Sunday, July 09, 2017

 

BELIEVE YOU CAN: ADD THE ACTION DOSAGE


Belief is the drive that pushes us forward. Belief is the light that chases away the darkness of fear, doubt and disbelief in our dreams. Belief is the catalyst that transforms our negatives into positives. But belief to be effective has a Siamese twin and that is action. Whatever you believe in you cannot achieve it if you do not take action.

Bill Gold was absolutely right, you were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win and expect to win. It is not a hidden fact that life has a lot to offer to those who dare to follow their dreams, who dare to take their future into their own hands, who dare to step over their failures and reach for victory.

Any superstar that marvels us today believed in what he or she could do and invested a lot of time on training to become the best. Sir Thomas Edison failed 9999 times to come up with the light bulb only to succeed at the 10000th time. If he had not turned his belief into action, possibly we should have been using kerosene lamps up until now. Bill Gates believed in computers transforming the corporate and personal lives, he went on programming and now he is the richest person on earth.

And when you are injecting the dosage of action in your belief factor, hold the biggest vision possible for your life and it can come true. Marc Eisenson in the book Six secrets to a rich life eloquently gives a practical example of the power of holding the biggest vision possible.

It is well stated in the book that in her commencement speech to the 1997 graduating class of Wellesley College, Oprah Winfrey told the story of her ‘wildest dreams’ show, where she asked women to share their wildest dreams so she could fulfill some of them. One woman got to ride a camel in Egypt. Another asked for and got a house. A third dreamer had her college debt paid off. Many other women had a simpler dream - they just wanted to meet Oprah.

The story goes on to explain that those women who just wanted to meet Oprah and got their wish were upset when they found out what Oprah had done to others. As she said in her speech, “….some of them afterwards were crying to me, saying that we didn’t know, we didn’t know and this is unfair! And I said, ‘that is the lesson: you needed to dream a bigger dream for yourself.’”

The words of wisdom say: shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars. The bottom line is shoot as you have already believed that your arrow can reach the moon. Remember that an AK 47 rifle with all the fear it brings in people cannot fire let alone kill if no one pulls its trigger. We all believe an AK 47 is a death sentence but it is only when action is ignited on its trigger that its real characters can be visible.

But taking action comes at a cost, it entails that you change the way you do things, you start investing your time and money in the idea you believe in. This swings you into the uncomfortable zone. But it is necessary to do that. To get what you want in life, you have to let go of things you do not want, even though you may have invested a lot of time and money in them along the way. While this is difficult, the benefits will make it well worth the effort.

People will laugh at you as you begin to change. If your dream still remains a mere dream it is all just because you are not taking the action to change your lifestyle. It takes courage to change, teaches Marc Eisenson again, as it often arouses conflicts with the ones we love.

Act now, act now, act now, you need to act because your dreams are not far away; they are only a few steps ahead waiting there for you. If David had not challenged Goliath he could not have been a revered hero among the Israelis. If Fidel Castro had underestimated his less than two scores army and fought on he could not have overthrown Batista in Cuba. If William Kamkwamba had not built a windmill from rudimentary products his name would have died in limbo. If Michael Jordan had not tried the many slum dunks, he could not have been the best basketball star the world has ever had. Even though with a hoarse voice, Tracy Chapman went on singing and mesmerized the world.

 

BELIEVE YOU CAN

There is just only one life and this entails therefore that seizing all opportunities available within one’s lifetime is a noble task as after this life there is no second chance. The time to be successful is now. Writing in the book Great motivation secrets of great leaders John Baldoni bares it all: ‘there is an innate desire to succeed in all of us.’
But there is a secret to success. And it answers to one word – believe. Believe you can and you will make it. Barack Obama electrified the American society with his slogan ‘yes, we can.’ The core reason why others always see success slipping through their fingers like soap bubbles is all because they hardly believe in themselves and their ideas; they miss the ‘belief’ factor in the script of success. We do not succeed when we long lost dreaming and end up dressing in the borrowed dreams of others.
Every amazing thing that we see, every success story people talk about, are all a result of somebody’s belief in himself or herself. Andrew Carnegie believed steel would change the world and that saw the emergence of skyscrapers. The Wright Brothers believed they could create a big flying bird then no wonder they made the airplane. JF Kennedy believed it was possible to put a man on the moon and it is not surprising that later Neil Armstrong stepped his foot on the moon. JP Morgan believed that Thomas Edison’s idea of electricity could revolutionise the world and indeed electricity replaced kerosene lamps as a source of energy and light.
The world today is a beneficiary of many beliefs of other people. History of achievers tells us that your background matters nothing, your academic underpriviledgedness matters nothing, failures of the past are no yardstick for measuring your future success, what you believe in is all that matters. Ideas believed in and put into action change the world.
A boy from an impoverished rural area in Neno walked on foot to Blantyre and now he is a billionaire owning Countrywide car hire – Mike Mlombwa. He was once dismissed from his job and once survived on writing short stories and is now a billionaire business tycoon – Jimmy Koreia –Mpatsa. Born from a very humble beginning and achieved what many thought impossible, owning a bank –Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira. A form two drop out started a business with seventy seven kwacha and built a business empire and became a renowned philanthropist – Napoleon Dzombe. Malawi has more professionals and business giants whose backgrounds defy all odds.
On the world stage there is no shortage of examples that signify the impact of belief. Defeated eight times in elections, Abraham Lincoln went on to become America’s greatest president. A man who led an army of peasants, Mao, built a strong Chinese nation. The seventh child of a poor American couple, Michael Jackson, became the superstar of the millennium.
The litany of names of those that believed and made it can hardly be exhausted. A boy from the slum, Pele, became the king of football. A woman who worked in cafes, J.K. Rowling, wrote the famous Harry Potter. A common man, Mahatma Gandhi, became the father of India. A nurse inspired the idea of the Red Cross – Florence Nightingale. A nun became a mother to all – Mother Theresa. A cancer survivor became a cycling champion – Lance Armstrong. A neglected child became a television icon – Oprah Winfrey. A computer programmer became the richest man on earth – Bill Gates. A tribal boy became a national hero – Nelson Mandela. A slave became a legend – Spartacus.
They were all just someone until they believed. They were simple humans as we are, with many imperfections and failed many times as well as we all do. They dared to chase what they believed in and that made a difference.
What are you waiting for? You are the next big story the world has ever had. You have the ideas and the momentum that can change the world. You are the next biggest entrepreneur Malawi has ever had, the next Bill Gates, the next Warren Buffet, the next Aliko Dangote, the next Simbi-Phiri, the next Bingu wa Mutharika, the next Neil Armstrong, the next Nick Vujicic. You do not know what you can achieve until you try. Believe in your idea and try to put them into action then the world will marvel at you. Just believe you can.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

 

PERCEPTION BECOMES REALITY


We dream to live a successful life and we work towards the attainment of such a dream. But to many, the dream keeps eluding them till the moment they die. Then the graveyard becomes the richest place in terms of keeping ideas that will never resurrect.

But in such a challenging environment where many dreams falter, other dreams find the courage to grow among the weeds and thorns and become successful. Other dreams conquer the desert of failure and vegetate it with the grass of success. They build corporate bodies, they become famous, and they do what many others failed to do. What is their secret? The answer is simple – nothing beats perception. It is perception that becomes reality. Lance Kurke was right, if a rock becomes impregnable, then it is because we agree in advance that it is.

What makes many of us fail is that we see the world in the way other people said that it is, we do not challenge our thinking. Success is built on the common denominator of radical thinking. People that do the unthinkable are the ones that become successful. People that defy all odds are the ones we cherish and write books about.

The story of Alexander the great gives us the enthusiasm to challenge conventional thinking. It is a well narrated story that when Alexander the Great became the de jure and de facto king of Persian empire, he set off to the east to secure the scurrilous tribes. The tribes there remained the most elusive. They had one advantage – a citadel they always retreated to which was called Rock of Aornos

By all means the Rock of Aornos was considered impregnable. The Rock had more stories supporting its impregnability. The legend was that even the son of Zeus, Heracles, had failed to capture Aornos. Everyone, it appears was convinced of the invincibility of the rock.

As Lance Kurke explains, to solve the problem was a nearly impossible ‘flanking movement’ that would be done by scaling the sheer walls on one side of the rock (local guides had revealed this sheer cliff to Alexander). The flank was never defended because it was believed that no one could scale it. Alexander the Great ordered his troops to scale the rock and they succeeded.

Nothing is impossible. Your perceptions will result into reality. If you perceive yourself as an achiever you will always achieve. If you perceive your future in the light of how others have demeaned you, you will be a failure. Those that perceive success have the courage to wake up every moment they fall. Those that perceive failure are contented with falling than waking up to soldier on their journey.

Never accept the apparent reality presented to you. Create your own path. Come up with your own business models. Carve your own philosophy. It is your perception of impregnability that is your greatest weakness in life. Your rock of Aornos may be lack of education, lack of capital, lack of confidence, lack of support from other stakeholders. Scale those rocks and you will succeed. You are greater than any circumstances you can meet. Remember, obstacles are not in your front to impede you from reaching your destiny, they are there to be overcomed and no one but you, through the power of your perceptions, will overcome them.

A motivation lesson says, ‘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 invincible crown.’

Bill Gates has no degree but built the wonderful computers the world has ever seen. He scaled the Rock of Aornos. For Walt Disney, his rock of Aornos was rejection from newspaper editors and being labeled as a man of no talent. Wait a moment, he never agreed and he became the biggest creator the world admires. Turn your negatives into positives and that will make a difference.

Listen to the success stories of Thomson Mpinganjira, Mike Mlombwa, Simbi Phiri, William Kamkwamba, Prof. John Chiphangwi, Kamuzu Banda, Bingu wa Mutharika and other successful Malawians then you will learn that what kept them going on despite all the setbacks encountered in life is that they perceived they would be successful. We become what we believe we are.

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 dream

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 and disillusionment.

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 stops you.

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 things.

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 optimism?

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 apart.’

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 seen.

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 invisible crown.

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 wanted.

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.

In 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 training.''

These 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.

The 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 leadership code.

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 LaHood.

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 leadership.

 

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 success.

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 did.’

 

FIGMENT 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 for.’

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.



 

ENGINEERING OUR DESTINY

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 for growth.

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 routine.

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 speed

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.

 

DETERMINATION AND HEROISM

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.

Abebe Bikila 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 they are.

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 inspirational figure.

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.

There is 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.

Neil A. 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 history.

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 Hampshire.

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 life.

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 unknown.





 

VISION AND PASSION MATTERS ALOT

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.

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