In 1987, I took a course in Agronomy (Crop Science specifically) at the Faculty of Agriculture in University of Ibadan, Nigeria. The opening remark of the lecturer – Professor Akoroda (a doctorate degree holder then) was: “There are three problems we have as a nation. They are a major hindrance to our national development. Number one problem is People! Number two problem is People!! Number three problem is People!!!” Even though we all laughed, we understood what the lecturer meant. He surmised that if we could manage to solve our people issues, our nation would be on its way to becoming a great nation. Looking back, Professor Akoroda was every inch a soothsayer. Our current challenges not only as a nation but globally are caused by people.
Even though we were less than two hundred students in the auditorium when Professor Akoroda made the above comment, I am inclined to conclude that entire nation listened in on what he said judging by the way everyone now blames people for their personal problems. Ask a young man why he’s idle and he will blame everybody and everything but himself for his idleness.
Dear reader, I want you to know that the problems of your nation are not necessarily your exact problems. Why? Because though your nation is a recognized entity on its own, it doesn’t have its own mind. Whatever becomes of a nation is the making of its significant people (leaders) because they are the ones that think for the nation.
The above scenario is however not the same for you and I. We have our own mind and as a result, we can think. Because we can think, we are in a position to alter the course of our lives. Jim Rohn said: “If you don’t like where you are, change it! You’re not a tree!” I reckon this is good advice. Changing where you are doesn’t mean changing your geographical location. Most times it means making a mental shift though sometimes a geographical location change may be necessary.
May be you’re thinking about sovereign risks assessment and wondering how the fortunes of a nation can be different from that of its people (thinking people). Think about this, “…darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people; but the Lord will arise over you. And His glory (exceedingly brightness of His presence) will be seen upon you…” (Isaiah 60 verse 2)
I engaged in the blame game for a while too. After 11 years on the job, if you had asked me why I didn’t achieve anything meaningful, I would have told you it was because my employers weren’t paying enough salary. However, when I came across learning points like the one in Isaiah 60 verse 2, the light went on for me and I realized that what I make of my life was up to me. As a result, I was able to change my results by allowing the new information I got from my learning experiences refine my philosophy (belief system).
If you can think, you can change. Put differently, if things are not changing for you; it’s a clue that you’re not thinking. I make no pretence that thinking is easy. In fact, Albert Einstein said, “Thinking is a hard work, that’s why so few of us do it.” However, if you understand the value in thinking, you will very likely do the needful to make use of this invaluable activity.
How to achieve the change you want
The first step to making the change you want in life is to transform your mind – your thinking faculty. How? People have advocated reading inspirational / motivational books. I have no doubt that you can achieve a measure of success going this route. I have read and I still read motivational books. However, I’ve found out that the word of God provides a full dosage of what you need for total mind renewal. The word of God not only inspires / motivates, it corrects, directs, instructs and reproves. When you’re on the wrong road, what you need is not inspiration or motivation but an instruction, a redirection or a reproof. This is the edge the word of God has over other forms of mind transformation.
As your mind is being transformed, start using the ideas you get from the process of mind transformation to establish your personal values. Whether you recognize it or not, you have personal values. You just have to take time to seek them out. For instance, I hold honesty and integrity (some of my personal values) in very high esteem. These values are the acid test for deciding what I do.
With your personal values in place, then decide what you want. It’s important you establish your values before deciding what you want. Doing it the other way round will not serve you well; it will likely make you say ‘yes’ to every idea! Next, seek information on how others who have achieved what you want to achieve went about it. In deciding your ‘how’, your personal values will serve as your moral compass. One thing you don’t want is to get what you want and not be happy, which is what happens when you violates your values in the process of getting what you want.
The final step is to take action. There’s no substitute for action. Months or years of study and planning can’t take the place of action. It’s when you take action that you know what works or doesn’t work and the corrective action to take.
When you’ve taken the above steps, you will find out that people are actually your allies. You need people to achieve whatever you want to achieve. To underscore the importance of people, Zig Ziglar said, “There’s a big conspiracy going in the world. And it is that when a man decides where he’s going, the rest of humanity conspires to get him to that destination as soon as possible.” I’ve seen this play out in the work environment. The employee that gets his / her job done well is the one that knows the exact requirements of the job. As s/he focuses on getting the job done, the colleagues have no choice but to cooperate with him / her.
When next you hear someone blame another person for his misfortune, kindly educate him by taking him through the above steps. Better still, you can forestall that happening by sharing this article with friends and colleagues now. You can also tell them to subscribe to receive articles on ‘Personal Development for Significant Living’ through the link http://waleadeniranye.com.