When I meet young people, the most common thread that weaves amongst them is their curiosity about life, mine included.
Most of them are ambitious, driven and out-rightly tell me that they strive to fill my shoes in a couple of years. They often query me about how I made it to where I am today. I love their passion for life and their enthusiasm to make something great of themselves.
Obviously, there are no easy answers. Sadly, life is not like a new car. It doesn’t come with a manufacturer’s manual that gives directions for optimal use.
I have heard it said that life is like a book; everyone must read their own.
Though I partially agree with that saying, I also think that we do not need to reinvent the wheel. For this reason, I will try to impart some wisdom from my own book.
First, I am of the opinion that life is determined greatly by the path you take when you get to the crossroads. One of my favorite sayings is by Robert Frost: “I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” This has been true for me.
You see, when you take the choices and options that most people do, you will often resort to using the same old methods, thus yielding typical results (read, nothing to write home about). However, when you take the path of greater resistance, life demands ingenuity and an adventurous spirit. You will feel alive.
One thing I know for sure is that the more life is unpredictable, the more likely it is to be fulfilling. Of course, a fulfilling life is not always a smooth sail. At times you may be dealt a tough hand, but the universe is often generous. Many times we are dealt good cards disguised as challenges. What will determine the level of fulfillment is how you deal with the spanners in the works.
Truth be told, when you are able to go through the daily motions as if you are on auto pilot, then you need to change something. It means that you are not stretching your capacity or even challenging yourself. It means that you are no longer aspiring for greater things and your growth has hit a plateau. This is the same for your work life. If your work is too predictable, you may need to change something.
Secondly, in my leadership role, I have discovered that most people are like gemstones. When at first you look at them, they may look unrefined and their worth undesirable. You must cut off the rough edges and polish the excess sand to get to the very beautiful core. The hard work you put into the process will be paid off by the value of the gemstone.
This is the same for employees. When they first join the company, you will be employing them on a hunch that they have potential. As the leader, it then becomes your work to harness their capacity and get rid of their undesirable qualities. No employee is irredeemable especially if they have a willing spirit.
When you invest your time, resources and faith in people, they often rise up to your expectations. In return, they are often more devoted to you and your company, by virtue of your devotion to them.
Your role as a leader is fundamentally a transformative one. This is also true for any relationship.
To wrap up my thoughts, I must confide that every day I wake up and go through life just like everybody else. Some days are easier, some are tougher. I get tempted to take the easy way out just like most people.
The difference is; I know that if I want to be extraordinary, I must do things differently from the rest of the pack.
In whatever business I engage in, these two philosophies I have tried, tested and found to be true: the riskier the engagement, the higher the payoff. Secondly, everyone deserves a second chance; no one is irredeemable.
Along with these two, I would like to encourage the youth to desist from engaging in time and energy wasting activities which do not add value to your life. If you radiate positive thoughts the world will feed you the same.