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John Stephen Akhwari

As a big sports fan, I enjoyed watching the 2012 London Olympics.

I love the superstars of the Olympics and have fond memories of watching the original Dream Team, Cathy Freeman, Carl Lewis and other greats strut their stuff on the big stage and to see a new generation of stars was exciting and inspiring.

I also love the stories behind the scenes of those who never won a medal, but competed with pride, courage and to the best of their abilities, giving us all someone not only to cheer for, but to be inspired by.

One of those people is John Stephen Akhwari.

He was a Tanzanian marathon runner competing in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games.

Not used to running at such a high altitude, Akhwari soon started to cramp, but things really went wrong at the 19km mark of the 42km race, when he collided with another runner and fell, injuring himself badly.

He badly cut and dislocated his knee and also hurt his shoulder when he hit the ground.

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Last weekend, in a very disappointing game from my beloved AFL team, the Richmond Tigers, there was another story.

Defender Kelvin Moore played his 85th game for the Tigers.

He had 13 kicks and 6 handpasses.

That’s not normally much of an achievement, except that Kelvin wasn’t expected to play football again after a serious hip injury almost two years ago.

His injury was described by surgeons as resembling a car accident victim and it required six operations.

He was told that, no, he couldn’t expect to be able to play sport again, especially at an elite level, but Kel refused to accept this prognosis.

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Leo Tolstoy once wrote a short story about a king who was certain that if he knew the best time to act, the right people to do business with and the most important thing to do at all times, then he would never fail in any task that he took on.

He proclaimed to the kingdom that he would richly reward anyone who could give him the answers to each of these questions.

Many wise men came to him with proposed answers, but they all differed and the king wasn’t satisfied with any of them, so the reward went unclaimed.

Eventually, the king decided to seek out a hermit who was renowned for his unparalleled wisdom.

He knew that the wise hermit only met with common folk, so he dressed himself in ordinary clothes, left his bodyguards behind, dismounted from his royal horse and went to see him alone.

The king sat down with the hermit and asked his three questions:

  • When is the best time to act?
  • Who is the most important person?
  • What is the most important thing to do?

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Hayden, Madison and Logan after a big day at the zoo

Sometimes, I just want to tell my kids:

  • Can Daddy just have five minutes of peace?
  • Do you know how much that costs?
  • Do you know how hard Daddy works?
  • You think you’ve got it tough?  Let’s talk about orphan children in Uganda.
  • We didn’t have (insert modern gadget name here) when I was young.
  • I’ve just got home from work, can’t I put my stuff down before you start harassing me?
  • Why do you need to play with me?  You’ve got two siblings and a whole room full of toys!
  • Do you know how much money, time and sleep Mummy and Daddy had before you guys came along?

I want to tell them these things (and too often I give a version of them), but it’s not what they really need to hear.

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A small rubber duck bathing.

A small rubber duck bathing. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Isaac Newton was relaxing under a tree when the concept of gravity came to him.

Archimedes was having a bath when he discovered how to measure the volume of an irregular shape.

There’s something about truly relaxing that enables the mind to come up with amazing ideas.

So often the best innovations aren’t found in a boardroom, an office or a laboratory, but in a pool, on a quiet drive, reading a great book or when simply doing nothing.

And yet we feel the need to continually drive ourselves and keep ourselves constantly busy.

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When it comes to applying for jobs, you have to assume the following.

It’s a generalisation and may not always be true, but in most cases it will be.

Every time you apply for a role and your resume sits in front of a hiring manager, if your application is being seriously considered, she will turn to her computer and google your name.

What will she find?

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W6 class tram on route 30 in Victoria Parade

W6 class tram on route 30 in Victoria Parade (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my hometown of Melbourne, trams are one of the major forms of public transportation.  They run along many of the main roads of the suburbs and city, delivering their passengers as they go.

When they are held up by a vehicle that is blocking their path, the driver rings a little bell incessantly until the offending car moves out of the way.

A few years ago, I had the privilege of visiting the great Russian city of Moscow.  It’s a city that also relies on trams for much of its public transport needs.

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English: Fireworks burst over the Sydney Opera...

Fireworks burst over the Sydney Opera House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Life is great!

It’s good for the soul to occasionally just smile and celebrate all of the good things that are in our lives.

So today, I want to celebrate my amazing family, with the best wife and kids in the world who give me such joy and unconditional love.

I want to celebrate great music that makes me want to sing along with the artist (and perhaps even dance a little).

I want to celebrate the opportunities that I get to use my skills and abilities to make a contribution to those around me and make a living for my family.

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The new guy in the office is the one who looks forward to Monday mornings.

He’s the one who whistles as he walks through the door to start another day.

He has new ideas and new perspectives that he is keen to share.

He wants to build good relationships with the rest of the team.

And he’s still enthusiastic about what he does, not complaining, not cynical and not pessimistic about the future.

What happens to that guy?

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English: Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gaute...

Nelson Mandela in Johannesburg, Gauteng, on 13 May 1998 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Nelson Mandela is widely regarded as one of the most inspirational people in the world from the last few decades.

From his time as a political prisoner during South Africa’s apartheid regime, to his period as a remarkable president and statesman, he constantly displayed quiet strength, the rare ability to forgive his enemies and incredible wisdom.

He has sadly passed away at the age of 95, but his quotes continue to have an impact around the world.

Here are eight of my favourites:

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