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Leadership Begins With Self-Leadership

September 24, 2018

Every so often I allow myself to just sit and watch human beings being weird, as they do things that are truly embarrassing. 


Let’s take a good example of the nicely dressed guy who just stepped out of his black colored machine. His ensemble suggested that while others were complaining about the unstable nature of the shilling against the dollar (across the region), he had no idea what they were talking about. His shoes looked like they were water and dust proof. They (the shoes) would have made a good advert for the guys at Kiwi. Though he was wearing a suit, you could tell his six-pack was not waiting to be aligned, it was already aligned.


Then he did something that completely put me off! He picked his nose with his bare fingers! I mean, after exuding so much class, how can you do something so unthinkable? Yuck!


Then there was this other woman who had just stepped out of the supermarket. She seemed to be looking for someone from amongst the myriad of cars that were parked outside. The high heels she was wearing were at the end of long healthy legs, the like most men ogle at.  In short, she was really beautiful. Then she too did something that made me feel embarrassed for her; seems she had forgotten to wear a long-lasting roll-on or maybe she used one that wasn’t good for her skin. She started scratching her armpits, again, with her bare hands! 


She did this while hiding herself in between the cars that were parked around her. She thought nobody was seeing her, not knowing that there was someone sitting in a black car with very dark tint who was observing her. Yep, I saw it all happen from my car. I wonder whether she would have done the same had she known that she was not really “alone” in the parking.


Imagine meeting her after that and without knowing what had happened you shake her hand! Or meeting that nicely dressed dude and you shake his hand not knowing he had just come from digging into his nose..... I think I’ll not be shaking people’s hands from now onwards. I’ll be giving you a punch or a fist to avoid the picked noses and scratched underarms, not forgetting other areas men scratch.


Anyway, as I sat there observing people, I saw quite a number of weird and embarrassing things happen around me that really left me wondering; would these people do the same things if they knew there was someone observing them? Other than that, I came to the conclusion that there are things money cannot buy; character is one of those things.


According to my usual online dictionary, character is defined as “the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual”. This simply means that character is who you truly are. No wonder someone said that “character is what you do when nobody is watching”. I believe those people would have been more careful had they known they were being watched. Of course I don’t know them, but I am almost certain that if I did, I would be more careful shaking their hands after what I saw. John Wooden was very right when he shared this advice; “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” In my books, as cute as that guy looked, he went down as someone who picks his nose with his bare hands.


Of course, picking your nose or scratching your armpits does not necessarily define your character, but the fact that (sensible) people don’t do those things in public, or when they know they are being observed clearly tells you that they know it is not necessarily the right thing to do. Itching in the wrong places will happen every so often; even I get those itches too, question is, how do you handle them when they happen? Will you scratch in the privacy of your car, or toilet, or somewhere else where you are assured that nobody will be watching you or what will you disgrace yourself publicly? As for picking your nose, I really wish people would use tissue paper or a handkerchief when they decide to go deep mining in their noses. Once you mine your nose and come out with “content”, where do you take it, especially if you went mining without using protective gear (handkerchief/tissue paper)? Again, Yuck!


Such things may seem like they are simple matters, but they really say a lot about somebody. The moment someone picks their nose in front of me, it doesn’t matter how much respect I had given you, it goes back to negative. I have a serious problem with that. No wonder I have a hand sanitizer with me all the time, not because I am afraid of being sick or something, but because I have seen too many people picking their noses and ears, as well as scratching parts that are best left not mentioned.


Please, if you are among those people who do those things, I beg you to stop that habit and become a little conscious of yourself. Go do some things in the privacy of your toilet and please DO NOT FORGET TO WASH YOUR HANDS!


That’s another thing. 


Ladies, how do you use the toilet and leave without washing your hands? I mean, seriously? Not that it is ok for men to do so but ladies, I just don’t understand. You are the same people who will go hold a baby or breastfeed your child, yet you just came from the toilet without even washing your hands! Or worse still, you will rush to the kitchen to make food yet you went to the toilet and left without washing your hands. 


You can’t tell me that you will use the toilet and walk out without washing your hands, then remember to wash them when you are handling food. I highly doubt you will! Like I once said before in a previous article, how you do anything is how you do everything else. If you don’t wash your hands after using the toilet, you will not wash your hands before eating your food and neither will you wash them until you see physical dirt or until you eat something greasy, then you will need water and soap to wash your hands.  I don’t even want to imagine how much dirt and germs you’ll ingest.


Then there is this other group of people that really leaves me baffled.


Why do people walk into other people’s offices, with their phones on the highest volume possible? Then when you get calls instead of answering on the first ring you wait for it to ring like six times before you finally pick up? Forget the fact that some of those ringtones are really annoying. Do you ever consider the fact that you are disturbing and distracting people? Then there are those who will be watching something on YouTube without headphones. I mean, why do you not consider the fact that not everyone wants to consume the same stuff you are consuming on social media or elsewhere for that matter? Why not walk around with earphones or headphones if you must watch or listen to stuff online?


Speaking of earphones and headphones, we have another group of people I’d like to address. You guys who walk around with earphones/headphones, listening to very loud music, do you know how much you create dangerous situations for yourselves? Do you know how easy it is for you to get hit by a vehicle simply because you didn’t hear it hooting while you were walking on the streets with loud music blaring in your ears? Besides, are you aware that you are endangering your ears when you play such loud music? 


I could go on and on and on about things people do in public that are just crazy, though they themselves are not crazy. Did I mention about the people who fart in public? Or those who pee or defecate in public areas? 


I think people need to start being fined for being inconsiderate stupid. 


All the above things I have mentioned are things that we all have control over. You can control your urge to scratch your itch in public. You can control your urge to pick your nose in public. You can remind yourself to wash your hands every time you use the toilet. You can control the volume on your earpiece when listening to something on your phone or laptop, just like you can decide to control the volume on your phone when you visit somebody’s office. You don’t need to go to school to learn how to do all those things. They are within your control.


So why don’t people do them? That is a question I am yet to find an answer to. The only thing I can say is this; if you cannot be a good leader to YOU, do not ever expect to be a good leader to others. Charity begins at home. Good leadership starts with self-leadership.


That is why this week in the ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book Reading Challenge I am going back to a book I did recommended earlier on this year. The book is by the late Myles Munroe and is called The Power of Character in Leadership


As I end this week’s article allow me to quote Abraham Lincoln who said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.


Ask yourself what kind of a tree you are.


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 23rd September 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".




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