...and see opportunity when its logical to see failure
Seated in a matatu (taxi-public transport van) for what seemed like the longest ride of my life, I decided to start reading a book on my phone. I was looking out thinking about the philosopher’s stone in The Alchemist, when I realized the young girl seated in front me was staring.
She had a puzzled look on her face. So, I tilted the phone so that she’d see what I was doing. She immediately realized that I had noticed her interest so we started talking. She was coming from school with her older sister who joined in as well. Telling them about my fascination with Santiago and how he followed his crazy dream, sparked something in the sister into sharing her story.
Against her parents wishes, Anna had decided to make jewelry which was her passion instead of becoming a network specialist having gotten bachelor’s degree in Information Technology. For a year or so her business was doing so well that she decided to move out of home. She got a bank loan to expand and new partner, her best friend. Who then stole all the money and left Anna distraught. She sold all she had but still couldn’t pay up the loan. She had to move back in with her parents with her tail tucked in-between her legs.
For two years Anna did nothing with herself, feeling like a failure and a fool she couldn’t bring herself to attempt anything with her life. Rebecca, her younger sister convinced her one day to teach them beading in class. After saying no, more than 50 times she conceded and decided to teach the 8 year olds how to make friendship bracelets as part of arts and crafts class.
Anna, almost tearing up at this point, looked up at me and said “This is all I do now, teach kids how to make bracelets”. Rebecca sensing her sister’s pain pulled her arm and said “You are the best teacher I’ve ever had, I love my bracelet. I wish you would teach us forever.”
The last stop had come up and we were so caught up in the story we hadn’t realized. I told Anna how the Alchemist ended, how Santiago had dug only to find nothing and what seemed like his lowest point became the answer.
Rebecca beaming with excitement and surprising me by her insight said,“see Anna, maybe teaching us is a different answer from what you wanted, but I still think you are best teacher we have at school and if you sold these bracelets to the whole school we can make some money.” And in that moment, Rebecca’s eyes lit up.
Life is about rewriting our endings continuously especially when things don’t turn out as we had hopped. We only completely fail, when we stop trying, when we settle for the way things are now.
“Today is cruel. Tomorrow is crueler. The day after tomorrow is beautiful …Jack Ma.” And he should know he failed a number of times but didn’t give up and now we have Alibaba.