“A fruit tree that grows in a dung heap will certainly blossom.” – Tanzanian proverb
Almost all of us have experienced how a kind word or gesture from a family member, a friend, or a stranger spurred us into taking an action. For some of us, it was all that was needed to cause a change in our perceptions and subsequently ignite the inner fire in us. Oftentimes, those who offer such soul-sustaining support have no idea the impact they may have had on us. To them it was just kindness, but to us it was fuel that replenished our creative tenacity and restored faith in our abilities and skills. And we see them as those individuals we cannot pay back, irrespective of how little their contribution was.
Sadly, many of us underestimate the power of our kindness, compassion, chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience and humility. We are so taken by the vices around us, all we do is complain about the spread of evil. We are always on about how change is needed, and too often that change never happens because we assume it is the activity of the masses to initiate change.
Well, history says otherwise. There is nowhere in the annals of our humanity where the masses have initiated change. Every single change that have ever happened to us was first idealised by individuals, who laboured about it privately in their hearts till their souls were set ablaze with their passions. Subsequently, their actions inspired others and finally the masses to buy into their ideals.
Change always begins with the conviction of an individual. But it also takes the contributions of those who reveal why that conviction matters and why we should pay attention to it. It is true; we never get to hear of those individuals who ushered the innovators into the light. But it is also because, too often, we are so busy singing praises to the innovators; we forget those who first believed in them.
This is the reason we refer to them as unsung heroes. They never set out to be heroes, but they always end up as one. And they are as ordinary as you are, except they usually are willing to place creativity before commercialisation, ability before nepotism, the greater good before the selfish gain, the meaningful before the fleeting – and more importantly, place others before themselves. It is a rare kind of courage, but it is the kind we need in our world today.
It is no secret that many of us oppose new ideas and new ways of doing things. We are so protective of our imagined turfs, we shoot down brilliant initiatives and ideals that can make all our lives better. Maybe it is an infection of narcissism, but the surprising majority among us are so inward-looking we miss opportunities to be vital agents of change.
Our blocking tactics have done a great deal of harm to our society and to our humanity on the whole. We are the reason the world does not thrive as it is capable of doing. Our words and our actions have killed many dreams, and stopped many innovators and inventors in their tracks. We have unknowingly caused many creations to slide under the cultural radar and find their way into obscurity.
We all know that some of us, out of envy, would never compliment the talents of our fellow beings. But we need to understand that helping another to shine does not in any way make you less than they will become, even if they became the greatest in the world. It is far from that. We do not rise by ourselves; it always takes someone to take us by the hand and help us stand before we rise.
That is why when you usher someone into the limelight, they are often indebted to you till their last breath. For those who may even not publicly acknowledge you, their souls will forever sing about you and your name will be etched in their hearts. For those who are spiritual, you will be the one who gave with the right hand without the left hand knowing about it. In effect, you will become the immortal in their mortality
We cannot control how the world recognises our efforts. The norm is to pat on the back those bring about the change, and never bother to ask about the ones who first believed in them. Nevertheless, let us never be discouraged by this immaturity of the world. Instead, let us challenge ourselves to do all the good we can – in private, everywhere we are – and publicly only when necessary.
Let us strive to be wonderful to people, talented and non-talented alike, no matter how challenging it may be. Let us seek to unearth gems, and polish the ones that have already been discovered. Let us learn to give more and more of ourselves; for the more we give, the wider our seeds spread. And someday, maybe, a tree will spring up that will give shade to generations – and they will be grateful for it!
Kodwo Brumpon is a management consultant and life coach who inspires individuals, groups and corporate bodies to think and feel that which is true, and helps them to positively respond to that which is beautiful, while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions. Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at firstname.lastname@example.org