The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: Shape life


“Those who trade their swords for plows, will plow for those with swords.” – African proverb

Norms have it that our lives should live inside the life of the world. They grant almost all of us the dignity of a singular experience in a life-stage marked by emotional cultural rules and cools. So the greater numbers among us do what is ‘normal’. It is rare for us in processing the essence of norms to realise that they are simply cultural constructs hewn out to make governance of the masses look a little messy, but manageable. Norms can be likened to an egoistic voice that clamours vainly for control power over the individual. It is the foundation of mass media programming.


But norms can also be a gruesome miniature of our human attitude for cruelty. It is more evident in the manner it treats those who do not suit up in the ‘cools’ it offers. The tyranny of stereotyping it engenders against those who prefer more creative ways of living is horrible. When one adds the ridiculing and bullying that comes along with it, living becomes unbearable for these outsiders. It is sad; but unconsciously, the majority simply sing along with the chorus to prevent labelling and ostracism.

Fortunately, life is a lot broader than the ‘cools’ that the norms blow across the plains. All it takes for one to appreciate it is to become aware of the diversity norms could not hide in its formulations of ‘cools’; the ones they present as ‘choices’, packaging them as freedom that have to be rescued from the cage. It is even more interesting when one appreciates that what is ‘cool’ is always made by people who were just like you. And in majority of the cases, they were not even smarter than you.

Norms are a danger to creativity. They keep people in closed circles of admirers and prevent them from witnessing the beauty of their times. It is more interesting when one considers the notion that we are tasked to impact and yet we are caged in norms. Maybe, we are not curious enough! But how can one impact life if you have to busy yourself striving to know and understand the ‘cools’ of the norms. All your energies would be spent on conformity. And that in itself is not ‘cool’ enough to impact on life. That is why more and more people are nearly resigning themselves to the peripheral fate of being schooled, working a job and finding a partner to make families. That is what sums up life for a surprising number of people.

To shape life, one must live outside the reaches of the norms. One must immerse one’s self in the tune that vibrates from inside the earth. It is always appropriate to listen to the true voice of diversity. We might not give it much thought, but diversity is a truth-telling apparatus that reveals to us that no one person or group has the truth. The truth resides with our Creator and everyone has scraps of it. What is essential is for us to be true to our individual selves, even if society rejects and ridicules us. A satisfactory life is one lived in knowing and loving oneself and using the good inherent in yourself to uplift society.

To shape life, we have to create awareness about beauty and love. We have to liberate enslaved minds and chained hearts. We have to peel the scales that has grown over the eyes of our families, friends and foes. We have to melt out the wax that has hardened in the ears of those who come within hearing distance of our voices. We have to cook with authentic and organic spices in order to enliven the tastes that the artificial flavours has wrung onto the tongues of countrymen. And we have to purify the air, so that they can smell the fragrance of ingenuity.

If we want to shape life, we must change and help others change. It is no secret that change for those nurtured in norms takes longer. It actually crawls, making as many stops as possible to ascertain why the shifts. However, our consciousness changes every day. And that is a cue for us to change the systems upon which our old consciousnesses were built on. Many of the people we know are so steeped in the ‘norms’ programming to the point that they have no idea who they really are and what they really desire. All their aspirations have been coded and handed to them. So long as change is inevitable, we must help them change.

Imagine a society and a people living in harmony with its environment and loving all the people around them as much as they love themselves. We would describe it as magnificent; but in honesty, we do not currently have the vocabulary that would do justice to the beauty that would glow from such energy. What we can be assured of if we shape life is, living would become lively, pleasing and fulfilling – reaching energies beyond our wildest dreams. And so beginning this very moment, stop spending all your moments normalising yourself. That is not the reason why you are alive. We are here to shape life. We are here to delight life, to invoke admiration and to give it much happiness. We are here to touch the lives of others so that we will live in their hearts and lives. And we can only achieve that by giving the best of ourselves to life.


Kodwo Brumpon is a partner at Brumpon & Kobla Ltd., a forward-thinking Pan African management consultancy and social impact firm driven by data analytics, with a focus on understanding the extraordinary potential and needs of organisations and businesses to help them cultivate synergies that catapult into their strategic growth and certifies their sustainability.

Comments, suggestions and requests for talks and training should be sent to him at kodwo@brumponand

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