The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Focus On Life Changing Events

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December 27 is a very important day on our fishing calendar. It is the day we set aside for our year-end fishing competitions. We invite most of the bass enthusiasts to participate on this important event. The day ends with a toast of champagne and fishermen take turns to wish each other good fortunes in the following year.

The only exception to the tradition in 2012 was that the event was graced by two of our old friends, Michael and Timothy. Michael is based in the United Kingdomwhile Timothy is in Hong Kong. Though I advised them that the day was reserved only for seasoned players, they insisted that they wanted to be part of the action.

When everyone was making some final preparations to go into the dam, Michael and Timothy started downing a few of the ciders (light beer) they had brought for the after competition's party. They appeared too thirsty for the day. They were in their own competition of downing the Savanna beer.

By the time the competition started, Michael and Timothy were evidently drunk. They looked for a place with a big shade and took a nap which lasted until the time we toasted the champagne for the good fortunes for the ensuing 2013 fishing year.

Michael said as soon as he woke up, "This place is lovely and wonderful. I wish to attend this event every year." He did not appear moved by his failure to participate in the actual fishing competitions.

Chris sarcastically said: "Hope your sleeping partner will be around to share the beautiful moments with you." The behaviour of Michael and Timothy is similar to the behaviour of the young men and the ass in Genesis 22 verses 4 to 5.

After accompanying Abraham and Isaac for three days, we are told: "Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place as far off. And Abraham said unto his young men, abide ye here with the ass. I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again to you."

It is interesting to note that the men and the ass gladly accepted to remain behind after travelling with Abraham. They did not care about the place which was far off.

Their focus appeared to be on travelling along but did not care about the desired destination. Though Michael and Timothy attended our final fishing competition, they did not care to participate in the fishing competitions or, more importantly, they allowed themselves to digress from the core business of the day.

Though they travelled all the way from Harare to Chitungwiza, they were more interested in the journey than what could come out of it. They were in dreamland while others were walking their dreams in the dam.

Interestingly, they possessed the most advanced and expensive fishing arsenal which could not be deployed to attain competitive advantage. To all intents and purposes, the fishing equipment remained trophies to Michael and Timothy instead of fishing enablers.

Most of us have taken journeys which culminated in us getting certificates, diplomas and degrees in various disciplines ranging from sports to professional qualifications. Sad to mention that the day we obtained those qualifications is the day we took a nap like Michael and Timothy, who took a slept at the theatre of dreams.

Reasons for lack of focus

Staying focused until one achieves the desired goal is a challenge for most human beings. Focus requires energy but most people would rather settle for non-energy-sapping activities. Doing nothing is easier, but no one ever gets any meaningful satisfaction from idleness. Some are distracted from achieving their goals by settling for speculative short-term gains. A small seemingly rich quick scheme can tempt some people to sacrifice their lifelong goals.

Average human beings find it difficult to concentrate for a long time and drop by the wayside.

In this planet, there are people who simply cannot finish one project to its logical end. If they start building a house, the project will be abandoned halfway through. I have met several people who have part A or B only of several diplomas. However, they never get to complete any of the diplomas.

Before one diploma is completed they embark on another different diploma.

Another set of people are those that get to finish their studies and lose the appetite to utilise whatever they acquired on the day they qualify.

The people in this category have no major aspirations beyond their qualifications. These people never "lift up" their eyes to see the "land far off". Even after toiling for 20 plus years studying, it appears they are contended to remain behind like "the young men and the ass". As a result, their qualifications do not lead to society's and individual's transformation.

A land far off signifies transformation and desired destination. I remember in the 1980s, a degreed person was a transformed person. They would change the way they walk, dress and smell. He or she would transform the lives of his or her parents and some members of the extended family. How times have changed. This is no longer evident in the recent graduates' lives.

Acquiring a skill or certificate is a stepping stone to transform oneself and the society at large. The time one graduates is the time when focusing and working begins. Contrary to other people's perceptions that it is time to sit back and get recognition, rather it is time to focus on higher challenges and responsibilities.

How many of us have been able to uplift ourselves and society after acquiring a new skill? How many of us have been able to lift up our eyes and see a land far off after travelling for three days?

Imagine where Zimbabwe will be if all citizens with a certificate in any discipline took it upon themselves to intervene in our society in very positive and life-changing manner. I have no doubt that it is not too late for any citizen to "lift up our eyes" and see a new Zimbabwe far off.

You can start the journey towards a new Zimbabwe far-off today by focusing on doing one small life changing project for yourself and by integrating the project to fill a knowledge gap in the society. Remember personal growth is not meaningful if the growth cannot impact in anyway to the immediate society.

Remember to fish and not take a nap at the dam particularly in 2013 and beyond.

The writer is a managing consultant at CLC Training International.

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