The Attitude Lounge by Kodwo Brumpon: Paralysis of Doing  


“A dog holding onto a bone in its mouth can never bite you.” – Ugandan Proverb

Commonsense is said to be ‘common and yet not common to common people.’ This sounds hilarious until the reality of worsening attitudes in society hits you in the face. All around us, our collective knowledge has increased in squared folds. We know a lot of stuff, but our knowing has not necessarily translated into the expected ideals we had been dreaming about. This is a dent on our intelligence when you consider that the general perception is that once we know about something then we practice it.

We all know what kindness is, we know the ripple effects of its footprints; but how many of us are actually kind? We know about strategy, team-working, diversity, efficiency and all the ‘profit assurance’ concepts that the corporate environment needs to grow businesses through the clouds. And these always fills us with enough pride until we start a business or are employed. That is why we start to realise that the pace of translating of what we know into reality, often not proceeds at a pace slower than the movement of tortoise. Sometimes they never take off their theoretical clothes.

When we observe the happenings around us, and the trends in our society, we can confidently conclude that we are making the same mistakes that our fathers did, which was the same as their fathers and the ones before them. We are not promoting virtues and encouraging virtuous living. This really is a sad blunder raging through our society. The sadder part of the story is that we know about the mistakes and we are not making efforts to change our habits. No wonder ‘common sense is not common to common people.’ It takes some extraordinariness to actually put into practice the knowledge we spend our resources acquiring.

For reasons beyond strangeness, we seem to believe that once we know about something, it means we automatically practice it. That is the basis for the surprising majority of our relationships. We employ people because they have diplomas and degrees; we pick our relations because they talk about the things they know and we believe what they will become what they talk about. Living has become a knowledge brokering sport. This is the malady of modern. It is so bad that the surprising majority of people even view knowledge as a tangible product. We value the acquisition and dissemination of knowledge so much that we have forgotten that knowledge itself seeks to be translated into action so that it can generate more knowledge.

Knowledge can lead to action, but it is still not action. Too many of us think once we know about mistakes, it immunes us from repeating them. We believe writing our vision and mission statements of our organizations mean we are actually operating by them. We connote have values transforms us into becoming principled individuals. If that was the real story, the world would be a paradise. Such an attitude is what we call ‘living with and by assumptions.’ It is deadlier than drinking poison. And if you care to know, it was assumptions, rather than mistakes that hinders growth.

The “knowing versus doing gap” is a livelihood deficiency syndrome that is worse than any disease that bacteria and viruses can cause. We are quick to pass evaluation based on what people say they know rather than on what they actually do. We lose sight of the fact just because an individual knows about the concept of leadership does not necessarily mean he or she would make a good leader. We forget that the metrics for assessing talk is not the same as those for assessing actions. Unfortunately, the bulk of us do not suspend our evaluation of what people say until they act on it. We simply confuse the two as being the same and treat them as such.

Maybe there is something offish about acting on our knowledge; that makes us shy away from it. When you think about that fact that it can take months, sometimes years of effort to acquire knowledge, not forgetting the plethora of books and articles you have to read; and yet more often than not, we just leave them unused in our thoughts, un-translated in our words and ignored in our actions; then there must be something wrong somewhere. And the wrongness is with us rather than with the system. Let us not forget that we create the systems, and not the other way round.

It is time to start implementing what we know. It is time to act on the knowledge we have spent all our resources acquiring. There is no need to acquire more knowledge when we are not acting on the ones we have. The biggest secret about knowledge is that when we translate it into actions, it births offspring we call innovativeness and creativity.

It cultivates new thoughts, words, and actions in us. It molds our attitudes positively. It makes us desirable and irreplaceable. That is why it is bemusing that we are not taking advantage of what we know. You have a lot of knowledge inside you, come on and let it out by doing as you have learned. It is what our humanity needs. Please don’t fail us…


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 catapults 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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