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Live at your own pace…

As part of my daily routine,I really love going for a jog early in the morning. This morning though was a bit funny, so I wanted to share this. As I left our apartment gate, I started jogging in my own pace which others may consider slow. There was another lady who left the gate together with me and she was super-fast as she jogged and left me with a huge distance between us. As I was jogging, there were three guys standing around, mere on-lookers really. One of them commented and said to me “run faster and catch up with her, come-on, she is better than you, run, run.”

I told myself, “You know what Bongs, just ignore him”. He and his friend’s then started walking behind me and the dude just couldn’t shut up. He screamed behind me saying “this jogging thing is tough neh”. Well, thankfully I was about to take a turn and that was my escape from him. I kept at my pace not resting anywhere but as soon as I turned to go downhill, guess who I found, the same lady that was running/jogging at a fast pace. There she was tired as ever and walking slowly and had her hands on her waist. I just raised my hand to salute her and kept jogging at the same pace. When I got home I really laughed at this incident and reflected on everything that just happened.

In many ways, our lives are like this, we could be living our lives the way we know is best as per the Master’s will. And then we receive commentary from mere on-lookers who begin to compare us with those around us. If we are not clear and careful about the purpose of our lives, we can easily fall into these traps and live at a pace foreign to us. Can you imagine what would have happened to me if I decided to speed and succumbed to the pressure of what that guy had said? Maybe I would have been so tired that I would not have finished the distance I had planned to jog. When we live life in a pace that’s not ours, more often than not, we will not accomplish the things we meant to do.

 

The art of being still…(Bonus edition)

Clarity about my purpose and most of the ideas I have thought off and have made a reality were birth from a place of being still. We find ourselves in an interesting period in our Generation, where there is an ever increased focus on people talking about purpose. A lot of people want to find out what their purpose in this world is and my question to you dear friend is, have you practised the art of being still?

What does it mean to be still? It means finding time in our busy lives, to be by ourselves and just silent. People do this differently, I prefer waking up early to pray, read and mediate on the word of the Lord. I find when I do this, I reflect a lot about my life and I allow God to speak to my heart, offering me direction.

In one of my still moments, I was also reading the book of Genesis 11:12.There is an interesting story that made me realise something and further clarified this thing about purpose.We are introduced to a few characters namely, Abram, Sarai, Haran, Lot and Nahor. Now Lot’s father Haran had died, so Lot ended up living with his grandfather; Abram and Sarai Abram’s wife. In the context of our modern society, we probably will ask ourselves why didn’t Lot just find his own place, but remember people in the olden days had more of a communal conviction and it was normal for one to live with relatives even though they were old enough to live on their own.

Now, what was interesting to me is that Lot could have either chosen to stay with Nahor his other father’s brother or stay in the land of Haran, where his grandfather had died. But he decided to follow Abram, when Abram decided to go to another land with his wife. Could it be that Abram had exhibited such great fatherly love to him that he followed him wherever he went?  Lot would not have followed him, if Abram was not treating him right. What I learned from this story is that Abram who God later changed his name to Abraham to mean “the father of many nations” was purposed to be a father. Abraham’s purpose was to be a father and bring forth a nation. Look at the first thing we hear God say to him in Genesis 12:2, “I will make you into a great nation”.So I have reason to believe that his purpose/destiny i.e. to be a father to nations, began or was established even before God called him and changed his name.

I started thinking about my own life; I know that one of the things which are a major part of my purpose is to be involved in humanitarian/ socio-economic development work. I know I am meant to be a communicator and share ground breaking research and solutions around some of the socio-economic issues we face in the world.

In my still time, I was just reflecting on the time when I was in primary school and I began to enter speech contests; joined the debating club and in high school I did a lot of biology talks. As I was reflecting I realised that I always chose topics that had some sort humanitarian/human rights/social development inclination. To recall just a few, I remember in primary school I did a speech on racism and xenophobia.

In high school, I did research on human cloning and presented that. My teachers were so impressed that I represented my schools both in primary and high schools in regional and district competitions.  In varsity, I did a lot of study on labour and organisational studies and movements which have underpinnings of human rights. So what am I trying to say? That our destiny/purpose is like that exercise of connecting the dots one-by-one, until an image that makes sense is formed. Even before your purpose is crystal clear to you,the dots started connecting slowly. Are you wondering, what is my purpose? Well my friend, begin to trace back your life and look at things that have been a common feature and ask God and trust me the time you spend practising the art of being still, the clearer your purpose becomes.

Come out from amongst them…

We have all heard the idiom “one rotten potato in bag can make the rest also rotten”; well this saying became a reality to me this past week. I was in the kitchen and there was a bad scent that I could smell coming from the food cupboard. When I checked, there were two rotten potatoes and those potatoes made the rest go bad. As I took them out and was cleaning the area, I starting reflecting on how in many ways, as human beings, we are affected by the “rotten-potatoes”, rather people we allow to enter our lives.

The reality is, who you hang around with is a reflection of your character and whether you like it or not this will affect your future. I think another idiom that best describes this is “Birds of a feather flock Together”.

This is an interesting and powerful metaphor for life. If there is one negative person amongst a group of friends, does it mean they are all negative? The answer is no, but be warned as the negativity can quickly spread. Don’t stay loyal to relationships that are not loyal to your progress…come out from amongst them!

My enjoy life tip is this – 2017 has just commenced and I know at the beginning of the year, we all have this great energy and we make a lot of resolutions. Can I plead and say, may the company you keep be amongst the things that you consider this year. Come out from people and environments that rob you of your peace and progress. Surround yourself with people who build you…choose wisely!

Stop! and think…

Inspiration is all around us, we just have to ensure we are alert so that we are able to appreciate it.

I was getting ready to iron this morning and behind me, I realized my family had put up the 2017 Calendar. As I gazed at the calendar, my eyes were taken by the quotation next to the big 2017 inscription. The quotation read:

“Action without vision is only passing time, vision without action is merely day dreaming, but vision with action can change the world.” Nelson Mandela.

I thought to myself…well this is such an interesting and powerful piece of wisdom. Often we get told to pursue greatness, whether that’s through succeeding in business, or a career or an academic venture. But, how many of us actually stop and think about why we wake up and do the things we do. We have become such a Go! Go! Generation…but are we reflective about our daily activities?

I was reading an interesting article yesterday and the journalist had interviewed an influential public figure. One of the questions the journalist posed to this person was, “if you had to reflect on your life and success, what stands out for you the most?” the public figure’s answer came as a bit of a shock and concern to me. The public figure paused for a moment and mentioned that though she had done lots of things and is a busy person; they have never taken a time to reflect. But, I love that she said in 2017 she wants to do more reflection and not just pass time doing lots of activities in a day without fully reflecting how each activity links up to her purpose.

Our generation is plagued with stress, depression, etc. I think it’s because we live in such a world of information overload, but we lack knowledge and wisdom in terms of how to live simple and relevant lives.

If I had, to be honest also, sometimes I have said and done things because I heard and saw others do that without thinking for myself. We have been raised to just do and most of us are living life and not thinking. We are not a reflective generation.

I think even as we begin 2017, it’s still a great time for us to just take a moment and reflect on why we do the things we do; even for the things, we have committed to do this year. Have we sat and thoroughly thought about how they add value to our purposes?

Back to Basics…

I am on a journey of realizing that a “de-clustered” life can have tremendous benefits for one’s well-being. This journey was further entrenched by one of the project’s I was working on at work. Now the nature of this project was a bit peculiar; in that usually when corporate’s initiate projects they focus on introducing new systems, new behaviors, new processes and the aim is a complete transformation from the way things are currently done. This project had a simple mandate; and that mandate was let’s do the “right” things we did when starting this business unit.

When our business unit started, the chief architects had an amazing and unique model that worked and turned the organisation into a great success. But somehow, over the years as the business grew with rapid change demands from the business world and in trying to balance making profit and remaining relevant a lot of “undesirable” practices sneaked in.

We found ourselves in a space where people rattled with the “very thing” that was core to us. We acknowledge that we live in a world of fast pace change; but we also recognize that one cannot embrace new changes if we have not clarified the very core of who we are. The project’s objective was a plight of going back to basics and reinforcing processes and behaviors aligned to our core.

This work really touched my life in that I realized that in my own personal journey, I had rattled with my core. I abandoned a lot of basics that had initially made me successful and adopted “foreign” techniques which looked way better equipped to deal with an “ideal modern” woman. But actually, these may have worked for others, but, if I had to truly be honest with myself, they were not working for me. They were not yielding the results I desired. You may ask “what are these basics?” Well allow me to share, they are very simple and to others they may even seem too cliche.

I recall that I would always talk to God about literally everything and I lived my life simply believing that all things will work out for my good. Whether I was addressing a crowd or one person I always spoke from my heart as opposed to speaking from my head. When you speak from your head you often speak intellect and what you think people around you want to hear and sometimes you are not always authentic. I didn’t censor myself too much by making sure that I use bombastic words, I was simple and genuine.

When I did something I was numb to the applause of those around me. My joy & motive was simply passion and love. I really enjoyed every moment with every person in my life. I’m in a space where I am reinforcing most of these basics again in my life.

What are your basics? We all have simple habits that we adopted that made us successful at the things we love doing. I think as we begin 2017 we need to rethink certain basics in our lives.  To me, the concept of back to basics is going back to a place of sharpening the saw, a place of refueling when life gets too hectic and a place of reaffirmation about our purposes.

 
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