“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African proverb
Life is always on the move, and dragging us along. This not only puts us in an ever-changing aliveness, but also challenges us to formulate standards and sensibilities as a guiding force that enables us focus on getting the best out of it. This ‘catching-up’ seems to be precisely what our romantic relationship with life is about. The interplay has equipped us with the ability to imagine and carve our paths which we want to follow. However, human as we are, we are limited in many ways; and so, no one person can do it all on his or her own. We need each other.
We have been created in such a manner that not everyone can carve an inspiring path. Nevertheless, those who can also can’t achieve much when they work alone. We all need other people to accompany us and/or hold our hand. But our travel paths are such that we are not made in ways which allow us to go with whoever we want. We must go with those who will make the journey pleasant. And the pleasantness of any journey rests on the harmony that ebbs and flows around and from those we are travelling with.
To find out who we can or cannot travel with, we must always first ask ourselves and clarify for ourselves what our vision of whatever project we want to embark upon is – and the message we want to put across. Without a rousing vision and an appealing message, it is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to attract the right calibre of people onto the bus.
Like the proverbial “what you see is what you get”, what vison you put out and how the message is stated determines who and which attitudes you get on board. Ideally, one needs disciplined, intelligent and charming individuals as travel companions. Fortunately, such individuals are attracted to paths that that are exciting and have offerings which are stated boldly and clearly.
Nobody is happy with detractors and lazy individuals. Unfortunately, one can end with a bunch of such individuals if your proclamation about where you are headed is in words only and not illustrated by actions. Besides skills and talents, we always need to be sure our companions are enthusiastic about what we are about. You need those who can evangelise the vision and set hearts ablaze for the mission.
Finding companions is not going to be the same as recruiting servants and/or buying robots. We are talking about individuals who believe in the beauty of wonderfulness, and will commit with all of themselves to see it materialise. We are visualising comrades and companions who share in your authority and will go out and bear fruits which last.
They do not come cheap, neither do they come easily. Like gems, they have to be found, cut and polished to bring out their beauty. You cannot boss them around, neither can you coerce them. You must stir by deeds that match words.
Too often, many of us treat our companions as an audience. We simply spit out words about what to do and not do, without necessarily seeking to find out what is in their hearts and consciousness. It is not strange that, very often, we encounter sentimentalities about individuals but we never get to know the real people behind those sentiments. Companionship is about letting people be themselves, so they can bring the best out of themselves. We must be conscious of this, and always let it guide us as we relate with others. We must live it, so that our insights will really be insights instead of observations.
To create companions and comrades, our relationships with all people should be those which empower and delegate. The challenges that bring about a trade-off between our creativeness and productiveness often have to do with instructions and attitudes which limit individuals from achieving goals in their own way. Quite a surprising number of people live and work like the circus elephant.
They learn to do the right trick at the right time so that they are not denied their treat. They hate the constant sound of ‘do it this way’ so much their creative juices become diluted and weakened. The less we say about their creativity, the better. Is it thus strange that humans, created to dominate the world, find the world dominating them?
Sometimes, our insecurities lead us to disrespect others. Well, it is time we recognised that everybody has something to offer. It might not be necessarily what we are looking for at that moment, but they still have something. Our attitude toward them should be one of respect and regard for all, since a time will come when you might need the services or skills of the person you now look down upon.
Let us always remember that life is dynamically alive. It manifests in seasons – yet it is spiced with events we do not and cannot control. We therefore cannot go at it alone. We always need people around us. Let us therefore create comrades and companions of all people, so that at every point in time we have collaborators to make the journey bearable and enjoyable.
Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics – and with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies which catapult them into strategic growth and certify their sustainability.
Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand kobla.com