Countries go through it and they call it a revolution, business enterprises refer to it as re-engineering, re-organization, innovation, novelty, transformation and such similar sophisticated verbosities. Individual refer to it as re-invention.
Call it whatever you want, the process of re-inventing oneself, an enterprise and or a country is the most fulfilling to undertake. Some may argue though that the process is not necessary at all but the litmus test is simple.
Are you at a place in your life where everything you wanted is in place (financially, socially, spiritually, physiologically and psychologically) right now? If your answer is, “yes”, then please read no further but if you are like the rest of us, you are in right company.
Now while human endeavors are such that one may not be fully satisfied in all areas but can achieve great strides in the essentials, it is usually possible that somehow somewhere in one’s life areas do exist that need to be re-invented.
For corporations, those that do not go through the transformation process tend to produce substandard products, lag behind competitors, have very low yield on return on investment and eventually fail. While those that are at the cutting edge end up being industry leaders spurring huge profits for shareholders.
Countries that don’t undergo revolutions remain static usually operating on Stone Age theories while others are landing on the moon – despite being on the same planet. All great nations in the world have taken a lead somehow in some revolution of some sort.
The French Revolution began as early as 1789 and brought democracy by replacing French aristocracy including the first introduction of “inalienable rights” for their general citizenry. There is actually a controversy about who coined the concept of inalienable rights between the Americans and the French.
British Revolution took place much earlier though between 1642-51 followed by the American Revolution between 1775-83 while the Russian Revolution started in 1917 with the German Revolution bringing us an end to World War I.
Then we had the Industrial Revolution that swept through Europe and later spread like wild fire around the world, first in America, then Japan, the Asian Tigers and now around the world; all at the center of societal revolutions. If revolutions are good for the goose, then they must be good for the gander as well … individuals have to go through some transformation of some sort, they need to re-invent themselves in most cases to fully self-actualize.
I have been trying to look for some commonalities of some sort for most people that managed to re-invent themselves and I found these below. I believe there may be more qualities I may not be aware of but the following bare more authentication.
Tiger Woods who is the world’s most celebrated golfer was twice down and twice he re-invented his swing coming back better than before. His main driving force was to be the best at what he does and when he realized his old ways were not cutting it, he needed a transformation; he re-invented himself. His achievements to date rank him among the most successful golfers of all time. Currently the World No. 1, he was the highest-paid professional athlete in 2007, having earned an estimated $122 million from winnings and endorsements. Purpose, purpose, purpose you to succeed and I sure bet you will … He was determined and the rest is history.
The US President-Elect Barack H Obama was once a crack head (cocaine and alcohol) and smoked marijuana. During his young age as a teenager he started experimenting with drugs and smoked joints. He soon realized that he had a calling for public service and to be effective he needed to kick the habit. Following high school, Obama moved to Los Angeles, where he studied at Occidental College for two years. He then transferred to Columbia University in New York City, where he majored in political science with a specialization in international relations. Obama graduated with a B.A. from Columbia in 1983, then at the start of the following year worked for a year at the Business International Corporation and then at the New York Public Interest Research Group. After four years in New York City, Obama moved to Chicago and then on to Harvard where he studied Law. When he left Law School, he set for himself a strategic goal to get the presidency. Born August 4, 1961 in Hawaii, Obama’s term starts on January 20, 2009. His campaign raised an unprecendented $700 million in donations. Something never experienced before in world and American political history. He is the first African American to be elected President of the United States. Starting out as a community organizer, he used that platform to become a State Senator from the Land of Lincoln, sprang to the US Senate from there and after 144 days in the United States Senate launched his presidential bid beating an almost coronation of Hillary Clinton for the Democrat Presidential nominee and the rest is history.
Find a mentor
When Caroline Mwansa Marsh inherited real estate property with her husband, their realty business was a loss making venture. The Zambian born UK based millionaire went to the Business Achievers Conference in Alicante because she was keen to listen to a presentation about property investing. Her portfolio was giving her quite a poor return, with some properties actually in negative cash flow, so when she heard Steve Bolton speak about his business model, the systems he had in place and the high returns he was achieving as a result, she knew she needed to speak to him as quickly as possible. She wanted to be actively involved in building her portfolio, so she agreed to a mentoring program with Steve, focusing on a cash positive strategy of investing in Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs). In March 2007, Steve went to Swindon to work with her and the end of the second day of being mentored by him, she was sale agreed on 2 properties which would both give fantastic returns exceeding her expectations. That was the beginning of her success in business, and thanks to the business model, she was left with a system and support network that enabled her to acquire 4 more properties by December 2007, something she never imagined she would do. You can re-invent yourself not by re-inventing the wheel but by just using an already existing proven system. Caroline found that system and her mentor; and the rest is history.
Locale – environmental constraints
Dikembe Mutombo had a passion for basketball but his home country of Zaire, present day DRC was not capable of helping self-actualize. When he moved to the United States, he wanted to study Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. While there, the college basketball coach George Hoyas saw potential and recruited him, he has since played professional basketball including being featured in the All-Star Games and has since become a millionaire. In 1997 he founded the Mutombo Foundation that has managed to build a $29 million 300 bed hospital in his hometown near Kinshasa named after his late mother Biamba Marie Mutombo. He holds a B.A. in Linguistics and Diplomacy, a guy who barely spoke English when he landed now speaks English, French, Spanish, Portuguese and five African languages. To celebrate his achievement and other philanthropic ventures, President George W Bush invited him to attend the State of the Union Address in 2007 referring to him as the son of Congo. Sometimes you are in a place with no support system and if you have to re-invent yourself, you have to change locations … Mutombo did just that and the rest is history.
Daniel Hale Williams (1858-1931) was first surgeon to perform an open heart surgery. He successfully operated on James Cornish, the victim of a knifing. The operation was considered at the time a ground-breaking enterprise. The African American doctor opened the patient’s chest revealing a beating heart to stitch a small wound in the pericardium, the sac surrounding the heart. It is said often of Daniel Hale Williams that he always imagined the impossible. He utilized many of the emerging antiseptic, sterilization procedures of the day and thereby gained a reputation for professionalism. The doctor began his medical practice in Chicago at a time when there were only three other black physicians. In 1891, in Chicago, Daniel Hales Williams founded Provident, the first American interracial hospital. Provident hosted the first nursing school for blacks in America. By imagining the impossible Daniel visualized himself achieving the impossible and the rest is history.
Detach from the past
The Zambian Mulemena Boys once sang a song against Munkafwilwa (widow). They sang of how soon the widow had adjusted wanting to create for herself a new life. According to the Mulemena Boys, her period of mourning was not enough; she needed to mourn a little bit more instead of forgetting about her deceased husband that soon. To the detriment of Munkafwilwa she wanted to indulge in human pleasures very quickly and society considered that a misnomer. While giving credit to neither the Mulemena Boys nor the Munkafwilwa here, the premise is important in that the Munkafwilwa was trying to detach herself from the past and move on with her life – she just happened to use less wisdom in achieving her objectives. While the timing was rather short and the places where she went were not the best of all, her wanting to detach from the past is essential for self-actualization. Some memories of the past are white elephants while others are castles in the air. At least Munkafwilwa realized that and the rest was history.
Forbes Magazine produced a list of the most influential actors in Hollywood for 2008. Denzel Washington topped the list but what is amazing is that despite having starred in many movies, Denzel Washington never received any Oscar Awards until he was featured in Training Day. After that, even though the movie industry has not given him that measurable progress through awards, the general populace around the world considers him as the most influential star in the movie industry. Others might put a cap on you and tell you, you are not good enough but there are other sets of eyes out there rooting for you. While it is okay to use universally acceptable measuring standards, sometimes you have to re-invent yourself and not be discouraged when you get passed on. Always do your thing the best way you know how. Always set for yourself your own measurable standards, compare notes with yourself such that when you hear others judging you, do care about what they say about you but also know what you are capable of as long as you know what kind of material you are made of. Denzel Washington did just that and the rest is history.
We all need to re-invent ourselves; countries need revolutions, transformations, etc. and corporations evolve to meet challenges because being static will only leave you in a rat hole. So whether it is self-determination you need to measurable standards, you know yourself better.
You can not afford not to go through the process not being successful because life is a serious enterprise and there is just too much at stake, there is a lot more counting on you.
Live Long & Prosper; that’s this week’s memo from us at the Zambian Chronicle … thanks a trillion.
Brainwave R Mumba, Sr.
CEO & President – Zambian Chronicle
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