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Someone to lean on

June 30, 2014

As we all know, this last week there were lots of power outages in Tanzania which I hear affected the entire country. Unfortunately those who did not have alternative power sources suffered the most in that not even their phones were charged. As a result, I got quite a few requests from strangers to charge their phones for them while they were waiting to get service at our shop. Not that we did not experience power outages ourselves, but thanks to the backup generator in the building and the backup power at home, it was not that bad for us. From the many people we helped and talked to, it was quite obvious that their phones running out of charge was a big deal for them. In fact, quite a number of them opted to go for power banks so that at least they can have some extra reserve power for their gadgets should the power continue playing hide and seek games with us.

Thinking about it now, I find it funny how we automatically connect our devices to power as soon as we notice the battery has drained down to a certain critical level. In fact for some of us, as soon as the battery shows 50%, we look for the nearest power outlet to juice up our gadgets to 100% for fear of being disconnected should the battery become totally drained. It is for this same reason so many people are now walking around with “portable power” a.k.a powerbanks in order not to be caught off-guard should their batteries run out. I personally know someone who has about four different types of powerbanks, which he carries around everywhere he goes, all for the fear of not being able to stay connected to the rest of the world.

Today, everyone needs a powerbank as part of their tech accessories. Yes, as long as you are using a smartphone, a tab or a pad, you need to have a powerbank because the functions these gadgets are being used for make it impossible for them to retain their charge for long hours; unless of course you are just using your smartphone to make calls and send/receive text messages, which is under-utilising the gadget. This reminds me of a saying by John Augustus Shedd,  “a ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for”. You cannot afford to under-use your smartphone just because you want to conserve its energy. Get yourself a back-up plan by getting a powerbank that will then give you the confidence to use your device as it should be used because you know you can recharge your device at any time with your powerbank.

You need a power bank for your life too. Yes, a source of power that helps you recharge when you are out of power. What do I mean by this? I mean that just like we charge our phones every so often, we need to recharge ourselves too because otherwise we will use up all the stored energy we had and we are likely to suffer burnout. For instance, like I have said so many times in the past, you cannot depend on the education/knowledge you acquired when you were in school. You need to keep recharging your brain by reading newer books and getting newer concepts. What you studied a decade ago has probably become obsolete by now and so you need to keep upgrading your mind with newer information for you to stay relevant. You need a powerbank for your mind which in this case would be updated reading materials that will keep you at the level you require to be.

Similarly, just like a smartphone requires to be connected to a power source when it’s almost drained you too need to get connected to a power source to avoid being drained. However, not every power source provides clean power. Sometimes the power can have such high voltage that it fries the smartphone, or the power can be so low that instead of charging the phone it drains it further. Either way, the battery becomes affected and stops functioning like it should.  Metaphorically speaking, as a person, where does your power come from? Does your source provide you with clean power, or does the power cause more damage to your “battery”? Your power in this case could be the associations you keep e.g friends, professional networks, etc. How are these people influencing your life? Are they keeping you recharged or are they draining you further? Are they adding value to your life or are they devaluing your life? Do you feel emotionally and mentally healthier by being connected to these people or does associating with them take up even the little health you had? Tough questions, but you need to be honest with yourself and determine whether you are tapping clean power from your sources and if not, you need to get yourself alternative power solutions. Get a “powerbank”.

Earlier in the week I was feeling very low (Hey, don’t be surprised. I am human too.) and needed to recharge my  “battery”. I needed to talk to someone who could give me his/her honest opinion on some of the issues that were bugging me and if possible help me get a solution. When I finally identified my power source (a good friend of mine whose advice I value a lot), I was able to recharge my battery to 100% and by the time I disconnected from her, the challenges I was seeing earlier suddenly didn’t seem so bad. They looked manageable. Did she offer to help me? No. She just analyzed the situation from her perspective and gave me ideas of how I should go about overcoming those challenges. Did she give me a miracle pill to sort out my challenges out instantly? No. She showed me that it is possible to overcome the challenges, and with that she gave me hope which in turn recharged my battery, thus making it possible for me to view things from a different perspective than I was before talking to her.

These are kind of of power sources I am talking about. Every one of us needs them in this life we are living. I call them powerbanks, where we can go and recharge our batteries when we feel low. But the greatest powerbank of all is God Himself. He created you and knows every single thing about you, meaning if your charge is running low, the best powerbank to recharge your batteries would be God Himself. Go to Him and tell Him your issues and He will provide a way for you. He may not come in person but have faith that He will come through for you when you really need Him to.

On the other hand, don’t just wait to connect to someone so you can recharge your own batteries, be a powerbank in yourself to help recharge someone else batteries. Don’t just be one who uses other people but allow yourself to help others too. Become a mentor to someone, offer assistance to someone you know is in need of help, guide someone who needs to be guided towards the right direction, help someone grow their business by offering contacts that are relevant and as you do all this do it without expecting anything in return. 

As I come to the end of this article I have this to say; we all need to recharge our batteries to stay alive. However, we have to make sure that we have the right power flowing in our direction otherwise staying alive will not be possible. Remember, even a powerbank needs to be recharged in order to charge other devices.

Question to you this week is, are you connected to the right source of power? If you are the source of power, is clean power flowing out of you? Like Bill Withers sang in his song Lean on Me, always remember that we all need someone to lean on. I hope you’ll allow someone to lean on you this week for them to tap into your power source in order for their “batteries” to be recharged.

Be a powerbank for someone this week and help them stay connected.

Wishing y’all a connected week.

PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 29th June, 2014, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"




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