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It's a Mud Mud World

May 13, 2018

I am loving the weather lately, I mean compared to the glaring heat we experienced the first quarter of the year, this coolness is a welcome change. But of course the coolness has not come without its fair share of challenges; increased mosquitoes thanks to the “swamps” that have developed in almost all neighborhoods, impassable roads due to deepened potholes and mud puddles thanks to the heavy rains that have been pounding the earth in the last few weeks, intermittent power supply due to outages caused by rain, and of course there is the serious issue of flooding that has caused loss of lives and property in various parts of the region. 

By the way, if you ever want to buy land, or you are looking for a place to rent be it for business or residential, the best time to do your scouting is during the rainy season. It is not until it rains heavily that you know which locations become impassable due to floods or mud, or which houses actually get flooded, or which shops/businesses are impossible to access when it rains. 

I have seen several shops in the last few weeks that have been closed down because of this. I remember a day it rained so hard that even the trenches by the road filled up and because the water was too much, and as you know you cannot stop the force of water, the water ended up seeking room in people’s shops by the roadside. Lots of property was damaged and for some of those people, I highly doubt that they had any insurance cover for their shops. 

Speaking of Insurance, is flooding considered “acts of God”? I think I did read somewhere that insurance doesn’t cover acts of God. 

Anyway, if you are considering buying property in the near future, this would be the ideal time for you to do your scouting. 

At this point I’d like to caution drivers not to attempt passing through roads they are not familiar with. No matter how “small” a puddle looks, it might shock you when you realize that it goes very deep and could cause some serious damage to your car if you attempt to pass through the puddle. I think this was the case with one driver who saw a certain puddle in our neighborhood and assumed it was not that deep. Before long he realized how wrong his assumption was; his car stalled right in the middle of the puddle. Worst part is that it was dark since it was heading to midnight. He did get help eventually but I can only guess how much he had to part with in order to get those neighborhood boys to get into the puddle to push his car out. 

Actually, now that I think about it, I get this feeling that those same boys have been digging the puddle at night so that unsuspecting drivers can get stuck, which creates an opportunity for them to charge some exorbitant rates to help the drivers out of the sticky situation. I could be wrong but how coincidental is it that they miraculously appear from nowhere whenever a car gets stuck? Kwanza considering in this case it was in the middle of the night, yet they had all the necessary tools to “help” the driver out of the mess? Plus, he didn’t even call out for help. As soon as he got stuck, the “rescue team” was there to help. Anyway, forget my conspiracy theories. I guess I’ve watched too many espionage and conspiracy movies in my lifetime.

If the driver had known any better, he would not have assumed the puddle was not deep, and he would have used the longer route the rest of us having been using. This somehow reminds me of life in general. Many are the times we do things then once we get stuck, we start regretting and wish we had not done them. 

For instance, you know for sure that you will be sitting for your exams in say eight weeks. Common sense dictates that to prepare yourself for those exams, you should at least spend a minimum of two hours daily studying and brushing up on whatever topics you might not be familiar with. But instead of doing that, instead of focusing on the coming exams, you assume that because you have a lot of time you will study a few weeks to the exam so that you can still have “fresh” information in your mind. So you misappropriate your time and spend it doing things that add no value to you. Before long, you realize it is one week to exams and you have nine units to study. Now that’s some serious mud to get stuck into. 

To avoid a situation like this in future, for all those who are doing part-time studies and full-time employment or business, there is a way out for you. First and foremost you have to remember that you will not be a student forever, so learn to enjoy this episode of your life. Spend the time you are a student wisely by being a great student. Secondly, unless you have a time-table to follow you will always be finding yourself not having enough time to study. Thirdly, you need to define your priorities, which will help you eliminate anything and everything that is not feeding your priorities. To achieve this, discipline will be needed.

Another example is that of a businessman/woman who practically runs everything in the business as is always the case with small businesses i.e. one (wo)man show. Let’s assume this is where you are, and because you have too much to do, it could be that you have been putting off doing your paperwork i.e. filing, preparing your daily/weekly reports, filing your taxes, etc. Then you realize it is that time of the year when you need to submit your returns to the regulatory authority, but before you do that, your books have to be in order. So you engage the services of an auditor and as the auditors knock on your door asking for certain documents, you realize you don’t even remember where you put them. You start having soliloquies, asking yourself questions and answering them all by yourself, having full audible conversations with yourself but still not getting any answers to your queries. Then before long, you miss the deadline to submit your reports and you start accruing penalties. Now that’s some serious mud to get stuck in.

If you ever find yourself in a situation like this where you run a one (wo)man show, consider outsourcing some of the responsibilities on a part-time basis. For instance you can get someone to do your book-keeping every one or two weeks, depending on the volume of paperwork you have, so that by the time its time for you to be audited, you will have everything up-to-date. By the way, if you haven’t gotten the book I recommended last week, “The Power Of Focus”, I suggest you get it. The book has a complete chapter on how to increase your efficiency in whatever you do.

Another situation could be in relationships. You met this guy/girl and the chemistry was just right. So you started a relationship and as weeks turned into months, months led into years you became comfortable with each other. Maybe too comfortable to the point of taking each other for granted. So you stop doing the little things that got you hooked to each other in the first place. “Suddenly”, you come to the realization that you are no longer compatible with each other, and before long, you part ways. I guess this is the worst mud to get stuck in. Question is, did you guys just wake up one morning to realize that it is not working any more or what really did happen? 

I have been in this situation myself and I can tell you for free now that breaking up is not an event. It is normally the culmination of a series of small (but big) things that go unresolved and once they pile up, the volcanic eruption that happens leaves no room for reconciliation at that moment. Maybe later after people have cooled off they can find a way of resolving their issues but in most cases this never happens because once trust is broken, re-establishing it is not easy. Trust is like a broken glass. You can put the pieces back together but the scars will always remain. 

But why do all these things happen, be it in business, in relationships, in academia, why do people find themselves stuck in the mud? Why do people make all these mistakes? I’ll tell you why. People make mistakes in life because in most cases, they go through life by trial and error; if it works it works if it doesn’t it doesn’t. Unfortunately many people remain down when they fail for fear of failing again. Failure is not a destination, just like success isn’t. Failure is a process that the universe uses to deliver vital lessons to you. Sadly though, so many people miss out on the lessons because they stay focused on their failures, and in so doing, they miss out on the opportunity to rise up and try again. Like Winston Churchill said, “Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm”.

Nobody ever became a success in life without first going through at least one failure, but in most cases, they all went through a series of failures. As a matter of fact, you learn more from failure than you learn from success. Woody Allen said it best when he said, “If you’re not failing every now and again, it is a sign you are not doing anything very innovative”. The more you fail, the closer you get to your success. Unfortunately many people just give up. Giving up on your goal because of one setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got a flat tire on one. Like Jack Canfield said, “Don’t worry about failures, worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try”.  

The beauty of failure and success is that they both leave clues. That is why this week in the ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018Book Reading Challenge I am recommending one of my favorite authors, Richard Branson, and his book Like A Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You At Business School.

I found the title of this book very thought provoking. Who is a virgin in the context of this book? Not sure what you are thinking but according to my favorite dictionary,  “a virgin is a person who is naïve, innocent or inexperienced in a particular context”. In other words, because they have no clue how to go about that particular area, the possibilities of making mistakes are very high. 

Is it a wonder then that when most people start out on new business ventures they make mistakes? Is it a wonder then that when people start new relationships friction happens as they strive to blend? Is it a wonder then that when you start studying a new subject or a new field you might encounter some challenges? The answer to all these questions is “NO”. As you continue exploring different ways and means of achieving your desired goal, you become less and less naïve and soon enough you are no longer a virgin but a very competent person in your area of focus.

My message to you today is this; learn from your failures, apply discipline to every area of your life and avoid shortcuts. Sometimes shortcuts might end up wasting a lot of your time and resources; if you don’t believe me ask that guy who got stuck in the mud puddle at midnight. 


Be Ignited. Be Inspired. Be Influenced. Become the best version of yourself you can ever be.



PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 13th of May, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".




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