Wheelbarrow Syndrome; Some people are like wheelbarrows....
It’s hard to believe three are gone and we are onto the forth already. Doesn’t it seem to you like it’s just the other day we were ushering in the New Year? Well, believe it or not, like the corporate world would say, Quarter One of 2013 is gone and we are now seven days into Quarter Two. Even before we go further into this article, I have a probing question for you; did you achieve the short term goals you had set for yourself earlier in the year (assuming you did have some)? If you did, well done, but if you didn’t, why not ask yourself what stopped you from achieving those goals?
Speaking of goals, earlier this week I had the opportunity of being in a building whose architecture really jazzes me to the point where the first time I set my eyes on it, I dreamed (with my eyes open) that one day, I will own a complex like that for my company and other willing tenants. This therefore means that whenever I am around this building, that dream is brought to the forefront and I am challenged to work hard and smart in order to make my dream come true. Am I anywhere near achieving it? Well, only time will tell.
Anyway, after finishing my meeting, I decided to take a walk around the building just one time to see it properly before leaving the grounds. As I had expected, the grass was nicely trimmed with a well-manicured garden and with the ongoing rains, the grass and plants in the garden were all nice and green. All the same, I don’t believe the green was as a result of the current rains, but I believe it is as a result of constant tending by the landscapers employed by the building owners to tend to the environment. In fact, as I was walking around that compound, I met four men tending to the garden, removing weeds and unwanted “plants”, and heaping them on wheelbarrows.
There was one gentleman who had such a laden wheelbarrow I wondered whether he would be able to push it without dropping any of the unwanted plants he had piled up on it. I could see he had really done a lot of work and at some point there I pitied him and wished he had an “electric” wheelbarrow. By the way, are there any electric wheelbarrows? People like this man would really benefit from this technology because they would not need to push the wheelbarrow in order to move the trash they had dumped on it. You see, a wheel barrow can do a lot of things for you, but the only downside about it is that you got to push it yourself, or have someone else do the pushing for you!
And that thought right there brings us to my message of this week. There are many people walking on the streets, others holding very prestigious positions in the organizations they work for, while others have their own business, but all in all, they all have one thing in common: The Wheelbarrow Syndrome.
What is a Wheelbarrow Syndrome, you may ask? Well, this is a condition that causes normal, strong and sober human beings to not do what is expected of them unless they are pushed, just like a Wheelbarrow! As I already mentioned, though a wheelbarrow can carry a lot of stuff, it cannot move an inch unless it is pushed by someone.
We work and live with these Wheelbarrows every day; in fact if you were to take some time and look around your office when you go to work tomorrow, or even your own house, I am 100% sure you will not lack a classic example of someone who is a wheelbarrow. Such people are very annoying because you not only have to do your work, but you might be required to do what they were supposed to do, in order to achieve your own goals.
For instance, whenever you go the supermarkets, how often do you feel like you could slap some cashier at the till, because instead of serving you, she is busy chatting/texting, while the line of buyers who want to pay keeps becoming longer? Of course she knows she is not doing the right thing, but she could care less and besides, she knows it’s not easy for the boss to get good help, so she takes advantage of only doing so much, while in essence, she can do a lot more.
This example can be replicated in very many other areas of our lives, starting from our personal lives, professional lives, spiritual lives, etc. As human beings, all of us have a lot of potential but unfortunately, some people are stuck in a wheelbarrow situation, because they cannot push themselves. They have to wait for someone to push them in the right direction. What if the person pushing them does not know the right direction to push the “wheelbarrow” to? What if they were pushed into a ditch? Who would they blame? Food for thought.
In the office for example, how many have delayed some report or some proposal, or some email response that was meant to be done within a stipulated time, but because your priorities are misplaced, you end up not doing what you were supposed to do on time? I see it happening every day. Someone is supposed to be doing something but because they were bitten by the social media bug, they end up doing the work hurriedly and haphazardly, or not at all, meaning, they never meet the expected deadline. The only way to make sure they do what is expected of them is by breathing down their back and pushing them all the time, just like a wheelbarrow. If you can't do what you are expected to do, and do it correctly, why are you where you are anyway? Don't you think you should leave that position to someone who is really ready to apply themselves wholesomely?
As I come to the conclusion of this article I would like to ask you to take some time to look at yourself in the mirror, and while you are looking at yourself ask the person you see in the mirror this question: “do you suffer from the wheelbarrow syndrome?” I believe you do not need a doctor to give you an answer to that question, and the more candid you are with yourself with regards to its response, the better it will be for you, so that you can then find a way of reforming and leave wheelbarrows to be wheelbarrows, while you concentrate on becoming an achiever.
I leave you with the words of Jack Herbet, saying: “Some people are like wheelbarrows - only useful when pushed, and very easily upset”
Have a "wheelbarrow-sydrone" free week!
PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 7th of April, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"