By Cassandra Mercy
Everyone knows that the fear of failure is a formidable and paralysing force.
The same can and should be said of the fear of success. Attaining success is fantastic but it brings with it a whole new set of probabilities to deal with.
For one thing it tests one’s limits, exposes well hidden weaknesses and often leads to unchartered waters re field of success. Most people aren’t self aware enough to trust in their ability to achieve and maintain success so they end up indulging in self-sabotaging behaviour.
This is Kenya’s biggest problem; the fear of success ergo self sabotaging.
Here are four reasons why self sabotage will remain our biggest problem no matter how hard we try to develop this country especially on a social level.
Inability to focus
Kenyans like to party, throw a splash. This is not “partying” in the literal sense but in the “campaign mode” sense of the word. Take the proposed constitution for instance; instead of getting on ground and doing some useful and very necessary civic education, politicians are organising huge expensive cross country rallies and whipping crowds into an emotional frenzy.
This is the equivalent of getting drunk and stoned the night before a big presentation and is a sure sign of self sabotage. Imagine what would happen if the campaigning was made illegal and the only people with authority to give civic education would be non partisan, intelligent and less likely to inject emotional and tribal overtures into the process.
Culture of procrastination
No one loves to procrastinate more than Kenyans. As country, we’re reactionary. This is a country that enjoys a constant state of crisis. Vision 2030 is a pipe dream and you know why? Because we’ll have spent all the allocated money on prior major disasters like perennial flooding, contaminated maize and the TJRC. How do you plan a constitutional referendum and then not think out the logistics to disburse funds for civic education?
It’s a safe bet to say someone somewhere was thinking to himself, “We’ll deal with it when the time comes.” Well the time came and just about went! If you putter around instead of taking care of business, you are subconsciously sabotaging yourself.
All talk and no action
It would be easy to accuse our leaders of laziness because they have no achievements worth mentioning. However, while certain behaviour may come across as laziness, it reveals itself soon enough to be a fear of success. For instance, the News is full of “leaders” talking with fake ideological conviction of peace and prosperity and the rights of the common man and yet these people can’t be bothered to attend parliament and air their constituents’ views.
They collectively lack the moral will to take practical steps and exert some self-discipline towards the direction of their supposedly nationalistic goals. NGOs are vociferous and well funded yet none of them (the exception being wildlife organisations) has really achieved anything in this country. Face it; the people who should be looking after our interests aren’t interested in us hence no tangible action is ever taken to really effect change.
Negativity and pessimism
Kenyans tend to vote for people with negative and pessimistic thoughts. Every time you hear our leaders talk, they are either attacking each other or telling us how deplorable the state of our country is. They will naturally talk of a better Kenya and all that razzmatazz but not before they tell you that we’re approaching a “failed state” and that the country is entrenched in impunity.
This means that when you tell people about this country, the only proud moments you can come up with are Wangari Maathai, our runners and our animals. There has never been a statue erected to a critic, our leaders are incessant, sometimes vindictive and quite often petty critics. Enough said.
Self sabotage provides an easy escape hatch for when things go horribly wrong. It allows for blame games, lack of responsibility and an underachieving mentality. The socio-economic leadership of a country reflects strongly on the people who give it authority. Kenya has a bunch of self sabotaging individual calling the shots, what does that say about you?
(Cassandra Mercy is a producer with the Music Research Department at Capital FM)