By Beverly André Davis

Many years ago in ancient Bagdad an important Businessman sent his helper to the market. But soon the man returned trembling and agitated and said to the Businessman “Down in the market I was followed by a woman in the crowd and when I turned around, I saw it was Death that followed me. She looked at me and made a threatening gesture. Master, please lend me your horse, for I must hasten away to avoid her. I will ride to Samarra and there I will hide and Death will not find me.”

The Businessman lent him his horse and the helper galloped away in a cloud of dust. A little later the Businessman himself went to the market and saw death standing in the crowd. He said to her “Why did you make a threatening gesture to my servant?”

“That was not a threatening  gesture” said death “It was only a start of surprise, I was astonished to see him in Bagdad for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra.”

This Bagdad legend typifies our need for an escape route from the trials and difficulties of life. We run to escape and we do this in a number of ways: Alcohol, drugs, excessive sleep.

We feel overwhelmed by the pressures, responsibilities and hectic pace of life. Burnt out and discouraged many of us feel we can no longer cope. In today’s fast pace living and economic struggles many of us feel under pressure on a daily basis which makes us feel a sense of hopelessness and helplessness. We try actively to drown our problems in forgetfulness. Irrespective of our selected escape route, like the Bagdad  helper we cannot run away – we too have an appointment. Our appointment is not with a maze of confusion , hopelessness or helplessness but with looking for solutions. We have the inbuilt power, wisdom and intelligence to do so.

We hold our future in our hands. What we do with our lives is a matter of deliberate choice.

Irrespective of how bad things appear to be, look on the positive side, let the obstacles serve as challenges, make the silent resolve within yourself that you are going to defeat the problem. Look deep within yourself and know that there is no problem or difficulty that is impossible to solve. Problems are like mathematics—they come with their solutions.


You are not a victim but were born with the power to win at life’s difficulties. This mind set must be accompanied by a careful analysis of what  is causing the problem or obstacle. Try to identify reasons behind those problems. Then begin  to actively look for solutions ; as you do make each day joyful and challenging. Keep in mind that the need to be afraid of the challenges, the difficulties or the problem is in all of us. Put a smile on your face and meet it head on. A smile will give you a real boost as you search for the appropriate solutions to your problem.


The way in which you perceive yourself will determine to a large extent your level of confidence in facing any problem or obstacle and how successful you will be at finding a solution.

Do you feel lovable and are you accepting of yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, your failures and successes. Do you feel tolerant of and compassionate towards yourself? do you feel special. Are you your own best friend or do you feel like a nobody? Take time off to think of all your wonderful attributes. They are there. Look deep within yourself.

LEARN TO RESPECT YOURSELF Knowing who you are is one of the most vital requirements in the art of respecting yourself and developing high self-esteem, not running away from problems and recognizing that you can only gain strength by going through the fires of life. “No pain, no gain”. It is the bruises and wounds which will transform you into the dynamic and successful individual that God intended you to be. Believe in yourself. Believe in your inner resources.

You may think that it is difficult to keep on going that you have had too many disappointments. You may feel that life has been unfair to you, that it is hopeless to keep on fighting. Right now you might be inundated by a multiplicity of problems which seems insurmountable. You might even want to give up… don’t give up!

Make a mental note of your bad experience, circumstance or situation. Now ask yourself “Did I learn anything from it? Am I a stronger person because of it, did I become wiser, am I more sensitive? As you begin to realize that you have the inner power to handle anything, you will learn to believe in, to like and respect yourself a great deal more.


Lack of determination to succeed, not only robs you of energy and drive but it makes you shrink when you are confronted with problems or obstacles.

Develop the determination to succeed. You can do this by recalling past successes. Unfortunately, many of us take pleasure in dwelling on our failures rather than our successes.

Thinking of failures creates discouragement and a negative mind set. Focus on your successes. This will create new inspiration within you and make you rise above problems.


There are times when you want to attain a goal so bad you can almost taste it, feel it, breathe it. But there are obstacles that are standing in your way which makes you feel you will fail. Doubts creep in.  You have given the problem everything that you feel you can yet the obstacle appears to be unmovable.

Don’t be discouraged. You have simply forgotten to include the God/Providence dimension. You efforts will be crowned with success. Learn well the virtues of patience. Today, you have not failed in your efforts. You have only been delayed. Keep on pushing . Each day brings you closer to a solution. All problems, all obstacles are movable. Tomorrow is another day. Success is just around the corner!



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