The Sunday Mail
Hunt for Greatness
Change happens! In times of change the familiar becomes unfamiliar. What used to work sometimes stops working.Trying times are never the times to stop trying and start frying in fright. When conditions change, it is time to rethink formulae.A continual theme in life is: Learning, unlearning, change and more learning.Life is a moving train not a stationary bicycle. You cannot rest or quit. Keep running and punching. It is usually what you know and think you have mastered that interferes with your learning and growth agenda.
Lean times are not the times to stop learning. In times of change learners survive and thrive.
They become heirs to the treasures abandoned by those thinking with their feet. The learned sometimes find themselves beautifully and comprehensively equipped for a world that no longer exists.
Remaining in the past and living in the past makes you a nuisance in the present and a liability in the future.
Keep challenging what you know if you want to grow. Never be satisfied with a mere collection of facts that cannot be applied in turbulent times.
Learning that is just a race for certificates is not learning because it soon buckles under the weight of reality. Our times demand answers, not egos. Our challenges demand solutions, not grand standings.
The military acronym VUCA, introduced after the Cold War, refers to Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, Ambiguity. This term is now used in some business circles to describe the conditions we now face and have to operate in.
It is now a VUCA world and the stability and luxuries of the past are not coming back.
Brace yourself to confront volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. It is not a one-day storm but a climatic condition to live and thrive in.
VUCA conditions are not a time to cry, lament and cast away hope.
Hold on to your hope, keep your faith and fight. Flip your VUCA situations into Vision, Understanding, Clarity and Agility.
This is called the VUCA Prime.
Keep focused on the end game. See through the dust and understand the bigger picture. Be clear about your direction and desire.
Confusion in the environment should never be confusion in your mind. Be agile, take action. In need, be flexible; you cannot have a brittle mind.
Keep taking action and moving forward.
The risk at the curves
In driving some of the greatest risks are at the turns or curves in the road. There are signs like: “sharp curves” and “reduce speed.”
It is when things change that the risks are highest.
Reduce speed and look at your trajectory. Evaluate your actions and the changes. Change is inevitable and always comes.
Keep looking out for change. You do not afford the luxury of being negative and thinking like a victim. Not every change will suit your palate; but every change has its own opportunities and blessing.
Complain little, pray much and think long-term. If you have to reduce speed, do so, but do not abandon your journey.
Keep focused and moving. At times you may have to take one step back in order to achieve two ahead.
Some cheese moves
Some cheeses do move and the temptation is to keep asking: “Who moved my cheese? Who moved my cheese?”
Instead of remaining hemmed in your situation and nested in your complaints, smell the cheese and move with it.
Moving cheese does not mean abandoned living and careless murmuring. Mouldy cheese is not a sign that cheese no longer exists. If the cheese has moved, it has moved; move also.
Denial is not a strategy for finding new cheese. It is time to get into the maze and do some blazing searches. Keep the vision alive and change tactics.
Never declare victory too soon or defeat too early. Do not give up too early.
Defeat is not defeat until you acknowledge that you are defeated. No state of affairs is ever permanent. Never get too wedded to your current circumstances that you insulate yourself from change.
Nothing lasts forever; you, too, will be gone some day.
Keep running and thinking. Ever alert and ever humble knowing that each step you take is an occasion of grace. Keep watching and praying.
I grew up watching kung fu films with Bruce Lee being one of central characters that inspired me and a number of my friends to try out a few karate stunts in the streets of Bulawayo.
Although Lee died at the age of 32 on July 20, 1973, his passion for his trade as a martial arts trainer, actor, film director and philosopher brought him global fame.
Persist in your quest; you may just open the flood gates for others.
Lee did that for the Asian martial arts film stars. Adjust to change like water.
Bruce Lee once said: “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
I like this metaphor. In times of change, be water. Flow and be real. Take the shape of the container you find yourself in.
Sun Tzu, in his legendary classic “The Art of War” carries this same thought when he says: “Military tactics are like unto water; for water in its natural course runs away from high places and hastens downwards. Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing.
“Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain.”
No conditions last forever. Greatness is being able to accept and work with the conditions as they present themselves.
What you are facing is the face of normal. Thrive in it. Do not be dismayed or discouraged. Do not let fear torment you.
Like a coward, do not die several times before death actually comes. Face the realities you are in and make moves from that point.
Take a bold look at where you are and determine that you will survive and thrive. You are destined for greatness.
Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, team-building and leadership facilitator. Feedback: [email protected], Twitter @MiltonKamwendo, and WhatsApp +263772422634