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Harness the Wind

Harness the Wind

William Kamkwamba's amazing Rosh Hashana lesson.


So let's get this straight. He is 14 years old. He is starving. He has a family that is supposed to take responsibility for him, not the other way around. He is no longer in school, can't really read or write English on any level of competency and despite all of the above, he undertakes to figure out how to save his family and community. Not letting anything get in his way, braving the ridicule of his family and friends, he goes ahead with his plan and saves everyone in the vicinity.

You can't watch the video without feeling a sense of awe at this young man's drive, humility and authenticity.

William has clarity. He is confident that the answer to his family’s problem is out there, even though he doesn’t know where to find it. Once he hits on an idea that can work, he undertakes to do whatever is necessary to implement it. He trusts his own perception versus the scoffing of those who don’t understand. He implements, operates and improves his plan, and ends up saving the lives of his family. And this is no fairytale.

Rosh Hashana is coming. It ushers in the period of time called the 10 Days of Return. It's a time break through our weaknesses and limitations, the things that hold us back.

We are all stuck with problems that seem insurmountable. We're sure that there is no way to extricate ourselves from our predicaments, that we lack the creativity to engineer a solution.

William shows us the way. He shows us that if we try, if we are willing to go back to basics, to face our issues head on without flinching, trusting deeply that we have the tools within us to break through whatever holds us back, we can accomplish great things.

Emulate his formula. Take a long hard look at yourself and your situation. What needs to change? What are your dreams? Take total responsibility for who you are, what you do and who you want to become. Be willing to think outside of the box, to approach things totally differently. This Rosh Hashana, embrace your challenges and dreams. The Almighty is on our side. How can we fail?

Shana tova

September 4, 2010

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 7

(7) Lisa, November 14, 2010 12:22 AM

the power of motivation

Yes! Self esteem and belief in self are the key ingredients to actualizing a better YOU!

(6) Rita, September 8, 2010 7:05 PM

the future depends....

I hear what David is saying but our future depends are changing the way we see the world and our communities. We live with other life on this planet. It is not a good idea to keep finding more and bigger ways of exploiting the earth and it's resources. We need to learn to be happy with less of everything.

(5) ruth housman, September 7, 2010 11:29 PM

the answer is blowing in the wind: RUAH

Ruah is a word for soul, and it is for breath, or wind. This beautiful story is all about soul and about a young man, a very young man, who despite the odds, using sole ly his passion and I think direction from a higher power, what is unseen, found a potent way to save the people in his village. Yes this is an inspiring story, and the message to be derived from such a story is beautifully told in the video and brief article about this young man. Shana Tova!

(4) Mamzer Hakodesh, September 6, 2010 7:17 PM


I LOVED this. It IS inspiring. Thank you so much for posting it, I'm going to share it with my friends.

(3) Sarah, September 6, 2010 5:24 PM

So glad you found TED

This is not the only video on It is a wonderful site where people share the latest views of what is happening in the world. i watch the videos concerning ecology as that is my field of interest right now. There is every interest and field represented. Each person can find something they will like there. It makes me happy to see how you have interpreted this video to give us inspiration to go ahead and conquer our fears and problems to achieve our goals. Kol Hakavod!

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