Zig Ziglar once said, “The most powerful nation in the world isn’t America after all, but imagination”. That is to say your imagination as a leader determines your power in the world. It is the mind that is engaged in the art of imagination. What is imagination? The English dictionary defines it as the formation of a mental image of something. It is the art of image formation. This image formation has a seat in the mind. Therefore the mind is a principal true instrument in the learning, thinking and understanding process. I hope Kenyans who have lived in America long without coming home with a fear that they will not be allowed back to a powerful nation (America) need now to realize that the true most powerful nation lies between their skulls- the mind.
You all remember Tuesday April 9th, 2013 when the President elect Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as the fourth President of Kenya. If you were keen enough, you obviously noted that outgoing President Mwai Kibaki handed over to President Kenyatta the sword, which, with the constitution are the instruments of power and authority. If you read the Constitution of Kenya chapter nine you will note that section134 (1) explains that a person may be appointed to exercise presidential powers in temporary incumbency while the president is incapacitated. This implies that before the constitutionally recognized instruments of power and authority are handed over to you, you must first of all be of sound mind. In other words your mind is the seat of power and wisdom.
As a matter of fact, I analyzed all persons with disabilities nominated to the Senate or Parliament by various political parties and noted that none of these persons was mad. Even in chapter 7 section 99(2) (e) states that a person is disqualified from being elected a member of parliament if the person is of unsound mind. I came to the conclusion that your worth in life as a leader is essentially a product of the use to which you put your mind.
To prove my point, for instance, a madman is not permitted to vote and cannot be voted for as per the provisions in our constitution. In fact, he is not reckoned with during census, meaning he is not counted as a human being. The reason is that he is mentally grounded and by that situation, he has lost his entire worth as a man. You are a person of great value, but your value is essentially a function of the use to which you put your mind.
When you become mentally grounded, you automatically become valueless. Can a madman work in your organization where you are a CEO? Can you allow it? Absolutely not! There are many physically blind people who are getting so much done in life. There are also many crippled today that are accomplishing great feats in life. But this is not so for the mad. We have never read of any accomplishment by a mad man. At the level of insanity a man’s entire dignity is eroded, his entire value is lost.
That gives you an idea of the place of your mind in determining your ultimate value in your leadership. Your mind is the instrument that makes you relevant to the world. When it is out of place, your place in life is lost. On the other hand when it is in place and it is put into proper use, it causes evolution and a revolution in your institution or organization.
There is this story told of Bill Gates that is very fascinating. It was reported that one day his mother kept calling for him around the house, “Bill, Bill, where are you?” He was up in the basement, doing what he knew best to do, thinking. The story went on to say that when his mother finally opened the door to where he was, he responded, reacting by reflex as it were, “I am thinking! Don’t you think?”
Today Bill Gates can be classified as one of the greatest revolutionists of our days. His input in technology has changed the face of education in Kenya and globally. This therefore means that every star is a thinker and every committed thinker is potential star. The significance of this to you as a leader is that you can only succeed in your county, organization or country as a leader if you engage your mind and think deeply.
It was W. Kenyon that said, “Make your brain work. It will sweat, but make it work. It will improve; it will develop, until you become the envy of those around you”. A startling study revealed that “only 5% think, 15% think they are thinking, and the remaining 80% will rather die than think”. Do you belong to the 5% category? Reflect deeply over that!
It was Richard Nixon that said, “A true idealist is one who pursues what his heart says is right, the way his head says it will work”.
Blasé Pascal said, “Man’s greatness lies in his power of thought”. As leaders, we must educate our employees or children in a way that trains them to reason and discern, not just do. I am saying this because I have noted that the problem with a vocational education theory is that it produces capable workers who are unable to operate successfully outside the narrow parameter of their job description.
Herbert Butterfield had the same truth in mind like the one stated above when he penned these words, “…while there are many highly educated people of whom one feels they are performing clever antics with their minds to cover a gaping hollowness that lies within”. In this regard leaders need to understand that great thinking go beyond those with good formal education. If they have to move their organizations or counties into new levels, they have to look for real great thinkers.
The use of senses of a person is what enhances results in our various institutions. Our country requires more thinking than strength for it to move its people to great heights.
Every great building is not just built by digging holes to the ground to lay a foundation and laying the blocks till a tower emerges. No. It begins on the architect’s drawing board. Likewise, every great result or success for any leader begins in the drawing board of the mind.
I have read of so many men who had very limited education, but who through the adequate use of their minds have shaken their world. Michael Faraday who became a giant in the world of Science has very little formal education. He began as a book binder in a press and later became a laboratory attendant. But he was a thinker, he could use his mind. No wonder he was able to explore in the world of Science.
Benjamin Franklin was another good thinker. He had only two years of formal education and was an apprentice in a printing shop. It was there that he developed the habit of reading. He taught himself how to read, think and write and grew to become one of the foremost philosophers.
These men explored in their academic field, though they had very little formal education. They were able to do this through the productive use of their minds. This tells you as a leader what stuff your mind is loaded with. Your mind is full of vitality. There is something in it that if engaged, will launch you into the realm of outstanding success.
I do not believe there is anyone born a genius. Rather every genius became one by engaging his mental faculty, by changing it to productivity. In fact, a wise man once said that every outstanding result is a product of 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration (through the use of the mind).
Tagore said, “I have ben stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung”. We have not been thinking deeply using this true instrument we call mind. This has been the reason why Kenya and Africa in general has lagged behind. It is time for us in Kenya and other developing nations to become the toast of the world. But this can only happen when we trigger the potential in us by insight thoughts. Insight about facts of life relevant to our individual and collective pursuit is what makes all the difference.
The Ibo in Nigeria say that when a child washes his hands, he can dine with kings. I interpret this to mean that if you can use your mind creatively, however low you are in society, you will find yourself invited to eat with great leaders on the same table.
Take for example Daniel Owira from Highway Secondary school, when he performed an English narrative verse, Otonglo, he used his mind creatively and after the presentation, Daniel was invited by the President to the VIP dais to greet him. It did not stop there, after the meeting; President Kenyatta conducted Daniel on a tour of State House.
Therefore, as a leader stop thinking lack because of the country’s economy! You are not the country’s economist, so what is your business in it? Think straight and your organization results will be straight. Think high and your organization will be at the top.
Nothing happens on its own. Everything happens because somebody caused it to happen. Please make good success happen through thinking, use your mind!