JournalismPakistan.com April 12, 2013
Every morning every gazelle in Africa gets up knowing it has to run faster than the fastest lion. And every lion gets up knowing it has to run faster than the slowest gazelle. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle, when you get up in the morning you had better be running. Parade ground stuff. You had better be running. You don't run you don't get anywhere fast.
I read this plaque in a friend's office the other day and it reminded me of what one of my senior colleagues would say twenty times a day...the world doesn't owe you a living. Get out there and push.
That is a mistake many of us make believing the world will come good. And then we camouflage our own absence of staying power by blaming the world's refusal to make space for us. By the time we figure out that the world doesn't give a toss it is too late to be anything but victims.
What happens to so many of us who give up the good fight and slow down long before we need to do it? Is it a lack of stamina or ambition or is it that we just don't train for the bad times.
The army has a clever little line. When the going gets tough the tough get going. Great stuff. Very heroic and all that. But life isn't pretty little slogans that rhyme, life won't let you get going much as you might want to, it ties you down, like Gulliver's little Lilliputians did, strand by strand, nailing you down until finally you can't move, mortgages, loans, middle class security, middle class morality, your own flaws, fear of the unknown, exhaustion, resignation, domestic responsibilities, getting through the day, until ,finally, the lion can feed whenever he wants, you are not even going to run...it might even be a relief to get it over with because this is as good as it gets.
I guess we are lions at one time in our lives, full of vigor and ready to change the world except it doesn't happen that way and we end up victims of our own crashes of faith. The roar turns to a whisper. A series of bruises and betrayals that leave us beaten long before our time. Then, we find comfort in the status quo, dredging for virtue in things as they are because at least we have kept the lion at bay...even as we become scrawny and weak and not worth bringing down.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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