The Sunday Mail
Milton Kamwendo Hunt for Greatness
In the road to anything great, the heat, stress and pressure are always on. You are only comfortable when you are not growing. Negative situations do happen and adversity strikes. Strike back with a positive and possibility mindset. Unleash the power of positive thinking to help you stay positive even in the midst of any tragedy. Mental toughness does not mean that everything is easy.
Face your challenges but do not advertise your stupidity through negative talking and bitter poutings.
The past has no power over the present. The future cannot be overwhelmed by the present unless by your thinking you make it so. If opportunity does not knock, do not despair; just build a door. If you are knocked down, get up and think new possibilities. So long as you think positively, you can be delayed but you cannot be denied. Any time a negative thought hits your mind, immediately replace it with a positive and empowering one.
You cannot stop birds from flying over your head, but you can stop them from build a nest there.
Things may be bad and the prospects may sometimes be slim and bleak. A lot needs to be done with so little time or resources.
Many will complain, growl, run and seek for cover. Yet, plenty possibilities exist and your space is searching for you. You just have to manage your mindset, attitude and behaviour. Tough-minded people outlast their challenges, outrun their adversities and outlaw negativity from their minds.
To achieve greatness and move forward you need to keep developing mental toughness — the muscle of greatness. Greatness is not for mental wimps that would rather run than stand or complain than proffer solutions. Problems come to be solved and challenges are opportunities for excellence.
Mental toughness is what you need to stay sane in tough times and move on when others are losing their heads. Stand confidently, therefore, in the midst of the flames of pressure and see beyond your storms.
At the time the construction of Joina City, in Harare, started, I was working a stone’s throw from this iconic building that is a symbol of resilience, vision and tenacity.
For 16 years, the promoter of this project, Shingayi Mutasa, had to weather the economic turbulence and persist with his vision even when failure looked like certain destiny.
Yet, in 2010 the building was finally opened to the public, proving that dreams come true and vision can be realised despite the challenges along the way.
Mental toughness is what took Joina City from conception to final construction and occupation.
The difference between “can” and “cannot” is three simple letters that change the whole meaning and context. “Can” is the attitude of mental toughness. “Cannot” is an attitude that is not worth investing time on. All of life’s battles are won or lost in the mind.
From my office then, a few blocks from Joina City, I would watch a day-to-day routine at the site. A man, the crane driver/controller, would climb up the crane daily. From his lofty wind-shielded cubicle, he would direct the crane. His cubicle had some knobs that he would adjust to drive this massive steel structure.
The crane would grab a concrete block, move it sideways then place in wherever it was required. This routine would go on through the day as the building project progressed.
The crane is a big, powerful and imposing structure, yet its grand operations are controlled from a small lofty cubicle. So it is with your life. Your mind is like that crane control cubicle.
Whatever the size of the load that you are carrying or your challenges, you do not afford the luxury of brooding over the negative and complaining your life away.
See the positive in your negative situations. Your thoughts determine your attitude, dialogue, action and prayers.
Reality is a reflection of your thoughts. It mirrors the thoughts that you are consistently holding. Be very deliberate in the way you channel your thoughts.
Choose your thoughts more meticulously than the way you choose your clothes. If you are not happy with what you are seeing in the mirror, please do not abuse the mirror, change what you are putting in front of the mirror.
Choose the thoughts that you allow yourself to dwell on.
Network with a group of other positive-minded people, read positive and inspiring materials, listen to positive messages and audio-books.
Mental toughness is deliberately choosing to direct your thoughts towards the positive, even if you are in a negative situation. Thinking negatively is like taking a drug that makes you drowsy and impairs your concentration and vision.
Spread the light through your mental toughness. You can spread the light by being a candle that is confident and burning bright or being a mirror that reflects the light. Your positivity is an asset that you can leverage to create advantage.
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable
Change happens and the unthinkable sometimes occurs. Trying times are not times to stop trying. Not knowing what to do is not the same as being lost. Just do what you would do if you knew what to do. It is the pursuit and desire for idle comfort and the easy street that kills and maims creativity, learning and growth.
Challenge your limits and be comfortable with being uncomfortable. Every pilot has to be comfortable with turbulence.
Every sea-person has to be comfortable with waves. Stability is a myth. Change and turbulence are not necessarily a bad thing. Being in a comfort zone shows that you are not growing. It is not what happens to you that matters but what you think about it. When change comes, change with it. When the weather changes, dress and behave appropriately. Complaining is not a clue of anything nor is it an expert analysis. See opportunity in the midst of storms and stoney places.
Driven by challenge
When life drives you to your knees, you are in a perfect position and posture to pray. The posture of prayer is a source of power, revival and relaunch. You can do a lot, but God through his infinite power and ability can do far greater things that defy your estimation, imagination, ingenuity and ability.
Who you see in your moments of despair determines what you will do. My optimism is not based on what I can see, but on what God says.
Inside each one of us there is something so strong, potent and powerful. Your struggles are the crucibles of greatness. A struggling company is not dead, its just a rousing giant waiting for its moment to explode and leap to global significance. When there are difficulties and you feel down, do not despair and run amok.
Tough times are the time to visualise the future, think bigger than the present, build solid foundations and expect the positive.
Preaching positive thinking when you are swimming in success is a mere aphorism. It is when it is darkest, that the light of vision inside your mind should shine brightest. It is when you are pressed that you should sing to your future. When life drives you to the wall, do not wail. Build a door, walk through the walls and create new room to grow.
The impossible is simply a mindset and perspective. Believe that it can be done. Think of how you can make it possible. Until you start entertaining possibilities, you may ignore simple but life-changing ideas.
Grow through change
Keep growing your mind and sharpening your thinking. Feed your mind and it will never get any heavier. What you feed your mind with determines the efficiency of your mental engine. Anything that does not kill you will just make you stronger. Keep growing and developing. If thinking positively about big things is difficult for you, start with the small daily events of your life. Refuse to remain in park mode when life is speeding by. Mental toughness requires you to grow daily and generate positive ideas. Ideas are the cream of knowledge rising to the top of your awareness. Every challenge you face is a messenger of growth and an agent of change.
Focus and stick to the knitting
To keep your mind when all are losing theirs is real mental toughness. To think positively when the majority is drunk with negativity is mental toughness. Focus on the things that concern you and not the fears that haunt you.
The night season is not a season of despair. As you go through your night seasons, keep hope alive and do not despair. In the army most battles are fought at night, when you would rather sleep than fight. Mental toughness is a battle.
Pilots fly long journeys through the night. They rely on their instruments not just mere vision. Keep your focus and trajectory, even if you cannot see your destination for 99 percent of the journey. Never let your over charged emotions overrun you. Focus on your instruments, keep communicating and follow your flight plan.
Take focused action
Take action. Do what you have to do. Refuse to stand still and do nothing. Doing nothing and parking is not an option nor is it wisdom and work. Get into the action gear and make something happen.
You will always find what you are looking for. If you look for the positive, you will find it. If you look for the negative, it will find you. Whatever situation you find yourself in, look for the positive. A rose without thorns looks very fake. A life without challenge looks boring. Choose to challenge your limits and express your potential.
You are born for great things and destined for greatness.
Think in new boxes. Rather than denominating your life in the currency of the negative, think in terms of the positive. Face the light and not the darkness.
Being positive will not solve all your problems. It will certainly not make your problems all go away in a flash. It will instead give you the torch to shine light into your situations.
Negativity saps energy and weakens you. Being positive gives you the energy and drive. Without energy you are left as a hollow shell.
Positive thinking means expecting, envisioning, talking, planning, reflecting on, believing and being obsessed with what you want to achieve.
It means seeing in your mind’s eye the thing you want, as an accomplished fact. Mental toughness is a resolute and composed mindset.
Milton Kamwendo is an international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy, innovation, leadership and management consultant. He can be reached at: [email protected] and on WhatsApp at: 0772422634.