Automobile College of Self-Development
Remember the story I shared last week about the cabbie named Wasu? Well, for some reason that story stuck in my mind and I found myself thinking about it consistently. I know what you are thinking; but you are the one who shared the story so why would you keep thinking about it? I guess the sole reason is because of the many lessons we can learn from Wasu, lessons like what happens when you decide to change yourself instead of your circumstances. But how did he come to that point of making those changes to himself? It all started when he HEARD something that touched his heart and made him decide to make a turnaround of his life.
So today I want to specifically talk about spending time listening to the correct stuff.
My favorite book says that faith comes by hearing (Romans 10:17). If I was allowed to rephrase that scripture in the Bible I’d say this, faith leaves by not hearing. It is important to keep feeding your mind with positive stuff through listening and meditating on messages that motivate you to bring change from within, messages that inspire you to make those tough decisions and choices, messages that cause you to want to do whatever it takes to reach your goals. Those are the kind of messages we are talking about.
I talk to young adults a lot to motivate them to dream big, to have dream that have never been dreamt before. I always tell them that one of the ways to make their dreams reachable is by ensuring they feed their minds with lots of positive stuff. They need to invest in themselves by reading motivational books, listening to motivational speakers, reading about the fields they want to engage in, etc. In other words, they have to spend time bettering themselves, and not just beautifying themselves. The one question most of them always pose as a challenge is the issue of time. Some of them say, “but Liz, where will we get all that time to do all those things, amongst everything else that we have to do”? My response is always one; be creative with your time management skills. Now I know some of you reading this article today will say the same thing, that there are too many things to do and very little time to do it. I partly agree with you, but on the greater part, I disagree with you...
I disagree with you because if that were the case, then we would not have successful people in the world today. If you ask every one of those successful people, they will tell you that their success has come as a result of a specific routine they have followed over the years, fully supported by discipline to follow that routine. They will tell you that every day they have to listen to something that motivates them. They will tell you that every day they read a book that inspires them. They feed their faith everyday by listening or reading books/messages that cause them to see possibilities where others only see impossibilities. And guess what, they all have the same 168 hours we do in a week. The only difference between them and us is that they have mastered the art of managing their time. They don’t let any second slip by without being accounted for. They will tell you that in their list of most valued assets, time is way up there with health.
I’ll let you in on a little shocking realization I had a few months ago. If you are a woman, you spend a minimum of 45 minutes a day getting ready to go to work. Assuming you only work 5 days a week, that translates to 900 minutes a month and 10,800 minutes in a year. This means for the average woman, she spends 180 hours a year preparing herself to go to work. I believe she spends even more hours because we have not added the time spent at the saloon every weekend, or preparing for church or functions every other weekend. Now, imagine what would happen if she chose to listen to a motivational message every time she’s getting ready to go to work in the morning. That would be 180 hours of well-spent time, especially assuming she is doing this early in the morning. Her mind would be fed with positive messages that set the pace for her entire day. The positive message she heard in the morning would carry her throughout the day and help her become better than she even thought possible. Now that’s one scenario.
Scenario two is on the road.
In the recent past, I have noticed that I spend not less than 90 minutes every morning going to work and another not less than 90 minutes going back home every day. In between the day, if I have to drive from one place to another to meet a client, then it is obvious that in between the day I will definitely waste a few more hours on the road. To estimate it roughly, I spend at least 300 minutes in traffic every day of the working week making that a total of 1,500 minutes a week, and 6,000 minutes per month. Of course that is only during the working week. I have not included all other minutes wasted driving to the market, or to the saloon, or to see a friend somewhere. 6,000 minutes per month is exclusive of all that.
In a year, if you are like me, you will have spent 72,000 minutes in traffic, which translates to 1,200 hours a year, which is 50 days a year spent in traffic. Now imagine that every day you are in traffic you are listening to an inspiring message instead of the usual “umbeya” aired on most radio stations. Imagine investing 50 days in a year to listening to messages that build you. Don’t you think that would change your life forever? I said that to someone one day and you know what he told me, “that is overkill Liz. That is too many hours spent on listening to messages”. I just looked at him and smiled and told him he had a choice; either to stay at the level he was in or to invest in himself so as to step up to a higher level.
Friends, if you want to be successful, then you have to attract success by the person you become. You have to be able to contain that success otherwise you will only be reading about success in books. And how do you become a magnet that attracts success? By changing your mindset, by doing things differently. By working on changing yourself and not your circumstances. By default, when you change yourself, your circumstances will definitely change to align with your new you! But there's a chatch; creating a new you requires time. It requires discipline. It requires some serious investment. It requires some tough choices and decisions. It requires a complete mindset shift.
Now that I have shared my analysis of time spent in traffic with you, I believe you can see a light at the end of the tunnel. So, to all of you who have been asking where you will be getting time to invest in yourself by listening to motivational messages and reading motivational books, now you know where all your time is getting lost. You can recover it by making a conscious decision to be creative about how you spend your time in traffic.
It is time to enroll in Automobile College of Self Development!
If you own a car, instead of spending all your traffic time listening to all the bad news on radio, feed your mind with positive messages and build your faith. If you depend on public transport, instead of spending all your time chatting with your friends on whatsapp and snap chat among other social media platforms, use that same phone to listen to motivational speakers while in traffic, or if your ears are tired of listening, read a book. Now I know many people are allergic to reading books but there is no greater investment that you can make for yourself than investing in books that expand your mind.
To all the ladies out there, if you are like me, by the time the year comes to an end, you will have spent 82,800 minutes dressing up and being stuck in traffic. That is the equivalent of 1,380 hours a year, which is equal to 57 and a half days! How much mind expansion would we have done if we spent that time feeding our minds with the right stuff instead of engaging in baseless “umbeya” groups on whatsapp, or non-progressive ladies meetings every so often? It is time to make a wise decision ladies.
Hold that thought right there men. I have not forgotten you. Instead of spending all your time in traffic “kuchombeza” your “nyumba ndogo” how about you spend that time listening to audio books (if you hate reading) or listening to motivational messages?
In short my friends, we all have the means and the ability to create time to recalibrate our minds to be magnets that attract success. Question is, how many of us are willing to do this?
Remember, you attract what you are, not what you want. If you want to get great, then be great!
PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 11th September, 2016, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".