Leadership & Development

Beyond Your Comfort Zone

NOTE: This post originally appeared on magazine Reel, where I formarly wrote.


Welcome to my column, OneStepBeyond. I can’t withstand anylonger the clamour by my readers to pen down a few inspiring words for them. I have been busy. The past few weeks have been some of the most packed, the most fluid that I have experienced at Egerton featuring my painstaking journey with campus elections.

I was vying for the post of Director Academics. And lost. I came second. And it is not prestigious not to win in a political duel. I saw a gap in Egerton’s academic circle and named it a need. I then abandoned the bird’s eye view that lets you see everything from above, from the sky. I assumed the worm’s-eye view, trying to find whatever comes right in front of me-smell it, see it, see if I can do something about it.

After sensing that human need, I responded to conscience by applying my talent and passion to meet that need- first personally, then in building trust and searching for creative solutions to problems, and finally by committing the capacity to fill the needs of Egerton through vying.

I did not know I would have a beautiful campus experience until later. I talked myself out of it a couple of times. I had an ominous feeling. I knew it was not going to be easy. It was a foolhardy undertaking. But I pressed on since it was a resolution I made at the start of the year, and it was only fair if I could walk the talk.

At the beginning of every year, I set for myself certain resolutions. On this one, I decided to do one thing that scares me – vying. I had to do it regardless of the outcome. Now for a period in my life, I have done what I am good at.

While many people, including my elder brother, congratulated me on taking on a daring project, a couple vilified me for not winning! That is the crop of youths we are saddled with.

In 2009 the Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie gave a fabulous TED talk called “The Danger of a Single Story .” It was about what happens when complex human beings and situations are reduced to a single narrative: when for example, after the elections, I am treated as pitiable, as a failure.

Drawing from her talk, my point is that each event or individual contains a heterogeneous compilation of stories. If you reduce people to one, you’re taking away their humanity. If you reduce a situation to one, you are missing on the other important thread.

Those who never won at the elections got a greater experience than that of a comfortable inaction. They have emerged heroes and heroines in their own way! They know what it takes to mobilize, influence, negotiate, convince and cause quarters to want to do what they request. That’s a better public relations experience.

Concerning those who compete in activities, if you fall short of your goal, pat yourself on the shoulder and move on. Stop blame game. Aim at those things that are before you. Try different things, for you do not know which one will prosper. Either this or that

I dispense with the culture of blame and the mindset of victimism that is so much perverse and entrenched in our society. When people are loosing, they clutch on straws. They point their God-forsaken fingers to whomever they think led to their short coming. They become system apologists.

A system poisoned by the culture of blame and the mindset of victimism has got a sly habit of precluding the practitioners from achievement.

Indeed we ought not to pose clandestine and maim excuses when things do not add up as we expected. Accept the change and move on. Once a change has begun, it can not be reversed.

I talk to young campus students about what they would love to do with their lives in campus. Majority tells me they would concentrate on bookwork. But a few tells me they would get involved in other activities too. But they would not want to do campus politics, because they can fail, and they don’t want to lose money!

This is sickening. We just don’t know what we are capable of doing. Waiting for success to knock on our doors can be a grandiose dream. You have got to keep trying at it. Contest an election and lose, that could be a better experience. Take risk, jump up and grow wings on your way down. Success is of a life long attempt to acquire it. Go beyond your comfort zone. Thanks.

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