Sunday Morning Special with Mr. Humanitarian


The Three Questions

I was in my class at the language center where my students waited for me to launch into our thought provoking topic. I don’t just teach English, I try to create a diamond at the bottom of the well in their thinking. Usually it works. What they shared with me this time opened up for me a deeper understanding why heroes and humanitarians are needed in every corner of Peru and the world. I posed three questions to them which were:

1. If you had an absolute 100% guarantee that your big dream in life was possible, something that would enhance your future, would you go after it passionately?
2. If there was an equal 50\50 chance of success or failure to obtain that same dream, would you pursue it with passion?
3. If there was a slight chance of success and a probability that you would not succeed, would you pursue your dream anyway?

How would you answer these three question?

The responses I received were amazing to me, here is what they said:
1. If it was not too much of a struggle. Nothing that involved physically taxing or incredible efforts of time or resources. They all decided that they probably would pursue it.
2. The notion that there was a 50% chance that failure was possible caused these young people all to say no. If they might fail, why take the chance? People might laugh, they would lose face, waste their time and effort. I reminded them that there was an equal 50% chance that great success was also available. No, for them, it just wasn’t worth it.
3. This was not even up for discussion. Nobody would even think about pursuing their dreams if the odds of success were that slim.

I then shared that life, real life, and the amazing opportunities and success that others enjoy, only occur within the realm of the last two options. Life almost never comes with 100% guarantees and sure things. No one is going to hand it to you. They were crestfallen.

Life is a risk. People who enjoy success took risks and calculated chances of failure when they stepped out into the Great Unknown that life is. The greatest names in our realm of life all had the courage to try what would most likely fail the first time they tried it. What made these inventors, designers, discoverers, entrepreneurs, social change activists, leaders and developers successful and in turn great, was their determination to face their fears, overcome their obstacles, set aside the doubts that we all have when doing something for the first time and persisted until success was the only option left.

Those that give up when the odds are against them live a life void of opportunities and victories that the courageous enjoy continuously. Humanitarians are in that category too. There are no humanitarians serving the uber wealthy in Beverly Hills’ mansions. We can be found axle deep to a Ferris wheel in the issues that plague our human tribe. The odds are against us most of the time. A 50/50 opportunity for success is a rare treat and when we find it, we build on it with passion.

When anemia was being reversed in our part of Ancash by distributing donated vitamins, it was like every holiday celebration rolled into one. It is this feeling, the one that is indescribable to anyone who has never stepped into the unknown to find solutions for the forgotten, that surges through us everyday and shows us that the very best in life is due to us all.

I tried to prop up my crestfallen students who were so sure that life would be a Disney movie for them. Maybe not a Disney movie but worth every risk you take, every opportunity that you seize because life, real life, is waiting with open arms to embrace the courageous.

Until next time… Live large my friends…live deliberately,
~~~ Jim


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Jim Killon

A wonderful contributor to our Traveling & Living in Peru team!