This article was culled from the book “God Built” by Steve Farrar. I am blessed by the book. I hope you enjoy this piece and know that whatever situation you find yourself, you don’t give up. God is in control. He has a plan for you.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. Romans 5:5 (NIV)
Hope is the pillar that holds up the world.” – Pliny the Elder
Howard Head was a lousy athlete who radically changed two sports: skiing and tennis. And it was all because of his broken hope to be a capable athlete. Howard had wanted to be a good skier since he was a kid. But because of his poor athletic ability, just about every time he tried to tackle a slope, he wound up breaking wood skis. Even so, he held on to the hope of one day becoming a skillful skier.
That hope may have looked pretty faint to Howard at times, but not faint enough to keep him from trying something that seemed crazy at the time. The more Howard thought about it, the more he convinced himself that his problem with skiing wasn’t his skills on the slope, it was the skis! So in 1941 Howard Head, who was a brilliant engineer, took $6,000 in poker winnings, and focused his entire life on building skis out of air-craft materials. His friends thought he was nuts. Everyone knew the best skis were made out of hickory. Undaunted, Howard invested several years developing a composite ski that was virtually unbreakable- and the skiing world was changed forever.
Head skis became dominant company in the industry. Eventually, Howard Head sold his company and became a multimillionaire. Along the way, he also realized his dreams of becoming a better skier. Now rich and retired, Howard built a tennis court in his backyard and spent $5,000 on tennis lessons. But once again, his lack of athletic ability seemed to stymie him. He bought a ball machine to help him practice on his own, but he became convinced that the prince ball machine could be improved. So he bought the company and spent months improving the machine. Within a very short time, his improved ball machine captured 50 percent of the market. But he was still a lousy tennis player. Then it dawned on him that his trouble might be with the racquet. He should make it bigger.
Once again, his friends thought he was nuts- it was against the rules to have a bigger racquet. Howard Head looked up the rules and discovered that there were no regulations on the size of the racquet. As far as the rules were concerned, you could play tennis with a waffle iron. So he began to work on an oversized racquet that was two inches wider and three inches longer. He personally played with it, amazing even himself at the improvement in his game. After much trial and error and extensive tests in the lab, Howard eventually had test results that proved the sweet spot of his racquet was 20 percent greater than a normal racquet.
The prince racquet became the gold standard in tennis, and in 1982 Howard Head sold prince Tennis for $62 million. Because he had virtually no hope of becoming a better tennis player unless he improved the equipment, Howard Head did just that. And everyone benefited.
When most people lose hope, however, it’s usually about things significantly more important- and nearer to the heart-than skiing or tennis. How important is hope? It’s a fact of life that a man can live without water for only several days, and without food for a matter of weeks. But nothing kills the heart of a man more than the absence of hope. When hope is gone, life is gone.