Blood was pouring down his cheeks and he was shaking. He was on the verge of dying―he had just won his last fight. In most movies the hero’s journey is always full of struggles, but at the end of the day she wins. Why? Because to be a hero you must embrace your darkness before finding your hero power. We all love to learn from the former underdogs, the ones who defied the odds, so here are 7 success tips you can learn from the first independent black nation in the world.
At this point you are asking yourself: Which country was the first black independent nation? My response might surprise you, so take a deep breath. Yes, Haiti. Usually called the poorest nation in the western hemisphere, Haiti is the mother of freedom.
1- The Tools Don’t Matter
In 1804 a group of non-educated slaves decided they were no longer going to be in chains. During this period, the French army was the most equipped and most powerful army in the world. With only machetes, pikes and other rudimentary tools, the slaves took the riskiest bet in history. They fought the French army and against the odds became the first black independent nation in the world.
We are often full of excuses about why we can’t do the things we need to do. We often blame our failures on not having the right connections or the right tools. As Jim Rohn said:
Stop looking for the right tools. Stop using lack as an excuse to not make your dream happen. You don’t need the best tools, you need belief and work ethic. Most importantly you must be willing to die for what you seek. Be like the slaves.
2- Show Up
On the way to my office (the coffee shop), the streets are always filled with street sellers, motorcycles and taxis. If you don’t pay attention you can get lost or bump into someone. If we view the same scene from another angle, we see that the streets are filled with people whose dreams are to go home with something for their families. They are in the streets to make something out life.
The one thing that will shock you is that they always show up. They show up when it’s raining. They show up under the hot sun. They show up on holidays. They show up on Sundays and they even show up on days when there are riots in the streets. They have learned a secret. That is, the only day that counts is today. So there’s no time to slack off.
We often think we have time. Maybe next week will be best. But when it comes down to your success, it should be like life or death. We must show up every single day, whether we are happy or not. We have to trust that somehow the universe is going to put us in the right place at the right time. Like those street sellers, we must trust the universe’s goodness and show up to receive its gifts.
3- Get Back Up Fast
In 2010, a devastating earthquake struck Haiti. Around 200,000 people lost their lives in less than 30 seconds. A few minutes after the earthquake, I was in the street looking for my mom and my girlfriend. Thousands of people were doing the same. Before all the international support, Haitians were the first ones to help their sisters and brothers. With pain in their hearts, death in their eyes and despair in their voices they were there day in and day out breaking through the concrete to save lives.
At some point an earthquake is going to devastate your life, if it has not already happened. At that very moment, will you let the pain get the best of you or will you stand up likes the Haitians? As Tony Robbins said:
Success will often require you to stand up tall and fight with tears in your eyes. Get up fast―don’t let obstacles ruin your chance of making an impact.
4- Play Hard
There is always some kind of party going on in Haiti. As proof, for the last five years we had two carnivals in one year. We have a saying that goes, “ Every time Haitians hear a drum beat, they get up and dance.” If you are on strike but don’t have a band, your chance of getting people to join is very slim. Even street sellers sell their things while singing. People have fun―a lot of fun―despite the hurdles life throws in their way.
Sometimes we get consumed by our workload. Myself included. We forget that success is not just about achievement, it’s also about fulfillment.
On your way to success remember to add some funny flavors into everything you do. Children always find a way to have fun, even at a funeral. So, hustle with charm and joy.
5- Embrace Your Truth
If you ask any Haitian: “Do you think Haiti has a lot of problems?” Or, “Don’t you think you have to figure out the solutions to Haiti’s problems?” To both questions they will answer yes. We all know we, Haiti, are currently a poor country, but we aren’t afraid of our truth. We embrace it.
A lot of the time, we are so afraid of our darkness, we refuse to acknowledge the demon inside. To increase our strength exponentially, we must accept our weaknesses without dwelling on them. To shine our light, we need to acknowledge the darkness is there.
6- Make the Most Out Of Opportunities
When I was studying in the US, I was in multiple clubs on and off campus and volunteering all over the place. One day I received an email from my coordinator saying that I was going to have a breakdown due to high overload. My answer was simple: “I have done it hungry, on foot without transportation and with political instability, so I can do it now with money in the bank and food in the refrigerator.” Thankfully, I graduated with honors and did not have a breakdown.
You will not offer an opportunity to a Haitian to have him mess it up. It’s very rare. Once you give someone something they never had all their life, they make the most out of it. They take out every ounce of juice.
Whenever you find your opportunity (lucky break), don’t mess it up. Do your very best. The universe is testing if it can trust you with a bigger one. On a final note, don’t ever do just what is expected of you. Make it a habit to always exceed expectations.
7- Thinking Doesn’t Change The World
Haitians are always winning literary trophies. We are good at thinking and imagining. We are very good at analyzing things, at over-thinking, but not so much at executing.
Success requires actions. To make your dreams come true, your daily actions need to be in sync with your vision. As I am writing this piece, I am totally convinced that when our collective actions match our level of thinking, Haiti will become a better country. If you need to remember one thing from this blog remember this:
Massive action should always follow good thinking.
I had difficulty setting up the stage for my first article in the Huffington Post. My hyperactive brain wandered in all directions until my heart gently told me to combine Haiti with success. Then this article was born. We tend to only learn from the successful. However, I have this deep belief we can learn from the seemingly insignificant once we decide to go a little deeper. While the media can tell you everything that is wrong with Haiti, I truly hope our struggles and habits that help us thrive despite hardships can inspire others to succeed and live beyond their limits.
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Pierre Stanley Baptiste
From cooking meager meals over fires made with pine cones in Haiti to studying business in the U.S...", I teach the art of leveraging scarcity in Creole and English and speak about my experiences including recent engagement at universities. Today’s the perfect time to start building your legacy. Let’s do it together!