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Addressing the terrible culture of begging of the African mind…

A begging bowl is not a Pathway to prosperity of any kind

A begging bowl is not a Pathway to prosperity of any kind

I seek to address a terrible culture of begging the African mind of 2014 have inherited from the people of the past. My worry is not so much for the full blown adults who form today’s power centres. My concern is about the young minds of today who are fast forgetting about the noble deeds of how growth happens, and are jogging to take that mindset of begging to govern their own times. I am concerned that my own son and the children of his age will grow up to witness this culture as the norm of their time; and God help them if they have the blessing of being trained by a parent like me; because then, they would be the exception and the odd one out. I know that life, in all its uncertainties, compels interdependence to very great extents. Across human endeavours and dealings, our need for one another is an apparent reality we have since learnt the necessity to master.

No individual, business or nation can really afford to go it alone. Life demands mutual exchange for meaningful progress and satisfaction at different levels. I know that lending a helping hand, without expecting anything in return, is a necessary reality society must brace up to meet, time and again. However, extending aid and so-called favour at whatever level, does not presuppose the inferiority of the receiver and ought not to puff up the giver. Even where the receiver, out of ignorance, fear and opaqueness, exists in a perpetual mode of begging and receiving, it’s the social responsibility of the giver to educate and emancipate the ignorance of receiver with necessary information and not necessarily more giving. The goal of the giving hand must be to bring the receiving hand to equal status or there will be reasons to question the motive of the giver. A begging bowl is simply not a pathway to prosperity of any kind; we truthfully need more than bowls, we need brains!

This begging culture is continental as much as it is individual. Foreign aid to Africa has continued for over 60 years, with over $1 trillion spent and yet, more than 50% of Africans still live on less than a dollar a day, and Africa is still the world’s poorest continent. Isn’t it insane to keep doing the same thing over and again, expecting a different result? Why is there money in the hand of a fool to buy wisdom, when he has no common sense? The basket will never hold water except it develops the capacity to do so, by fixing its leaks. And the slave that adores his chains will remain in perpetual bondage. Foreign aid has kept Africans alive and added great value, but foreign aid has not brought us socio-economic freedom and power, not because it does not have the capacity to, but because Africa has not developed the morality, decency and character needed to build and grow their economies. Already, across the continent, irresponsible governments have held the people captive, while much of the people depict character traits akin to their leaders.

After all, leadership is always chosen, appointed or elected from the majority; hence, the character of leadership is only a microscopic reflection of the character of the majority; leadership is us. Aid at its best is palliative; it cannot be relied upon for Africa’s development and competitiveness on the world stage. For this, African leaders and their people must take responsibility. Successful people and entities of means must develop the character to stop empowering people to recycle waste and to be unproductively engaged all in the name of help and support. Young people need to learn to roll up their sleeves; ignite their heads and get to work. The greatest asset of a man is not outside him…It is inside. His able hands, his working brain under God are his productivity tools.

Don’t give someone money to pay rent when you have not audited the recipient’s preparedness not to be in that position ever again. Support is only deserved by a human spirit with a clear, practical and useable plan to do same for someone else within the shortest possible time. We have a duty to stop giving people money to run a wedding when they have not made equal investment in making the marriage sustainable. Wedding is only a day, and marriage is a life time. Someone has not thought of buying a generator that can at least contain one AC in their bedroom at least and his asking for money to feed hundreds of people he didn’t even invite at a wedding or naming ceremony? If people invest half the effort they invest in weddings on their marriages for example, society will be better and more graceful. Search for sustainability before you offer support.

I’ve told people again and again that Africa needs the skills required to say NO than the ease of saying YES. Any fool can say YES but NO is tougher. And that’s where mediocrity meets the system and allows nuisance to continue in the name of generosity and benevolence. For me, to love is to eliminate fear around you, not to reward the fear in people. African philanthropists must bring capacity power to bear, by creating lending to small, medium and micro businesses. Fully functional adults are needed to be alive to their roles and responsibility to society for lifting millions out of poverty across the African continent. This is the aid Africa really needs and only she can provide it. Sincere and determined efforts can rebuild the continent. Africa must begin to rethink its beggarly position. Favours are only sustainable if the recipient has the character to make it work. And if, by the way, the recipient does have the character, then it may not even need aid at all.

For extremely poor Africans who desperately need support, conditions must be set by givers to measure and see the effect of the assistance rendered. And if any one must stretch out hands to receive support, then he or she must be willing to roll up their sleeves, make it work, repay his debts if required and stand on his own two feet. It is a perfect thought that Favour is not free; and for every degree of favour that you seek, you lose a level of freedom! Many have traded theirs and Africa has been trading her freedom for over 60years. The cycle has gone on for too long. We must break the begging bowl now! This is the TIME!

You Want to Guarantee Your Success in the New Year? Harness the Power of Daily Beginnings

BEGIN  EACH YEAR EVERYDAY!

BEGIN EACH YEAR EVERYDAY!

You and I are very familiar with the reflection, enthusiasm, planning, goal setting and resolutions that attend a new year. And this is necessary. Even philosophers and scientist agree that we have the opportunity to set a trajectory for our entire year by how we navigate the beginning.

The interesting thing about Beginnings is that they come laden with potential. It offers just that opportunity to close the chapter on our past failures and to proceed to rewrite our history on a new slate. Beginnings afford us the opportunity to stand on the foundation of past successes and to build something better. Beginning is an opportunity to start again. In it, we can disallow the past, its successes or failure, from creating impediments in the future.

You know the best way to begin again? Start by letting go of what was so that you can focus on what you would like to experience instead. Release yourself from resentments, past mistakes, fear, hurt, sadness, guilt and disappointment. This will help you cultivate the renewed awareness and expansive feelings needed for a fresh start.

The essence of today’s post is that these heightened feeling of enthusiasm, optimism, vision, and resolution that we begin a new year with need not die in the first few weeks. It must be cultivated and sustained anew every single day of the year. We must begin again daily, all through the year like it’s the start of the New Year.

Why do I say this? I have come to understand as a fact of life that there will be series of events, starting from the first few weeks that will seek to deflate your optimism by running contrary to your aspirations. Things will not always go as we planned. The difference maker then will be how we harness the power of new beginnings and deploy it all year round. The present is all you have and where real life happens. The present creates a new path and defines the content of the future.

Since every new day is steeped in the opportunities and power of beginnings, how then can we harness the power of daily beginnings?

1. Make a radical commitment to wonder 
No matter what you have been through or currently going through, try to Imagine the world through the eyes of a child. Joseph pears says it succinctly “The more we can live in constant astonishment, the more we can harness a new dawn in every moment.” Choose to pause, observe and marvel. This makes life more satisfying and connected. It will help you remember that the minor sparks and hiccups, the things we all encounter everyday and often defined as stressors, are totally trivial after all.

2. Keep track of your perceptions 
The power of beginnings hinges on the  power of own perception. A chaplain once spoke with a soldier in a hospital bed, “You have lost an arm in a great cause.” “No”, said the Soldier. “I didn’t lose it, I gave it.” Profound! Between your choice and your perception lies your reality. We must keep track of the inner workings of our minds in harnessing our new beginnings.

3. Keep a journal 
One great way to keep track of the inner workings of our mind is journalling. Get a small diary, jot down a few notes at the end of the day. What was the mood, tone, texture of the day? You can include a few details of the outward circumstances that made an impression on you. Focus on what happened inwards and record it. This will offer you a retrospective guide as you go through the rest of the year. You just mind find clues to understand yourself more as other impressions come along through the year.

All great things have come because of one initial decision to honour that single moment and to make it a new beginning. The beginning of anything has within it the seeds of the totality of that thing. So, begin the year on a great note. BEGIN EACH YEAR EVERYDAY

Are You Concerned About your Future? Then understand That Today Matters

See the Impact of Today on your Tomorrow

See the Impact of Today on your Tomorrow

My heart goes out to every young people. I wish they will come to terms with this defining phase called ‘Youth’. My heart gets worried because young people have a way of living so ignorantly in the present without considering its implication for the future.

It no longer takes uncanny insight to see the weak and popular variables that define most young people. This includes sexual prowess, parties, clubbing, money, clothes, cars, fame, acceptance, approval just to name a few. It is in the midst of this errant crowd of competing values that destinies are lost and lives utterly destroyed. They are quick to forget that the choices of today are the creators of the happiness, pain and regrets of the years ahead.

Young people, get this straight – It is impossible to live recklessly today and then hope tomorrow will turn in your favour. We must invest a significant amount of positive reasoning and meaningful sacrifice in today if we are to reap prosperity, joy and lasting peace tomorrow.

Some ladies who fail in their attempts to find a good husband have forgotten the days of rebellious living and selling their bodies to men. Some men wonder why they have still not yet achieved their dreams but don’t acknowledge their clearly refusal to harness their youthful energy to produce productivity, efficiency and relevance at mid-life. Some are now recluse as their generation left them behind because they refused to do the needful when it matters the most.

My own life story has shown me that regardless of the depth of error, yesterday’s fool possess within him or her the power to embrace the requirement for today’s wisdom, to lead a fresh and new life of hope and transformation. I must not forget that providence has been gracious to me in restoring my lost years and using my failures as my stepping stones to relevance. I say this because I have friends in jail, psychiatric homes, and some dead who ignorantly abused their youth and have not risen from that quicksand. If they knew the end of their youthful folly, they would have made a better choice. But like I said, providence shielded me.

I wish young people will be cured from a destructive mindset focused on the present alone, heaping up pains and misery as years persist without a change of mind. Some of them refuse to take responsibility for their future but instead, ignorantly, they work hard to hurt their future. They refuse to be held accountable and will rebel authorities that try to curb their destruction. It is their way or no way.

I wish they would stop faulting everybody but themselves. I wish they would stop cooking up excuses for misbehaviour. I wish they can see the making of an unfruitful life best described as children in adult bodies. I grieve when I see these attitudes because another failed life, another weak future, and another crashed destiny are in the making. My greatest desire is that young people will see the impact of their today’s behaviour on their tomorrow.

Let me say this to you, young man or lady – truth is higher than your opinions or views. While opinion is a creation of man, truth is a creation of time and has been existing before life began. I say this to you because if we will be someone the world will reckon with even in death, our everyday must be seen as an opportunity to change our personal lives and be better.

Never forget that you are responsible for the outcome of your life; that today counts and must be maximized to arrive at the future you desire. This is the Life!

Will you fulfill your Life Mission or Betray it?

Fulfilling MISSION

Fulfilling MISSION

The search for meaning in human life is an indication of the meaning and mission that is called life itself. The intrigue called life lies in the ambiguity that precedes the discovery of our mission and the disciplined pursuit of the mission. Fannon said “each generation must out of relative obscurity discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it”. A choice however lies before  each person, to either fulfill or betray his mission.

The founding fathers of America discovered their mission and fulfilled it. They birthed a nation on strong principles, unrivalled in stature and might today. Leaders such as Churchill during the World War II era rose up to a mission to end Hitler’s proposed Nazi world domination. We will also remember the Zuckerbergs, Larry Pages, Gates, Mandelas who found their mission and embraced it. The world will never forget their contributions.

On the contrary, we have examples of young Africans who rose out of obscurity, discovered their vision and betrayed it. The proof is in the post independence experience of many African countries and leadership.These newly minted independent states soon lapsed into political crisis, economic breakdown and widespread disillusionment among their citizenry.

The question all of these pose is this: what is this generation’s mission? Will it find it? And if it finds it, will it fulfill it or betray it? The answer to this question is in the minds of the principled young men and women who are willing to accept responsibility at a critical level. And these young army will have to confront the now ambiguous moral codes of their times. They must shun the use of activism and social causes for self promotion and enrichment. They must delay gratification, avoid the lures of quick wealth, fame,  and focus on the long term good.

See,  it is the absence of principled living and self leadership that will be the undoing of this generation. I have observed a great deal of potential among our youth and that is commendable. However the moral foundation upon which their potential can find expression is fundamentally fractured. I’m not here referring to religious affiliations but a willingness to stand uncompromisingly for a cause, to rise above self and to genuinely pursue the great cause of the common good.

‘For this generation to achieve its mission, it must be willing to play from a foundation of principles demonstrated in a habitual commitment to maturity through mental, emotional and behavioural governance’.

I will advise the principled young women and men willing to take responsibility for the future of our nation to embrace these ten principles:

1. Put the interest of the institution they serve above their own self interest

2. They should understand that character is defined in the small acts they perform when no one is looking.

3. They should recognize that respect must be earned and nurtured over time and can be lost in an instant.

4. They should promote their people and not themselves.

5. They should take responsibility for their personal failure and the failures of the groups they lead.

6. They should share credit for their successes with the individuals who made them possible

7. They should be consistent and predictable in their decision making and in the exercise of their discretion

8. They should strive to do what is right rather than what is expedient regardless of the consequences to themselves, even if it means death

9. They should not be afraid in making unpopular decision and clearly communicate their rationale for such decisions to those affected by them.

10. They should only serve people and institutions that do not require them to
compromise their principles.

The fate of leaders who live by these principles is that they are not appreciated until they retire, leave the scene or die. But they still proceed with the consciousness that a life of meaning and power begins with the discipline to ensure that our personal egos, feelings and emotions do not override our sense of thoroughness and mission.

We are each called upon to discover our individual mission and fulfill it, standing on maturity grounds. And maturity is the habitual application of principles. THIS IS THE LIFE!

You think you are too young to be responsible or make a difference? Mandela thinks otherwise!

Take Charge!

Take Charge!

Young people have some lessons to learn about youth and responsibility especially in an age that considers immorality, frivolity and recklessness as hip or trendy. Young people of today are synonymous with light hearted frenzy and a gross incapacity to rise up to the demands and responsibility of their generation. We seek not to promote the exceptions but to recommend a rule for all.

This brings us to the question of how Nelson Mandela engaged his youth. Mandela was just 26 years of age when he became a member of the executive council of the ANC youth league. He and other like-minded young men rose up to confront the critical situation of segregation and marginalization of black people in South Africa. And in doing this, they upheld one of the virtues of youth – a capacity to take responsibility beyond self, to engage society, to look at the problem surrounding you and resist the temptation to think someone else will solve them.

However, the society of today is raising late starters, slow to take responsibility for their own lives let alone for others. Especially in this part of the world, youth are engulfed in the fanfare of sports, fashion, and entertainment and the fame, wealth and glamour that attend them. They are still struggling to get a hold of what life is really about and are barely prepared to play larger roles within society.

I’m afraid young people here are being raised to be victims in light of the nature of challenges confronting them. They are endangered species. What I find appalling is that young people have mastered an incredible but strange art of watching everything go against them and talking against it without doing something constructive about it.

Unlike today’s youth, Mandela would not allow his background or age define the limits of his responsibility or circumstances. He applied for a job as a night watchman while he pursued a degree in law at the University of Withwatersrand. He took study loans to make this possible. Yet, against the backdrop of a system that discouraged the education of young black people, Mandela emerged determined to be educated, not allowing himself be daunted by the apartheid regime nor borrowing the weakness of governance to excuse the creation of a great future. He maintained the belief that the creation of his future was in his own labour and not in circumstances.

A culture of entitlement and dependency on government has robbed many young people off a primary sense of responsibility for the success of their lives. They must take responsibility like Mandela for a thorough education. He persisted through unsuccessful attempts until he got his law degree. This sense of perseverance would come to serve him in pursuit of the worthy cause for which he is now known.

As a younger generation replaces another, we must ask the question of what kind of men or women will they be? The answer lies in the commitments they embrace today. We can’t expect them to give what they don’t have if they make wrong or superficial choices. Young people must maintain a religious and life-long dedication to self improvement and cultivation of virtue like those found in Mandela if they ever hope to come near the corridors of greatness. There are no shortcuts and the price of rigour and perseverance must be paid.

They must labour to improve themselves within and embrace without a commitment to a common good even at the expense of themselves. By the way, they won’t be needing grand Mandela-like platforms. They must begin at their homes, schools, workplace, businesses, friendships and relationships. GO!

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