A questions and answer window usually always draws the curtain on our virtual entrepreneurship training sessions. Last week’s module was on prioritisation. So this young man asked me what my daily entrepreneurial objective is. Many issues, social, political, spiritual, economic, etc., came rushing through my mind.
My response had to be long.
First I re-emphasised to the class the importance and relevance of that question: the need not to just have some large long-term objectives but to also have daily active goals to achieve that create the pathway for the entire journey and the achievement of the long-term objectives. But most things are easier said than done. For starters, our daily activities might seem to be a jumble of several floating spheres such as our relationship with our Lord, family activities, career path, businesses, our health, etc. The number and ‘diversity’ of these spheres is sufficient to create confusion and wastes if their linkages are not coordinated intelligently.
How can we do that?
I told the class that I am of the opinion that a lot of the embarrassments, disappointments and even failures that we suffer, as individuals and as societies, are traceable directly to incongruences between what we think and say with what we do in and in between those ‘different’ spheres. We frequently say one thing as regards one sphere but do the complete opposite of it with regards another sphere. Dissonance!
To enhance our chances of success, regardless of what we do in life, we need to eliminate those incongruences and dissonances. This is possible if we identify and live with a few, clear and unambiguous principles that guide everything we do in each spheres. The most successful people in the world might seem to be very busy handling many things, but most of their actions are completely guided by only a few core living principles. In the long run, this ‘simplicity’ is what creates the consistency and relative ease that are absolutely required for sustainable success in the long run.
Having said that, I told the class that for me my daily objective is completely ‘non-entrepreneurial’. Disappointment, I am sure! My entrepreneurial goals are in themselves guided by those daily, fundamental objectives. I told the students that my daily struggle and strive is to fulfil any and every promise I made for that day. If I only promised to do one thing with or for one person, I seek God’s support to fulfil that. If, on the other hand, I, even if stupidly, promised a thousand things to a thousand people, well, I better be ready for a really long day!
Fulfilling our promises is necessary to our personal and collective sanity and successes. The decent world runs on this currency. Unfortunately, we have become individuals and a nation of people that take our own words lightly. A scholar I know says if you take your own words lightly, how do you expect others to them seriously?
What makes fulfilling our promises ‘difficult’ is that we often bite more than we can chew. Similarly, a mistake we also make is to re-evaluate and reassess the commitments we made to others after making the commitment! This is dishonourable and usually caused by poor initial assessment of the commitment. However, regardless of its reassessed ‘value’ to us, we must strive to fulfil our promises to others without any excuses and without even feeling ‘special’ doing it. We promised, so we must discharge. If we must change what was initially committed to, we must engage the other party or parties and renegotiate honourably.
The interesting thing about this mindset and attitude is that our activities will begin to take order if they were disordered. We will begin to become less heedless and more thoughtful about what we say and what we commit to. We will begin to be sincere and honest not just with others but even more importantly with ourselves. We will begin to realistically match our resources and other abilities with our expected output. We will begin to realise that we are human, with so much, but nonetheless limited capacities. Very importantly, our capacities will be fully utilised to deliver results as wastes from incongruencies and dissonances are eliminated. For sure there would always be failures and setbacks, but they would never be dishonourable.
I truly believe that if we take our promises for the serious heavy burden that they are, regardless of their ‘size’, we will achieve more of our daily and long term goals; avoid stresses and strains, disappointments and failures, and we can stand a better chance to fix what we consider as mighty challenges that confront us as individuals, communities and nations. This is true within ourselves. It is true with our family relationships and community engagements. And it is true for a nation.
We can get a lot more productive while at the same time beautifying and easing our lives by sticking with timeless fundamentals of successful living.