I once heard this story that was originally told by the late Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon, a female preacher, about a certain prisoner of war who was to be executed the following morning. But then, the Captain of the army that captured him gave this prisoner an option. He told him: “Tomorrow morning at six o’clock, you can either face the firing squad or you can choose to walk out that door over there.”
This man asked the captain “What’s out that door?”
“No one knows” replied the captain. “All I can tell you is, just unknown horrors”
The following morning, this man considered the proposition for a while and sure enough, as with the other prisoners before him, the prisoner opted for the firing squad. After the shots rang out, the captain’s secretary asked, “What’s behind that door?” And the captain replied “Freedom! But very few people would select to do it, because it’s unknown.”
In the closing lines to his popular poem “The Road Not Taken” Robert Frost wrote:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The road less travelled, the road behind that door, is the road that leads to life in abundance. It is the road that the great and truly successful have taken. And it is no wonder that life has produced just a handful of great men and women, because only a few would dare to travel the unknown road.
That road is the road of Bill Gates when he dropped out of school to work on his dream; it is the road that led Mark Zuckerberg to develop a web ‘face book’ to connect the peoples of the world; it is the road Mother Teresa travelled when she chose a life of poverty to uplift the helpless of the world; it is the road of Martin Luther King Jr. fighting to bring to life a dream of black and white holding hands in love in America; it is the road Cobhams Asuquo traversed when his blindness from birth inspired him to create beautiful music as a music producer; it is the road Obafemi Awolowo and a host of other young men chose when they led a nation to independence; it is certainly Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s road to become Africa’s – and indeed the world’s – first black female president….
It is the road you will have to travel if you desire to make a difference in your world. It is lonely, requires courage to leave your comfort zone and chase your dream, takes determination to continue despite difficulties and challenges and mockery; but it offers sweet and great rewards.
Success – freedom to live life on your own terms – does not exist where the crowd gathers, or else everyone would be successful. It is the exclusive reward of those who have a purpose, believe in their purpose, pursue them and keep trying until they have what they desire and deserve. Remember, “Narrow is the gate and difficult is the way that leads to life, and few there are that find it.”
I encourage you today to travel that road, dare to walk out the other door and walk into freedom, life abundant, meaningful purposeful happy life. Refuse to settle for mediocrity, the life of the majority, the life of struggle and helplessness, simply waiting for the day death will come, with nothing significant to leave behind for history.
Take courage now, follow the path your heart desires and believes in, walk out on fear, explore the beauty and abundance of life – go and make a difference.