Stop Telling Yourself You are Too Young to Build Something

When in second year, I got possessed with a crazy idea: that I could work at grassroots level to bring about change. To accentuate that idea, I thought of building something – a leadership motivational organization. 

This way, I would interact with young people in high schools and colleges and inspire them and help unlock their basic human resources. And cause them to believe in themselves. And overcome the often downtrodding limiting beliefs.

Have always believed what is as obvious to me is as obvious to everybody else. If I can drive an organization, anyone can. When I was translating the thought of forming the organization into a material thing, I began first, personally then by building trust and engagements.

I identified two people – first a gentleman. We beavered away at creating the vision statement, mission, excellent objectives and relevant core values. We created several names for the organization which did not inspire us all together until we settled for African Transformational Group (ATG). I had initially proposed OneStepBeyond as the name but gave it up to have the suggestion of my partner count.

When we felt overwhelmed with the thinking, we sourced for a third party, this time a lady. We wanted to make it serious so we sent out a call for application on school’s Facebook page. But we eventually got her through referral.

She being a student of English and Literauture, we were elated her proficiency would give the organization an edge. We quickly gave ourselves tittles to get recognition for being awesome. I was the Founder – yes the founder of a piece of paper with a company name on it! The lad was the CEO, the lady the Director of Programs – very big tittles indeed.

With the power of three, we begun well with enough gusto. Approached a couple of professors to play oversight with the notion they would become our patrons. But, majority were both disinterested and busy. They had their time wholly earmarked for polishing their magnum opus – researches that are not only bizarre but also fairly impenetrable to the layman. Things like ‘The propulsion parameters of weaver bird’s poop,’ ‘ Which can jump higher: the dog flea or the cat flea?’ or ‘Impact of wet underwear on thermoregulatory responses and thermal comfort in the cold.’

So, in the issue of the patron, we decided to let go and did not seem to have the willpower to take it a step beyond. We depended on ourselves henceforward.

After several days writing literature and developing excellent organizational rubric, the grit of my two partners begun to wane, their strength demonstrated at the outset disappeared into nothingness. When we started out, we settled on an agreement that we would adhere strictly to the time of meetings which only became a fairy tale.

When I set out to understand why my partners gave up, I found they thought their 20s don’t count. That they are tender and delicate for corporate intricacies.

This is a dominant characteristic of the millenials – people from the generation born in the 1980s to mid 1990s. We just don’t believe we are old enough to build something up. That our decisions can’t count.

I find this totally compromising to the advantages the 21st century has put us all in. We are right at the cutting edge of technology and modern conveniences. We even read from our phones. We are constantly exposed to social media.

The key to greatness as young folks lies in the ability to confront our uneasiness and sometimes the all-consuming feeling that we are inadequate. We are not bound to start perfectly but if we remain long enough on course, we might get adapted to the often limiting sharp elbows or the occasional blind-side hits.

Plus if you’re someone who has always wanted to follow your dreams but never gained any traction, here is an idea: the people you bring in matters a lot. It is not their proficiency that counts but the often ignored soft skills like commitment, drive, grit and passion that really count. In other words, the ability to practice the subtle art of going one step beyond.

When a resolute young fellow steps up to the great bully, the world, and takes him boldly by the beard, he is often surprised to find it comes off in his hand, and that it was only tied on to scare away the timid adventurers – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Note: Don’t ask what I’ve built. It’s an account of my wound and scars of a failed mission and how we can all avoid it.


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