Have you ever heard of a baby afraid of the dark? Of course not! He grew in the dark for nine months. Do you ever hear a three (3) or four (4) year old child afraid of the dark? Of course – all the time! Where did he learn all those fears from? Who taught him or her that the dark outside is any different from the dark inside (mother’s womb)? He probably learned from the parent that for him to be safe, he must be where light is. He believed and this became his philosophy of life.
From this illustration, I am justified to say that you live by the ideas you accept. As a parent makes a child believe that a dark room is a dangerous place, so can people make you who they want you to be if you accept their words into your life. If you hear something long enough you can begin to believe it and live it. In other words, you see more through your beliefs than you do through your physical eyes. Your personal philosophy is, therefore, more important than sight because you interpret what you see with your eyes through what you believe in your heart and mind. Be careful what ideas you accept because they can be either helpful or harmful.
Are you surprised sometimes by the number of people some leaders attract even though those leaders give little value to them? Those who follow without questioning have a philosophy that some people were born to lead and others to follow and from their perspectives leadership is reserved for a very minute, elite, percentage of the world’s population. For them the masses must live in the shadow of the outstanding gifted elite few. I mean the average people in Kenya accept this philosophy. But still we have a choice to change our philosophy if we have to live our lives to the maximum.
Do you know that humans are the only life form that will do less than possibly can? Every other life form, except human beings, strives to its maximum capacity. How tall will a tree grow approximately? It grows as tall as it possibly can. You have never heard of a tree growing a half as high as it could. It spreads its roots down as deep as possible and produces every leaf possible and every fruit possible. Even we human beings on certain aspects, like trees, we continue growing until we are done. But this only occurs on that part of life that we cannot control because it is genetically coded and we must keep growing until we are done. It is the rest of our growing that we control like the growing of our mind, our belief systems (philosophy) that tends to get away from us.
Why can’t human beings strive to their maximum capacity? The reason is that we have been given the dignity of choice. It makes us different from trees and birds. The dignity of choice makes us different from all other life forms and here is the choice; to become part of what we could be in order to get by or to become all that we can be. My advice is to choose ‘all’ by shaping up a new philosophy that can propel you to heights that you never hoped to attain.
Have you noticed that our schools teach students to get jobs and work for someone else? Students learn to be good employees. Even parents tell their children “get an education so you can get a job’. Most parents encourage this without realizing they are influencing their philosophy at the same time handicapping their children’s potential.
Students after they are released to the actual world, they will realize that focusing on employment is framing existing opportunities too tightly. They will further realise that many of the ideas in the real world are the polar opposite of the lessons they are taught in a traditional education system. The fact is that the rules that apply in school are often completely different from those in the outside world. This disparity causes incredible stress when they leave school. They attempt to find their way gracefully bridging that gap to tackle real world challenges that can be extremely difficult but it is doable with the right philosophy. They also realize that if their memories remain more active than their imaginations then they are uncompetitive in the true world because the theories they used to memorize need to give way for a new personal philosophy.
You have heard a statement that says ‘all leaders are readers’. Books have shaped personal philosophies of many people across the globe. They will change yours too as they did to mine. I used to serve two Organizations at one time, one as a trustee and the other as a treasurer. One of the employees who was about to retire went to the bank to take a loan and was told “if your trustee guarantees you, we will give you the loan”. So the staff came to me and I guaranteed him the loan. He finished paying the loan. A year later his business had some financial problems and wanted to go back and borrow some more money. I said in my heart “I hope my phone will not ring because I won’t sign because I know he is in trouble”. My phone never rang. A year after he closed the business. I got a letter from the bank requesting me to meet my obligation as a guarantor. I said “there must be a mistake because the loan I guaranteed the borrower was paid back”. What I didn’t know when I was signing the first loan was that I was signing a continuing guarantee. So now I know what the word ‘continuing’ means. Although I used my position as a treasurer to withhold his final dues until he clears the bank loan- which he did I learned a big lesson. The lesson was that I changed my philosophy of the kind of books I stock in my library. In fact I realized that as much as I am not a lawyer, studying a little law is necessary, a little philosophy too, even economics and so on. Let your little library indicate that you are a serious student.
To be successful in whatever you do, have a philosophy that is consistent with your aspirations. Jim Rohn said, “Success is merely a natural resolve that comes from the consistent operation of the practical fundamentals”. Fundamentals are those basics that build the foundation for accomplishment, productivity, success and lifestyle. To be able to live the practical fundamentals you must have a personal philosophy on discipline. This philosophy of discipline will enable you overcome the nagging voice that brings the possibility of failure. You will soon discover to be successful you don’t need to do extraordinary things but just do ordinary things extraordinary well.