In a famous African village, there lived a Prince who stood at only four feet tall. It was unusual because his brothers and his father and his uncles were all well over six feet tall. And, what was even more unusual was the reason for his meager stature. He was born with a rare bone disease that caused his back to curve every so slightly making him appear to be a hunchback.
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Because of his unusual spine, the Prince had been living in ridicule and isolation his entire life. He didn’t like how the villagers, his people, looked at him. Well, it was more like staring. And, the kids made him feel the worst. Not only could he not play with them but they were afraid of his deformity.
“How could such an unusual thing come from a family with such good bloodlines?” That’s what the others said behind closed doors. At least, that’s what he imagined them saying.
To protect him from the villagers, the king and queen did everything they could to make him happy around the palace. He would get whatever he asked for. That made the Prince happy. He filled his room with wildlife from the jungles and plains. He had toys from talented artist from across the globe. He had all that a little boy could want. But, there was still one thing he could not have – he wanted to look normal.
His thirteenth birthday was the day that it all changed.
As usual, the king asked him what he wanted for his birthday. The prince replied with a mischievous grin, “I want a statue made by the finest artist in the land.”
“Absolutely, my son. A statue of what?” The king always seemed happy to give his son anything. This day was no different.
The prince lifted his eyes to meet his father’s. His hunched back made it difficult to lift his head. Just raising his eyes was much easier for him. “I want a statue of myself.”
There was a playfulness in the prince’s eyes as he said this. “But, I have a special request for the statue. I want it to look as I would if I could stand up tall. I want it to look like the man that I picture myself to be,” he said.
The king was excited and saddened by this request. He thought that it would be nice to have his son immortalized by a statue the way his forefathers had all been immortalized. He was saddened because he thought that looking at the statue would make his son feel worse about how the curvature of his spine made him the center of attention and that he would never look like it. But, he had the statue made, anyway.
When it was complete, the prince marveled at the detail. The artist had crafted a work of art so fine that it was difficult to imagine that the prince didn’t look like it. The erect version of himself looked powerful, confident, and courageous. He so wanted to be that statue. When the prince told the king his thoughts, the king proceeded to cry out of the love he felt for his son and the pain that he thought his son must be going through. The king had the statue placed in the garden outside of the prince’s room in a spot that the prince could see it from his window at any time of the day.
It was already difficult for the prince to get around because of his hunchback but he made it a point to hobble down to the statue and spend time in front of it every day. Standing in front of it, he would strain to lift his head enough to see the head of the statue. He would try to pull his shoulders back, try straighten his spine, and poke out his chest the way that the statue did. He’d reach out his hands to touch it as high as he could. He did this three times a day for eight years without fail.
On his twenty-first birthday, something strange happened. He looked that statue right in the eyes. He placed his hand on its shoulders and smiled. All of those years of straining and struggling and stretching himself to look like the man that he wanted to be had slowly, millimeter by millimeter, strengthened and straightened his spine. He’d gone to sleep looking at that statue and awoke in the morning to look at it. He never stopped thinking about what he would look like one day soon and believing that it was possible. And, now he stood face-to-face with the statue that he’d dreamed of becoming happy that he’d not given up on himself. He was a six-foot-two, powerful, confident, and courageous African prince.
So, now I ask you: What version of yourself do you look at every day?
For many people, it’s easy to look in the mirror and be disappointed with their reflection. Their life is not where they expected to be or where they dreamed it to be. But, it doesn’t have to stay that way, right? The story was about a hunchbacked little boy who couldn’t play with other kids and struggled to do things that most people consider less than extraordinary. Things like walk upright.
This prince had a vision, though. He had an idea of what he could be and he had a plan on how to become that vision he held for himself:
1. erect a statue
2. visit your statue daily
3. work to become your statue
Erect a Statue
What do you want your life to look like? I will not focus on your physical body. We’ll use the physical transformation of the story as a metaphor for any area of your life. Decide what you want your goal to look like and make it real. Be obsessed but don’t make a false idol. Be committed but keep happiness a prerequisite. Be determined and disciplined to turn your vision into reality.
Like the statue in the story, it may be good for you to go a step further than imaging it. Physical reminders are great triggers to reinforce the commitments you make with yourself. It may be a rubber band, a vision board, or a tattoo that gives you that little boost you need to keep going one more day, one more hour, or one more minute.
Visit Your Statue Daily
Having the vision is just the first step. Create moments in your day when you pull out your vision. You must spend time with your vision. Spend so much time with it that you know without a doubt how it feels, how every detail of it looks, and how it will feel when you achieve it. Bob Proctor tells about how he pulled his gold card out multiple times a day to read it to himself. Sometimes he’d hide in the bathroom at the firehouse to get some time alone with his vision. Others laughed and heckled him when they read his vision. He kept spending time with it anyway. He left his position at the firehouse not too long after that and went on to become a millionaire many times over.
Work to Become Your Statue
Erecting your statue and visiting your statue are the easy part. You won’t receive as much backlash from your mind and emotions when you take those steps as you will when you decide to work on making it happen. That’s when you’ll feel like you’re coming unhinged. You tell your subconscious This is what we are going to do today and it snickers at you.
Let’s say you’re driven enough to overcome your mental battle, a day comes along that challenges you emotionally. You want to give up. You tell your emotions Suck it up. We can handle this and they shut down on you. You begin questioning everything. This is when the first two steps really come into play. They laid the foundation for the work you have to do. Work that you must do daily.
“Why would you want to be a victim of your history when you can be a master of your destiny?” – John Demartini
Others may ridicule. It comes with the territory.
I remember a time when I thought everyone was making fun of me. I was the oddball in the class because I was the only black kid in the class. I wanted to stand out. So, I made it a point to get high grades. I still have the chip on my shoulder but I don’t take it personally. I know that I’ll be one of the best at anything that I pursue. Adapt that mindset.
Others may think you’re unusual. It comes with the territory.
Seth Godin wrote a book about this. He said, “We’re All Weird” and it’s okay because that’s how we were made. You may call it unique if it makes you feel better. The point is: some will find your unusualness charming and some won’t. Oh well. Do you.
Others may try to make you comfortable with less than. It comes with the territory.
When you look around, you will see a lot of ‘less than’ behavior. They can have a better relationship but things are okay as they are. They can have a finer things but they are okay with whatever is available. They can have a stronger spiritual connection but they can do that when they get older.
Excellence is a mindset that was not trained and taught in school, my friends. So, don’t expect other people to show you ‘more than’ living. You are more than your current station. You are more than your past has shown. You are more than you believe. You were made from greatness and, therefore, created for greatness.
You are the only one who decides what you are to become. Don’t ever forget that you are a king or queen in your own right. You were born with that privilege. It’s up to you to receive it and acknowledge your own power and imperfect perfection so that you can go after what you deserve. But, you don’t have to do it alone?
CALL TO ACTION
One thing I believe many will miss in the story is the support the prince received. We all need someone to be there through our transformations. We need someone to work with us as we grow and change. We need someone to help us erect the statue, make it visible to us, and allow us to struggle through the growing pains. We need someone who supports our vision even if they don’t know how we will ever achieve it. They support because they believe in you.
I call that a coach. We don’t all have friends and family that can or will support us like the prince’s parents. So, here’s my question for you:
What’s the vision that you would like help making a reality?