He was twenty-three years old. Millions of his age-mates around the world were just completing university and stepping out into the competitive job market. But he had already conquered the world and was getting ready to conquer it again.
Dozens of those bulky professional cameras were trained on the track, waiting to record history. The thousands of spectators who had packed Berlin’s Olympiastadion stadium were cheering wildly, bracing for a showdown between the twenty-three year old and other world class sprinters from around the world.
These were super-fast guys who had all achieved the once impossible fete of running 100 meters in less than ten seconds. These sprint superstars, are the same ones that the twenty-three year old was expected to beat. He was in the fourth lane. Emblazoned on his sleeveless yellow T-shirt was the number 656. Emblazoned in his spirit was a never-say-die, go-getter spirit. That’s why he was already the world champion. The man all the other superstars were yearning to beat.
You too, can be the world champion in your field.
Oprah Winfrey was once giving a talk to university students when she uttered words that aptly describe the twenty-three year old’s attitude. These words should describe you too.
“Become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat out fantastic at what you do, that your talent cannot be dismissed… Your life’s journey is about learning to become more of who you are and fulfilling the highest, truest expression of yourself as a human being.” Oprah said in her usual dramatic, incomparable style.
When the twenty-three year old was introduced to the crowd, he pointed his right index finger to the camera and uttered words that psyched him up even further. He then lifted his arms and stretched them out in his signature lightning pose. The crowd went wild. A young lady high up in the stadium wiped a tear from her eyes. So did I. At the time, I was going through some severe challenges in my life and I was aching for some inspiration from this twenty-three year old.
This twenty-three year old was 6.4 feet, taller than the tall Barack Obama, who is nearly 6.1 feet. Tall people like him are not supposed to run as fast as he does. But as a member of the divine class, he defies logic.
The divine class belongs to people who reach into the heavens and pull themselves up, to their full potential. Consequently, they make a lasting difference, not just in their lives but also in the lives of others. Members of the divine class ride on the fuel of discipline. They command their legs to keep going even when those legs are screaming – I can’t go on any further! They keep walking because of their laser focus on the prize that awaits them on the horizon. Because they are tuned in to the universe, every step leads them closer to that prize.
The twenty-three year old licked his lips, as if readying to dig his teeth into a feast. A closer scrutiny of his eyes revealed utter calm. You would have thought that he was lounging on the beach, not about to run the race of his life. With a faint smile on his face, he lifted his right hand and moved it forward, mimicking a jet. I am about to run like a jet. I am about to flash my lighting and conquer the world.
“On your marks,” a voice high up in the rafters thundered.
The sprinters strode to their positions. They were on the verge of sprinting off in the 2009 World Athletics Championships Men's 100m. Within half a minute, one of them would be crowned as the World Champion.
A pin-drop silence filled the arena.
“Set!” The voice thundered again.
The starting gun blasted and the best sprinters in the world stormed off.
After about thirty meters, the twenty-three year old was in the fourth position, his long limbs charging forward. It’s at that point that something bizarre happened. Something surreal. A divine moment that belongs only to those who have secured membership in the Divine Class.
Just as he had predicted a few seconds earlier, the twenty-three year old flashed forth like lighting and crossed the finishing line in a new world record of 9.58 kilometers.
Usain Bolt is a member of the Divine Class. In this club, you will excel so much that some of your earthly moments slip over into divine moments. Surreal moments that take away the breath of people. These moments are not easy to produce. But YOU CAN produce them. Yes, you. How?
Oprah touched on the secret of producing them, “Become so skilled, so vigilant, so flat out fantastic at what you do, that your talent cannot be dismissed… Your life’s journey is about learning to become more of who you are and fulfilling the highest, truest expression of yourself as a human being.”
Now go ahead and invest your all into the races of your life. Make discipline your best friend. Prepare diligently and consistently for them. If you do so, you will be ‘flat out fantastic’ and the world will have no option but to notice you. After all, you will have conquered it.