‘My people perish for lack of knowledge’ is a popular passage from the ‘book of life.’ But how many really connect deeply with this passage? Everywhere you go, all you see is absolute decay. The schools are run down, the health-care system is broken, there’s hunger in the land and the level of general discontent is visibly worrisome. Miscreants have taken over practically every square inch, in and out of town as more of our kids continue to be out of school.
About 2 years ago, a friend of mine nearly died on the Ore-Benin highway. He and his family members were involved in a serious road traffic accident while trying to avoid a head-on collision with a truck overtaking at a bend. Within minutes, some folks emerged from the bush, posing as God-sent. Ultimately, my friend was fortunate to be audible and sane enough to offer some form of ransom before these guys volunteered to pull them out of the wreckage for proper help.
With stories and events like these, what I keep asking myself are:
- How can this society develop when nearly 80% are poor and illiterate?
- Why do we have many of our otherwise educated ones stuck; living in quiet desperation?
- How can the society breed visionary leaders when the people’s expectations are so little?
- What legacy we are hoping to leave, breeding ill-prepared and ill-confident young ones?
When I was in the elementary school, I recollect how fascinated I was with reading magazines like Drum and Spear, for those old enough to understand what I’m talking about. We were introduced to stories books, newspapers and stuff very early then, and a lot of my foundational vocabulary came from listening to the news [on black & white TV that is] and reading the dailies, which were devoid of vulgar and indecent language.
But what do we have today? News broadcasts that are filled with bad grammar and shocking levels of typos. If you want to hide any useful knowledge, then put it in a book – has become a sad reality. If the elders are too lazy to read and expand the frontiers of knowledge, what is it that we can reasonably expect from the younger generations? My people don’t even see training as an investment!
There are countless reasons as to how we got here. However, our focus should really be how to get out of the rot we have found ourselves. The chances of any technological, cultural, financial or social advancement is indeed very thin if we don’t immediately and collectively tune to reconnecting with the culture of reading we were once used to. Parents have become too busy to spend time with their kids to review home-work assignments, let alone share stories from their favorite story books. This has been further compounded by the heavily distractive social and other informal media, churning out largely disempowering information.
“It is the studying that you do after your school days that really counts. Otherwise, you know only that which everyone else knows.”
— Henry Doherty
As Professionals and Business Leaders, we owe it to this country to start to think out of the box and here’s what I believe:
- The leadership of this country is a reflection of who we are.
- We cannot wait for others to fight our battle of liberation.
- We have gone too far into the valley that we no longer see far up.
- Mediocrity and dysfunctional living have become a way of life.
- We no longer possess any sense of self-belief.
- It’s hardly known that the power of change resides in us.
- We still hang on to archaic, non-functional and unhelpful thinking.
I am fully aware that the powerful subconscious mind always wishes to keep things the way are. But unless we all care to know much about this, chances are we’ll continue to be, do and produce the same results. That’s why I believe the time has come for the young professionals and business leaders to begin to assume responsibility for a quick turn- around.
One myth that must first disappear is that ‘we need a multitude to cause a change’. I used to think so too but now I know better. Transformation is actually one person at a time. History repeatedly shows that it takes only a few wise and courage men [and women too!] to kick-start a turn-around. One thing we all have in common is the need for more, better and faster results. These cannot be realizable without continuous renewal of knowledge.
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
– Benjamin Franklin
In recent times, in an attempt to sensitize for a solution I’ve had cause to engage different professional and business groups, who surprisingly tend to sing the same song of hopelessness and despondency, and here is a summary of my findings:
- There’s no strong view of collective good.
- There’s the belief that only the political leadership holds the key.
- There’s no understanding that we are all responsible for the state of collective amnesia.
- We mostly operate in the reactive mode, hardly pro-active.
- Visions and Dreams have become imaginary elements, meant only for the developed world.
- There’s a permanent rat-race, even for the educated, operating with short-term thinking.
- Reproductive thinking is the norm; resulting in more of the same whereas Productive thinking holds the key to new solutions.
My conviction in all of these is that it’s time to quit waiting for someday or some people to set things right. The recent Ekiti State election results point to the frightening realization that illiterates have taken over the political space. And don’t be surprised if that sad situation becomes a campaign strategy for those who wish to profit from keeping things the way they are – a population that’s too weak or incapable of thinking by virtue of lack of capacity.
“Read an hour every day in your chosen field. This works out to about one book per week and 50 books per year and will guarantee your success.”
— Brian Tracy
Now is the time to transform our fortune, one person at a time through elevated thinking, knowledge and wisdom acquisition. And the truth is that you have an amazing mind with a capacity for learning that is beyond your comprehension. You must believe this and feed your mind with valuable information. And when you do, you will be unlocking the potential of your mind.
It is our job to seek out information and knowledge on how to arrest the life of stagnation and decay and then test and run it through our minds to see if it is true and if it can be rightfully applied to our situation in order to make them better. We need to weigh and measure what we learn in order to gain the right knowledge.
As each individual rightly seeks to be successful in an environment that’s as twisted as ours, you need to become passionate about learning. It will surely take some work, but the only way to do it is to begin learning about things that have an immediate impact in your life. When you learn about a new financial concept that helps you earn money or get out of debt, you get fired up. When you learn about a way to communicate that helps you sell yourself and more products or services, you’ll feel energized. When you learn about how to interact with your family in a healthy way and your relationships get better, you’ll feel inspired.
Yes, the process of learning is a long one. Yes, we can speed it up. Nevertheless, it is still a process of reading, listening, reviewing, repetition, applying the knowledge, experiencing the outcomes, readjusting, etc. Simply put, it takes time. Slowly but surely, when you discipline yourself, you will gain knowledge and begin to enjoy even more learning, in personal life or in managing business.
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”
— Henry Ford
Learning is possible, no matter what your age is. You are never too young or too old. Your mind was created to learn and has a huge capacity to do so. From now on, make a commitment to unlock the potential of your mind. Take an inspiring journey, destined to expand your self-confidence, enrich your attitude and rekindle your motivation.
Real education comes through reading. The average CEO in America, for instance, reads four to five books per month while the average American reads one book per year, and 60 percent of them don’t get past the first chapter! Is that comforting? Make a promise to yourself to read at least one book per month. Read anything. Attend personal and professional development programs and seek for new tools and strategies that can be usefully deployed for better outcomes. Develop a passion for reading and learning, and watch how your attitude and outlook to life begin to change.
With more knowledge comes opportunity but with opportunity comes responsibility, and one of your most important responsibilities has to do with increasing the quality and quantity of your contributions to yourself as well as others in your life. And here’s another thing, those who contribute their time, talents, networks, and personal experience will be repaid in one way or another.
It may seem strange intellectually, but the world begins to conspire in your favor as whom or whatever benefits from your contributions wishes to respond. When people for instance feel your generosity, they tend to always want to repay isn’t it? The definition of a successful life must include a contribution to the lives of others. Any person who sets sights on increasing the quality, quantity and consistency of their contribution, raises the sights and standards of everyone with whom they come in contact.
Because life is far too short to settle for less than you truly want – in your business or your life, constant, learning helps you activate new capacities. Every day I see people moving through life, living each day with anxiety and stress. In this state of discord people are easily triggered emotionally. The result is the many wars and mindless killings confronting us daily.
“Read something positive every night and listen to something helpful every morning.”
— Tom Hopkins
One of the biggest problems many of us face is that we’ve settled into a state of resignation about ourselves and our lives. We keep ourselves busy with the easy things and leave the important things for tomorrow; which of course never comes. We’ve learned how to ignore our inner emptiness, and with a sigh of defeat, surrender to the forces of inertia in our lives. The uninformed have taken over and made continuous learning unattractive. The love of fast life and unethical behavior, as we shall eventually discover, will never grow this society. Only superior knowledge will.
We may be unhappy with the state of our bodies, careers, relationships, finances – and yet we do nothing about them, even when tons of educational books, audio and videos are available out there, sometimes for free. We simply settle into mediocrity and learn to live with it. That’s the problem – we’re too darn adaptable for our own good!
Even if you are happy with your life right now, there is always room for improvement. There is always room for more love, more joy, more money, more happiness and more fulfilment in your life. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve accomplished so far; what obstacles you’ve overcome; what fires you’ve had to walk through to get where you are – you are still at the very beginning of the journey. There’s still much more you can learn from biographies and autobiographies of great minds.
“The only real security that a man will have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, experience and ability.”
— Henry Ford
Here’s my invitation to you, right now, look at the various areas of your life. Look at yourself; the person you are. Are you truly satisfied? I hope you say NO! Not because I want you to feel bad, but because I want you to CRAVE MORE. Never stop striving to stretch yourself and enrich your life experiences, remembering of course as you pause to smell a few flowers every now and then!
Today, evaluating job applications in this country is an absolute nightmare – that’s talking about resumes presented by university graduates. We are certainly in deep trouble because the speed of new discoveries and advancement in every field of study is pretty fast globally. And more significantly, personal development has assumed a completely new dimension as new ways of thinking are contributing in no small measure to how personal and professional issues are tackled.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
The urgency of the need to rediscover our continuous learning culture stems from the fact that if countries like the US or those in Europe and Asia are in a hurry to elevate standards of living, massively investment in education, with all their sophisticated tools and structure, you can begin to imagine how inconsequential we will be in another 20 years if we continue in this pedestrian way of living.
Finally, we all have one life to live – why not learn the various ways to make it the happiest, most joyful experience you can have? If each one tunes to a life of continuous learning, acquiring contemporary techniques and strategies for solving life’s numerous challenges, the society will not only become transformed, this nation will become too powerful to be ignored.
To your greatness!
Your Strategic Coach
ps Is there a book you purchased some time back out of deep desire lying idle in your library? Go and pick it up. Don’t wait for motivation – just start reading, the motivation will come. After all, that was your original intention; to read and improve your fortunes. And as you set out to design your 2015 plans, commit to investing a minimum of 3% of your income towards personal development books and training programs. A knowledge-driven society is everybody’s responsibility – start your own baby steps. Today!