The Sunday Mail
Times of challenge and pressure are not times to do nothing and die.
Lean times are important learning times. Whatever you are going through, do not forget to grow and develop. What you are going through is not your future.
Never be so absorbed with your challenges of today that you forget that there is tomorrow that is coming and that expects to find you prepared, primed and positioned.
Crying for change without preparation is an ignorant prayer.
Change that finds you unprepared could be painful. When you stop learning you trash your future and become irrelevant today.
Do not stop learning and growing. There is no day that is so dark that you cannot light a candle and read.
Do not waste
No crisis is so useless that it is worth wasting. To waste a crisis is to suffer needlessly and purposelessly. No difficulty is worth being turned into cult and worshipped. Your difficulties are the syllabus of your learning. Grow out of your challenges. The doors of creativity usually open when all the windows of known solutions are shut tight.
Never take an idle approach to your life. It is when things are really tough, that you have to have a steep learning curve and a deep appetite for knowledge. Never let pressure press you into a corner where you accept ignorance as your destiny.
What would you do?
What would you do if you are in prison for ten years? To go into prison and then come out with nothing is to have wasted time. Incarcerated for ten years, some people would complain daily and mutter bitterly until their time is done. Some people would just suffer silently and hope that time moves faster, then finally walk away bitter. Refuse to let your situation imprison your creativity, vision and spirit.
There is a man who approached prison time differently. Instead of doing time, he developed himself and used his prison circumstances positively. Vision is never limited by adversity. This man was first jailed indefinitely in 1964; he was first held at Wha Wha near Gweru. Later he and his colleagues were moved to Sikombela.
On 8 November 1965, he was transferred permanently to the then Salisbury (now Harare) Prison, where he spent the next nine years. Shut out of his world, he made several decisions. The first was to continue his preparation for leadership. He also stayed true to his calling of teaching.
As a teacher he taught and encouraged his fellow prisoners to learn, study and prepare. He became a de-facto “headmaster” and he inspired many of his colleagues to start their own learning journeys.
Some even had to learn how to read and write. A crisis must never be wasted and time is too precious to watch as it passes by. Problems are not special, what is special are people who take advantage of their problems and circumstances.
This prisoner focused on self-development while serving his time in prison. He obtained three degrees in Law, Economics and Administration.
Refuse to just engage in idle complaining while others are learning.
For others, just one degree is a gigantic achievement, but for someone preparing for greatness, narrow knowledge is not sufficient.
This man who used his prison days to study, prepare and then later assume power was none other than President Robert Mugabe.
In your crisis, do not spend time complaining, spend it compounding knowledge and growing.
Do not waste the next decade of your life in idle chatter. Do something with the time.
Tune into your style
We all learn differently. What is important is not your style but that you learn and grow all the time. Whether you are a visual, audio or conversational learner, keep learning and growing daily.
Some people find it easier to read books. Many leaders read at least 4 to 5 books in a month. If a year passes and you have not read even one book, you are likely a joker and are not serious about life or greatness. Leaders realise that what they know now is not sufficient to navigate the changing and dynamic future.
There is a high correlation between the love of books and wealth. The poor usually do not love books because they complain that books are too expensive.
They are right that books are expensive, it’s just that ignorance cost multi-times more.
The truly great find that without reading their minds lack stimulation. A mind that is not stimulated is a sterile tool. Do whatever you need to do to create time to read. Read widely and cover various genres. Wide reading grows your life’s perspective. You may have to wake up early or sleep later. You may have to cut down on television. The mind is a fascinating organism because you can keep packing information into it and it will never gets full.
Surviving the present and attempting to navigate the future with an empty head is foolhardy and suicidal.
Some people find audio-learning as their preferred mode of learning. Nothing wrong. Invest in a good set of head phones. Purchase audio books and if you drive all the time when your engine is running, be learning. This learning approach is important for those who spend a lot of time driving or on the road.
Even as a passenger, put on your headphones, start learning. You cannot complain that you were too busy driving and had no time for learning. Learning moments must be seized and used deliberately.
Some people prefer interactive learning. They learn better when they discuss, debate and ask questions. If you are one such then sign up for a Master-class, attend a lecture and group discussion. Travel, learn and take notes. Find a mentor to talk to at least once a month. Set up a master-mind group of other like-minded people to share and exchange information. Get a coach to help you learn faster and inspire focus. Always be learning, whatever your style. Never let dark days discourage you from doing some diligent learning.
Develop a growth plan
You will not grow by accident. Have a plan to grow and develop yourself. You can not delegate your own learning to someone. Create a personal learning plan and agenda. If you aim at nothing, you will not learn anything. If you do not want accidents in the future, then focus your efforts of today. Challenge yourself to be better. Keep asking, “What is not yet perfect”?
Develop domain expertise
Knowledge is structured into “domains.” Look at the domains in which you operate and challenge yourself to become a domain expert. Keep growing your domain expertise and then broadening the domains. Every field of knowledge is growing daily. Grow with it or else you are left behind.
Be willing to make mistakes as part of your learning and growth process. Mistakes are the process of learning. When you are not making any mistakes you are likely not learning much. When you are not coming to moments where you are clue-less, you are likely attempting very shallow things.
Challenge yourself and give yourself permission to fail. Laugh at yourself, learn and grow. Mistakes are the fees you pay to grow. Do not keep making the same mistakes all the time. That would be a sign that you are not learning, but lazy. Bigger challenges challenge you to grow and know more than you know today. Growth takes you out of your comfort zone.
Learning is everywhere
Learning opportunities are everywhere. The next interaction that you have could be a powerful learning opportunity. If you are aware and observant. Learn and grow daily. Observe, watch, reflect and learn. Technology is widening the canvas of learning. Social media is making the exchange of knowledge much easier. Websites and blogs teem with knowledge of all kinds.
If you are not learning and growing it is because you have chosen to be lazy. Make buying books an important investment. Refuse to sleep with the same ignorance with which you would have woken up in the morning. Refuse to close a month, content to be where you where last month. Refuse to let a year pass only to gain wrinkles but no new domain expertise. Time is too precious to waste and knowledge is the resource that you need for greatness. Ideas are the cream of knowledge rising to the top. Enjoy learning, what is sweeter than that?
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 Whatsup at: 0772422634.