such a way that when they die, most people rejoice, “Thank God she came”; while others allow Life to treat them in such a way that when they die, most people rejoice “Thank God she’s gone.” Are you a blessing or a burden to people? What would this world have lost if you had not come? What does this world stand to gain even when you are gone? Think about it. Today, we go to our Literature classes and learn that William Shakespeare has been here on planet Earth; we see the power of the incandescent bulb brightening our rooms and know someone like Thomas Edison passed this way. If someone told you about the evil days of Apartheid in South Africa, that person in the same breath will also tell you how the courage of people like Nelson Mandela erased that evil ideology. We have sufficient evidence that people like Mother Teresa visited this planet; Albert Einstein, John D. Rockefeller, George Washington Carver, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Malcolm X, Michael Jackson, and the list goes on… all of them have left some remarkable and indelible footprints on the sand of time we all can see or read today. So what can you also do to inform posterity that you also had this Opportunity of Life? Think about it.


I believe everyone is born great because we were made in the image and likeness of a great Creator, the One who created everything from which everything else is manufactured today. However, not everyone born becomes great. God, the Creator, has deposited a seed of greatness in everyone who has entered into this world. Everyone has the equal chance to manifest that seed of greatness and become great. So anyone can become great. But not everyone who has come into the world has been great and not everyone will be great. One thing God knows is: you can become great! Don’t ever allow anyone’s negative opinion of you to change your own opinion about yourself. I remember once a friend walked into my room, looked into my mirror and told me, “At least your mirror is better. Some mirrors can really deceive people, just like the mirror I looked in the other day in someone’s house. That mirror really made me feel like I’m not worth it.” Then, I asked, “What do you mean by that?” And she said, “The mirror made my face look so different, it changed the shape of my head totally and I felt bad for even looking in it that day.”


The lesson I learned from that is: there’re different kinds of people in our life just like the different kinds of mirrors in our houses; they can sometimes deceive us if we’re not careful. Sometimes, you look at some people in your life and they make you feel like you’re not worth it. At the same time, you look at others; and they just make you feel great about yourself every time. But the truth is: it really doesn’t matter who says good things or bad things to you, what matters most is what you say to yourself every day. If you don’t like what someone says to you, you can choose to walk away. But if you don’t like what you say to yourself, you can’t walk away. So, since you’re going to be with yourself all the time, just learn to always say all the best things about yourself to yourself every day and you’ll always feel great and become great.


Be prepared to make your contribution to the world. Having an Opportunity of Life today is, somewhat, like being added to an active Whatsapp group by God (the one and only Admin) without your prior consent. You can choose to contribute to the discussion or remain mute and only observe what’s going on or even delete yourself. If you choose to delete yourself (by committing suicide) for any reason, it means you have failed God and your generation. And if you choose to remain mute and only observe, no one will ever notice or appreciate your presence in the group. Therefore, I challenge you to rise up and participate fully in this Group of Life because God wouldn’t have added you to the world if He knew you have nothing to contribute to humanity. He knew before adding you, that you’re destined for greatness! It has already been said that “Nature is usually generous and bountiful, but when it comes to the human species, it dispenses the best specimens with great parsimony. Thus a fortunate community may get one great man once in every generation or even in a century or not at all.” I want you to know that, the same way you survived as a single sperm cell among billions of other cells and became a baby in the womb, you can choose to survive again among millions of people in your country and become great.


For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with discovering what makes certain people great while others remain average. What makes certain men and women extraordinary while their peers remain ordinary? Today, I have discovered that greatness is a function of 5 well-coordinated factors I’m about to share with you in the first chapter of this book.


CHAPTER ONE

THE 5 SECRETS OF A ‘GREAT’ LIFE

If you're willing to do only what is easy, life will be hard. But if you're willing to do what is hard, life will be easy." - T. Harv Eker

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There’s only one thing that is truly certain for every man under the sun. What is that one thing? Yea, you’re right, it is death. By this simple truth, life then becomes our most precious possession here on Earth. Before reaching the grave, I know we all deeply crave to become great. Greatness has become almost everyone’s number-one dream. All of us ardently desire to live well and enjoy personal fulfilment and be celebrated during and even after our Opportunity of Life is expired. For some people, greatness seems to come instantaneously without any effort. But, as a matter of fact, greatness actually creeps into life gradually on the back of discipline and determination. According to Collins COBUILD Dictionary, “Great means large in amount or degree… You can describe someone who is successful and famous for their actions, knowledge, or skill as great.”


On the golden pages of History we see innumerable success stories of preachers, athletes, musicians, actors, entrepreneurs, authors, speakers, etc. who were tagged as great before they eventually fell into their grave. What extra thing did those ordinary people do with their Opportunity of Life that made them extraordinary? With great determination, commitment and courage, they consciously decided to work assiduously hard to leave indelible footprints on the sand of time. Therefore, they eventually became great. But sadly today what do we see, so many people are merely waiting for greatness to fall right into their laps instead of making any conscious effort to realize their dreams through prayers, determination, knowledge, wisdom and action.


It is self-evident that the world is truly in a constant state of confusion and change. Problems even seem to outnumber solutions. The impacts of economic recessions, civil conflicts, deadly diseases, coordinated crimes and social scandals are felt in every corner of society today. These challenges characterize our daily lives to the point that even the future we so desire seems so bleak because of these frustrating indicators. Consequently, fulfilling one’s dream appears to be too difficult, if not impossible; and sometimes even not worth the effort. How can one become great against these high tides of existence? Because of this fearful nature of Greatness, only few people in this life would dare and achieve what they truly desire. A vast majority of people do not have the drive to handle ‘greatness’ and the increased challenges that come with it, and that is why they cannot be great. But today, you can dare to be great before you fall into your grave. Take it as a personal challenge. Let it not escape your mind that everything and everyone on earth that is enjoying the Opportunity of Life today will eventually die, but history will account for them. Undoubtedly, death is indeed a grand mystery. Life, they say, is a question no one can answer; and death, an answer no one can question.


In the end everyone will exit this Earth, although not at the same time. But remember one thing: we all shall answer the question of life in Eternity. And that question again is: What did you do with your Opportunity of Life? What is important to consider here is the fact that this final examination of accountability will be administered only by the Judge of life, the Creator. And if you’ve been wondering why you are still alive and reading this book, this is your answer: to plan and fruitfully work out your response to that one great question with your Opportunity of Life. God opened a book on your life the very moment you were born; it’s your responsibility to write in it what you want the world to read. If you really want your life to be a wonderful story, then start realizing that you are the author of your own story; no one can write it for you. And every day you have the opportunity to write a new page which you will never again have the time to edit when it is done and the opportunity is gone. That said, may I now ask you this simple question: which chapter of your life are you writing at the moment?


We all have the same blank page every day. While some people are writing story that will someday be a bestseller; others are just staring at their pages every day without producing a paragraph, not even a sentence or a word. I challenge you to do something with every page of day you have before flipping over to a new page. Make an effort to do something meaningful every day before welcoming another new day. Let me now share with you the five (5) important secrets that can make a person great before falling in their grave. These are timeless secrets that have moved great men from nowhere to somewhere; they can move you from any undesirable situation to your desired destination. Let’s find out how.


1. THE GOD FACTOR

Every function of personal fulfilment (what we call greatness), undoubtedly has a God factor in it. In fact, it is not by mistake that the word “Great” even begins with “G” (God). It only takes God’s grace for anyone to become great. Grace is a special unmerited favor. Note this carefully: no one can ever labor for that special favor. Grace can be the competitive advantage for anyone desiring to be great. Only those that have discovered and truly believe that there is a hidden supernatural power within them can start moving in the positive direction of personal fulfilment. I don’t know all the answers to life’s questions, but I know that Life’s a brief opportunity given to us by God and GOD is eternally the Greatest Opportunity Disguised. So if you can find the eternal God, you can at least enjoy your temporary Opportunity of Life.


The world is like an active Whatsapp group, created by God (the one and only Admin). He can add or remove anyone at any time without anyone’s permission. He monitors every single thread of discussion in the group. He reads every post and comment, consistently. So, if God is monitoring everything in this world every single moment, where can you go or what can you accomplish without Him? Don’t deceive yourself; you can never become great without God. Everything that has life has God; and to deny the existence of God is to deny the existence of life. God is forever supreme! No problem in life can threaten God at all, because before that problem arrived God was already around. And that’s why Greatness begins with the God factor.


It is self-evident that the purpose of a product is only revealed by the manufacturer of the product. What’s the use of running when you are on the wrong lane? What’s the essence of climbing the ladder when it is laid against the wrong wall? Life is too short to spend a significant part of it speculating, playing and experimenting only to find out the use of it. The surest way is: get God involved now and let Him take the steering and see the result. If you don’t know the use of anything, you tend to abuse it and life is not an exception. People are abusing their Opportunity of Life because they don’t know the actual use of it. Leading your life ordinarily is abusing it. You were never created to be ordinary, but to be great. Do you really know the difference between an ordinary person and a great person? An ordinary person may depend on others to get what he wants, but a great person depends on God to achieve his greatest result. Until you seek God, you will never even find yourself. God is the Operating System required to run any program in your life; therefore, install Him now. If you’re confused about your life, the remedy is…


SEEK GOD TO UNDERSTAND YOUR LIFE

Don’t try to use God; let God use you. I agree with Rick Warren that, “Many people try to use God for their own self-actualization, but that is a reversal of nature and is doomed to failure. You were made for God, and not vice versa, and life is about God using you for his purposes, not you using him for your own purpose.” I like how Dr. Yaw Perbi wrote it in his book Youth Power, “…the way to find yourself is to lose yourself in God.” The ultimate purpose of life is to please (glorify) God and not to please yourself.

Our Creator has categorically stated, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it” (Matthew 16:24-25 NIV). If you want to be great, lay down your pride, pick up your cross and focus on the prize ahead of you. When you are able to carry your cross, you are certainly going to get your crown of greatness. Don’t allow Pride to hold you down. I like how John Mason wrote it, “The only reason pride will lift you up is to let you down.” There’s no sin without the letter “I” in the center of it. Life is not really about you in the first place. So deny yourself, find God and follow him to greatness. If you find yourself struggling with that spirit of pride, let me recommend this remedy: pay a short visit to the mortuary.


Life is a mystery designed by God. And no one can understand God completely. I understand that most people don’t really understand why God doesn’t want to be understood in totality. In their doubt and confusion He has still allowed them to have the Opportunity of Life. We simply don’t understand God. And the truth is: God does not want to be understood totally, He only wants to be glorified and appreciated always. That’s all. In their confusion, some people sit down and confess, “I can’t understand my life.” I think the right way to say that is, “I don’t understand my God” because there’s no life without God. If you want to understand your life, seek your God. You can never be seeking God and be complaining at the same time because the truth is…


COMPLAINT IS A PRAYER TO THE DEVIL

You may have decided to sit in your little corner and complain, “See my friends are traveling, having good jobs, building nice homes and buying nice cars. See my friends are graduating from university with good degrees; some are even starting their own businesses.” But I urge you with all my heart to sign out from Facebook and go take a look at your other group of friends who have made the hospital their home because they are suffering from HIV/AIDS. I suggest you also log in to the Ghettos and take a look at your other friends who have been enslaved by drugs and alcohol because they are so frustrated by the challenges of life. Have you checked up those in the prisons too? Can’t you look at your other group of friends who are now in the grave and in the mortuary?


You can appreciate life or be frustrated about life based on the kind of friends you choose to focus on. You can choose to login on Facebook and compare your life to others’ and feel sad about your own story or go down to the graveyard and give God His glory for your life. There’s something far bigger about your life than getting a like on Facebook. One of the Significant Emotional Experiences (SEEs) I had this year was when I once sat behind my computer, logged on to Facebook only to get a birthday notification of a friend who had died. Imagine what was going on in my mind. All Facebook knew was the fact that my late friend’s account was still active, but only God knew the truth that his Opportunity of Life was already expired.


Take this seriously; what you see now as a delay in your life is far better than a decay of your life. A slow life is far better than a fast death. Your life only gets rotten when you complain. Remember, when you’re so bitter in life you can’t get any better. I don’t know how bad your life is, but I know how good God is. Complaint is only a prayer to the devil; Faith is the only language that God understands. If you’ve been struggling with your faith in God, Chapter 4 of this book will help you a lot.

You might not have succeeded yet, but thank God you’re not dead. Thank God you still have your Opportunity of Life. Don’t ever think God has finished with your life. The truth is: if God had finished with your life, He would have ended it long time ago because He holds the omnipotent power to do so. Have you really sat down to consider some of those things you have survived in your life only by God’s grace? Are you counting your blessings, or are you weighing your burden? Let me give you my humble advice: don’t fight to understand God, just learn to appreciate Him. His ways are not your ways; neither are His thoughts, your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8). God is the supernatural being that has the supreme power to Generate, Organize and Destroy anything He desires at any time. That is GOD for you. So, fear Him because the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10)!


You don’t only need to fear Him as God; you also need to trust him as your Father who’s leading you on this wonderful journey between your mother’s womb and your tomb. Do you wonder why sometimes you don’t get all that you desire or think you really deserve at any given point in your life? Now listen. It is because you don’t know all the details of all that you claim you deserve as well as those things you desire. You don’t even have the slightest clue about the next mile of your journey of life. Do you know exactly what will happen tomorrow? No. Only God alone knows the details.


The amazing thing about God is His ability to know what you desire and yet lovingly give you what you deserve; He knows what you deserve and yet lovingly gives you what He desires. You expect to get what you want, but He always gives you what you need. Don’t be afraid to tell God, “Father, let your will be done!” God’s will shall always be done. No need to be afraid because His will is always good, acceptable and perfect for our lives (Romans 12:2). God’s plans for your life are not evil; they are good and intended to give you an expected end (Jeremiah 29:11).


You may have good intentions but if they are not God’s intention, then you are absolutely wrong. Let God be the center of everything you do. If you have been seeking greatness any other way, stop now and find God first. It all starts with God. Jesus says in Matthew 6:33 “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you” (Emphasis mine). “In everything you do, put God first and He will direct you and He shall crown your efforts with success” (Proverbs 3:6 TLB, Emphasis mine). The proto principle says, “In all your getting, get God first.” If you put God at the center of your life; trust me, the circumference will surely take care of itself.


People just easily forget how good God has been to them. For instance, the man who begged for food in a refugee camp in Ghana some years ago is now too busy in America to even worship God on Sunday. Back when the family struggled to make ends meet, they leaned on God totally for their daily bread; going to church 7 days a week. Now that food is not a problem anymore and few dollars in the pocket, he hasn’t spoken to God for years. How far do you want God to go in getting your attention? As human beings, we keep getting and forgetting, but God keeps giving and forgiving. That’s how good God is and how ungrateful we human beings have been. Remember you can be successful in the eyes of men, but your life can only be significant in the eyes of God, your Creator.


You cannot bear much fruit if you are not connected to the vine (God). The most important reason why you should surrender to the power of God on this journey of greatness is because He knows more about life than you do. He was here before you came, and He will still be here when you leave. With God, you can do anything; without God, you can actually do nothing. You cannot spell “Great” without “G”- God. Don’t forget, your relationship with God is one thing and your relationship with people is also another thing.


2. THE RELATIONSHIP FACTOR

God will never do for you what you can do for yourself. However, what you cannot do for yourself God will certainly do for you, but through people. Can you remember the first lesson you ever learned about human relations? I can. It came from my mom. She used to tell my siblings and me, “If you want to get along with people in this life, learn to master how to say ‘please’, ‘sorry’, and ‘thank you’.” My mom reinforced that advice by living it herself. For instance, sometimes she would give away something or do something for somebody, and would still go ahead and gladly say ‘thank you’ to the person if the person doesn’t say it; because she strongly believes that every human interaction must include one of those expressions. This is one reason why my mom has been my greatest inspiration in life.

If you sit and keenly observe life, you would soon discover that most of the problems we face today, nationally and individually, are all relationship problems. See how countries are breaking partnership agreements; how companies are ignoring the needs of their employees and customers; how so many children today are now left to face the struggles of life all by themselves as victims of divorces or separations. These are all relationship problems, aren’t they? If you are reading this book, it means that God has blessed you with another day; not because you deserve nor need it, but simply because some people out there really need you. Believe it or not; if it hadn’t been for some people, you wouldn’t have been alive today. The secret is: to have a fuller life, you need to empty yourself into others. The Master has commanded, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31 NIV). Be kind to people. Learn to put yourself in someone’s place instead of putting them in their place. I hardly knew any other interpretation of the religious symbol of the Cross apart from it being used as the symbol of Christ’s death on Calvary, until one of my Humanity lecturers at the university pointed out to us that the symbol of the cross is all about building relationship. The vertical line represents man’s relationship to God and the horizontal line represents man’s relationship to his fellow men. Even the Ten Commandments in the Bible are all about relationship. The first four is about your relationship with God and the second six is about your relationship with your fellow men. And this is the foundation of the Golden Rule, which is the yardstick for all the major religions in the world today: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Mastering the principle of relationship is the second secret of greatness. This is why the ‘R’ in the word “Great” is all about the Relationship factor.

Remember, God does not bless you in isolation; He always blesses you through people. You don’t just meet people by accident or by coincidence; they have been programmed by God to cross your path on purpose. As human beings, our greatest success and happiness depend on our ability to relate to other people. Everybody needs somebody to make their life worth living and worth celebrating. For instance, the politician needs the voters’ cooperation and support to win an election; the business executive needs the employees’ loyalty and cooperation to achieve the company’s goals; the pastor needs the members, the teacher needs the students, the coach needs the players, etc. And for people to lift you up to your greatest potential, you need to make yourself light to lift by being genuinely interested in other people.

Every day, in every way our souls cry out for connection. If you truly desire to be great, then start building healthy relationships now. Begin to learn how to create value for and connect with other people, because the second most important factor in the equation of greatness is: knowing how to get along with others (relationship). John D. Rockefeller, one of the richest men of the twentieth century, believed the power of relationship so much when he said, “I will pay more for the ability to deal with people than any other ability under the sun.” Many people today have not realized that relationship is a critical success factor because they have not discovered that…


EVERYONE’S BORN WITH A BLUETOOTH

I think the person who invented the Bluetooth technology actually copied that idea carefully from the Almighty Creator. As a matter of fact, every human being is born with a divine “Bluetooth” or “Wi-Fi” technology to connect to people within their reach for something they need to get and to give something in exchange for their success in life. If you must be fulfilled, I encourage you to activate your social ‘Bluetooth’ now and start exchanging some ‘files’ with some people within you reach. Let me quickly share with you how I first discovered this secret. My first semester at the university was an experience I can’t easily forget. I had never felt that despised before in my life. Most of my colleagues never recognized my presence even in my own class, much less the school. The few people who saw me as a student on campus kept asking me about what took me (a refugee boy) to such a school. I felt utterly despised the more whenever I heard such questions and other derogatory comments. But later on that semester, I discovered that my feeling was only deceiving me. As it is said, “the way we see the problem is the problem.” So, I began to see the problem differently. I quitted perceiving myself as someone who was being despised by everyone, and started seeing myself as someone waiting to be discovered by everyone. I realized that the real problem was me, not them. When I changed the way I look at the problem, the problem I looked at changed. Never had I been surrounded by so many wonderful people and yet felt so lonely.


When people were not responding to me as I expected, I knew and accepted the fact that something was really wrong with me, not them. Quite interestingly, I was able to discover that my natural human ‘Bluetooth’ was not activated and that was simply the reason no one could connect with me so easily. So I immediately activated it and everyone began to discover I had certain ‘files’ in me that could help them become more academically efficient. Eventually, there was a sudden change in people’s attitude towards me, and eventually my Bluetooth became a Wi-Fi and almost the whole school was connected to me; everyone wanted to be around me. And my phone was now always busy with calls and messages. I was now able to freely share my gift of tutoring others; simplifying complex concepts taught in class. I taught people from various course backgrounds at various levels at school and that expanded my circle of influence on and off campus.


Amazingly, the more I shared my little knowledge with my colleagues, the more it multiplied for me, and the more material blessings I attracted into my own life as well, and my circle of influence kept expanding gradually. Honestly, I never taught anyone for money. Never! I taught my colleagues with passion because I had discovered the “r” in the word “Great” stands for relationship. For me, taking money from people to tutor them meant entering into a contract, and contracts would definitely end after school. But teaching them for free meant establishing relationship, and relationships could continue after school. Relationships are not contracts.

Do you care to know the result of my choice to activate my Bluetooth at school? I was eventually honored as a Best Student during my graduation from the university, plus more friends; some of them remained supportive after school. Even my first paid job after school, during a crumbling Ghanaian economy, was offered me as a result of my relationship not my scholarship. At that time, there were thousands of very brilliant Ghanaians students who had graduated with first-class honor degrees from various universities across the country but were unemployed. Also, through my relationship building experience, my academic project team later became a business project team. We established and registered our first company in Ghana, Efforts Group Ghana (EGG) that is impacting the lives of so many young people in Ghana today.


This is the paramount reason I strongly subscribe to the philosophy which says, “Your network determines your net worth.” According to Gary Hamel, “The value of your network is the square of the number of people in it.” How many people do you have in your network currently? As a matter of fact, in this connection generation, you can only grow based on the number and caliber of people you know. It’s true that God will surely protect you, but He will always provide your needs through people. Your creator knows exactly how each person you meet could connect you to the person you need to meet and why. He already knows the kind of connections you could make to accelerate your rate of success at whatever you’ve been called to do. When you find your dream (what you want to do with your life), the next important step is to find your team (those you want to work with to make it happen). No one achieves anything alone. Never! As the saying goes, “you need teamwork to make the dream work.” Your mentors, your partners, your prodigies are all part of your dream team; even including those you are called to serve. In other words, your team includes all stakeholders of your dream.


From my own relationship-building experience I’ve also learned that anybody can become somebody anywhere at any time if they care enough to help other people get what they want at any given point in life. Without making money your key priority, if you can genuinely value people in your life and help them achieve their goals, I can assure you that you will also certainly feel it in your pocket because…


LIVING IS GIVING

I’ve come to also realize that the secret of living is giving. I’ve learned that “sharing is having more.” What the Holy Book says is true, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NIV). Have you noticed that the hand that gives is always above the hand that receives? Begin now to see giving not as a mere duty but as a great privilege. Give what you can afford; give your idea, your time, your money, etc. Don’t do everything only for the sake of money; learn to do some things sometimes for the sake of relationship. Money can create relationship and relationship can also create money. However, money created by relationship lasts longer and is more rewarding than relationship created by money.


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