A letter to all Year 2020 Survivors.

In this month of December 2020, I have decided to write something much more personal. I am very much aware that to some, you are probably busy with the affairs of the world or have deadlines to meet yet to some, it’s been a while since you had a meaningful job, are barely surviving but to most, your plight is not physical, but you are a walking emotional corpse having had your consciousness broken to the core by grave loss during this tumultuous year. Some have labelled it a calamity with COVID-19 overstaying its welcome, loss in all spheres including loved ones leaving us to wonder if we will make it to the last day of the year.
A respected and learned friend recently asked me to define self-awareness, to which I gave the standard definition that it is the conscious knowledge of one’s character, feelings, motives, and desires. I think as simple as it may sound, this is the hardest step one can ever take because it is a painful one but can lead to unlimited possibilities.
We live in timelines and each of them has a language, dress code, etiquette, fashion trends and above all, a benchmark of achievement. Timelines shape history and through them, we can change history in the present by changing laws, perceptions and thriving to break existing records. We have an inherent desire to outdo our previous generation or, better still, like Gandhi would put it, “Leave the world better than we found it”.
William Shakespeare, in his book Twelfth Night, submits that “some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them,” which when you come to think of it, describes three fundamental starting points of our journey on this earth. Some arrive in this world with a welcome package of inheritance from family wealth/name/blessing. Through their life journey and tapping into their gifts, some achieve greatness, yet some, through serendipity or by confluences, have the luck of moving from zero to hero.
It should be noted that conception is divine and while lying in the Babies Room in hospital, every child has equal potential to achieve anything they set their mind on. At this point, the child has a Tabular Rasa mind meaning empty, ready to be filled with hope or defeat. It is the environment and exposure that becomes the variable.
Bill Gates says, “Where you were born is not your fault but where you will die probably is”, a statement that sounds unfair to a person with a sad story, traumatic experience and what is termed a predictable sad future.
Take, for example, a car when it is in a manufacturing plant; no-one can predict who the owner will be, where the car will end up, or on what kind of roads it will be driven. However, Isn’t it interesting that it goes through quality checks, is assembled to endure the terrains for which it is made for, fitted with a computer box and engine to sustain it, then branded with a name to announce its capability. The car is able, yet it is the driver who can mess things up. The vehicle has every function for all purposes, yet it takes the owner to know HOW?
Sir Isaac Newton once said that an object would constantly continue in its trajectory unless disturbed by an external force. This means that you came into this world perfect, ready for your assignment, yet external forces have gotten the better of you and you have forgotten your name. You have a name that describes YOU; your capacity, character, feelings, motives, and desires. The greatest weapon to render you irrelevant is to make you forget your worth, to erase your memory, take away your dignity, reduce your value and make you believe that you are not enough. This sets you up on a journey of an identity crisis because you do not know yourself. You begin to value people’s opinions, feel safer in masses, seek validation for everything you set up to do because you are not confident enough to make decisions, you overcompensate and make questionable choices, you critic and hate everything that reminds you of what you could have been, in short, you become a bitter individual.
The loss of your self-identity, self-worth and self-esteem puts you in limbo, that is, living in a time loop where you replay a tragic story or experience that rationalizes the reasons for your misfortunes. You can spend decades trapped in that loop because studies show that thought patterns create a mind-frame, and a mind-frame creates a mindset, which in turn gives birth to strongholds.
Sometimes it is not about the things that are done to you or what happened in your past, but it’s about liberating yourself from the pain. The realization that LIFE IS NOW and there will never be another chance to live it. The currency of life is time and just like money, you ought to be cautious where you spend it, let alone invest, because money badly spent or invested may lead to heartache.
I guess that you lost someone this year and it’s hard to let go, especially when you think about how they were taken from you. It feels so unfair that each day seems like torture. Maybe COVID-19 was the culprit, or they left you for someone else, either took away your kids or left you with them and you are hardly making ends meet. You have to see them striving while you struggle; Maybe your parent wasn’t the greatest human being, did things that are unforgivable according to your view and left you with your siblings for a younger wife shutting down your educational future in the process, or you were a product of infidelity and had to see you father driving past you on the road while you suffer from your mother; They told you that you would never amount to anything and you were bullied at school for being poor, poverty probably made you miss a lot of milestones, caused you to lose your self-respect and you find yourself hating rich people, achievers and goal-oriented individuals because they are a constant reminder of those snobs that gave you a hard time back in school; You have been rejected so many times that you wonder when it will all end because you seem to struggle with the spirit of “Almost” in everything and probably have entertained the idea of suicide.
I want you to ask yourself why you are here, on this planet, at this present timeline, look around you and start with WHY?
Take notice that your hurt was only a painful journey to get to the point of Realization. Understand that some people who you hurt were merely projections of your pain and make amends if possible.
Know that your past is part of you but can never own your future. Your sad story is merely scars that are a constant reminder of the power of Grace. Understand that some trials were necessary for you to get where you are now.
Stop complaining and look around you. You had become an expert in describing why you can’t and it ends this year. Think about the rest of your years left in this realm. Do you want to spend them carrying the heavy load you have been pulling all these years? Let go of that sack and start walking because soon you will begin to run and when I write again, you will be flying.
Make a decision to love yourself and appreciate YOU without waiting for anyone to tell you because you are a walking miracle.
Take the first step to remove yourself from environments that create the pressure to perform (PRIDE). Stop funding things that don’t bring happiness but only create debt so that you can fit in.
Start where you are and begin to channel love to your body. Make daily confessions to yourself; it’s not overconfident but self-love. It’s not arrogance but healing your spirit. Reward yourself when you get paid this month, date yourself and tell yourself how much you missed you.
Shorten your circle because you don’t need all those friends. You are not being mean but just taking care of yourself.
Lastly, do not answer any call from your past as it has nothing new to tell you. Own your wounds, own your story and quit being pressured by the audience but do you!!
Change your diet from what you eat, what you read, what you listen to and places you find inspiration. Take the long journey of forgiveness, don’t rush it but remember that it is part of the healing process. Forgive yourself for not knowing better, for not trying hard enough and forgive yourself for neglecting yourself.
Above all, thank God that in as much as you lack so much, you are still among the living. Many accomplished people have left this realm this year, yet here you are!!
Do not, I repeat, Do not let your pain define you but let it motivate you.
You are the next big thing! Your dreams may seem on hold, but everything is in motion. Sometimes perspective is the mother of new beginnings. I pray that you escape the loop of self-bondage and begin to live on this day instead of just surviving. I pray that you resign from everything that has put unnecessary pressure on you and stole your time and shine.
This is me sending love to everyone who has survived through it all this year, who is still standing and will keep going. Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and May we live to see the Year 2021

A Guide to how modern day Entrepreneurs can render competition irrelevant

For a lot of Entrepreneurs, competition is the chronic migraine that they suffer from and just like Cancer, the cure seems to be complicated. While some are aware of the Red and Blue Ocean, most are still flying blind in the business space and consequently fall into the same eventuality, a “broken heart.”

The concept of the Red and Blue Ocean is quite simple to understand really.

Starting with the basics, the Red Ocean is where every industry is today. This means that there is a defined market, defined competitors and a typical way to run a business in any specific industry.

It is called a Red Ocean synonymous with a shark infested ocean where sharks are fighting each other for the same prey.

The Blue Ocean on the other hand is calm, smooth, with lots of food and little or no competition. This is where everyone would like to be and for entrepreneurs, it where they ought to be. In this article the intention is to challenge entrepreneurs to have a cognitive paradigm shift and explore how they can render competition irrelevant in a fast paced business environment where most start-ups fail to launch.  

First things first, in all aspects of our being, we become the product of our thought process but that is a topic for another day. The big question then is, how do Blue Ocean strategists see new opportunities where some see red oceans of declining profits and growth?

They don’t get taken by what everyone takes for granted. They embrace a perspective that allows them to ask fundamentally different sets of questions, which in turn, enable them to perceive and appreciate the fallacies behind long held assumptions and the artificial boundaries we unknowingly impose upon ourselves.

Their perspective is different from the market-competing logic that dominate most player’s minds in business.

This mindset acts as a compass to guide the strategic direction of the entrepreneur. In this article we will focus on two principles which in turn will allow you to begin seeing opportunities where only constraints were visible.

“Don’t take industry conditions as given but reshape them in your favor.”

Imagine that your industry structure is unattractive and your number one competitor is barely scraping by or even losing money? What will your strategy be then? To lose less money than everyone else? To pull out? It is apparent that none of these are inspiring nor do they show a profitable future.

Blue Ocean strategists understand that while industry conditions exist, individual firms created them. This means that these industries can be reshaped by individuals as well. Back in the turn of the 20th century, didn’t Ford create a mass market for the auto industry? How about Canon, McDonald’s, Apple and FedEx? Single organizations can shape industries and create new ones.

Industry boundaries are not fixed but fluid as your imagination. Blue ocean strategists refuse to take existing industry conditions as given nor do they blame them. Instead, they look for answers and refuse to let industry conditions frame their mindsets. 

Industry logic is typically restricts creative thinking that is, leaves assumptions unquestioned and ideas unexplored. The entrepreneur needs to understand that everything around you was made up by people that were not smarter than you and can be changed or influenced.

Blue Ocean strategists act on this insight which widens their creative palette that drives them to consider ideas instead of writing them off!

“Don’t beat the competition instead aim to make it irrelevant.”

Building a competitive advantage has an unintended and deeply ironic effect, because it leads to imitative, not innovative approaches to the market.

The trouble is that, over time, people have confused the outcome of a winning strategy with the process of achieving it. When entrepreneurs are securing a competitive advantage they automatically look to the competition, assess and strive to do better. In doing so, their strategic thinking unknowingly regresses towards the competition and becomes the defining variable of the strategy.

Focusing on building competitive advantages distracts entrepreneurs from reshaping old industries and creating new ones that is, it blocks creativity and keeps one locked in the crowd of competition. Blue ocean strategists make the competition irrelevant by obsessing about the following question: What would it take to win over the mass of buyers, even with no marketing?

The aim is to create offerings so compelling that anyone who sees them or tries them can’t help but rave about them. That’s what drove Apple to be what they are today.

It is this drive to make competition irrelevant that opens the eyes of entrepreneurs to the difference between what industries are competing on and what the mass buyers actually value. Ironically blue ocean strategists are not focused on building a competitive advantage, they often achieve the greatest competitive advantage in the end.

“Leadership is the capacity to influence others through inspiration, generated by a passion, motivated by a vision birthed from a conviction produced by purpose”

In the next 72hrs, I will be beginning my journey of fulfilling a lifelong dream yet exactly one thousand four hundred and eighty five (1485)days ago, my life came crushing down.

I have in the past shared my story in bits and pieces and even decided to give it a noun modifier for a title (Injustice Diaries).

Let me explain something about pain for a minute. According to the WHO definition of pain, IT IS WHAT THE PERSON SAYS IT IS. I know, many have always thought of a glamorous definition with clinical jargon but alas pain is just that.

Pain is an individual’s response to a stimuli, note “INDIVIDUAL” meaning noone else can feel what you feel, see what you see, think what you think or do what you do when in a state of pain. It is only those who have had a similar experience who can emphatize however its worth mentioning that pain intensities are unique to the victim.

We live in a world where we have self acclaimed grief counselors who like to use terms like “move on”, “don’t be negative”, “it will pass” or my personal favourite “don’t dwell on the past”.

In their poor attempt to sound relevant when dealing with a person with a melancholic disposition, they try to intrude into your private space through messages, email, invitation for a “chat” and so forth only to serve as journalists of your pain which they share in their meeting spots, wagging their insensitive tongues while your soul gets emaciated.

For the longest period of time, I have felt alone, in pain and unfairly judged. Sharing your pain or vulnerability to the wrong people will land you wagging tongues to an extent that a person not even close comes carrying their ill concocted advice yet exposing their folly.

I have felt the pain of a wife never looking at you the same way because to her you are a failure. The pain of friends walking away, removing you from their circle because you are no longer worth anything, I have known the pain of having to sit my daughter down and explain to her why she has to drop out of school at the age of 13yrs.

I know the pain of losing family members due to lack of the much needed medical assistance you used to give them through medications as a breadwinner.

I am talking about the pain of being evicted from your home and helplessly watching your car being repossessed. The pain of asking for help only to ignite gossip and ridicule if not laughter. I understand the pain of attending countless interviews and excelling in them only to be given a Regret. I also understand the pain of having your name and wife’s name being removed from shortlisted candidates because of hatred while there is no meal for the day.

I know the pain of watching my daughter wear the same clothes and see her die inside when other families shop yet the only priority for that day is to get mealie meal.

I know the pain of false promises and sharing your problems only for them to be screen grabbed and shared in other forums.

I have experienced the pain of people suggesting to my spouse that she leaves me. I have endured the pain of my court case being postponed intentionally just to fix me in an issue without witnesses. The pain of having your own lawyer being told to slow down issues.

And yet it is easy to tell me to move on when I don’t know when my next meal is. When I can’t even remember the last time I bought my wife lingerie, or my daughter a birthday gift.

You say I am being negative yet I cannot remember the last time I had a steady job or sent my old aged mother money for her upkeep.
You have the audacity to tell me not to dwell on the past yet I have been a dead man walking while my soul was being ravished away.

Did you come to break bread with me without laughing, did you come to ask if we had something to eat without publicising it. Did you even bother to advocate for me to seek employment without calling me for staged interviews only to laugh at the end.

Did you you try to give brotherly advice and ensure I didn’t take my own life without being condescending and passive aggressive.

Did you ask for my side of the story without preconceived notions. Are you not the one whom when I needed someone to talk to, you brush me aside,
When I need a shoulder to cry on, you changed the subject.

When I needed company, you gathered without me as I had become a burden.
When I was struggling to send my daughter to school, did you not make jokes about her not having siblings.
When I couldn’t pay back your money on time, you emasculated me in front of my wife reminding me how useless I was.
When we couldn’t afford a wedding, you complained about not being on a guest list of a surprise reception.

But as you continuously celebrate my perceived downfall;

Have you not been contemptuous of me so much that you stopped to notice the pain nurturing me.

Have you been so stuck in my losses of temporary things that you did not see me rising up.

Was it too rainy that the tears on my face could not be seen as they became tears of joy as I found myself again.

Were you so distant that when we got a good meal after over a hundred days you did not smell it.

Through pain, I have found my voice,

Through pain , destiny beckons

Through pain, I became pregnant with a dream, as I conceived things outside my box and saw the horizon.

Through pain, we learnt to rely on ourselves as a family.

Through pain we know gratitude and the power of a day for in just a day a thousand years of blessings can be harnessed.
For in a day, a thousand days of pain can we wiped away.

Through pain, the universe can disrupt its order breaking protocol and let you shine.

As I move on to my next Chapter, I can never forget my midwives, people who have stood by me without judgement waiting patiently to push the baby out.

Those who have shared the little substance they had just to keep cheering us on

Those who we owe a great deal for their sacrifices monetary and in kind.

Those who postponed their plans to accommodate us

Those who made their homes ours without a single complaint

The words of encouragement, the nights of laughter sharing a simple meal

The walks of wisdom, the phonecalls of encouragement

My wife and my daughter who have been my Rocks.

Who have withstood the shame and pain but saw the vision

Their sense of delaying gratification to picture the Castles I was building for them while on empty stomachs and empty promises

You are the ones who inherit the goodness of God

My ancestors in whose shoulders I stand on

My God who sent ravens when everything seemed impossible

The One who separated me from the crowd and led me to my purpose

The One who helped me find my tribe and Identity.

You need to get permission from God to break what is born of him, otherwise you will celebrate temporary victories.

To all those who have believed in me thus far, I am here to please as we continue this journey.

We are excited and want anyone out there who has been in a dark place to know that everyday above ground is a great day

Everyday is an opportunity to start afresh
Challenges are the building blocks to your purpose
Pain is a useful ingredient to train you for your next chapter
Never give up
Never allow people to describe you
Never allow people to overstay their welcome in your life when they are toxic
When you allow them to shame you, you are teaching them how to treat you
Keep your head high
Motivate yourself
No every crowd that cheers understands Art
A fish in a house fish-tank believes its in the sea
No limitations
Practice selective hearing
One person cheering you on is enough to get you to your castle
Be a Trailblazer and be mad about being alive!!
We can never fail because we are #Unstoppable

The greatest travesty in any lifetime is to function below capacity and yet excel in a place outside your calling. There is usually a conflict that exists between the ability to go against all odds to achieve a goal with going against all odds to deny your true nature. Living in echochambers gives you the sense of self belief to live up to the status quo, the desire to fit in to what internally feels like a mismatch and the pain of living a lie knowing that your true self is trapped in a bubble of acceptance.

In the winter of 1998, my high school English teacher called me to her office, a defining moment in hindsight and spoke into my future. She literally told me that my essays were too old for my age and that I was destined to be one of the greatest writers that ever walked this earth. According to me at that point she had challenged every fibre of my belief system because for starters that’s not what my parents saw in me, infact to them, I was going to be a fine Doctor (mother) and a dignified Airforce Captain (father). What my teacher said that day felt like an insult because during those days being relegated to fine arts was a huge demotion as the heavyweights were the science students, always looked serious, carried heavy books and commanded respect in both school and community. The art students were viewed as the less determined, the low hanging fruits and literally put, people who struggled with Math hence they were relegated to the simpler subjects, what a toxic stereotype right?

My teacher then decided to perform a social experiment to prove to me that I was an Artist and against my better judgement, I decided to indulge her. She entered me into a Prose Competition which was only reserved for the elite schools and literally put in those days “White Schools”. “Write a Short Story” she had said and “Prove Me Wrong”. It was a provincial competition and when results finally came, I heard my name being called at the School Assembly and it was announced that, I had came second in the province and had been inducted to the Budding Writers Association of Zimbabwe.

It felt good for a moment and I got invited to collect my prize at Girls College in Bulawayo, talk about a school in the “Hamptons” of the City of Kings. It was going to be an evening event, was supposed to wear the “Number 1”, a uniform only designated for special occasions, was supposed to bring my parents and accept a prize in front of a white crowd. In my days, that was the greatest honor, it was like winning a SAG Award but unfortunately when I got home, I was told to concentrate on my studies. My English teacher collected the prize for me and I never got to show up for the Budding Writers Induction.
Society had actually succeeded in convincing me that what I excelled in was actually a hobby and not my destiny.
I have spent my whole life excelling in my studies and work. In an attempt not to brag, I have broken a few Academic records in my tertiary days.
I however have never felt the joy that comes with penning down my thoughts or what we now call sitting in front of a keyboard. I have loved writing from an early age yet to me, it has always been a hobby, that activity done during one’s spare time and have never really put much energy into it because I do not need to, it comes naturally.
You see there are five things that will prove that you are destined for something;

What people compliment you for the most.

Where your interest mostly lies.

What keeps you awake at night.

What you would wake up to do without complaining even if you were tired.

What you do without putting much effort or thought.

My greatest dream has been to be a Script Writer because Oh Boy, I just love a good story. Contrary to popular belief when I watch television or attend film festivals, the principal goal has never been entertainment but mostly learning. I see movies, drama and documentaries far more different than most people. I get inspired by the thoughts, the emotion and literal genius behind any subject matter being portrayed. It just blows me away and that is a world I live in everyday. I never miss Award Shows and my favourite show is The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable as it takes a dive into the mind of a Writer.

After achieving so much in my professional field, this year became a defining moment as people just like my English teacher started telling me what I have always known that I need to start writing. I refuse to be a grave full of unpublished books and films, a wasted talent that excelled in foreign fields and denied his true identity.
It should be mentioned, that I have never studied journalism nor possess any literal training however this coming year have decided to take a leap of faith.

I will be enrolling in the School of Arts for Script Writing and Film Directing and see where that will take me.I would like to encourage anyone out there reading this that it is never too late to answer your true calling, some have recipes wasting away in their diaries, some are broadcasters yet the community has castigated and relegated them to the “Too Loud” section, some have million dollar proposals in shelves which will never see the light of day, some have melodious voices that are only confined to secret places and some have sporting talent that is only reserved for the backyard. Scientists say that an average human being can take up 10 different fields in a lifetime yet we spend a lifetime trying so hard to suppress our God given gift.

What you call a hobby might be your biggest bank cheque to date. Take that leap of faith, defy popular rhetoric, make that first step to your destiny because what they call hobby might actually be your DESTINY!!