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“The price of greatness is responsibility.” ―Winston Churchill

“How about going out for coffee?” I asked my wife and kids on a cool Friday evening. We had all arrived home early.

“Good idea!” they responded, almost in unison.

So, we hopped into the car and drove up the jacaranda-lined driveway leading to the main street. On a normal day, it takes 5 minutes to get to the mall nearest home, our regular coffee joint. It would be different on this day.

Tens of honking matatus, public transport minibuses, had invaded the private street, converting even pedestrian paths on both sides into extra lanes. The rogue drivers scrambled for every available space, as they chocked from the fumes of their over-revved, underserviced engines. We were in a gridlock.

Our frustration rose as we watched time ebb away. Drivers honked and their touts, hanging from the doors, shouted abuses as they pounded on bonnets, expressing anger for self-inflicted pain. Space enough for a fraction of the car opened up in front of me, and I surged forward, almost ramming into the car ahead. The kids lauded my brevity, but the driver behind us did not seem amused that I got into “his” space. In a fit, he flashed the headlights, honked, pumped the gas pedal and menacingly swerved to the right, sending pedestrians scampering for safety. The matatu then veered left in front of me, and, rather aggressively, squeezed back onto the road. Then I saw the message on a colorful bumper sticker:

“It’s Not My Fault, Blame the Damn System.”

It’s not my fault. Blame the damn system.

This message could summarize the mindset of the drivers on the road that day: that their behavior was shaped by their external circumstances.

If only the roads were wider…
If only there weren’t so many roundabouts…
If only the traffic lights worked…
If only the policemen were more vigilant…
If only people didn’t all come to the road at the same time…
If only…

Does it feel that way in life, sometimes? If only conditions were better… or at least different…

Nick Vjucic, born in Melbourne, Australia, was born without arms and legs. The reality dawned early on him that he would never be able to walk, take care of some of his basic needs, or embrace those he loves. Life was difficult growing up as he struggled with loneliness and depression, wondering why he was so different.

Nick however did not let what would have been hold him back from becoming all he can be. “If only…” is not part of Nick’s vocabulary. In his teens, he refused to allow his physical condition limit him. Today, he is a husband and father, a dynamic evangelist, author, musician, actor, radio host and sought-after speaker.

How we respond to the brokenness around us is a choice we make. We, and not the oddity of our circumstances, are responsible for the consequences of our choices, no one else is. The buck stops with us.

Copyright ©2014 David Waweru

David Waweru

Author David Waweru

Writer, entrepreneur, trainer and consultant. Founder of Booktalk Africa and Will to Win Global. Member of the UNESCO Expert Facility on the 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions. Director at the Sports, Arts and Culture Sector Board, Kenya Private Sector Alliance.

More posts by David Waweru

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