In truth, life is tough. It is designed to defeat the weak and eliminate all those who show signs of weakness when it matters most. As ancient wisdom has taught us, if the odds are never against you, you may not be heading in the right direction of greatness. Winston Churchill said it well when he said, “Kites rise against the wind, not with it”. Obstructions, obstacles, and roadblocks are the stepping stones and sign posts of every path that is worth travelling in life. Those who dare to go in spite of the obvious challenges are the ones who reap the benefits of ignoring the limits.
Life is full of circumstances and challenges that will rob you of the courage to try your hand at the initiatives that could lead to the breathtaking future that you so rightly deserve. If you are always waiting to have everything you need to become who you want to be or to do the things you always wanted to do, you may wait too long and still not get anything. Life will only give you what you take from it, not what you demand from it.
One of the lessons I learnt early in life is that it is necessary to know my limits and to work hard to succeed in spite of them, to break through the barriers that could inhibit my path. I learnt that the strongest weapon against mediocrity is capacity building and the sheer courage to attempt, the courage not to back down in the face of challenges, fears, trials, criticism, failures, and limitations. Every day, I see these lessons reaffirmed through the success stories of men and women in history and in the history makers of contemporary times. Today we are tracking an inspiring story of a man defying the odds and taking on Africa and the world.
Such is the story of Alain St. Ange, a man who is the embodiment of a limit-defying existence and dogged determination for success. In the world of tourism, he has shown what it means to be tenacious, audacious and resilient. Within a decade, he has not only risen to prominence but he has contributed immensely to turning around the fortunes of an entire country. Between 2009 and 2016, Alain has been appointed as the Seychelles Director of Marketing, CEO of Seychelles Tourism board, the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture, and in the recent past the Minister of Tourism, Civil Aviation, Ports and Marines.
Under his watch, Seychelles has witnessed an unbelievable 17% yearly revenue growth from the tourism sector; Seychelles was accepted into the executive council of the United Nations World Tourism Organization; made Seychelles into a center for tourists all over the world with visitor arrivals on an upward trajectory even now as I write this. Alain is indeed a force to be reckoned with and living legend. One of his greatest achievements was the introduction of the Seychelles Carnaval International de Victoria which has cemented the country’s position as a melting pot of cultures and a prime holiday destination.
Born on 24 October, 1954 on La Digue Island, this phenomenal Seychellois spent most of his youth tending Vanilla and coconut plantations in his father’s agricultural estate. He was not just successful at the plantation; he actually boosted the income for his family and the agricultural estate through dynamic leadership and sheer hard work. Any man who will grow up to defy limitations must have that phase of life which will help him develop the spine to weather the storms that will come his way; this man paid his full price even as a youth.
As at the time of this report, he is in strong contention for the office of the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) where he is defying the odds by contesting against heavyweights from other parts of the world. On the African continent, he faces a challenge from Dr. Walter Mzembi of Zimbabwe with the latter massively endorsed by the African Union. The Zimbabwean media has made it a point of duty to launch vehement criticism on Alain for his decision to run against the AU anointed Mzembi through one of their biggest media houses, the Zimbabwean Herald. With sharp adjectives, coupled with political rhetoric the herald has been on the forefront of the harsh criticism, wielding all its lyrical weaponry and literary devices to attack Mr St Ange.
This seems to have however backfired as all the hostility has further made St. Ange more popular around the globe; if he was not a formidable opponent, why would anyone go to such an extent to discredit him? He has since appeared on popular news networks such as the BBC, CNN, Sky News etc.
Reflecting on the stories of this great man and others like him, I can’t help but observe that the willingness to dare is perhaps one of the genetic markers of all great men and women. Obstacles are not meant to stop or delay your progress in life, they are only there to make sure that you are prepared for the task ahead and that you are sure of what you really want. Limits can be defined as the tools of nature that help to separate the boys from the men, the real from the fake, and the chaff from the real deal. If your strength fails you in the face of challenges, then your resolve may be questionable.
If you really plan to take your place among the greats of your time, stop waiting for all the chips to fall in place; rise up and take your destiny in your hands. In the final analysis, you are the only one who can make your dream come true. An attempt at greatness is not necessarily a fool’s errand where you have little or no chance of succeeding, it is one for which you prepare adequately and take your chances when they come to you with drive, passion and tenacity. The best way to prepare for success is to continue to invest in yourself until you become the best resource you have at your disposal. As long as you have any other thing that is more valuable than you are in your pursuit of success, you are not yet qualified for the top.
Stop blaming people, circumstances, limitations and situations for your lack of results; rather, take responsibility to become that kind of man or woman who makes a lifestyle out of defying odds and breaking limitations.
Be phenomenal, just like Alain St Ange.
Credit:Wellington Manjengwa of Zimbabwe