You’ve Got What it Takes: If Not You, Who? : Find Your Passion | #TeamUnstoppable

Many times, we have great ideas. We get frustrated because nobody else has initiated what we think is best. Can’t they see that this or that needs to be done? Why isn’t anybody addressing this or that obvious issue? Sometimes, what we see frustrate us and other times what we see being neglected makes us angry. That’s how passion works! The secret is that when our mind’s eye glimpses a vision, it is usually because we are the ones to take initiative and do something. Again, Ruth Haley Barton offers keen insight. Concerning the issue of vision, she says, “We ‘see’ with new eyes that God’s call on our life is so tightly woven into the fabric of our being [passion], so core to who we are, that to ignore it or to refuse it would be to jeopardize our well-being. If we were to try to compromise or to live it only halfway, we’d run the risk of plunging into emptiness and meaninglessness.”[i]

History reveals that inventions are born out of passion to address what the inventors saw as problems, problems that they just could not ignore. The problems did not worry others the way that they worried the inventors. The problems kept them up at night and got them up early in the morning until the problems were solved. New discoveries emerged; new inventions were born.

For example, in the late 1800s–early 1900s the need for an automatic oil cup for trains bothered Elijah McCoy. The son of former slaves so uniquely invented the oil-dripping cup that other attempts to make knock-offs could not compare. None of them worked like Elijah’s did. When seeking to purchase automatic oil cups for their trains, knowledgeable engineers would ask for “the real McCoy.”[ii] Until today, we use the expression “the real McCoy” when we want something that is authentic. Fact is, African American Elijah McCoy had competitors but they could not be “the real McCoy.” Equally, no one can be the real you and me. We were born for our unique contributions.

Another example would be Madam C. J. Walker. In the late 1800s –early 1990s, Madam Walker developed a passion for African American women’s beauty and hygiene.[iii] She started out very poor but worked hard and when she died, she was one of the wealthiest women in the United States. Madam C. J. Walker had many disadvantages. She was not afforded the opportunity for formal education, struggling during the reconstruction, no family inheritance or resource support system. But, she tapped into that inner passion to help her people, particularly women. With no “pattern” to follow, Madam C. J. Walker invented one product, “Madam Walker\’s Wonderful Hair Grower.” From the success of this one hair care product, she catapulted the rest of her career making beauty products and building cosmetology schools. Madam C. J. Walker did what had never been done in her community. A trailblazer starts will little of nothing. God has a way of taking a little bit and making it much. He wants to know if we are willing to commit ourselves to the process.

[i]. Barton, Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership, 74.

[ii]. Lemelson MIT, “Elijah McCoy: Automatic Oil Cup.” No page numbers. Online Source. (accessed April 1, 2014).

[iii]. Lemelson MIT, “Madam C. J. Walker: Hair Care Products.” No page numbers. Online Source. (Accessed April 1, 2014).

Dr. Antipas L. Harris
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This blog site is where I share matters related to society, the church, and the academy. I hope my thoughts are meaningful to you. Theology

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