The Sunday Mail
There is more that has never been done, that is waiting for you to do, than what has been done. If you lack imagination you will think that you have arrived when you have not yet begun.
The future is not a twin of the past and your problems are not a prophecy of doom or kingdom come.
Choose to be a pioneer in your space.
If that space is too narrow, explore beyond it. Think differently in order to do differently. Think bigger; follow your heart and challenge your mind and popular opinions. It all starts with the questions that you ask and the way you look at things.
We are all pilgrims, traveling into the future and leaving history behind. Create history but do not be history.
Refuse to build a citadel of history, while devoid of an exciting vision of new possibilities. For any change, improvement and growth there must be this pioneer in you who is daring to do different things, ask different questions, challenge limitations and blaze new paths.
Refuse to compete with mediocrity. What else is more fun in life than to head into life with a burning spirit and a pioneering attitude?
The never-go-to option is to always be complaining, griping and hoping that change growth and improvement will suddenly happen while you stand by as a reluctant passenger. Choose to be a pioneer and adventurer. It is better risk something than doing nothing except routine.
What is not yet perfect?
It is easy to look at reality from the eyes of the past. The future may look so different when viewed from past experiences.
Sometimes relating the stories of the past is like sharing an otherworldly story.
I remember feeling like an alien sharing stories of how we used to stand for a long time in a queue to make a call at a public phone booth.
You needed to be ready with your twenty cent coins. Accessing a telephone was a privilege and getting a telephone line approved and connected at your home was a process that took a lengthy time, many visits and follow-ups.
Telephone lines were as rare as bit-coins.
At school we had to be taught how to write and send a telegram. It was an essential skill. Each word cost something and the telegram was the fastest way to get an urgent message across to someone.
Then, the local Post Office was as critical as a hospital. If your brother was ill and you wanted to send a telegram you would write something like, “John ill, come.”
Now all those telegram-writing skills are now lost and yet the system looked so irreplaceable. The future marches on and you do not afford the luxury of camping in the past. Resisting necessary change just makes you irrelevant.
What you assume to be perfect and natural today will not always be so. Keep asking yourself what is not yet perfect.
Keep challenging your own assumptions and thoughts. Refuse to be buried into thinking that we have all arrived. Never let the success you have scored in your village tempt you to think you are a global celebrity.
In 1898, after seeing a flurry of new inventions and various other inventions that were novelties of the time, Charles Holland Duel, the Commissioner of the United States Patent Office, is said to have remarked: “Everything that could be invented has already been invented, the world is coming to an end”.
That was too early; the world was set to change beyond recognition.
Never set your roof so low that you are always banging your head against it and revising your statements. Think big and bold. Dare something big. Poke your ceilings and embrace the spirit of a pioneer.
Compete against non-consumption
In most organisations the obsession of marketers is to beat competition. You never pioneer into new space until you realise that most of the time the biggest competitor is “non-consumption”.
This represents the category of people that are not using your product or service. This group is usually bigger and more than those whom you would traditionally call your market. How do you stake up against non-consumption?
In Zimbabwe, cellular telephony was officially introduced at the 1996 Earth Summit in Harare. After this landmark event, slowly this new mode of communication started taking hold.
The first cellular phones were a prestige product, though huge and unwieldy. To be seen speaking on a cellphone was a rare and special event.
You may remember the old Ericsson and Nokia models.
At an organisation where I worked, our MD sent a memorandum to advise that management had decided to purchase seven cellular phones: four for executive directors, two for the IT department and one for the security manager.
In the early 2000s, one of the mobile operators decided to compete not with the incumbents but with non-consumption. It decided to democratise the cellular phone.
It introduced a low-cost model sold together with the telephone line. It was a new idea at the time.
Now everyone on the Government payroll could afford the phone as it was primarily sold through payroll deduction.
This phone was called the “Mango” and airtime credit was called, “Juice” and the rest is a successful marketing history.
Move early to the next battlefield
The key to greatness is not distinguishing yourself as a fighter but to fight the right battles. The battlefield is ever shifting and some wars are just an interruption. Refuse to fight the old and tired wars using dull tools of yesterday.
Keep asking yourself what the next battlefield is and move early to occupy space there.
Success does not belong to those who fight. It belongs to those who fight the battles that matter. Refuse to be stuck in the past and to live there.
The world is matching forward fast. Past glory, stinks today.
The exploits of yesterday are just museum artefacts today. Never stop moving, learning and growing. Past success is not a guarantee of eternal greatness.
Set new bold and exciting goals that you pursue through new alleys. Obstacles will always be there, so what?
They are not there to discourage you but they are there to inspire you to dream and think differently. If there were no obstacles you would keep doing tired things and never know that it was time to change.
Co-ordinate the unco-ordinated
There is so much out there that could benefit from better co-ordination and structure.
Co-ordinate the unco-ordinated: create a platform for others where there is no platform.
In any space someone who create a co-ordinating platform creates new value. Never fight chaos by throwing tantrums. Fight chaos through strategic insight and execution.
Chaotic situations are opportunities for co-ordination, innovation and value migration. Chaos in an indicator of the presence of entrepreneurial opportunity for those with organising ability.
Never run from problems in search of spaces without chaos. You may just be running away from your destiny. Cowardice and comfort zones are not the staple of the pioneering spirit.
Ask new questions
Never be satisfied with the answers of yesterday and the choruses of crowds.
Ask new questions, challenge assumptions and be willing to think your own thoughts and think in new boxes.
Beware of the crowd, beware of the crowds, be very wary of clamouring crowds, beware of popular opinions and beware of praise singers. He who follows the crowds, will never be likely followed by the crowd. Create spaces in your life where you leave the madding crowd behind.
Pioneering requires you to ask new questions and walk on lonely paths pursuing strange ideals. Nothing great is ever created and conceived in public.
Unless you risk appearing like a fool or sounding like a lone voice, you will never pioneer anything. Let the questions you hold lead you into new places and spaces. Keep thinking and dreaming.
Life is for the bold and the future belongs to those who prepare for it today.
What if you fail?
Failures part of the journey and perhaps the most interesting part. It is impossible to have a story of success, success and more success without any punctuations of failure.
It is impossible not to experience failure somewhere on the path of life unless you are living so carefully that you would rather not have lived at all.
Failure is the pioneer’s torch. Failures lead to new paths, insights, products, values and discoveries.
Failing while on a bold path towards a great goal is better than succeeding at being a pale, stale and dingy copy. Dare to dream and do something exciting and challenging.
You can never be bored while exploring new territory. Boredom is the luxury of those with infirm goals.
Get tired of your comfort zone.
Never let your problems pummel you into a fearful wimp who would rather complain than sing songs of courage and possibilities.
Committed to your greatness
Milton Kamwendo is a cutting-edge international transformational and inspirational speaker, author and coach. He is a strategy and innovation consultant and leadership coach. His life purpose is to inspire people to release the greatness trapped in them. He can be reached at [email protected] and on WhatsApp number 0772422634.