“We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as
impossible” ~ Charles Swindoll
In 1893, a young, amiable Indian lawyer named Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi had to take a train journey from British Colony Natal to Pretoria in South Africa. Although Gandhi originally traveled to South Africa for work, his train journey changed his own life and many others worldwide. Gandhi had a first-class ticket. Despite having impeccably dressed and causing no trouble, a white man complained about his presence in the compartment as Indians were not allowed in the first class. As such, Gandhi was humiliatingly ordered to move to third class. When he refused to interchange, he was thrown out of the train. Gandhi had to spend the whole night shivering at the remote rail station. Throughout the long, cold night, he pondered the sobering alternatives, “Should I go back to India or should I stay and fight for my rights?” Gandhi soon uncovered far more injustice in South Africa. Indians had minimal freedom; even they had no right to walk on a footpath. They could only build homes in areas set apart for them. Under the same colonial regime, Indians in South Africa were not allowed to go out at night without a permit. Gandhi spotted a necessity to improve a very negative situation and felt ignited within himself to pursue the dream of freedom. The seed of his lifelong vision had been laid there.
Some visions like Mahatma Gandhi, were sparked by the dark times, but some are born out of apparently peaceful contexts. In the late 1970s, Sir Richard Branson and his friend Jhon were on holiday in the British Virgin Islands. They had an urgency to catch a plane to Puerto Rico, but their assigned flight got canceled. Branson found the airport terminal was full of passengers. So he made a few phone calls and decided to charter a plane for $2000. He then divided the amount by the remaining number of seats, borrowed one board, and wrote: “VIRGIN AIRWAYS: $ 39 for a single flight to Puerto Rico.” Soon booking poured in for all seats and the aircraft took off. The incident highly inspired Branson. On the way home, he called the aircraft manufacturer to ask how much it would cost to lease a secondhand plane for a year. He spotted a new business opportunity and soon launched his airlines. Today Virgin Airways flies to over 30 destinations worldwide and carries around 5 million passengers each year.
In the early 1940’s Walt Disney sat in a park at a fairground and was watching his young children riding on a merry-go-round. As he waited patiently for the ride to end, he asked himself, ‘why isn’t there a place where children and their parents can have fun together?’ That moment marked the beginning of his dream to create the happiest place on earth – known affectionately today’s “Disneyland.”
Great things are born from great opportunities, either to rectify a negative situation or to optimize a positive one. So, take the challenges as the best opportunity to explore your leadership role. Create your vision to set examples. Indeed, your dream makes what you become.
 Charles Rozell Swindoll is an evangelical Christian pastor, author, educator, and radio preacher. He founded ‘Insight for Living’ headquartered in Frisco, Texas, which airs a radio program of the same name on more than 2,000 stations worldwide in 15 languages.