Grinding for greatness
What does leadership mean to you?
Before 2015, if anybody had told me that I would hold any leadership position in school, I would have scorned the person to tears. However, sometime in mid-2015, I found myself reading a manifesto that was surprisingly mine, in front of a select group of people. Actual people!
The next thing I knew, I was the Social Director for NUASA (Nigerian University Accounting Student Association) Landmark Chapter for the 2015/2016 session. What???
However, during the one year that I served as the social director, I encountered something incredible, and I only got a tag for it a while later, after I read Robin Sharma’s “A leader who had no title”.
So this incredible thing happened, on a sunny day in mid-2016, the day our annual departmental dinner was meant to hold. We the executives were not even halfway ready, but the dinner was a tradition that had to be observed.
The major issue we had was that funding came to us very late, and it was going to be a miracle to have a decent enough dinner with the amount of time we had to prepare.
What to do, right? Yes.
So we got talking, to anyone that could help us. The executives talked to people they knew and those people talked to people they knew, and on and on it went, and before we knew it we had enough hands on deck.
From fixing the chairs to helping out in the kitchen, to monitoring other activities, well-meaning members of the department, dropped their most likely already planned day’s agenda to help us achieve our goal of having a successful departmental dinner.
What moved me the most, was how the people that volunteered were dedicated to doing the work, without asking for any gain even after they were done. Silently working at making the dinner a success for the good of everybody.
This wasn’t something I was used to and till today I believe it has shaped the way I think about life and my approach to it.
We as humans are often selfish about things we do, “what would I gain from this?”. We either do things haphazardly to show our unwillingness or reluctance to whatever the activity might be.
The volunteers did not work for any kind of reward, but they had an end-goal in mind: to ensure that we had a successful departmental dinner, irrespective of whether others worked or not.
Now I am in no way a judge of anybody, but for an itsy-bitsy second, I can’t imagine what went through the minds of the other people that didn’t volunteer. Sure enough, everybody couldn’t have possibly volunteered, but at the same time, if more people did, the work would have gone on faster, but for whatever reason, that didn’t happen.
Now, this issue runs deep in the blood of Nigerians, from what I have observed. From the reluctant behaviors of many professionals from the older generations, who would rather die with the knowledge they have acquired than share it with their predecessors.
The arrant ranting of the armed forces and leaders who would only dare to fix things if there might be something in for them.
The over-zealousness of busy-body relatives and or church members who would rather turn parents against their children or other relatives or church members against themselves, a selfish ploy to “earn the trust” of the other person.
Even things as little as littering our environment with things like plastic bags a.k.a nylons, plastic bottles, etc, often forgetting that it is everybody’s responsibility to keep the environment clean and save the earth.
The vicious cycle goes on and on, when does it stop?
Is it until we have turned ourselves against each other? Or until we don’t have any drop of trust or confidence in ourselves? Are we going to wait until we are on our dying beds to declare all our actions and inactions selfish and unthoughtful?
Won’t the world be a better place, if we all acted like leaders, even without titles? Do we need to be rewarded before we do what is right?
A lot of us are guilty of the things I have listed above, and a large number of the “guilty ones “would still go on to continue with their old ways. After all, it has been going on for a while now, and nobody has died from being selfish.
That’s fine, but it is imperative to note that you have very little right to complain about the state of things, however bad they get.
This is a tiny part of our lives that we often miss out on, we no longer see it as anything because we are used to it. We keep mute about it because it is what we have known, grown up with and what we intend to teach our children, and them theirs.
It is the baton we know we should pass, and pass it we would if nothing is done about it.
It is the torch we have to keep burning.
Lower and lower, we would sink into the sea of selfishness and inconsideration, till there is nothing left to keep us from drowning.
Nobody is more special than another, nobody was pre-selected to make a difference in the world, and everybody has a part to play in making things better.
Do what you can do, let others do what they can do, but do it from a place of service, consideration, and love.
It is always important to remember that things can change in a split second, what would happen then if the cards are no longer in your favor?
Think about it and ponder on this article.
We all can aspire for greatness if we do the little things wholeheartedly.
With love, E.