That sunny afternoon must have been the hottest in living memory. I rummaged through my wardrobe painstakingly for a shirt. It was Daniel’s birthday and I knew very well that there was no other place I could spend that day than at Daniel’s house, which was just a few blocks away from mine.

My search for a shirt was rewarded with a beautiful blue plaid long-sleeved shirt. I donned my shirt-cum-trophy and made for the door. From the corner of my eye, I noticed a brown envelope tucked neatly a few paces from the wardrobe. The envelope was obviously addressed to me, but I had no idea what its content was. In this age in which poison-laced envelopes and well packaged hand-held grenades are so easily passed around from one end of the globe to another, it was only right that I approached the brown mystery with caution.

Trembling, I emptied its contents into my left hand and … Guess what! I saw it again. I was furious! Well, you should have been there to witness my irritation firsthand. How could a piece of my past which I so desperately brushed aside and tried so hard to forget, still be hovering around in my present? How could my first-year senior high school examination report still be lying around at that point in time? For goodness’ sake, it was almost five years old! I clearly recall planning to incinerate that report; it beats me how come I never executed my plans.

You might be wondering how the results of such a “good” student as I could warrant thoughts of incineration. Allow me to let you in on this little secret: my childhood dreams of pursuing a degree in Medicine and Surgery and being a medical doctor was nearly shattered in that first year of my senior high school education. Can you imagine that I could hardly make any grade better than an “E8” in the elective subjects? I was only consoled by the fact that I was relatively better in the core subjects, in which of course I scored just some B2s and B3s. You could say that the 23rd position in class was a plot of land I shared with no one!

What I am about to share with you is how God moved me from grass to grace; how he moved me from the 23rd position plot of land to 3rd place in just one term; how I made another step ahead to 2nd position the next term; how I made a grand transition from being an average student to being an ace student!

Back at home, my family was growing frantic about the sudden decline in my academic performance. I had a series of unofficial academic counseling sessions with my aunt who promised to give me GH₵10.00 if I could manage to secure the 10th position by my second year. Don’t laugh yet – that amount was big money back then!

Friends, one important concept of life became very clear to me when I decided to pursue academic excellence. I realized that one requires the currency called change to get change: one who desires change in any facet of life needs to first change himself.

Admittedly, I was not doing my best as a student initially. I had to change my way of thinking from “I cannot make it” to “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. I needed to change my usual habits of sitting on my notebooks and rushing through them just a few days before the examination. I needed to change the position of my seat in class to a better place where I could pay maximum attention to my teachers and avoid unnecessary conversations. I needed to stop relying on my own intelligence, to praying for the favor and grace of God in every examination. Change! Yes, Change! Change was the requirement for a change in my academic performance.

I believe that:

The mystery behind every rising champion is embedded nowhere, but right in the totality of his beliefs.” – John Bravo

Previously, I believed I was a failure and could never make an “A” in school, but after I conditioned my mind and belief system with that of the word of God (Ephesians 3:20), I made countless As from the first term in my second year to the day I completed school.

I have had numerous encounters with people who believe that some people were just born to fail and that nothing significant could be done about that. Although some of the victims of such disturbing statements have even accepted their “ill fate”, I do not buy that idea. I call it a misconception.

No man can live above the limits of his own beliefs. After I changed my belief system, I refused to see my E8s as a challenge, but merely as an opportunity to grow. Sometimes, the problems in our lives are not actually the problem. The problem lies in how we see these problems. Instead of seeing my failures as a stumbling block, I perceived them as a stepping stone to my success. The famous author, Norman Vincent Peale, in his book, “The Power of Positive Thinking” wrote that: Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. 

I understood that my problems were necessary for the creation of the solutions I earnestly desired. Do you know where I found the answers to my problems? Yes, I looked nowhere than into my E8s and F9s for the solution.

Success in every facet of life- education, marriage or work- is conditional. You need to apply well calculated and strategic efforts to produce a fruitful outcome. Success has its own language and one needs to learn it thoroughly until one becomes fluent in the language, and begins to harvest from his labor.
The language of success is positivity. Along with conditioning my mind and belief system, I started speaking the language of success and eventually gained grounds in it.

Watch your words! Like the apocalyptic doomsayer I repeat, watch your words! If you constantly speak self-defeating words about yourself, you’ll definitely bury your potentials in the pit of impossibility. I knew that the power of life and death lies in the tongue, so I spoke life into my academics.

When God was confronted with darkness in the beginning, he didn’t start complaining and telling everyone about how great a challenge the darkness was. He spoke life into the darkness for the light to appear. When you are confronted with a problem, don’t just “comment,” but speak life into that problem.

Lest I forget, on my journey from being a grade F student to a grade A student, I met two different kinds of people: those who had no beliefs in my future and the valuable ones who did. I let the former group of people meet my lawyer – time. I define time as the legal practitioner who serves all men free of charge; when people do not believe in the dreams and future of time’s determined client, time proves those naysayers wrong. There were people who did not believe in me, but valuable people like Gilbert Opoku Jeffery, who became my new seat mate, inspired me with words and actions. Indeed, it is an undisputable fact that good company breeds good habits.

I reaped bountifully from the seeds I sowed into my life then. My aunt was very amazed when I made it to the 3rd position in class instead of the 10th position she had encouraged me to work towards. I had a special gift cake from her that day aside the GH₵10.00 promised me. I did not care about the value of the money. In my mind’s eye, all I was thinking of was the smiles I had put on God’s face and the faces of my relatives. People marveled and wondered how I made it; my sudden leap could be likened to a quick quantum jump of an electron from the ground state straight to the outermost energy orbital. Klinsmann Opuni, one of my classmates, once asked me how I made it to the top, and all that I could say was

“I changed a lot!”.

Hello lovely reader, an ordinary pen has markedly been inspired, so get inspired!

I believe God can grant you any change you seek in life, but prior to that, you need change!

The writer goes by the pen-name John Bravo. You can join him for more here:


Fb Page : The Inspired Pen



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