Chelsea Gatcliffe, head girl at St Josephs Convent Port-of-Spain, accepts a token from Ato Boldon after he spoke to students at the school. His visit was part of the Guardian in Education tour. Photo: Lester Forde
One of the greatest gifts in life is sharing. It is also more than just getting distinctions at O-and A-Level examinations but helping others to achieve.
The advice was given to students of St Josephs Convent, Port-of-Spain, by former world sprint champion Ato Boldon last Thursday, during another stop on the Guardian in Education tour.
If your goal in life is to pass exams, look out for yourself and not share, then all your efforts would be in vain, Boldon said.
Who are we really competing against? If you are the smartest girl, please help the other girl. The time to be selfish is when you have to focus.
Speaking from his own successes academically and on the athletic track, Boldon said he made time to assist others.
I have enjoyed success. I didnt cheat anybody. I made sure that I helped other people, he said.
Boldon attributed a lack of sharing to the way how children are raised today.
A lot has changed since he was a child, he said. In his time, everyone looked out for one another. Now, he said, everyone is looking out for numero uno.
This has to be the most self-sufficient generation ever, he said.
Comparing how his parents included him in every activity when he was younger, Boldon said he realised todays parents were the opposite.
Parents are too busy. They have work, they have fete, they have vacation...some parents have other priorities, he said.
But this, he said, should not deter how young people develop themselves.
Decide from now how you are going to be the most important for yourself, he told the female students who hung on to his every word as they listened in the schools chapel.
The most important thing, Boldon added, was not to be afraid.
As long as you call yourself a Christian, it means you do not live your life in fear.
You live according to certain principles and have faith that things are going to be okay, he said.
And as humans, people also decide what they are going to reflect about and what they are going to be afraid of.
But by facing the negative elements, a person can move away from the fear.
Relate to all the negative things that you see.
An athlete for 12 years, Boldon admitted that it took him a while to figure that out.
You cannot spend any time worrying about that which you cannot control. There are seven other people in the lane next to you...the only thing I control is my lane, he said.
But in handling defeat, one must also accept and deal with it, he added.
If Stern John had cost us a place in the World Cup by missing that penalty...he is well aware of the word chance, he said.
Boldon also attributed former West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara as an example of hanging tough.
I have learnt a lot from him. Regardless of praises for him or the burning of an effigy of him on the Brian Lara Promenade, he keeps the same mentality, he said.
I hope most of you are smart to figure it out. It should not matter to you what other people think.
The Guardian in Education Making a Difference school tour is sponsored by the National Gas Company, RBTT, BG Trinidad and Tobago, Guardian Holdings Ltd and Yara Trinidad Ltd.