Priorities by Kenneth Boa

Leadership Qualities: Priorities
Dr. Kenneth Boa

He was Europe's 350-pound wrestling champ a little over two generations ago. His name was Yussif, but people called him the Terrible Turk because of his massive size and awesome strength. After he won the championship in Europe, he sailed to the United States to contend with our champion - Strangler Lewis - a much smaller man who weighed just over 200 pounds.

Strangler Lewis had a simple plan for defeating his opponents. He'd put his arm around the neck of his competitor and cut off the oxygen at the Adam's apple. Many an opponent had passed out in the ring with Strangler's tactics. The problem Lewis discovered when it came time to fight the Terrible Turk was that the European giant didn't have a neck! He just went straight from his head down to those massive shoulders. In the ring, Strangler Lewis couldn't even get a hold, so it wasn't long before Yussif flipped Lewis over on the mat and pinned him.

After winning the championship, the Terrible Turk demanded that every bit of his $5,000 prize money be given to him in gold. After he wrapped the championship belt around his vast, equator-like middle, he stuffed the gold into the belt and boarded the next ship back to Europe. He had not only captured America's glory, but he possessed her gold as well. He had won it all - except immortality!

Yussif set sail on the SS Bourgogne. Halfway across the Atlantic, a storm struck and the ship began to sink. The Terrible Turk went boldly over the side with his gold still strapped around his body. The added weight was too much, even for the heavyweight champion, and he sank like an anvil before crew members could get him into a lifeboat. He was never seen again.

We hear stories like this - a true story - and think, "How on earth could anyone be so foolish?" But, the truth of the matter is, we all tend to grasp the things of this world and hold onto them even while we're sinking. The story of Yussi ...


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