A few weeks ago, I was watching a video in which a group of people were being auditioned for entry into an elite training program.
The competition was tough. Each participant was at an exquisite level of preparedness. They were at the peak of their skills, with an attitude and confidence to match. A part of me wondered how twenty people could ever be selected out of over one fifty. I didn’t envy the judges. There would be some real tough calls they’d have to make.
But that’s part of the challenge… for the judges as well as the participants.
However, I remember this particular video for something that happened on the second day of auditions.
Each participant was given a time to complete in a specific task. The benchmarks for evaluation were clearly laid out. If a participant finished the task within the stipulated time and met all the criterion for evaluation, they would be considered for inclusion.
Since the competition was close, the judges also sometimes asked the participants some additional questions. Questions that uncovered their motivations; questions that displayed the ‘fire’ in them for the slot they were aiming for.
One of the applicants was asked, “Why should we select you for our program?”
Such a simple question. Almost textbook; expected; anticipated. But not easy to answer. Not at all.
It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready.
~ Theodore Roosevelt
The applicant fell silent. He fell silent because he was overwhelmed with the hunger of what he had worked hard for. His soul was in his eyes. He looked dumbly at the judges. Call me melodramatic, but I felt his sob clog my own throat. My eyes flooded while his contained the flood, barely. His lips set in a grim line, the corners of his mouth white. He lowered his head for a second.
I have no idea what shifted within him in those seconds, while the judges waited for his response. The electricity in the audition hall came whizzing through the camera and electrified me. After a few seconds, he raised his head, smiling a little. His demeanor was that of a man who has given his all and is now face to face with his God. He stood proudly, unsullied by even a trace of regret. There was almost a touch of defiance in his stance.
Chance favors the prepared mind.
~ Louis Pasteur
Quietly, and with all the force of his passion contained in his soft words, he said, “Because I Am Ready.”
His words blew me away. Can there be a more complete, more valid reason than that?
Because I am Ready. Wow!
How many times have you acknowledged yourself to be ready? How often have you reached the limits of your endurance and yet not dropped the ball? How sure are you that you are ready- physically, mentally and emotionally? How certain are you that when you are given what you hunger for, you will not fritter it away but will make it shine better than you ever dreamed of making it shine?
I have no idea what he thought of in those few seconds when he stood silent, head lowered. I have no idea what mountains shifted within him as he stood still. I can only surmise to the limits of my own understanding. But since I have never said, “Because I Am Ready” to anything in my life, obviously I have not reached the inner summits that man has reached. My understanding would be pretty narrow, therefore.
He didn’t say it was his dream or his passion. He didn’t use his wishes as an alms bowl or his need as a crutch to move the judges to pity. He just said he was ready.
When he said it- the way he said it- he knew what he was saying. He knew the effort it would take to reach the end of the line- and he was prepared to make the effort. That statement was the most moving and poignant declaration of unswerving dedication I have ever heard from a human being. It gave me goose-bumps.
All things are ready, if our mind be so.
~ William Shakespeare
I’m ready (I almost heard him say) because I know what I will do with it when I get it. I know what I’ve already done to get to where I am. I’m ready because I know I am going to run with it as I’ve never run in my life before. I’m ready because this is the fulfillment of that promise I made to myself when nothing was working for me.
Because I am ready.
A young wolfhound must meet his first wolf someday, but if the wolf sees him as a puppy, if he acts the puppy, the wolf will surely kill him. The wolfhound must be a wolfhound in the wolf’s eyes even more than in his own, if he is to survive.
~ Robert Jordan
Don’t give it to me as alms or charity. Give it to me because you see in me a dedication to unceasing effort that deserves respect and acknowledgement- from one human being to another. Don’t give it to me as a favor, but as a debt you owe to anyone who is willing and eager to work for what he dreams of. For that reason and no other. Give me the opportunity for the most valid reason of all, the one reason which is enough, more than enough.
Because I am Ready.