It is known in certain quarters that I make use of this phrase: Go One Step Beyond. It sounds witty. And beautiful.
But there is a hidden power behind this four-words-phrase – it embodies a call to action; to take whatever courses we are advancing to the next level.
Human beings tend to shift towards complacency. Look, we all experience a life comparable to mountain climbing. Those who set to climb mountains have to endure a series of summits before reaching the peak.
Climbing just a couple of summits do not guarantee your arrival to the peak.
So in life, you don’t sit back thinking you have arrived, completely at the top of your game. You’ve got to re-invent yourself, create new different ways of doing things. This is called going one step beyond your comfort zone.
Take this personal illustration I have: I am a writer, currently contributing articles with magazine Reel – the best Kenyan campus news site. Any time I want to do a write up for the same, I am tempted to think that I can draw from my lifelong experience.
I can’t. I have to improve on the content, style, graceful narration, plot development, sentence structure, paragraphing, unity of words and truth-telling. I have to become more creative, more intelligent, innovative and more inspiring. I have to train myself.
My readers are not blind and does not want insipid, poorly done crap. Interestingly, in this age of information cluttering, so that folks don’t know what to read and what not to – whether to focus on Trump, NASA or who won the jackpot and how, readers won’t give your stuff attention until they have skimmed through every angle and ascertained it is worth their time. By then, the world would have moved. So I have to cut my space as that authoritative, consistent good writer. This is for another day.
I keep a self-educational program in which I read, with a writer’s eyes lots of ‘ These portable worlds’ – books and articles and take notes, then revise. What is the point of all this? To become an engaged, skeptical, learned reader who does not just own books physically, but mentally.
This takes more time than most people are willing to invest, but if you want to be different, you have to learn how to act differently.
And it often gets my friends telling me that I am naturally creative. No, mine is acquired! I commit the capacity to go one step beyond, through application of vision, discipline and passion – which rules the world.
Reading and being able to use what you’ve read are completely different things. Without purpose and intention, the knowledge gained and ideas sparked easily slip away, we can have awkward retention.
These three attributes, as we have partly seen, will help you go one step beyond: Vision, discipline and passion.
On vision, American and internationally respected leadership authority, family expert, teacher and organizational consultant, in his book The 8th Habbit- from effectiveness to greatness (which is one my best) Stephen R. Covey writes: Vision is the beginning of the process of reinventing oneself or of an organization reinventing itself.
He writes then quotes from William James “Most of us dont envision or realise our own potential” “Most people live in a very restricted circle of their potential being, we all have reservoirs of energy and genius to draw upon of which we do not dream” ” each of us has immeasurable power and capacity to reinvent ourselves”
Here is Covey on discipline: it is the executing, the making it happen, the sacrifice entailed in doing whatever it takes to realise that vision.
And on passion, Covey writes: Passion comes from the heart and is manifest as optimism, excitement, emotional connection, determination. It fires unrelenting drive.
President Obama summed the whole idea of going one step beyond in his address at Kasarani stadium when he visited Kenya:
I always say that what makes America exceptional is not the fact that we’re perfect, it’s the fact that we struggle to improve. We’re self-critical. We work to live up to our highest values and ideals, knowing that we’re not always going to achieve them perfectly, but we keep on trying to perfect our union.
And what’s true for America is also true for Kenya. You can’t be complacent and accept the world just as it is. You have to imagine what the world might be and then push and work toward that future. Progress requires that you honestly confront the dark corners of our own past – These are supremely powerful words for any youth out there!
If you study the lives of successful people – celebrities, billionaires, erudite educationists, scientists among others, those who set things rolling and inspires positive media coverage, you will find a pattern. They took one step beyond their current state of affairs.
It makes intuitive sense: if we stop making attempts to be better at anything we do, how many exciting, serendipitous things are going to happen to us? Not many.
Thanks for reading, lets go one step beyond.
#Writing Is A Labour Of Love ☺