Believing in yourself

I have been reading a lot of motivational articles this year, mostly from Patrick Achitabwino. He has an opinion column in the Daily Times newspaper called Mindset Change. It is featured every Monday above Lorraine Lusinje’s column. It always makes me look forward to my Monday mornings in the office. Now, if there is anything I have learnt from the articles, it must be the need to believe in yourself. This has been a recurring theme in most of the articles I have read.

Believing in oneself is not as easy as it sounds however. There are after all diverse reasons why people do not believe in themselves. For some it is because of past failures, what they have been told or generally their experiences in life. However for some it is simply because they do not want to be considered arrogant. And this a major reason for most people I know (I think its really just me) given the conservative culture we have been groomed in. Arrogance borders so closely with strong belief in oneself. Unfortunately  arrogance is not a character we usually want to be associated with. Most people are aware of this and its why some use it against others whenever they persist with a position they disagree with. Its not uncommon to call someone wamakani if they persistently hold on to their ideas. I have called people that; people have called me that the few times I have stuck to my opinion on matters.Obviously it is a statement that stings.

However it is impossible for a person to believe in oneself without crossing over the arrogance boundary every once in a while. Finding balance between belief in oneself and arrogance is an art, it requires constant practice and takes time. It is inevitable that at some point one will fall at either extremes of the continuum. Some find their balance quick, while for some they need time. Some never do find the balance. What is essential however is not whether one finds balance or not, it is about the process and what it teaches you about yourself. The process of believing in oneself is empowering. It makes you aware of your biases, your strengths, your weaknesses, your reasoning and your abilities. People who believe in themselves have an identity whether it is positive or not. Ever wondered what people think of you when your name is mentioned? Do they know your ideas? what you stand for?

Knowing oneself and believing in that person you discover is essential for success. Not just success in work, business or making money, but also in finding happiness and peace. It is difficult to be happy and at peace if one constantly doubts themselves. It is difficult to be happy and at peace if little comments made about our ideas completely paralyse our brain from thinking. The few times I have chosen to believe in myself and my ideas have been among the best. Hopefully 2017 will see me experiencing more and more of those moments. I wish you the same!

Making hard decisions, or just decisions

Its been months now since I moved from my cousins house. Finding a house in Blantyre was a hectic experience! I do not know how many viewing fees I gave out to agents who always succeeded in disappointing, always. I convinced myself I would never find a house through an agent; I reasoned a decent house really wouldn’t require the services of an agent anyway. Everyone these days seems to know someone in need of a house, so why bother hiring an agent, you know. I must have been right because I found my house through a referral from a colleague from work.

I did not really know what to expect with moving. I was excited to get my own place and to decorate it the way I want, and get all the little cute furniture I saw on pinterest (haha). I would eat whatever I want, sleep whatever time I please and I would wash the dirty plates the next day, sorry mum. But it was also scary to think of especially for a woman living alone in a country that has security issues. But when I had found the house, I did not have time to think, I had to move and figure it all out along the way.

Needless to say, its been months and I still haven’t got the cute pinterest furniture I planned on getting. My stuff is piled up beside my bed, gosh gives me a headache each time I see it. I do eat what I want, but the mid month bug does cause havoc at times. How do those married people who have kids manage? My house is not what I wanted it to be. My mum always says furnishing a home takes time and I should be patient. I do agree with her. But I partly blame myself for the state am in, I never seem to make the hard decisions on getting stuff, or even the simple ones for that matter.

If there is anything staying alone is teaching me, it is my hesitation to make decisions.  Take buying a mbaula for instance. I knew I needed a mbaula thanks to the persistent blackouts sponsored by ESCOM or is it EGENCO? But am pro environmentalist, if that is even a thing. I mean charcoal does us good, but is one meal good enough reason to make up for years of growth of a single tree? The decision to buy a mbaula wasn’t an easy one (still isn’t) and it took such a long time. But I eventually got a mbaula. I haven’t used it yet, it still sits in the space beneath the kitchen sink. I hope I never have to use it.

I came across something interesting on Facebook today. A list of 21 suggestions on becoming successful. Suggestion number 17 reads, ‘Be decisive, even if sometimes you will be wrong ‘. That resonated with me on a whole different level. I realise now that what scares me from taking decisions is the fear of making the wrong decision. The fact that my ideas sound peculiar to most people doesn’t help. I keep postponing decisions because I do not want to make the wrong one or make compromises that would hurt someone else.

But decisions have to be made, whether they end up being the right ones or not. Some bad decisions have ended up being the best ones for some people.  I have told myself to make conscious effort and make decisions. To make my stand on matters clear, no matter how peculiar. My decisions are a reflection of who I am, what I stand for. I will definitely brush off people the wrong way with some of the decisions I  will make, but we can not agree on everything now can we? My mind is me and decisions are who I am. I know it is not as easy, but it’s worth the try.

I hope as people we get the courage to make decisions that matter in our lives, even the little ones. Oh and that reminds me, I really have to decide quick whether or not to get a haircut. This debate has gone on for so long in my head! I mean, a pixie would be nice, but do I have the time to maintain it? Will it be okay if I cut my hair in December given that it is so cold? Can my current wardrobe go with a short hairstyle; not that it goes with long hair either lol… But see what I mean?

 

 

My encounter with the Rotaract Club of Blantyre

I found myself at Ryalls hotel last week Friday waiting for a rotaract meeting. A friend had invited me the same day, I did not think too much into it as I usually do, because then I would have come up with excuses of why not to go. I extended the invite to my sister, it would be a cool experience plus I thought she would be bored if I left her home alone. Well that is what I thought.

I did not have any expectations whatsoever, I have never been to a rotaract meeting or even really understood what they do. The only thing I knew about rotaract is what people say; am sure you have heard it too.  But there I was, sitting at a round table with rotaractors.  It was roughly around 15 people, mostly men. There were only four other ladies.

We somehow found the meeting already in progress hence there were no introductions or hi’s. We sat down and just started listening. 30 minutes later I had accepted that I couldn’t understand what they were talking about. By the look on my sisters face I do not think she went past 5 minutes to come to that conclusion. We were going to find out later on that this was in fact strictly for committee members only and not guests. They must have thought it would be insensitive to chase us lol. And so we went on for the next hour or so.

Just like most gatherings everyone had different ideas on issues. The meeting had no agenda but it seemed to always lean back to the issue of membership. Suggestions were made, some reasonable, some questionable and some personally just made me uncomfortable as a guest. For a minute I even wondered if they actually could see us. My sister eventually left before the meeting came to an end…thug life.

There is a lot I could say about what I observed there, but I will stick with the positives. These were my peers, but I could see the confidence and belief they possess. From the brief introductions that were made at the end, most are accomplished in life. It is encouraging to see young people sacrificing their time and resources to doing good. While personally I do no think rotaract is the right fit for me, I do believe everyone should give it a shot and decide for themselves.

It is easy to focus on the negatives and stick to what is comfortable, but am learning that life is about trying new things. Personally I have always stayed away from anything that promises unnecessary drama. But that in itself is restricting. There will never be the perfect club or the perfect moment. Sometimes its good to look at the bigger picture and deal with the little issues along the way. Now that is living.

Rainy season

It would seem the rainy season is early this year. With the unbearable heat that has been experienced all through the country these past couple of days, I am definitely not complaining.

I have always loved the rain; I don’t particularly have a strong valid reason however. I simply love it. Every time it starts to rain this time of the year I am reminded of Christmas. Pretty soon shops will start putting up the familiar Christmas decorations,  stuff will go on ‘sale’, there will be the dreaded office parties and most importantly I will get to spend time with my family. It is the same each year, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. There is something ridiculously comforting about having some things remain the same in life. Christmas season is that thing for me.

With Christmas season comes the expectations of the new year. And every time this season approaches I tend to go over experiences from the year so far. And that is what has been going on in my mind for the last couple of days. 2016 has been an emotionally draining year for me, just like 2015 was really. But with challenging experiences comes growth, and this year has been full of growth. I have learnt to let go of attachments that drain you more than they give, I have learnt to challenge my fears and pursue my dreams, I have learnt to really be understanding of peoples shortcomings, I have learnt that it is important to actually feel my emotions and not avoid them, I have learnt to save and I have learnt to budget, well sorta.

Before the past two years I used to think if one has a tough year, the next should be easy….well right? We all want to believe in a life that actually considers your emotions. But life ain’t like that. Life is emotionless, you just gotta go on despite the challenges.That is what makes you a success or failure (or whatever is in between). With that mindset I look forward to 2017, not for it to be the year of ‘breakthrough’, but for it to be the year I consciously overcome all the challenges the year will bring.  The past two years have challenged me to grow, I seek to go beyond mere growth to actually thrive. As the winds steer us into a new season, may 2017 steer me to places and people that challenge me to succeed. Let it rain.

I welcome you to my blog!