Tuesday, April 24, 2018
BE WORLD CLASS
The world has shrunk into a global village. Political
boundaries mean nothing in the current environment. If you are in business;
fear the international competitors you do not know than the locals you know,
they are upping the game significantly and shortly they will drive you out of business
in your own country. India is making strides in technology and with cloud computing
your competitors in service delivery are hiding in the sky
Whatever you aim to achieve, aim to be the best in the world.
The world is gunning for the best of the best. The world wants best music, best
arts, best talents. The academic front is evidence that competition is tough.
Many international universities are recruiting students in Africa outsmarting our
local universities that probably stopped growing many years past.
In 1948, a cartoon in America depicted a father telling his
son, ‘finish your food, another child is starving in China.’ In 1980, the same
cartoon changes the story and depicts a father telling the son ‘study hard,
somebody is studying in China.’ This is how China has broken the boundaries of
competition and the sooner we realise the better. It is not amazing therefore
to see China investing a lot in infrastructure and agriculture in Africa and
beyond. China is harnessing its human resource to reposition itself as a global
Let not your mind be confined by the vicinity you are living
in. Do not be satisfied with your position in the current state. The rate at
which the world is moving, you could be a star in a small location today that
ends up being irrelevant tomorrow as new investors and new global ideas
overtake your most recent priviledges.
The sporting world is a great testimony that minds of people
can change, that peoples’ attention can easily change focus and that people
want nothing but the best. Just take notice of how people patronize
international sporting events, even memorizing profiles of sports personalities
that are millions of miles away from them. People want the best, mediocrity is no
excuse, poverty is no excuse, lack of support is no excuse. If you fail to make
it then you have yourself to blame.
Beat the yourself of yesterday. You have no any competitor
in life but yourself. You are the best in the way you are; you only need to harness
your potential and make it explosive on the market. Keep increasing your
training, keep intensifying your studying, keep on working hard and harder
every day. Unleash the best out of yourself then you will beat world records.
The records are already in you, you only have to unleash them on the world
It is very simple. All humans are born to be successful;
they are born to be successful. The world has showcased many times more than
number that your background is no limiting factor to what you can achieve. Most
of the top people in the country - driving the posh vehicles you ever admire -
come from very humble beginnings. Most of them walked on foot to school, some
of them will tell you they had no pair of shoes in school; they have a litany
of the many times they went to school on an empty stomach and how they survived
term after term with no pocket money. That was no deterrent to their dream,
they were geared to beat the themselves of yesterday, and they were by and
large moving out of the quagmire of poverty.
Most millionaires and billionaires that the world celebrates
now are self-made. They beat the themselves of yesterday. Malawi is no
exception. Dr. Thomson Mpinganjira did not inherit a bank from parents, he made
his own; Jimmy Koreia Mpatsa was not fortunate to go into college, there was
even a time he was fired from his job and survived on writing short stories but
became a billionaire. You have many stories in your localities. Napoleon Dzombe
built a business empire that started with Malawi 77 Kwacha and he was a
secondary school dropout. Take time to read the story of Mike Chilewe who made
millions from welding yet previously he was an ESCOM meter reader.
Aim to defy all odds, be world class in your thinking, be
world class in the way you carry out your business, be world class in
everything. The world is geared towards world class products and services.
Nothing can stop you if only you believe. You are the next big thing this
country has ever had. Put yourself in the Guinness book of records. Nothing can
stop you but yourself.
BE A SOLUTION PROVIDER
This is life and you have problems that pull you down.
Everybody has problems. Get in touch with people that have the most wonderful
smiles, they will still tell you that beneath their smiles are problems as
well. Problems are part of life and problems will always be part of life. The
greatest thing in life is how you deal with problems when they enter the circle
of your life and that is what makes a difference.
Problem make you great. If there were no Goliath, David
would not have been a hero. If there was no apartheid, Nelson Mandela would not
have been a global icon. If there was no racial segregation in America, Martin
Luther King Jr would have been an unknown figure. If there was no colonialism,
Dr. Kamuzu Banda would not have been a liberation figure.
The greatest successes, the greatest innovations and even
greatest thinkers were created from problems. Come to think about it. Henry
Ford noted that most Americans could not afford vehicles. That was a problem.
He did not make part of the complaining masses, he provided a solution then
Ford motors was born. Examine your problem, it is an opportunity presented to
you to make a difference.
To be successful in life you have to provide solutions. You
do not just sit in front of a TV screen to watch soccer or a film; you are
running away from boredom. Those people that play sports or are actors in
different films only do one simple thing: chasing boredom out of your life.
They make you spend your idle time with happiness.
All successful initiatives are successful when they solve
problems. William Kamkwamba did not join the bandwagon of people that were
complaining of drought and hunger. He developed a windmill from rudimentary
products and that made a difference. Through his windmill he irrigated the
family’s farm and provided electricity. It is not complaining that matters, it
is looking at problems from the inverse angle that you cherish the
opportunities they provides.
We are told that Mr. Kalua started Combine Cargo having been
fired from the company he was working. He was jobless. He turned his problem
into a solution. When Jimmy Koreia Koreia-Mpatsa was fired he turned to writing
short stories for newspapers for a living. Mike Mlombwa noted the poverty that
was grinding him in his home area, he walked on foot from Neno to Blantyre in
search of a living and he made it.
Successful people have an interesting story to tell. The
world was amazed when a Kenyan grandfather enrolled for primary school all just
to learn how to read and write. He did not mind about people’s perception.
There was debate whether it was necessary for him to be enrolled or not. His
problem was that he could not read and write. He did not accept to be resigned
to his fate, he made a difference.
This is the time you start looking at all the problems you
are facing in life positively. Those problems hid beneath them an unpolished
diamond. Do not be like the type of people that complain of traffic everyday
they are going to work. The traffic is a problem that awaits their solution. It
is simple, if roads are congested then start off early from home and you will
reach the office on time. If traffic is congested after 5pm then work a little
bit longer thus maximizing productivity. In the end, your company will rely on you;
you will be rewarded with promotion after promotion. The genesis of it would be
that you were running away from congestion on the road. You have the solution
within the touching distance. You only need to start seeing the world from the
In life we waste a lot of time trying to change others. We
anticipate that others will be the solutions to the problems we are facing. If
anything we attribute our problems to them. It is very simple; change yourself
first then all the problems will go away. If somebody looks down upon you, do
not look down on them as well; smile at them and that will make a difference. If
your boss does not like you, as you think he or she does not like you, do not
pay back through unliking him, buy him or her a gift and that will change his
perceptions of you. Change yourself first. Remember to be the change that you
would like to see.
Carry on with your dreams. Cherish the problems you are
encountering. Zig Ziggler was right, at the end of the day, do not be the type
of person who says ‘I wish I could, I wish I could, I wish I could. Be the type
of the person who says I am glad I did, I am glad I did, I am glad I did.’
You will be of great help to the world the moment you stop
complaining of your problems and start becoming a solution provider. In life
people need solutions. People have many problems and to win their hearts
provide solutions and you will make it.
THE FINISH LINE MATTERS
Imagine what you will become when finally you have succeeded?
If you are entrepreneur, what sort of joy will engulf you when you win that
contract that you have gone to the length to prepare? If you are an athlete,
how excited will you be to represent your country at the world stage with all
the television cameras set just to cover your victory? If you are a student,
how memorable will it be, that moment you will put on a gown holding your qualification
with a distinction? In anything that you do, how comforting will it be to hear
people mentioning your name and singing praise of you success? That is what you
should aim at – the finish line
Never lose sight of the goal. Many circumstances you
will encounter in life will by and large be curtaining your goal. Tear away the
curtains of frustrations you meet along the way, the curtains of failure, the
curtains of disillusionment. Make your goal visible to you all the times. Write
your goal on a paper and paste it at the most visible place in your bedroom so
that every time you retire to sleep you reflect on the goal and every moment
you wake up you are constantly reminded of what you want to achieve in life.
Writing on the 7
habits of the highly effective people Stephen Covey emphasizes that you
begin with the end in mind. Beginning with the end in mind gives you a clear
understanding of your destination. It means you know better where you are going
so that you understand where you are now and be able to devise that the steps
you take are always in the right direction.
Covey teaches: ‘by keeping the end clear in the
mind, you can make certain that whatever you do on the particular day does not
violate the criteria you have found supremely important and that each day of
your life contributes in a meaningful way to the vision you have of your life
as a whole.’
Focus on the finish line. Abebe Bikila won the
Olympics in 1960 in Rome and amazed the world as he run barefoot. He did not
care that people would look at him as a lunatic. He was never bothered that
those in shoes would have an advantage over him. He was focused on the finish
line and he made it. When you undertake whatever you undertake with the end
always in focus, you are destined to make it.
If you are a business person, do not waste time
blaming inflation, interest rates, tough economic environment, and all other
excuses, focus at delivering value in your business to offer your customers
best products and services so that profits rise. Businesses grow even in the hostile
Mogadishu in Somalia, what hostility are you facing? If you are in agriculture,
you do not blame the weather, in the desert Saudi Arabia they grow tomato just
as the Israelis use limited space to maximize agriculture. Seek no excuses,
focus on the finish line and you will make it.
On the men who built America, Andrew Carnagie
focused on making the cities of America stand tall on steel and he made it.
John D Rockefeller transformed the night with kerosene lamps. J.P. Morgan and
Thomas Edison made electricity light homes from coast to coast. Henry Ford made
a vehicle to be affordable to average America. William Kamkwamba built a
windmill from rudimentary products, a standard seven drop out in Mulanje made
his own radio station. People that cross seas are focused at reaching the
finish line. They care less of the circumstances they pass through – victory is
all that matters upon reaching the finish line.
WHAT YOU THINK OF YOURSELF MATTERS
There are times we feel like giving up on our
dreams, and many indeed do give up. Disillusionment, disappointment, backward
thinking, regrets, all creep in as we notice that we are trying in vain to
achieve our dreams. But wait a moment, nobody should lie to you that the path
to achieving dreams is a perfect highway. Get prepared to fail more and more,
to have your ideas bruised. Waking up and carrying on against the gradient of
challenges is the surest way to success.
Every time you feel like giving up, seek inspiration
from the dung beetle. The dung beetle pushes the ball that is usually many
times its size and weight and gradients present problems. The force of gravity
at many times creates an inevitable consequence. As gravity outweighs the
strength of the beetle or even in a situation where the beetle has made a
slight error in the pushing trajectory, the nest sphere stutters and then rolls
backwards temporarily squashing the hapless beetle.
Stephen Berry explains very well how a dung beetle
never gives up. Writing in the book Strategies
of the Serengeti Berry says , ‘with energy sapped, pride tarnished but
determination undiminished, the more successful beetles rise from such a
crushing experience to scurry back to their rogue dung-ball and recommence
pushing despite the ground temporarily lost. With uncomplaining and enviable
resolve the beetle heaves and pushes its dung to retread the path thinking only
of the unknown route ahead rather than dwelling on the course already trodden
which spans so visibly in front of him as he pushes.’
In the pursuit of your dreams be prepared to fail
again and again, you will have to deal with the treacherous gradients of
disappointment, belittlement, lack of support, castigation and many vices that
may be there to pull you down. No matter how down you fall, start pushing your
dreams forward again, concentrating on what you intend to achieve than the
pains of failure recently experienced.
People will not believe you, people will call you crazy
but keep on pushing your dung-ball dreams against the gradient of any
opposition. If those that were working on the computer dream had listened to
the words of Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM in 1943, computers would not have
been there now. Watson said: ‘I think there is a world market for up to five
If the world’s successful rock band had not risen
beyond the frustration of rejection, the Beatles could not have become the
world’s celebrated rock band it eventually became. When Decca Recording was turning
down the Beatles for a recording contract in 1962 he said: ‘groups featuring
guitars are on the way out.’
When the television was coming in, the pioneers of
the television did it right not to listen to what 20th Century-Fox
boss Darryl Zanuck said. His view was that television would never become
popular and he stressed ‘people will soon get tired of staring at a box every
It is appropriate to know that people’s minds are
skewed towards the negative. There is a ninety five percentage chance that your
ideas will not be supported until you surprise the world. The world will not
believe you until you finally make it then at that point you will become a
reference point. Les Brown was right, ‘never let the opinions of others become
your reality.’ Always remember that you are a leader of your own dreams and
Lance Kurke is right, ‘truly great leaders change
the world around them…they treat problems as addressable opportunities. Leaders
make the world, obviously within constraints, the way they want it to be.
Always ask yourself, who you are and what you want to be and that is what
Lance Kurke gives us a good lesson when he writes,
‘in modern times people obsess about what car they drive. Wise people know that
the only obsession is not what others think, but what we think of ourselves;
that is, who we are.’
Never stop scaling the heights, never stop running
in the pursuit of your dreams. Keep falling and waking up. If you make mistakes
on the way, do not dwell on it let alone let the past immobilize you. Just
learn from the mistakes made and keep on going. You are the next big thing the
world has ever had.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.