Don’t let any mortal being dictate how your life turns out.
In the leadership journey, be sure to have hurricanes, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, name it come your way. It’s one of the most challenging. A leader’s obligation is to the team and the team’s to the leader and society. Whenever anything goes wrong in the team or its activities to the society the leaders are answerable. Alongside these mishaps come criticism. If the society isn’t satisfied by whatever effort is being put to serve it, it will complain. Sometimes in bitter words when its wroth and sometimes with a little consideration for the effort being pumped into work. This more often than not puts the leader at a vulnerable position. Their feelings may sometimes be hurt especially when they put a hundred and one percent dedication into their work and it somehow ends up not bearing enough fruit in society’s eyes. They may assume that every critic out there is a hater and doesn’t want to show even an ounce of appreciation for their efforts.
I have myself been in such positions before. When you feel like quitting because no one is seeing how much sweat is dripping from your forehead or how many sleepless nights you have or how much of your being you immerse in service or how much of your time and energy you sacrifice. But my mentors have always told me that nothing done by a human being can ever be perfect because of our nature. This are the ways I salve those feelings.
1. Everything is trial and error and experimentation. In order to excel, one has to be completely dedicated, be prepared to work tremendously hard and accept constructive criticism however it slaps you.
2. In every bitter word, the least that you want to hear, extract only that which will help you build your capacity and you will grow most.
3. Everyone is a team player. A true team player will not use pretty words, because true words aren’t pretty. They’ll have the pluck to tell you what you need to hear. Not in a way to demean your spirit as an individual or as a team but to compel you to examine yourselves and find causes and solutions to shortcomings.
4. Team players will rebuke you reasonably. You just need the courage, courtesy and consideration to see that its for a reason and for a good course.
5. The leader and the team put work out in many forms and many stages. This is a representation of the extent to which they see things. If it invites compliments, comments and criticism, then there is progression.
6. Treat criticism as sacrosanct at times. Not everyone presenting it is a hater, someone out here is trying to open your eyes and clear your vision.
Leadership requires time for growth and hard thinking for development. Don’t give up yet.
Let me take the lead today. I want to show you something. Something you’ve probably ever seen before and experienced it perhaps but let me share the story today. Let me tell it. A listening ear, observatory eyes, a face that shys not (I need those reactions, okay?) and thereafter a feedback, can you give me that?
See that lady over there? The lightskin lady in glasses. No, not that one. The tall, skinny one with boxer braids. Yes! Yes! The one in high waist pants. She’s really pretty, isn’t she? Yeah. Those cheeks, long neck… her figure is to die for! I love her style as well. She can rock guys’ clad and still bring a feminine side to it. Love!
I thought you’d ask. What’s that got to do with anything?
Do you really think I’d begin with that whole introduction if it hadn’t a thing to do with everything? Of course not. Well, she’s more or less like me. Yes! That reaction tells me you’re wondering how. Like me, she’s one person that also believes in genuine friendship, has those high expectations of friends, loves and cherishes her own, she’d actually die for you if she felt that you’re a real amiga. People once thought she’s had a perfect life until she started telling her stories. You know, people love hanging out with her and around her. She’s a very friendly person really but more often than not likes to be alone. When around people she does light up, laughter is her medicine. But these people that like being around her used to say she didn’t care. Sometimes she just wouldn’t be there for them like when they first started. She’d distance herself, take long walks alone in the woods, eat by herself, live far away. Sometimes she’d be around them but zone out. This is unlike the first times they met her.
What they don’t know is that she’s been really lonely for a very long time. When she meets new people who want to be friends with her, she gives them the chance. That’s why she’s always so good when you first meet. She’ll show you love, visit you often, popup with gifts. She’ll be there for you no matter what. The problem though is that with time she’ll expect the same from you. She’ll want you to trust her as well, she’ll want you to talk to her, sort of make her feel wanted and a priority. It’s not just a one way traffic.
But guess what?! Yeah, every single time she does that, she ends up disappointed and heartbroken. She hurts so bad, starts coming up with things in her head, asks those long chains of questions and finally ends up letting go. So in her healing, she gets away, shuts for some time and when she eventually accepts that you’re just like anyone else, cruel humans, she’ll come around only this time not as a friend but as someone she just
Still wondering why she’s standing there sort of alone?
Why she’s staring thoughtfully in the air?
Why she isn’t engaging very actively with them?
Why she’s occasionally laughing so hard at things that aren’t even funny?
Why she’s looking around hoping for someone to see how lonely she is?
She feels left out. Just trying to fit back in.
Do you think she’ll be okay? Will I be?
The merciless beatings, heavy and brutal punishments, lack of enough food and clean water, floods, bedbug infested dormitories and the little space that has to be shared among the seventy of them in the form of a classroom. He vividly describes these experiences and as each word that is uttered amidst sobs falls on my ears,my heart literally drops. I can’t imagine how survival works in areas such as these but they have to go through it day in, day out. I think sometimes they just wait for someone to pass out and say I quit. But this are the crème de la crème. They wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of breaking them! They are broken already on the inside and quit every goddamn day just that they never said it out loud. But here he is. A child that was born and introduced to a life that wasn’t filled with as many struggles. He had studied in private schools all his life until now. Going to bed hungry, being unknown to teachers and fellow students, not given the recognition and attention these things just aren’t what he knows and they feel so new to him. Back then it was a class of just thirty students tops. He was once a class monitor, a councillor, then a sanitation Secretary before he graduated to headboy. What the seniors and teachers ate is what he ate too; good and tasty food. He slept in a isolated cube and was regarded with awe. Every Tom, Dick and Harry knew him. He was a “celeb” like that.
Here? No one gives a damn. No one wants to know who the hell you are. They’re all there for one reason and one reason alone; to succeed and join the best universities in the world. A teacher won’t recognize you if you don’t get good grades. If you don’t sit at the very front of the class and keep screwing over your mathematics problems, they won’t even know whether or not you’re good at it. They won’t look your way if you aren’t the kid that asks and answers questions in class. Maybe if you dozz off during their lesson and they gotta thwack you to pay attention and stop wasting their precious time. The staff at the cafeteria won’t bother to know who you are. Why should they? If you’re not among those people that make the loudest noises at the canteen and yell for more food each time, you’re as good as non-existent. He can’t chew on a plate of dried sardines. He doesn’t know how to swallow them with their small sharp bones that keep injuring his oesophagus each time he tries. Ugali isn’t one of his favourite dishes. Where is some fried chicken and fries?! Clothes are stolen. It doesn’t matter if the shirt or short fits, if you wash and hang them on the hanging lines and wait for them to dry, you might wait forever because they’ll be long gone. For goodness sake, this poor child doesn’t know what stealing means. I mean he was taught about it here and there, read it in the ten commandments but he’s now beginning to comprehend what a cruel verb it truly is.
His past conditioning is to blame for every time that little feeling of oppression bubbles up in his tiny body frame. He’s never been equal to anybody but is now subject to equality.
The titles have been scrapped off, badges taken down and shoes laced up. Privileges are earned here. Never about who you know but what you know and how you make your way to the top. I’m telling him that he now needs to be an astute student. That he should study assiduously. With every pain and annoyance, he’s going to take it and with a smile on his face. And one day he’ll be an icon. His testimony will encapsulate all the experiences he’s undergoing now and will give an answer to life’s most vexing question; how did you cope?! And on those days when grass will be greener, he’ll use this to attempt to resolve acute tensions that others will feel in their own lives.
Ever sat all by yourself and wondered why regret is more vicious of the things we did not do than those we did? Well I have. Why do you think this is so? I mean the things we did should be haunting us to the very core of our beings or shouldn’t they? But our minds, in their constructive nature, fixates itself to those chances we didn’t take, those risks we were too afraid to face, those doors of opportunities that opened while we spent too much time looking regretfully at those that closed on our faces, the decisions we took too long to make. A marine (or soldier) would for instance say,
“It was my duty to shoot the enemy, and I don’t regret it. My regrets are for the people I couldn’t save”. See!
The regrets for the things we didn’t do is just inconsolable. It is that which we regret on our deathbed when chances for return to do them are so slim.
When we give considerable thought to inconsiderate people its not as cruel as not thinking of the people we should’ve thought of. This is because we all do things we desperately wish we could undo. This type of regret becomes a part of who we are. Trying to change that is as similar and as useless as chasing clouds. All we can do is learn lessons from the experiences and move on. It can be tempered with time. The latter gives us desire for what could’ve been, nostalgia for what never was and dissatisfaction for the world’s existence. It gives us regret over not being someone else. Someone that could’ve done things differently. Just to quote Rafael Sabatini;
Regret of neglected opportunity is the worst hell a living soul can inhabit.
It’s the saddest thing in the world to say or write… it might have been…
Someone will always tell us not to brood over our past experiences and failures because that will only fill us with grief, regret and depression and that we don’t repeat them in future. Why is it that they include a past and a future, you think? I think these are the two thieves most of us crucify ourselves between; Regret for the past and fear for the future. Many of us don’t live in the moment. We don’t like being in that narrow alley called ‘the present’. We’re either looking forward to uncertainty or back to regret. Two things that have the power to snatch our happiness. To regret the past is to forfeit the future. Time spent regretting the past, loses the present and consequently risks the future.
Yes! Regret is the weirdest emotion. It comes upon reflection. If it only had immediacy then it’s power would’ve helped influence many events and that would’ve done us lots of good.
When the natural property of grey hairs; regret, takes the place of your dreams, you know what it is that they say?! You’re old! Waste not time over yesterday and worry not about tomorrow. Life just has too much to offer today. I know it’s human nature to want to go back and fix things in the past but that want cannot take us back, its just a wish and if wishes were horses… Accept the pain, cherish the joys, resolve the regrets; then can come the best benedictions.