“Supremacy is a fallacy. Continuous improvement is the mantra.”
2020 has been a trying year and as challenging as it has been, in one way or the other we’ve been able to weather the storms one moment at a time. As we ventured into the second last month of the year, I felt some kind of relief knowing that the year is coming to an end and with that comes the festive season, a moment to slow down and relax. I’m amazed by this because when we were getting into this year, we all had resolutions on the magnificent achievements we were bound to make this year. At that point if someone was to tell you how impractical it would be to accomplish these goals, you’d have told them off as enemies of progress. You’ll judge for yourself on this account on your progress.
On the same note, with the global pandemic that has yoked the world, we’ve been ushered into the next wave of global supremacy battles as the USA were at loggerheads with China over response to the pandemic. Other than claiming dominance, China offered the leadership that the world so needs. These are some great achievements over the year. Imagine a world where all eyes were on the USA for guidance and direction whether directly or indirectly as has been the norm? We would be at their mercy whichever the direction the current pandemic goes. That’s how devastating supremacy can be. Far from politics and geopolitical dominance being that’s not my forte, I’ll get to the core of this piece.
We all aspire and work towards being great at something in life. Whether we know it or not but there is that desire to be the best at something. That’s part of being human, to aspire and dream. It’s a gift from and of God. On the same note, to gain mastery and achieve this level of competence there is need to learn from others. This is the clear indicator that maybe we can never be the best but an amalgam of the bests which makes us unique in our own way. With this said, then it means ours is to embrace others, be willing to learn, iterate along the journey and most importantly acknowledge that learning never stops.
There are moments we will feel ready to take over the world by storm just to be disappointed by our fallibility. The worst of which is to be incorrigible. In primary school, I was lucky to take creative arts as a subject in lower primary which meant we would mould things using mud. Plasticine wasn’t accessible in my home by then so we improvised. We would always mold the things we valued much as boys in our group for as much as I can remember. In this case it was cows. Using mud we all had our own heards which we treasured as much. Unfortunately, some of the days we would have to suffer loses. These came in the form of our cows being rained on, somebody stepping on anothers’ cow etc. With this, we would be aggrieved but in the end with water and soil, we remolded and got our animals back. The next time it was always better than the previous version and we celebrated that outcome more.
On one occasion our favourite teacher, Madam “Otiya Dana” loosely translated to “Old Grandmother” – (I honestly don’t remember her actual name) – gave us a piece of advice that over time I’ve got to reflect on feel holds true to date. I’ll paraphrase:
“Be like mud. When moist, you can reform it to anything you want. With every iteration, you made better cows. If you can do that then you can always get better as well.”
At that time, being a child it didn’t make as much sense but it now does. She took care of us and made us better people through her caring, compassionate nurturing. We played most of the times and that’s why she was our favourite but in that playing we had lessons to learn. Onwards, it never bothered me even when my cows would be destroyed. I’d always get a moment to remold again and have my heard for the next playing expedition in the fields.
In life, we are not supreme or even better than anyone. All we need to be is malleable to be able to be molded by the forces that play out in life. With these forces, ours is to get better by deriving value from them. Our main difference being the previous version to the next once the forces against us pass. Being all knowing and always being right is to instigate your own demise. Only fools do that.
As we go through the final stretch of 2020, we’ve had our fair share of blows. May you take time to polish a skill or two for the coming year over the remaining few weeks. Even better, stay open minded to learn from those you interact with in life knowing that whoever crosses your path has something to offer and by accumulating all these, you stand a chance to be a better version. Mold the you that you desire to be.
“Differently abled not disabled. That’s the uniqueness of our diversity which grants us preferential advantages to be able to lead meaningful lives.”