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.
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.
The mind has an expandable way of imagining things that even I don’t understand. Just out of a very little, tiny, almost unrecognizable thing, great ideas emerge. Do you know what’s greater?! Uhm do you? Well it’s when these ideas pop up in the minds of the visionaries, trust me it goes further and wider than their wildest dreams. A small idea shared, just a phrase of extraordinarily organised words or maybe just an ordinary arrangement and bam! it’s everyone’s talk! It’s everyone’s song! Before we notice, it’s a global anthem!
I have a dream.
Yes we can!
Do these phrases ring a bell? That’s what I’m talking about!
So last night while studying, my roommate was pulling on a piece of thread that was hanging just above her head. I don’t think she was even paying attention to the long unending knot she was tying her fingers in. Her thoughts must have been adrift. Suddenly she called my name out in some sort of pain. She needed me to help her loosen her fingers which were already turning blue at the tips. In a rush to help her, I tripped on soapdish, found myself flying and somehow my body landed on her arm, cutting the thread into two. We’d freed her fingers alright but that’s not the part of the story I want you to get.
Thereafter in anger, she began pulling of the thread forcefully and didn’t even spare the other half that was still hanging above her head. I think she just wanted to make sure that incident never happens again. I was watching her, laughing, wondering why she’d be so mad at just a piece of thread which didn’t come harming her, but she who harmed herself with it. Just then something popped into my head. She was down here, trying to pull something that was up there. And I began thinking of the countless times I’ve heard an innumerable number of people say “trying to pull me down…”
You’ve heard of this phrase too, haven’t you? Right! So what is ordinary or extraordinary about it? Probably nothing. But something has to under or below to pull, if it were above it would press and if it were sideways it would push. Did you get the message I was trying to pass across? THOSE THAT TRY TO PULL YOU DOWN OR ARE PULLING YOU DOWN ARE UNDER OR BELOW YOU. But how much time and energy do we invest in those kinds of people? Trying to understand why they’re doing whatever they’re doing? To figure out their next move? Their accomplices? And such like stuff which is a complete waste of time. They’re under you! Simply, you’re higher than they are so keep climbing!
Why is it that sometimes we just don’t fit,
We’re with the right people, its the right company, its the perfect time, and an excellent place but something always just seems off. Completely
They talk, of course you do too
But your content somehow you feel doesn’t complete the puzzle in that context
They giggle, but you’re lost thinking why you didn’t sound as pawky as one of them just did
They just looked at You with a blank stare
You move aside a little pretending to also be fascinated
You look at them again
But this time from a distance
Yes! They’re perfectly fine without you
There’s no sense of belonging when with them
They have toned bodies, waists synched in, thighs firm, flat tummies, almost the same complexion…
They love to dress modern
You can’t, you don’t and definitely ain’t
Don’t you feel like a tag along?
Always walking behind them as they strut, leading the way
You felt like you needed to reduce the amount of time you spent at the library?
They obviously don’t like studying
They fell by the wayside long ago
It’s crystal clear
But your grades?
Its not like old times,
when they talked of Cs and joked about that and you had all As it began to feel a little weird
Nowadays you fit,
You’ve fallaciously let yourself fail
And you’ve been lying about how stuff’s been getting tougher and tougher and that you just don’t seem to get a grip on anything right?
Is that true?
Doesn’t it hurt? To fail when you know how smart you are and can be?
But you just wanted admiration from them
That’s why you succumbed to their lifestyle
Now that you got it
Did it pay off?
Do you feel better now that you’re part of the ‘SQUAD’ ?
A lot has changed
Subtly in the least.
But you’re bleeding inside
Your heart is sinking in the blood bath
And you’re wishing You could go back.
You’ve literally been suffocating but are afraid to leave because of what people will say
You wanna get your old self back, don’t you?
I knew it!
I’m gonna throw You a life line
It’s not gonna be easy but its a way out
In that squad, you’re like a piece of an orange fruit in a garlic bulb
You have just one taste, sweetness
They can change to suit the situation
Bitter when raw
And a sweetener in food
You fit! But don’t belong
It looks like your home but its not.
Now hold my hand, let’s go! The Orange has been waiting for you.
We need you to complete the fruit
Rightfully where you belong.
Throughout my life I have met different teachers. I like to put them in two categories; the school provided ones and the life presented ones. The ones provided in school were basically to guide me through a syllabus and ensured I knew everything I needed to know. I mean we were born into an already revolving world and this was to sort of familiarize us with what was going on. On the other hand there are those life presented unknowingly. The ones who show up unexpectedly in our lives, nudge us a little and leave us with tough lessons to hammer home. Although life may present great teachers, it is the greatest of them all.
One of the most important lessons life has taught me is that I wasn’t born once in which it has obliged me to give birth to myself over and over again. It does this in different ways only it sees fit. Life puts us in different situations and circumstances. Take an example of a situation where you’re caught between a rock and a hard place. You have a dying mother lying helplessly in a hospital bed, you’re the first born in your family (a single parent one), you have a police record and you are slightly under 18years old. It’ll be mandatory to resort to ways that will help you make money to pay for both your sick mother and take care of your family. Maybe you’ll get, maybe you won’t. Now in this thin time, maybe you’ll remember God and begin to be a believer, or maybe you’ll become a robber, or maybe a drug dealer. Notice you weren’t any of this characters before but life obliges you to become something different due to a situation you’re caught up in. You conceive a new being in you and in no time give birth to him/her. People will call it adaption, contrivance, change, conversion name it. I call it conception and birth.
But then again it doesn’t mean that this new creature cannot die. Everything has a beginning and an end so does life. Sometimes people do tire from confining themselves to a certain way of life. Let’s say you’ve been in a habbit of drinking every other night and you decide that that isn’t the kind of life you want for yourself and enrol in a rehabilitation centre. This is a way of killing the old being and creating within you a better one. One that refrains from alcohol and will do their best to stay clean.
In all this I have noticed that things don’t look different day-to-day, but when you look back ten or so years, its all different. The process of giving birth to oneself isn’t just something you’ll know is happening. It can be hidden deep inside you that you’ll have to look so closely and dig miles into your soul to even find out how, when and where it all began. There’s one thing that’s certain; its an absolute.
Maxwell Maltz said;
You will act like the person you conceive yourself to be.
So every time you whisper those sweet thoughts to yourself, tell yourself what you expect from you, what you want done by you and kill an old habbit and old thoughts you give birth to yourself!