The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
BOB Bauman, the former CEO of SmithKline Beecham, was at his inspired best when he said: “All newly-appointed chief executives should ask five key questions: What are the basic goals of the company? What is the strategy for achieving these goals?
“What are the fundamental issues facing the company? What is its culture? And is the company organised in a way to support the goals, issues and culture?”
These are important questions to raise in meetings and reflect on. These are not just for companies but for anyone.
Without clear goals, there is so much mud raising. Without a strategy, there is just gambling with time.
Without some basic goals, activity has no meaning. It has been said time and again that if you aim at nothing, you will hit it 100 percent of the time.
This was before my uncle shared with me a story from his school days when he was doing Standard 4.
He said his favourite teacher used to say, “Aim for the sun, and you will land on the moon; aim for the moon and you will land on the nearby mountain.”
He would go on: “Aim for the nearby mountain and you will land on the nearby tree. If you aim for the tree, you will hit the nearest rock.”
Such is the power of goals.
They do not have to be many. If you have many goals, sift through them, identify a few that really mean something to you and then pursue these basic goals with passion and focus.
Hunt for your goals daily.
Wake up, not just because you have been sleeping for so long that your back is aching: Wake up to some definite action, with clear goals in mind.
Hesitating to commit
There will be obstacles in the way, there will be delays perhaps. But with a clear goal you will likely move faster than someone without a goal. A delay is not a denial. A detour is not a journey’s end.
Goals will always prompt you to give your best.
You do not have the luxury of being half-hearted and hesitant. You do not have the luxury of living as though you are rehearsing for the big life.
This moment is your big life and perhaps the best moment. It is as real as any other that you may wish for or will ever face and live through.
At times it will feel as though you are punching above your weight, keep punching.
Leave no stone unturned in pursuing your goals. Stop being lazy and start taking action. Stop hesitating and start pursuing goals that matter.
Face your mountain
Pursuing goals is like facing and climbing mountains.
Before you climb the mountain, it may look too imposing and challenging. The climb will challenge your stamina and your commitment, but it is a worthy challenge. That is why mountain climbers are always looking for another mountain to climb.
The best way to climb a mountain is to climb it! The best way to pursue a goal is to pursue it.
There is magic in definite goals and committed action. There is power in beginnings. Do not look down on your small steps because you gather momentum as you move forward.
You will not create any momentum standing still. Cross the line, declare your intention, enter the ring, sign up, make the order, enrol, buy the ticket, do something and stop hesitating.
Take the plunge.
The best way to begin is by beginning. This was echoed by the great mountain climber, WH Murray.
The Climber, Climbed
William Hutchison Murray (March 18, 1913–March 19, 1996) was a Scottish mountaineer and writer who did most of his climbing before World War II.
Mountain climbing is not a solo sport. Mountain climbers know other mountain climbers with whom they climb.
So it is with goal getting. When you start pursuing great and exciting goals, you find yourself meeting and connecting with others who are also pursuing similar goals.
If you are pursuing nothing worthwhile, you likely also find others to complain and commiserate with.
In the case of Murray, he is known to have done most of his climbing with, JHB Bell, who was slightly older than him.
Pursuing goals is about locating kindred souls and networking with others who are going somewhere and not in park-mode.
During the World War, Murray served in the Middle East and was captured in June 1942 by the German army. He spent three years in prisoner of war camps in Italy, Germany and Czechoslovakia.
Whatever you face today, regardless of how big it may be, should never tempt you to lose focus on your goal.
Pre-play your goals in your mind and keep focused.
Live in your destinations in your mind, even if you still have great distances to traverse. No challenge lasts forever. Do not wait for the perfect moment because this very moment is your moment of opportunity.
While imprisoned, Murray, the mountain climber, wrote a book entitled “Mountaineering in Scotland”.
Never complain of circumstances or lack of resources, but use what you have.
He wrote the first draft of the book on the only paper that was available to him. This was rough toilet paper.
Looking for perfection is a sophisticated form of laziness.
After all his efforts to keep the work concealed, the Gestapo found and destroyed his manuscript. He was disappointed as you would expect.
You would be justified to expect that after this he would just give up and start hurling insults and curses at his jailers.
He knew what all goal crusaders know, that whoever you blame for your circumstances, you empower to inflict more misery on you.
Do not give up because you faced a loss or challenge. Your failures of yesterday should not taint your record of tomorrow. You failed yesterday but you still have today and tomorrow.
Murray knew better than to give up on his goal. To the incredulity of fellow prisoners, his response was to start again.
Whatever you do is a risk, but the greatest of all risks is to risk nothing. The greatest of all risks is to pursue nothing, do nothing and be nothing. It is better to try something and fail than to succeed at clever but lazy explanations.
Despite the risk of another loss and the poor prison conditions and diet, Murray persisted. His physical condition became so poor from the punishing diet that he believed he would never climb again.
Do not give up or despair. Keep your hope alive. Keep pursuing great things and keep your goals alive.
Murray’s rewritten work was finally published in 1947 and was followed by the sequel, “Undiscovered Scotland” in 1951.
The goals that you pursue will inspire more people than you know.
Murray’s works concentrated on his goal and passion — the Scottish winter climbing — and were widely credited with helping to inspire the sport’s post-war renaissance.
What you do today will inspire many tomorrow. Your battles and struggles may seem private, but your victories will be of public value.
Perhaps the greatest gift Murray left to all that would pursue greatness after him is at the beginning his book, “The Scottish Himalayan Expedition” where he writes: “ . . . but when I said that nothing had been done I erred in one important matter.
“We had definitely committed ourselves and were halfway out of our ruts. We had put down our passage money — booked a sailing to Bombay. This may sound too simple, but is great in consequence. Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.
“Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred.
“A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.
“I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: ‘Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it!”
That passage is worth re-reading at least 100 times. Begin and everything also starts moving. Take the simple step that looks feasible to you now. Clarify your goals and commit. Factor in the issues that you are facing and face them.
Your culture must be one of doing, taking action and not just watching, talking, intending and fretting.
Execution is not what you talk about but what you do. Take action, commit and Providence will also move too. Crystallise your goals and trigger the action.
Set your goals and take action to your greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is a leading international transformational and motivational speaker, author and coach. He is a cutting strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator, whose life purpose is to inspire greatness. Feedback: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo, and WhatsApp +263772422634.