Tuesday, May 23, 2017
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
As humans we crave for a life of greatness, a fulfilling and
successful life yet for most of us success dribbles around us. We spend many of
our years wrestling with our insecurities most especially financially. Many a
people even believe that they can do better than they are doing at present and
no wonder we are the best judges of what others do. The paradox is that we can
only judge than do what others do because we long lost the script of success.
Life has nothing to offer those whose time is wasted on judging others than
putting themselves of the coals of fire to realise their dream. Life rewards
sacrifice. It is those that take action on their dreams that get rewarded than
those judging the actionated dreams of others.
It is necessary in life that you find out the purpose of
your life. Ask yourself, is this all what life means? Am I living the purpose
of my life? Is what I am doing indeed giving me a sense of meaning and purpose?
It is not surprising therefore that many people do not live a life of purpose –
they go to jobs they hate no wonder they always complain day in day in. They
are like a square peg on a round hole. This disillusionment emanates from the
fact that they did not in the first place took a conscious effort to find out what
is it that they can do.
Les Brown was right, ‘your life is worthy finding out what
is it that you can do. Most of us do not go to the next step because we do not
know what to do.’
To live a fulfilling life, a successful life entails that we
re-establish the foundations of our life. It is appropriate to shift your
focus. We waste a lot of time focusing on things that do not matter then we
wonder why we are failing to be successful. We hang around with people that
long lost the ambition to do better then expect to rise on the ladder of life.
That is impossible. You are the average of your best six friends. Shift your
focus. Get in touch with people that will inspire you, challenge you. Be around
people who made it a point in their life that anything is possible. These are
people that have a positive mentality and can hardly take no for an answer.
Turn a deaf ear to people who all they can contribute is
talk about how negative things are because they are born in the consciousness
of the world, so says Les Brown. Does what you waste time commenting on on
facebook really matter? How much time does your whatsapp consume as you are
trying to impress people that you know things better, comments which they will
only read and do nothing about? While you are wasting your time, people that
are living their dream are reading books, listening to motivation and
leadership audios and attending conferences to sharpen their minds. Your
friends are busy investing in themselves. Shift your focus, be disciplined.
What percentage of the phones you make are useful and add value to your life?
What stories do you talk with friends? What drives you forward?
More than often times we are unable to shift our focus
because of fear. We have an inherent perception that we cannot achieve the
ideas we conceive. We fear because we want to walk on the path that everyone is
walking on. But that is not your dream. People that achieve do not fear to walk
their own paths. Whatever idea you have, focus on it and you will achieve your
dream. It would require discipline, a change in the way you live. You will
encounter new fights in life, never run away, get in the midst of them. That is
where your greatness lies. Tony Robbins well says: ‘if you want to change your
life, change your focus first.’
Look at the purpose of your life, look at what can take you
to greatness and fear not to travel on the downtrodden path to realise your
dream. Face fear head on till it retreats. Obstacles are not there to be
escaped but to be conquered. Conquer fear first then you will realise your
Fear kills dreams, so says Les Brown. Fear kills hope. Fear
can hold you from doing something that you know that you are capable of doing
it. Fear can paralyse you. But the million dollars question is: what is the
benefit of allowing fear to hold you back?
Find the purpose of your life then shift your focus to live
the purpose. There is no formula to success than that.
RISE BEYOND THE ASHES OF DISAPPOINTMENT
Humanity hates pain yet we cannot live without pain. Pain is
one significant factor that drives humans forward. Because we do not want to
experience it, we work hard to avoid it. But life has one simple principle; pain
will always get on the path of our lives. And with pain comes disappointment
Disappointment is a great teacher that we have to embrace.
There is no mentor as great as disappointment. When life is normal we take it
for granted, we linger in the comfort zone and we stop thinking, we stop
challenging our brains. Most businesses are born out of disappointment of a
failed business. Most people in the corporate world are advancing their studies
having been disappointed that the educational qualifications they have are not
giving them an upper edge to be accorded luxurious positions. Their
disappointment becomes a driver of their ambitions.
There is a significant increase in the number of employees
that are doing businesses. The bottom line is that they are disappointed with their
perks hence to live a life of their dreams they have to take the road not
taken: face challenges head on and start doing businesses. If they were not
disappointed with their salaries they could not have created small businesses
which in the end are growing big thus employing more people.
Disappointment is a necessary evil. People that have been
disappointed in their working environment end up realizing that their corporate
life is nothing but a shadow and that their relevance can erode any moment. In
such realisation they end up crating other niches, exploiting their skills and
talents to enhance their lives. Some of them become consultants or even part
time lecturers and teachers.
Writing of the battle at the Alegria de Pio, Ernesto Che Guevara
says ‘we walked until darkness made it impossible to go on, and decided to lie
down and go to sleep huddled together in a heap. We were starving and thirsty,
and mosquitoes adding to our misery. This was the baptism of fire, December 5,
1956, on the outskirts of Niquero. Such was the beginning of forging what would
become the Rebel Army.’
Without the disappointment of the loss of fellow comrades,
the Rebel Army would not have been born and certainly Cuba could not have ended
up in the hands of Fidel Castro.
Consider the story of Martin Brown, founder and CEO of Radical
Mobility, a South African business that designs, manufactures and markets power
wheelchairs for people with disabilities. Brown is a quadriplegic and has been
confined to a wheelchair since 1998. His company sprouted from the need to find
an electric wheelchair that catered for his needs – such as the ability to
drive on beach sand and overcome slopes and other obstacles.
The accident he had was a big disappointment to him but he never let it
control his destiny. The disappointment opened new eyes in him to see other
wonderful opportunities. If it was not for the accident Radical Mobility could
not have been born and the solutions that it has provided to the disabled could
possibly not have been there.
Great people face disappointments many a times. Billionaire Richard
Branson explains his disappointment as he was attempting to keep his airline in
business. Branson says: ‘after the great leap into setting up Virgin Atlantic,
I now found that it was difficult to develop the airline as quickly as I
wanted. Although we had had a wonderful year and had been voted the Best
Business Class Airline, Virgin Atlantic was confined to operating from Gatwick
Airport. Due to a single short runway and the lack of connecting flights,
Gatwick was less profitable….we were struggling to make money…with our endless
struggles to make ends meet at Virgin Atlantic, I began to question whether I
should start doing something completely different. I even thought of going to
University and study history.
If Branson had given up to the disappointment, Virgin Atlantic could
not have been as huge and successful an airline as it is now. It would have
been an airline confined to the museum of history.
What matters is rising beyond disappointment and the world is not short
of stories of people that did that. Unbelievable so to say that Winston
Churchill who eventually became British Prime Minister was a child who had been
ignored by parents, who did poorly in class, stuttered and spoke with a lisp.
They actually called him a disappointment and a boy of ‘low intelligence.’
If Churchill had given in to that disappointment he would not have been
one of British respected Prime Ministers.
Learn from the pains encountered. Learn from the disappointment
and betrayal felt in life. Life is practical and out of practical elements come
disappointment which is the springboard to success. Disappointment has the
torch to light the realities of life and unmask the masquerading lifestyles of
people that pretend to love while hiding beneath their smiles disastrous venom.
But surviving disappointment is the virtue of the strong. It is as difficult as
to forgive. It is only the strong that can forgive as it is only the strong
that survive disappointment and move on.
RE-INVENT THE WHEEL
Most people are struggling to curve a new road to the future;
they are cursing the present and keep on nursing wounds of the past, or
continue wallowing in the pleasures of golden old days. It is their inability
to cut the umbilical cord to their past that lives them in dilemma. They are
people that hate the present because they did not do well in school, they were
born in poor families, they lost parents when they were young, they lost jobs. Over
concentration on what may have happened or ought to have happened limits our
vision to the future of our dreams. It is appropriate to note that spring does
not last forever. Keep your enthusiasm even when you are failing because you
can only fail yourself to success
Stephen Berry is right in the book Strategies if the
Serengeti as he says: ‘in our commercial world we continue to observe champions
of previous decades becoming the carcasses of the current decade. In our
business environment we see the continued use of strategies which were once successful
but have now been rendered obsolete. Technologies change, markets change,
perceptions change. Managerial functions change and all will only continue to
do so at an ever increasing speed.
The fact of life is very simple, if you had a glorious past
then suddenly the world turns upside down, it entails therefore that along the
way you stopped doing the very elements that propelled you to the pinnacle of
success. You got lost in the comfort zone and were complacent of business as
usual. Life is cruel; it never keeps rewarding a person on the basis of past
glory. Life wants immediate success stories. It is appropriate to note that all
of us are looking for an area in which to matter, to make a difference and to
perfect that area to levels that we have perhaps never dreamed of before.
The great German philosopher Goethe said that if you commit
to a purpose that matters, a purpose that is personally motivating and powerful
for you, you can achieve that levels that perhaps you never dreamed of.
You may not have had the opportunity to attend university education
in your youthful days but it is never too late. What does it help to hate the past;
to complain that what you do not have you could have had so many years ago? Go
back to school and get the academic papers of your choice. Do not hate the
present scenario as market forces push you out of relevance thus threatening your
survival. Life will keep on changing, hate not the change, keep crying not for
the past. Re-strategize your life and move on. Nobody has interest to listen to
your glorious past, if anything people would use your glorious past to tell
tales of how life can move from god to bad and worst in one’s lifetime.
Challenge people, start afresh, write new glorious chapters of your life.
The reason why people break records is because life requires
something new all the time. A record is a record only for a period. Top
athletes break their records to place the bar too high. Break the records of
your past. Beat the feat that you managed to set in your personal, business or
corporate life. You may go down, but never give up. Work hard on a come-back
philosophy. Never lose hope, never give up, keep on working hard on the edge of
the unknown. You were there possibly unknown, build upon the failures you know,
remember all the sadness and frustration and let it go. You are the one with
the power to re-invent the wheels to the future of your choice.
Leadership guru Paul McGee says, when you let go some stuff,
you create a room for more stuff. If you want to develop your life, if you want
to develop your business, you have to be ready to do the things that you don’t
like doing. McGee, in a few words advocates for what he calls SUMO – shut up
and move on. If you have to move forward, never keep on complaining, close your
ears to the madrigals of the past, stop admiring your past achievements, the
failures of today will not be compensated by the achievements of the past.
It is possible to make life a new. It is possible to achieve
more. Zig Ziggler tells us: ‘at the end of your days, do not be the kind of
people who say, I wish I had, I wish I had, I wish I had. Be the kind of people
who say, I am glad I did, I am glad I did, I am glad I did’
Men do not attract that which they want but what they are so
says James Allen. You will attract success if you work hard towards achieving
success. You will conquer fear if you are strong minded and cannot give up no
matter how tough it seems in life. You will move forward if you learn not to be
carried over by your past. Be a person of action and move forward
QUESTION THE IMPOSSIBLE
We limit ourselves in how far we can go with any initiative.
A race is lost not at the finishing line but at the beginning or even along the
way. It is an athlete who instead of concentrating on his abilities to win
starts thinking that his competitor has advantage that loses. The best football
strikers in the world are not the best because they have extraordinary legs to
dribble and score, they are the best because they conquer their mind. They
strongly believe they can score, they strongly believe they can dribble. No
wonder they fear no battalion of a forest of defenders in front of them. It is
the battle of the mind that matters most.
We confine ourselves to the tattered shreds of poverty
because some economies and people labeled us a poorest country on earth. They
won the battle of the mind, they made us believe we are too poor hence our
thinking ability is within the parameters of the poverty Berlin walls that we
built with our minds. In the end we cherish the status quo and never question
why should we be seen to be a people that have nothing to offer the world but
continued misery and being the eyesore in the conscious of humanity.
When he was young Mike Mlombwa walked on foot from Mwanza to
Blantyre in pursuit of his dream. He never feared the distance. He never feared
hyenas and other animals on the way. He conquered the mind. When Jimmy Koreia
Mpatsa lost his job, he survived on writing short stories. Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira
was denied a bank licence several times, he never gave up. If all these people
had lost the battle of the mind there could have been no Countrywide Car Hire,
no Mpatsa Holdings and no FDH Financial Holdings Limited. It is the mind, it is
the mind, the battle is fought, won or lost, in the mind. It is your fear that
Ordinary people achieve extraordinary things because they
believe. Mahatma Gandhi, a common man, touched a billion hearts and became a
father of the Indian nation. It is said, think big, think fast. Think ahead,
Ideas are no one’s monopoly. James Cameron a truck driver created marvels. A
nurse inspired the idea of the ‘Red Cross.’ Mother Teresa of Calcutta, just a
mere nun, became a mother to all. Lance Armstrong, a cancer survivor, became a cycling
champion. Arthur Clarke was right; the only way to discover the limits of the
possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.
Win the battle of the mind. Question what people call the
impossible. Phelippe Petit walked between the Twin Towers of the World Trade
Centre in New York on the morning of August 7, 1974. Steve Jobs invented
Macintosh, Typography on screen, Mouse, iMac, iPod, ipad, iphone. Question what
people call impossible.
Les Brown gives us a good lesson. ‘It is necessary to know
that everybody want see your dream, that everybody won’t join you, that
everybody won’t have the vision …. You are an uncommon breed. You know, you have
to know within yourself. Believe that I can do this, even though no one else
may see it I must see it myself.’
There is no biggest battlefield in the world than the mind.
It is those that have strong belief in themselves and their capabilities to
achieve that will never be wiped off the face of the earth with the nuclear
weapons of humiliation, the tanks of self doubt and the rockets of being labeled
failures. The point is, we judge ourselves on the basis of the opinion of
others. But who told us that what others say is the gospel to us and that we
have to believe no matter the stereotypism. We are our own worst enemies.
Some believe that because we come from poor families then we
can never be rich. Others condemn generations
into the dungeon of academic failure all just because none in their
family had ever excelled in school. We do not believe in ourselves to the
extent that when someone does something exceptionally better we usually say
‘amene uja ndi mzungu,’ literally manifesting that only the azungus can do good
We are failing to break the yoke of corruption because in
our minds we believe we are too corrupt. We lost the battle. We are still in
the bondage of pessimism such that to any idea we doubt its practicality and
even if the idea triumphs we still believe something wrong will happen along
the way. Until when shall we keep on bondaging ourselves in the Egypt of
self-doubt? How long shall our exodus take to reach the promised and of
Defeated you will be if only you accept to have been
defeated. A failure you will be if only you accept to have failed. It is knock
downs and knockdowns that make heavyweight boxers the greatest. The bottom line
is, in life you are standing on the edge of the unknown. Let your sadness go,
let your frustrations go. Let the hard past go. Free your mind and you will
make it. Nothing will take you down than a conquered mind. Try a little harder
to be a little better
PUSH BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES
It is human’s desire to be unique, to achieve more, to have
their names in the books of achievers. But reaching destiny is not that easy.
Unfortunately, we have the desire to love doing the easy things hence we
achieve nothing unique. Our problem is that we have the habit of doing the same
things and expect different results.
Motivational and inspirational speaker Michael Jackson was
right, ‘your past matters nothing. What matters is what makes you different and
that is what will stand out for your future.’
It is only when we overstretch ourselves beyond the expected
norms that we achieve. It is imperative to note that the society we live in
does not allow us to stand out, to push beyond the boundaries; it wants us to
fit in. It is not amazing therefore that most people are average as they have
to be confined within the boundaries of societal thinking.
People that have made it in life have stretched boundaries,
have been crazy, have been unstoppable and have defied the limits of impossibility.
Consider the life of a courageous Malawian girl whose name is Scalder Louis.
Louis says: ‘in 2004 I was convinced that I could start
accountancy studies. The challenge however was that the closest accountancy
college was almost 300 kilometers away. I really needed a qualification in
accountancy and I had to get started. I enrolled with the Malawi College of
Accountancy for weekend classes. I had to leave Ching’anda by boat every Friday
for Sengabay, a two hours lake cruise distance then from there connect on
minibus to Blantyre. Sunday afternoon I had to travel back to Ching’anda.
People said that what I was doing was not right but I kept on.”
That was indeed taking a bigger risk. Cruising through the
storms on Lake Malawi and being in a minibus for hours was something most of us
could not do. But Mark Zuckerberg was right: ‘the biggest risk is not taking
any risk….in a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is
guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.’
As if that was not more than a hill to climb, another
seemingly insurmountable challenge emerged. Louis explains: ‘On 25th
of April that same year my world turned upside down, a minibus accident
occurred as I was travelling from Blantyre to Sengabay to catch a boat to
Ching’anda. When the accident happened I didn’t know what exactly had happened
in me. I couldn’t feel my legs. I asked if I had my legs. I was eventually
moved from Mlambe hospital to Queen Elizabeth Central hospital. I was there for
months and I was still with hope that one day I would feel my legs. I
eventually stayed for months at Beit Cure and also got rehabilitated at Kachere
Rehabilitation Centre for months.’
The bigger story is that Scalder Louis never gave up. Having
suffered spinal cord injuries and confined to a wheelchair was no excuse for
her to fail achieving her dream. She ended up being the first wheelchair
confined student to enroll at PACT college. Scalder Louis is now a qualified
accountant and comfortably works as Finance Manager for World Vision.
Achieving dreams demand that we push and push as Scalder
Louis did. The spinal cord injury was a silent message to her that it was
impossible for her to achieve her dream. She defied that and kept on.
Impossible is nothing, the great Muhammad Ali said. Impossible is just a big
word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they
have been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is
not a fact. It is an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It is a dare. Impossible
is potential. Impossible is temporary.
No matter the situation you are in, the challenges you are
encountering, hang to the wise words of Zig Ziglar: ‘you were born to win, but
to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.’ If
Scalder Louis defied the impossible, you can also make it. She is a mortal
being just like you are. Stretch yourself beyond the limits then you will
achieve the impossible.
POSITIVE ATTITUDE MATTERS
As you are working towards your dream, you will encounter a
lot of defeat, a lot of failure. Even the inner part of yourself could be
telling you to give you. You have to realise that even your friends may not
agree with your dream and the way you are working hard towards achieving it.
But in such uncertainty, come to realise that positive attitude is all that
matters. If people say that you will fail in your dream, listen to them not;
get inspiration from those that made it the hard way. Achieving a dream demands
having an unwavering sense of madness, a sense of craziness, a sense of
positive attitude that dispels the paralyzing ideas of others.
Peter van Kets who won the 2007 Atlantic rowing race has
this to say: ‘our survival demanded that we put aside uncertainty and
negativity. The reality was clear, dwelling on it was pointless. Through the
waves of exhaustion I reminded myself that there is no story without a
struggle….everyone can act with resolve and courage when all is going according
to plan. We only truly prove ourselves when everything appears to be falling
You may be working hard on your dream and despair for facing
imminent failure, facing castigation from your friends and relatives and
critics. It is appropriate to remember, as Winston Churchill said: ‘if you are
going through hell, keep going.’ There will be critics of your dreams but they
become critics because you are achieving something, because you are achieving
the extraordinary, because you are denying fitting in and are push beyond the
boundaries. Wear your positive mentality clock.
When things are hard, when things are tough, when critics
are too much on you, take time to read and re-read what Theodore Roosevelt
said. Roosevelt stressed: ‘It is not the critic who counts; not the man who
points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have
done them better. The credit belongs to the man who actually is in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who
errs, who come short and short again, because there is no effort without error
and shortcomings; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great
enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at
the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if
he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be
with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.’
If Scader Louis had listened to the critics she could not
have risen from the ashes of spinal cord injuries to become a top qualified
accountant. If Dr. Thom Mpinganjira had allowed the bottlenecks he faced along
the way to stand in the path of his dreams, there could have been no FDH bank
today. If William Kamkwamba had listened to those who labeled him mad and
stupid for trying to construct a windmill, he could have been nothing and his
name would not have entered the book of wonderful engineers the world has ever
Positive mentality is the vehicle that takes you forward.
Positive mentality brings courage, energises enthusiasm, catalyses the power to
win, and becomes a walking stick when the going gets tough. Listen to what
Mahatma Gandhi said. ‘Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become
your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behaviour.
Keep your behaviour positive because your behaviour becomes your habits. Keep
your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values
positive because your values become your destiny.’
When you fail try again and again and again, nothing is
impossible. Keep on trying until you give the world the best you have, as it is
only when you give the best that the best come back to you.
Stay focused, battles are lost in the mind. Peter van Kets
once again says: ‘the key to success is what happens inside my head. Your body
is an incredible thing. It can get used to almost anything and it can go on
forever. It is your mind that stops you, that gives up long before your body
does.’ Never give up, never give in, wear the cloak of positive thinking then
your dream will be within reach
Monday, May 22, 2017
NOW OR NEVER
We have the luxury of time, the most precious
ingredient we should never abuse but which we love abusing. Time wasted is
never recovered. If you have procrastinated on working on something it entails
that you may finish it but not in line with the planned framework.
Procrastination is the best thief of time.
Whatever dream you have, roll it into action now.
Talk is cheap. Dreaming is cheap. Actionating dreams is what makes a
difference. Many a people in life have lost a sense of purpose, have their
vision bruised. Their only crime has been waiting for the right moment to
realise their dream. Life is not that simple, life will never offer a conducive
environment or rather a fertile ground on which your dreams can grow easily.
Just like a plant has to survive harsh weather so do dreams. If you have a
dream actionate it now, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
A short motivational video clips lectures: “don’t
wait. Create a plan for carrying out your desire and begin at once. Whether you
are ready or not, put those plans into action. When your desires are strong
enough you will appear to possess superhuman powers to achieve. Patience,
persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.”
Never be afraid to put your dreams into action. Nothing
will stop you but yourself. It is always said that obstacles are those
frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal. You are the
creator of your own destiny. If you want to make your dreams come true, the
first thing you have to do is wake up, always act like you are wearing an
There are many people that used to play good
football and were anticipated to become the world’s best but they never made
it. It is usually the average players that become superstars. The reason is
very simple. Average players work hard, put in twice the effort that good
players put in. Average players follow details and start actionating their
dreams right then. If you have a dream, actionate it right now.
When you grow up you tend to get told that the world
is the way it is and your life has to live inside the life of the world and try
not to get too much trouble, that you have to get an education, get a job, make
some money, and have a family. But life can be a lot more broader than that
when you realise one simple thing – everything around us that we call life was
made up by people that are no smarter than you.
Les Brown was right: “find out what your life wants
and go after it as if all your life depends on it….there are no guarantees you
are going to be there tomorrow. There are a lot of people who were here
yesterday and they are not here today. There are a lot of opportunities that
were around yesterday but are not here today.”
The only guarantee that life gives humans is that if
you do not take action then there can never be a positive outcome. The only
outcome will be that you didn’t achieve anything; you didn’t achieve that you
It is good to put things in the right context. In
life we don’t get what we want, we get in life what we are. We can always
become more by working to develop ourselves
NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE
People that we cherish are those that fear nothing,
that deny to live by the book written by others, that deny to live according to
the guidelines of what others created. Successful people write their own book,
walk their own path and challenge their own thinking. They do not believe in
business as usual. Achievers believe that what one thinks of one can achieve.
It was belief and challenging the normal thinking that saw Armstrong becoming
the first person to land on the moon. It seemed foolish to think that a man
could land on the moon until when it happened.
her own words, Oprah Winfrey says: ‘``I was raped at the age of 9.'' Bill gates
emphasizes ``I didn’t even complete my university education.'' The world’s
celebrated neuro surgeon Ben Carson points out ``I struggled academically
throughout my elementally school.'' The record breaking world footballer of the
year Lionel Messi says, ``I used to serve tea at a shop to support my football
people never allowed the circumstances of life to hinder them and that is why
we celebrate them. They refused to think of the term impossible. While other
people in the very same situations would be seeing an insurmountable mountain
to climb, these cherished any obstacle to live the dream of their life.
world has more amazing people that do not look at their situation as a barrier
but an opportunity to focus on a different path. The amazing life of Dumisani
Ntombela crystalises that we can become what we want as long as we are willing
to become that. It clicks in the ears as unbelievable that Ntombela became
blind at the age of one because of cancer but has not allowed his disability to
be an inability. "I have suffered a lot of prejudice from people who think
that I am incapable of doing anything. I have proven myself that I can be
better than those who can see," said Ntomblea.
The blind Ntombela is a blind soccer coach who has always dedicated his time
and passion to women's soccer. Business Media Live reports that his women's soccer
team, Silver Spears from Vosloorus, Ekurhuleni, was recently crowned champions
of the annual Maimane Alfred Phiri Games in Alexandra, Joburg.
Ntombela did not allow the stereotypes of others over him to curb his dream.
"Some people in my neighbourhood used to call me spoko (ghost) and they
thought I would affect their children. It was a painful experience to both my
parents, particularly my mother who has been my pillar of strength."
He encouraged other people with a disability like his not to allow anyone to
feel pity for them or patronise them.
"When someone says you are blind, tell them it is what they see, not
what you are because you can achieve far much better things than them.
"I coach people who can see but they appreciate that I am their leader.
I also used to play football and score against people who can see while I
couldn't," said the young coach.
We can move out of poverty if we will to and undertake decisions that see us
cutting the strings of poverty. We can grow our GDP extensively if we believe
that it is possible. We can be a food-sufficient nation and even become an
exporter of food if we believe that it is possible. We can be a corrupt free
nation if we believe that it is possible. We become what we think. If we are
living in the poorest nation on earth then we have all collectively failed and
the status of our nation is a manifestation of the caliber of its citizens.
LEADERSHIP EXTRAORDINAIRE: CHALLENGING ONESELF
The success equation is undergoing a robust
transition, challenging leaders to embrace a new mode of driving entities they
run. Regardless of the sector one is in, the bottom line remains that people
can no longer be managed like sheep just to follow their leader blindly. The
new generation of followers has a different mode of achieving success; it
craves to be heard, to be appreciated and to have the power to challenge
authorities whenever necessary without fear of retribution.
Circumstances are clear that the 21st
century requires a leadership that challenges itself, that surrounds itself
with minds that are ready to challenge it, that articulates its vision with an
open mind that it could be challenged within. This is the leadership that
strives to look forward and achieve no matter the surrounding circumstances.
This is the leadership that could best be termed the Abraham Lincoln success
In the article Leadership lessons from Abraham
Lincoln, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin emphasizes that you have to surround
yourself with people who can argue with you and question your assumptions and
this particularly helps if you can bring in people whose temperaments differ
from your own.
This leadership style does not entail that you bring
every jim and jack into your leadership circle. It challenges that every leader
looks at his or her rivals and chose the best and most able people among them
to help in shaping a corporate or political ideology forward.
Pointing out to the philosophy, Abraham Lincoln
brought Salmon Chase into his cabinet as treasury secretary knowing full well
that Chase craved the presidency. The rivalry was even more manifested through
Chase’s undermining of Lincoln all the time with cabinet members, so too
congress. To Lincoln what mattered was that Chase was doing his job. The more
Chase considered himself a better leader deep in his mind the more he wanted to
prove it through his position. In the very end all the credit went to Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt long saw it as he explains, ‘it
is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man
stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs
to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat
and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes short again and again, who
knows the great enthusiasm, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy
cause, who at best knows in the end triumphs of high achievement and who at the
worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly so that his place shall
never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.’
Over a century years later Barack Obama saw the
merit of using the Abraham Lincoln success code. He brought into his cabinet
heavyweight politicians who were themselves past and future contenders into his
cabinet. Obama was well convinced that the strategy would challenge his
thinking all the times and there would be no time for complacency or hero
worshipping. He had surrounded himself with lions that were not afraid to maul
his ideologies thus at the very same time keeping him vigilant with his
policies and strategies. Obama chose his chief rival, Hillary Clinton, to be
the Secretary of State. He went on to pick Joe Biden to be his vice president.
In his cabinet he included powerful republicans like Robert Gates and Ray
It needs no mention to emphasize that corporate
bodies that are struggling to compete on the market and become profitable are
in such a dire situation as a result of well entrenched culture that is awash
with the followership that could not challenge the leader, the followership
that takes comfort sitting in the backseat taking to initiative to steer their
corporate bus towards the path of success. The end result is mediocrity and
loss of corporate identity.
The political sector is no exception. Political
parties have been crumbling as a result of entrenching a leadership that never
challenges itself. People with dissenting views have great value as they offer
the alternative that a leader may never have comprehended. In general sense, dissenting
views are a reality check. It is not surprising therefore that when we fail, be
it in any sector, there will be those who say, ‘but we said it and we knew it
would end like this.’
This is now the time for a leadership analysis and
for leaders to embrace the Abraham Lincoln success code be it in a family, work
place, political circles and corporate leadership positions. Leadership is
changing and the 21st century demands a dissenting-views responsive
I AM GLAD I DID
We find ourselves in distressing moments reminiscencing on
what we could have done. Eventually that resuscitates fear in us that we can
achieve no more. We end up becoming disillusioned. But Zig Ziggler gives us the
most wonderful words of wisdom. He lecturers: “at the end of your days, do not
be the kind of people who say ‘I wish I had, I wish I had, I wish I had.’ Be
the kind of people who say ‘I am glad I did, I am glad I did, I am glad I did.”
Often times we regret as a result of procrastination. We
keep on postponing our dreams as if we have the luxury to stop the ticking of
the clock. If your dream is to go back to school just go back to school, time
will never be static waiting for you. If you see business opportunities, do not
hesitate; take the initiative to grow your business. Most people would complain
of capital. Capital is not a challenge in business; it is profitable ideas that
are a challenge in business
To move on, to be able to say I am glad I did, one must be
prepared to let some things go. To live a dream is to sacrifice some bits of
life. One of the world’s leading speakers Paul McGee in a presentation he calls
Shut Up and Move On (SUMO) says: ‘when you let go some stuff, you are making
room for bigger and better stuff to come into your life.”
The fact of the matter is that it is necessary that you let
go the energy drainers in your life, people that do not challenge your thinking
are not a necessary package to have in your life. You need to let go of
meetings that do not add value to your life. You need to let go of social
gatherings where you learn nothing that can propel you forward. As long as you
keep on attaching yourself to circumstances, events and people that will
maintain the status quo, you will never go anywhere. In the end you will say “I
wish I had.’
The life lesson is so simple, if you want to be prepared to
do business, you have to be ready to do things that you are not comfortable
with. It is tiresome and exhausting training on the football pitch everyday but
that is what makes Christiano Ronaldo and Messi and the world top footballers
to be the best they are. In all the pleasure and delight they give us, there is
great pain in their bones. Usain Bolt runs almost everyday just preparing for
Olympic games. Most business people do not sleep adequately at night because
they are busy discussing business deals but out of such sleepless nights come
At the time war was looming to topple Sadaam Husein, the
airlines business was in shambles as fuel costs had escalated. But even in such
a crisis, the small Virgin Airlines and Richard Branson thought of doing
something unexpected. There were hostages in Iraq that Sadaam Hussein had
agreed t release but no planes were flying into Baghdad. Richard Branson
negotiated through King Hussein of Jordan to be allowed to fly into Baghdah to
airlift the hostages.
Branson narrates a wonderful story in the end. He says: ‘By
flying into Baghdad and rescuing hostages Virgin had again usurped British
Airways traditional role. ….although this plane was just one of four planes
Virgin Atlantic operated, suddenly we looked like a much larger airline.’ That
event possibly ballooned the image of Virgin Atlantic and must have propelled
its growth. Richard Branson did what no any other airline could be comfortable
with and that made a difference
The world has no shortage of people that manifest to us that
the ‘I am glad I did’ is possible. Oprah Winfrey says. ‘I was raped at the age
of 9 yet am now one of the most influential people in the world.’ She never let
the rape instance be a blockade to her life. She went on to live a life of her
dreams. Bill Gates says, ‘I didn’t even
complete my university education but became the world richest man.’ If Bill
Gates had procrastinated on his dream he would have been saying “I wish I had.”
He cherishes in the term ‘I am glad I did’
Celebrated neurosurgeon Ben Carson adds his weight when he
says: ‘I struggled academically throughout elementary school yet became the
best neurosurgeon in the world.’ Lionel Messi has an exciting background to
confess when he says: ‘I used to serve tea at a shop to support my football
training and still became the world best footballer.’ And even despite the 27
years incarceration in prison Nelson Mandela became president of the Republic
of South Africa. He must have died with his heart cherishing ‘I am glad I did.’
To eventually come to the point we can cherishingly say I am
glad I did, there is need to do a soul search into what comes easy to you as
leadership guru Robin Sharma usually says. It is people that find talking easy
that become excellent broadcasters, it is those that love cracking jokes that
become influential actors, it is usually those that make science subjects easy
that join the medical and aviation fields, it is those that find pleasure in
running that win marathons, it is those that find pleasure in fighting that
eventually become celebrated boxers and wrestlers, it is those that cherish
their voices that become singers mesmerizing millions of people. The point it,
nothing can stop you but yourself. Be the one to say in the end, ‘I am glad I
OF OUR IMAGINATION
Whatever we are is but a figment of our own
imagination. People that have made it big did imagine becoming that big. Sir Thomas Edison imagined an electric bulb
and failed 9999 times to make one until when he succeeded at the 10000th
trial. Blaming circumstances for our failure to make it big is nothing but a
mere manifestation of our ego-defensive attitude.
The US$7 billion fortune David Gehen points out that
‘I have always thought that each person invented himself for whatever reason,
through whatever circumstances, through whatever he has gone through. We are
each a figment of our imagination.’
We fail in life because we trample on our
imaginations, because we lose the belief and confidence to go ahead with our
ideas. In the end we do not work very hard towards achieving our dreams and we
start seeing obstacles.
The US$3.2 billion net worth Howard Schultz has this
to say: ‘don’t allow anyone, friend, family, acquaintance, teachers, whoever it
is. Don’t allow anyone to tell you that whatever you are dreaming for yourself
and your family is not possible. It is possible.’ The world’s renowned
motivational and leadership speaker Les Brown adds: ‘What ever dream that you
may have, know that it is possible.’
To become what we imagine to become entails that we cut
ties with the pains of the past. Where we come from matters nothing. Our
education background and credentials matter nothing. What matters is working
hard towards your dream. Consider one of Malawi’s business tycoons Jimmy Koreia
Mpatsa. He was born to a single parent in a family of three boys and girls, he
says he was never lucky to get any place at the university colleges. He later
privately studied Advanced Level Economics, English literature and law but did
not sit for exams. His first job was a buying clerk at Import and Export. His
services were once terminated at Import and Export and was jobless for around 7
months during which he survived on
writing short stories for magazines such as ‘Star’ of Malawi, ‘Parade’ of Zimbabwe
and ‘Readers Digest.’
Little can you imagine that over 20 years later Jimmy
Koreia Mpatsa is a billionaire with establishments with a net value of over 5
billion Malawi kwachas. It entails therefore that no matter his having no
college degree, no matter his parental background, no matter his joining
employment at a junior rank, he never ceased imagining to become a millionaire
and now billionaire. If he had any vestiges of doubt then we could not have
been talking of him as he would have failed.
Hardwork is one catalyst for transforming
imagination into reality. US$ 5 billion fortune Richard Branson emphasizes, ‘to
create a business you have to initially work hard. It is really hard work.’ US$325
million net worth Jerry Weintraub adds: ‘I work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.’
US$45 billion net worth Michael Bloomberg weighs in, ‘in the end luck plays a
very important part in how successful you are but the harder you work and the
longer you work, the lucky you are going to be.’ Howard Schultz brings in a lesson
worth noting: ‘people need to understand that we cannot take a break. We have
competitors who want to take food off our tables….to build a sustainable
successful business you have to eradicate the human behavior of relaxing, the
human behaviours of the feeling like you have won.’ And US$ 1 billion net worth
Michael Eisner says, ‘mediocrity is what fearful people will always settle
It is now time to write the next chapter of our
lives, to become what we imagine. If we imagine becoming failures we will
certainly become failures. If we dream big, we will become big. Donald Trump
well said, ‘if you are going to do something, do it big.’ The US$67 billion net
worth Warren Buffet stresses, ‘develop a habit of success.’ The habit of
success is as a result of our imagination and hard working spirit.
As Malawians we dream of a wonderful future. We dream to
abolish poverty and live a prosperous life. It is imperative to note that
unlocking the growth potential of this country does not rest in anybody’s hands
but us. We are the architects of the future that we crave to live.
Professor Kamwachale Khomba of the University of Malawi in
his inaugural lecture early in the year eloquently pointed out that America was
developed by Americans; Japan was developed by the Japanese so is China by the
Chinese, Singapore by Singaporeans and many developed nations that have
developed by the dedicated and hardworking citizenry. So what makes us feel
that Malawi would be an exceptional case that it should be developed by
foreigners and not by ourselves!
Narrowing down to Africa, Rwanda has engineered a wonderful
future from the ashes of genocide; Ethiopia has engineered a future from a
repressive military regime to become the economic hub for East Africa.
Mozambique has shed off its war past to grow its economy magnificently. Africa
and Africans are engineering a new future of their choice, a destiny
manufactured by their own hands.
We do not need a Jewish prophet nor a son of one to prophecy
that the development spanners of this country are in the hands of the people of
this country. It is time we engineer the future we want. A renowned and world
class speaker by the name of Michael Jackson - not the musician - lectures that
only by creating our own unique paths can we create the future for ourselves.
To engineer the destiny of our choice we have to change the
way we do things, the way we do business, the way we do politics, the way we
live socially. We are the ones that can think our way to success. Change is
never easy and that we have to appreciate. The process of change plunges people
involved into the dungeon of surprise, frustration, anger, disappointment, fear
and even denial at times. But the moment we accept the change commitment
follows then we deliver to the highest standards.
In engineering the destiny of our choice we have to accept
the situation we are in. Doing more of what we have been doing is not working
and will never work anymore. Let us accept we do not have donour aid and let us
forget about it. Let us rise beyond the frustration and the uncertainty. This
is no longer time we have to be going back to the tried and the tested. We
cannot engineer our destiny as long as we live on routine. It is time we deal
away with the aid mentality most especially as now is the time we have to be looking
Africa’s leadership icon Nelson Mandela was right, the
journey becomes lighter and easier when you do not carry your past with you.
Our past had aid, the present does not have. Our past had many free things; the
present cannot sustain such a lifestyle. Our past had the snail’s pace in business;
the present demands the cheetah speed business. Our past had less competition;
the present has competition at neck breaking speed. We can no longer keep on
travelling on the highway to the past. The future matters.
As Michael Jackson lectures once again, business has changed
its shape and structure, business has become incredibly complex and business
now demands a brand new mindset. Things are moving fast in this generation, we
cannot afford to have the thinking mentality of the industrial era. It is time
we become the conscious thinkers that challenge the status quo and break the
The world now demands new generation thinking. The issue is
no longer capital and labour but skills and knowledge as observes Michael
Jackson. In the new generation thinking command and control is outdated as in
comes decentralization; bureaucracy and hierarchy paves way for networks;
internal controls are swallowed up in alliances and partnerships; the
mechanical side of the world has been digitized; as standardization has lost
touch to customization; with scale and scope evolving into flexibility and
Our destiny in whatever dimension is attainable, is
engineerable, we can architecture it but then we have to go by the necessary
changes. Let us change our beliefs. Our beliefs are the greatest enemy to
change. We have to create a culture that no longer prefers conformity and
‘fitting in.’ We have to abolish the archaic mentality of only agreeing with
those that agree with us as such people share same attributes and can no longer
think outside the box. We have to realise that no people can be thinking like
one. It is the diversity in ideas that spearhead development.
In engineering our future and destiny let us stop getting
worried with things that we do not have control over. Nick Vujicic, the man
without arms and legs, was right, ‘accept that some things are not possible and
beyond your country but believe in what you can do.’ And the worst thing of all
is that we gravitate towards bad news over good. It is this element that makes
us unable to see opportunities. A great percentage of posts on facebook are
pertaining to negative stories. Most stories people share on whatsapp are
negative stories. The more negative we are the more we give our mentality a
diet of negatives and corrode its thinking to be negative.
It was the year 1960 and the biggest sporting event, the
Olympics, was taking place in Rome, Italy. It was at this occasion that 28 year-old Abebe Bikila amazed the world
when, unknown and unheralded, he won the Olympic marathon. He attracted the
world’s attention not only by being the first East African to win a medal, but
also because he ran the event barefoot. A stadium in Addis Ababa is named in his honor.
In life you need
to seize any moment. Abebe Bikila was far from winning let alone participating
at the event. He was included in the Ethiopian Olympic team only at the last
moment, as the plane to Rome was about to leave, as a replacement for Wami
Biratu, who was seriously ill.
This is a
wonderful lesson that once in a lifetime, for one mortal moment, one must make
a grab for immortality: if not, one has not lived. Heroism would not come on a
silver platter. Heroism is a result of sweat, pain, tears, falling, rising, and
moving on regardless of circumstances.
gives one crucial lesson. After the race, when he was asked why he had run
barefoot, he replied, “I wanted the whole world to know that my country,
Ethiopia, has always won with determination and heroism.”
In life we chase
many dreams and we get frustrated that we achieve so little. The reason is just
so simple, what we put in in terms of effort is far too below what we
anticipate to reap in the end. We lack the determination to soldier on despite
any challenges we encounter along the way. We give up many times and restart
again as we always seek the easiest route to success. The bitter pill to
swallow with life is that success and realisation of dreams only come through
passing through deserts of failure, thorny paths of disappointment, and rowing
over the seas of shame. It is only determination that makes heroes to be what
It was a shameful
thing for Abebe Bikila to run barefoot at such an international stage. He shut
his mind off shame and was determined to prove a point. He never mind about the
opinion of others that he was little known and was only a mere replacement of
an ill athlete. He was there to seize the moment.
One fact however
is that when we achieve all the pains encountered are forgotten and heroism
songs become the new order. When Abebe Bikila won he was recognised and had a
stadium named after him. He put his name in the history books and he became an
The simple thing
with life is that if you think you can, you can. And if you think you also
can’t you are equally right. Those that believe that they can have the
determination and will to move forward. Those that believe that they can’t all
they do is to accept fate. They are not the igniters of change as they let
change happen to them.
something unique among creative personalities, leaders and innovators. They believe
in themselves, in their own decisions and leave aside those who don’t share
their point of view. They demonstrate such confidence in their ideas, such that
fear of failure, which follows the others, retreats. They refuse to stay in one line with
mediocrity. They refuse to act according to the book. They write their own
‘book’ of life and create by denying traditions. They can survive failure after
failure but not change their belief in their own self. They move forward, push
to the edge, and live their dreams.
In a motivational video entitled ‘the life of my dreams’, it
is said that these people have such self-confidence, that others start to think
that they know where the levers of the world are and how to operate them.
We fail more because we lack determination and because we
lack determination then we aim too low. It is time that we challenge the
impossible, that we create keys to unlocking a new future never before
anticipated. It is time that we work twice as much as we do and that we never
give up. Les Brown was right, if it was easy, everyone would do it.
What are you waiting for; pursue your dream with
determination. Be obsessed with your dream such that all other things are seen
to mean nothing. Chinese great Confucius well says: ‘identify what’s important
to you, eliminate everything else and finally automate, delegate, get help.’ To
achieve you have to be crazy.
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT
Any wonder why we achieve little? The answer is simple, we
follow the bandwagon and we are no different to millions of others. People that
have been successful have been as a result of following the road not taken,
they have been challenging the status quo and that made a difference. Not long
ago it was unthinkable that an ordinary person could own a radio and TV station
until when Gospel Kadzako did it. He does not come from a wealthy background,
he does not have the most prestigious qualifications. The only thing he has is
that he believed that he could make a difference, he dared to be different.
In the book the Millionaire Mind it is well explained that
successful people are different, they don’t follow the crowd, and those who
don’t follow the crowd are often criticized for being different. Have an idea
that people will criticize and run with it, that is what is going to make a
difference. Offer your servces in the most exceptional way such that others
would need to learn from you. By the time they are learning from you, you have
already covered many more miles in your business and service delivery. You are
never the same, you have made it.
Napoleon’s Dzombe’s Mtalimanja logo has an exciting motto in
it. It simply reads: Grow big or go home. That is certainly the mantra that has
grown Mtalimanja into a multi billion business. Napoleon Dzombe made a
difference. He dropped out of school when he was in form 2 and informed his
father that he wanted to start a business. His father gave him a cow. Napoleon
Dzombe sold it for 77 Malawi Kwacha and that marked the beginning of his
businesses. Using the money he bought salt that he would sell to farmers in
rural areas on the payment mode that they would give him the money equivalent
through groundnuts or maize upon harvesting. That is how Napoleon Dzombe dared
to be different. The difference has seen Mtalimanja becoming one of the biggest
exporters of soya, a conglomerate with business interests in sugar, rice, tooth
picks, mats, blinds and many products.
It is daring to be different that matters. When revolts
against British colonialism were more justified to be through armed
revolutions, Mahatma Gandhi opted for non violence and that is what he is
renowned for. In the midst of abject poverty and segregation in the United
States of America, Martin Luther King Jr brought hope to the downtrodden blacks
of America with his speech ‘I have a dream.’ The speech resonates in the minds
of people throughout the world over half a century years after his assassination.
He dared to be different.
Armstrong was a NASA astronaut and the first man on the moon or, more
accurately, the first man to set foot on the moon. He was also an accomplished
test pilot and a figure so large in American and world history that you can bet
many generations from now people will still be talking about him, as well as
his moon landing. Neil Armstrong dared to be different. If he had not decided
to be different then his name would have had no space to be remembered for in
Daring to be
different is all that makes a difference. Your social economic stand is
nothing, it is the different path you take that matters most. Consider the
story of William Kamkwamba. When
the Daily Times wrote a story on Kamkwamba's wind turbine in November 2006, the
story circulated through the blogosphere and TED conference director Emeka
Okafor invited Kamkwamba to talk at TEDGlobal 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania as a
guest. His speech moved the audience,
and several venture capitalists at the conference pledged to help finance his
secondary education. His story was covered by Sarah Childress for The Wall
Street Journal. He became a student at African Bible College Christian Academy
in Lilongwe. He then went on to receive a scholarship to the African Leadership
Academy and in 2014 graduated from Dartmouth College in Hannover, New
In 2013 TIME magazine named
Kamkwamba one of the "30 People Under 30 Changing The World.
In 2010, The Boy Who Harnessed
the Wind was selected as the University of Florida common book, required
for all incoming students to read. In 2014, it was selected as the common book
at Auburn University and University of Michigan College of Engineering, as
well. William made an appearance at each university to discuss his book and
In 2014, Kamkwamba received his
bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where he was
a student and elected to the Sphinx Senior Honor Society. This is the same
William who a crippling famine forced to drop out of school, and he was not
able to return to school because his family was unable to afford the tuition
fee. If he had not dared to be different, his life story would have remained
VISION AND PASSION
The venomous thorns that crowd most people’s path to success
is the tendency of looking down upon themselves on the basis of the
circumstances they have gone through, the pains they have endured in the past
and the hopelessness lived through. That deters them from soldering on. But any
circumstance has nothing to do with what we can be or what we cannot be. We can
only become what we think and really wish to be. There is no empirical formula
that proves that if you are born from a poor family you will die poor, that if
your parents are illiterate then you will die an illiterate. The world is awash
with a litany of success stories that defied circumstances.
Richard Branson, the billionaire founder of Virgin, Virgin
Records, Virgin Airlines and many more dropped out of high school at the age of
16 and used to suffer from dyslexia. Macdonald’s founder Ray Kroc dropped out
of high school at 15 yet when he died he was worth 500 million United States
dollars. The famous Steve Jobs was adopted as a child. He dropped out of
college yet is the founder of Apple, NeXT and Pixar. The amazing Nick Vujicic
was born without arms and legs but is one of the world’s most sought after
successful international inspirational speakers.
Many people have defied circumstances, pain, anguish and
tears to make a new order in life, to prove to the world that the past is
nothing but dreams and vision matter. The world’s most celebrated talk show
host Oprah Winfrey was born to a single teenage mum. As a young girl she was
sexually abused. She grew up in a poor background and neighbourhood. She was
even demoted from her job as a news anchor because ‘she wasn’t fit for
television.’ Oprah defied such a background to become the admired talk show
host the world has ever celebrated. She is among the most successful women in
America worth billions
Consider Frank Lloyd Wright who distinguished writers say is
undoubtedly the most influential architect of the twentieth century. The
amazing fact is that, he never attended high school.
According to Your Success Horizons it is pretty obvious to
anyone that a good education and background are not sacrosanct to being
successful…a lack of education, or a poor and difficult situation should not be
seen as necessarily life defining.
Successful people ride above the harsh waves of the circumstances
they may have lived through. They are driven by passion for success; they have
the great hunger for success and are visionary. They do not walk in the path
that all people walk, they take roads least taken and that makes a difference.
It is courage that see them flourishing. Courage is greatly
the ability to stand in the line of fire without fear of being burnt, the drive
to fight a lion with bare hands, the instinct to be ready to die for a cause.
Successful people do the unthinkable because they are ready to lose anything
for their dream. Courage is forgetting oneself through immersing all your
thoughts and success in the mission to be achieved. A successful soldier is the
one who while on the battle front, when other colleagues are retreating, he
runs towards the firing line to carry on his shoulders a wounded soldier. It is
for such bravery and courage that such soldiers are honoured.
The developmental scope of Malawi has nothing to do with
circumstances that we have passed through. If anything, all the pains ever
encountered are the best lessons and earth moving machines that prepare a best
path to our dreams. The cashgate plundered the Malawi economy but it is time we
think of remedying the situation and kick starting our economy than groaning
over billions of money that were lost. Let the courts deal with that as the
country has to move on.
We may have had floods that resulted on one of the worst
hunger crisis we experienced as a country. Other schools of thought groan that
we can never become the bread basket of Africa. These are those that are
carried away by circumstances. The hunger we experienced must give us the drive
and courage to embark on agriculture seriously, to utilise any piece of land
even through irrigation. There is nothing that we cannot achieve, the only
thing that deters us from achieving is that we put limitations on ourselves.
And because we put limitations we stop thinking beyond the boundaries of the
limitations. 50 years ago China was as poorer as Malawi is at present. If China
were to be contented with its past circumstances, China could not have been a
rich and super power now. Forget circumstances, it is vision, passion and
hardwork that matters.
CHOICES WE MAKE MATTER
Patrick M. Powers enlightens us, ‘we are all born with
virtually unlimited potential. We all have 86,400 seconds a day. Where you end
up in life is not determined by where you start. It is what you choose to do
with the seconds you have – it is what you choose with your potential that
shapes your destiny….it is only two things that can create your dreams, your
choices and your commitment to those choices’
Make choices that will move you forward. High above all,
choose to take responsibility. Do not waste your time blaming others. Own the
problems that you encounter in life and become the solution. Learn to give;
learn to be of value to others. Tony Dovale was right, if you do not give out,
your hands are filled then you have no more space for more new things. Your
talent, your intelligence is meant to make life better for others.
Abebe Bekele complained not of the unavailability of the size
of his shoes, he run barefoot at the Olympics and eventually won the gold
medal. Achievers do not complain and they look at obstacles as opportunities to
be conquered. They deny being part of the problem but becoming a solution.
We fail because we concentrate on what we do not have. It is
what we have that makes us move forward. William Kamwamba had the passion and
drive to build a windmill. He did not concentrate on the unavailability of
materials. When you have passion and dedication all things fall in place. No
wonder he used rudimentary products. A person without arms won the China has
talent by playing piano with toes. He challenged the expected mode: playing
piano with hands. A Korean who had grown up in toilets and was a seller of gum
and sweets on the street amazed the audience with his voice at the Korea has
talent. Stop complaining, you have greatness within you.
It is appropriate that you have an open mind. Minds are like
parachutes, they only function when they are open. Challenge your thinking,
challenge your environment, and do not be satisfied. Les Brown even adds, if
you have a dream, be obsessed with you. If you are obsessed with your dream you
do not even look at any obstacles standing on your way. If you are obsessed
with a dream you stop everything and concentrate on the dream. If you are
obsessed with a dream you do the unthinkable, the crazy things that could lead
to the realisation of the dream.
It was the power of obsession that saw Phellipe Petit walk
on the rope between the twin towers of the world trade centre in New York on
August 7, 1974. It was their obsession with flying that was the Wright brothers
make an aero plane.
And in life choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice.
Happiness is not a priviledge for the rich. Anybody can be happy if only you
wish to be. Cherish the small things you have. We all start small and become big.
High above all have a positive mentality and feed it with positive thoughts.
Positive thoughts induce a positive character, thus oiling the wheels of your
courage to succeed. People that have positive character do not give up.
The secret to happiness is to start your day on a positive
note. Every morning when you wake up, read a motivation quote, or read a
scripture that will reinforce positivity in you. A better start drives you
forward with confidence. If you start your day with newspapers and television
news, you are at risk of having a bad day. Everyday media headlines are
negatives. Media headlines will give you the feeling as if life is all about
wars, failures, retrogression, and hyper inflation. The more that sinks in your
mind, the more the batteries that power you forward lose their energy. The
media pays little attention to progression, the media feeds your mind with
dosages and dosages of conflicts such that it appears as if there is nothing
good happening in the world than conflicts. In life you need a positive
orientation to move forward.
What you watch matters, what you listen to matters, our
opinions are shaped most by what we watch and what we listen to. Choose to
watch things that will challenge you to move forward. Choose to listen to stories
of achievers and then you will get inspired. Remember, it is the choices we
make that matter in life.
FOUR-MINUTE MILE BARRIER
Prof. PLO Lumumba who is well known for his oratorical
excellence and probably Africa’s best voice on Pan Africanism pointed out that
what fails Africa is that we want things that require effort without putting in
the required effort. Malawi is no exception, we want a bumper yield and bumper
harvest yet we do not invest highly in Agriculture. We are lost in the
primitive way of farming, relying on the rain at the time that Israel uses drip
irrigation. We want first class medical treatment in our public hospitals yet
we are the very same people that steal medical drugs and other amenities for
sell to private hospitals. We want a country that is corrupt free yet we are
the ones rushing with khaki envelops when tendering and bidding for projects.
We certainly do the inverse of the dream we want to live.
If we are to reach our potential then we have to work extra
harder, to push everything to the edge, to break the barriers. It is possible
for Malawi to shake itself out of the dungeon of poverty. What sticks us in the
quagmire of poverty is that we put limitations on ourselves on how much we can
achieve. Robin Sharma was right; the life that you see this very moment is not
necessarily the life of your future. You might be viewing things through the
eyes of fears, limitations and false assumptions. Once you clean up the stained
glass window you see the world through, guess what? A whole new set of possibilities appears. We
see the world not as it is but as we are.
We have been seeing and measuring our country through the
stained glass windows of poverty and we believe we are meant to be poor. It is
not surprising therefore that we celebrate poverty, that our language confesses
that we are a hopeless poor nation, even our actions lean towards begging and
we are not ashamed. We celebrate donations and have no courage to implement
policies that can make us self-sustainable. We want free things: education,
medical services, farm inputs, land. No wonder therefore that even property grabbing
is entrenched in us. We want things that require effort without putting in the
We have conditioned ourselves to believe that politics is
the philosophy of ensuring that winners fail so that those that failed take
over the reigns of power. We are yet to start practicing developmental
politics. Our corporate sector is conditioned in calling for more and more
concessions and tax breaks and tax exemptions on almost all imports than
looking at how best they can penetrate international markets and become
dominant market leaders or market challengers. It is not amazing that their
financial underperformance will always be blamed on rising inflation and
weakening kwacha currency. But why is it that in the very same harsh economic
environment other players are doing well economically? Why is it that
Burundians and Asians and Chinese are competing brilliantly and dominating the
business side? It is all just because they do not put limitations on themselves,
they believe in breaking records that were set previously.
It is on record that before 1954, it was believed that no
runner could ever run a mile in under four minutes up until when Roger
Bannister did it. Within weeks many people replicated his feat. It is all
because he showed that it is possible, he set a new reference point.
If the corporate world has to be vibrant then it has to live
in the post 1954 record breaking world. As long as they consider the
environment not to be conducive for business they will never break their
four-minute mile. There is flourishing business in tough environments in
Mogadishu, Baghdad, Tripoli and even other war torn cities. Even when there is
just a day long cease fire in Damascus, you see markets opening. These people
do not put limitations on themselves, they look at maximizing on every upcoming
opportunity no matter how short lived it may be. They are always there to break
the four-minute mile barrier.
Eleanor Roosevelt was right; the future belongs to those who
believe in the beauty of their dreams.
It is worth realizing that the success DNA entails that we
develop in ourselves the leadership that begins on an extra mile. Robin Sharma
teaches us again, ‘leadership is shown when a salesperson makes extra phone
calls at the end of an exhausting day – not because it is the easy thing to do
but because it is the right thing to do. Leadership is shown by the manager who
finishes a report that has taken the very best from him, then gets back to it a
little later to polish and improve it even more. Leadership is shown by a team
that delivers on their value promise to a customer and then digs even deeper to
Nothing beats hardwork. We have the mediocre appetite of
spending fruitful time with endless conversations on whatsapp and uploading
self-praise profile statuses and pictures on facebook than working hard to
achieve our dreams. We treasure our suffering from the diarrhea of words. We
have mastered the art of criticism and yet we that criticize more do nothing
that can lead to progress in our lives, our communities and our beloved
country. It is not a spectator that makes a team win, it is the player that
risks every limb to score that makes a team win and it is him that makes a
BLOOD, TOIL, SWEAT
Britain was feeling the pinch of the Second World War when
Winston Churchill rose to become Prime Minister. When he summoned new ministers
to the Admiralty House on 13 May 1940, he told them: ‘I have nothing to offer
but blood, toil, tears and sweat.’ A few hours later he repeated that in the
House of Commons as he spoke there for the first time as Prime Minister
In the House of Commons Churchill went on to add, ’we have
before us an ordeal of the most grievious kind. We have before us many, many
long months of struggle and suffering. You ask what is our policy? I will say
it is to wage war by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the
strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never
surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our
It does not require a Jewish prophet nor a son of Malawi to
prophecy that Malawi continues to undergo through an economic quagmire. What
should be our policy now to fish our beloved nation from the shackles and
manacles of endless poverty? We have to wage a brutal war against poverty. Let
us fight it in the sea. Let us conquer the waters we have in lakes and rivers
and utilise them for irrigation to do away with the perennial monster of
hunger. Let us conquer the war of poverty on land. We have the most fertile
land and it is unthinkable that we remain beggars of food and take pride in
calling for our country to be called a state of disaster. We that have plenty
land resource ask for food from those that have no fertile land.
The war against poverty should be waged in the air. We are a
country that is blessed with the sun throughout the year but unable to
capitalize on solar energy to boost our economy. We are a country blessed with
wind but even though William Kamkwamba demonstrated that it is possible to
harness energy from the wind, we let the wind just run and at times even wreck
havoc. Why are we losing the war in the air?
We have the media that blast airwaves and front pages mostly
with stories that demean us. Inspirational stories are never news worthy. A bit
of the flickering stories about our country and its country men are covered by
international broadcasters but not our own. It is Africa Focus on international
TV channels that showcase some progress in Malawi not our local broadcasters.
We have lost the script and have our default instinct towards negatives.
If Malawi is to rise beyond poverty then all its citizens
should be ready to undertake greater sacrifices for the common good. It is
imperative that those working in the public sector and entrusted with public
resources put high above all the needs of the country at the top than personal
gratification. The looting and plundering of public resources to satisfy the
insatiable appetite for a glorious life we can never attain is a manifestation
that we lose focus.
It is time that the political landscape changes. The
political landscape should be the driving force encouraging us to work more than
just waiting to receive. The political landscape should be inspiring us to take
agriculture seriously, to be patriotic, and to be ashamed of being perennial
beggars for budgetary support and food. It is time the political landscape
tells us frankly that we will live by our resources and that we have to be
ready to sweat more, to toil more, to cry more for the creation of a wonderful
future. No matter how long it may take us, we can achieve if only we take the
What should be our aim now? Winston Churchill said once
again: ‘you ask what is our aim? I can answer in one word: it is victory,
victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and
hard the road may be: for without victory there is no survival.’
It appears that we are resigned to failure, that in our
thinking we no more go forward in the hope of victory. Our language testifies,
we only glorify failures than successes. But if we decide to wage a gallant and
winnable war against poverty we can make it. The only thing that stands in
between us and victory is the limitations we put on ourselves.
Now is the time that we no longer walk on the path of
mediocrity. Now is the time that we have to refuse to act according to the
book, we have to write the book of our own life, our own struggle in fighting
poverty in the context of our beliefs. Let us face the prospect of surviving
failure after failure but not change our belief in our self. Now is the time we
move forward, we push to the edge, and live our dreams. We are the architects
of the future we want. We are the ones we have been waiting for.