Breaking the shackles of the mind


How to achieve success

The road to success is hard and eludes a lot of people because of the shackles that bind their mind and this shackles come in the form of misconceptions. If one is to achieve success he/she will need to get rid of these misconceptions especially in Zimbabwe were we as a people have deep routed and entrenched misconceptions.

By Malvern Marufu

As we grow we come across and learn certain principles and also develop our own belief system which helps us to make sense of the world. This is as a result of our never ending battle to overcome the harsh environment we live in.

We develop specific value systems which we use perceive and make sense of the world. In our own understanding we believe that which we think is true and paints a true picture of reality. The human being is full of biases and as such people can believe something is true even though it is not and this is what we are referring to as a misconception. These misconceptions exist because of bias and because the human being is egocentric, predominantly anything that goes against his/her value system is disregarded most of the times even though it could be the truth.

The first deadly misconceptions that most Zimbabweans have developed is that you have to have juju or to steal in order to be successful in life. This misconceptions is prevalent in the older generations. As we grow up we are taught not to envy or emulate rich people because you don’t know how they got their money. The comments that people pass when a rich person is being discussed it only points to the fact that most people actually believe that most rich people have used juju or have stolen the money somewhere. The net effect of the derogative belief is that instead of actively seeking how the rich have made their money and to learn from their experiences so that one can then apply the knowledge acquired to their own life so that they can also become wealthy. Instead people will condemn the rich and sometimes they will even hate the wealthy people as a result they deprive themselves of valuable knowledge that they could have learned.

The second deadly misconception is that people believe and are so convinced that they cannot change their circumstances. This is not true everyone has been given the tools by God to ensure that you can solve all your problems. You might say I’m now being religious and have moved away from the realm of logic but I can assure you each and every person has sufficient power to change their predicament only if they belief and have the will power to actively seek solutions. It might not happen overnight but if you can make a decision to change your life it will surely happen. We as Zimbabweans have to get our mindset right this mentality of people blaming the economy and people blaming their relatives that they have bewitched them has to stop.

I have witnessed people blaming “mweya yema dzinza” tribal spirits for their misfortunes while deliberately choosing to ignore that they have a part to play in shaping their destiny. This really is the wrong mindset instead of actively trying to seek a solution to one’s current predicament most of the people in Zimbabwe engage in a subtle form of warfare where one goes to the apostolic or religious sect to look for solution but the dubious apostles then take advantage and tell the person for instance that his uncle is the one that is bewitching them and as a result people then expend so much energy and resources into fighting this factious enemy. In most occasions the uncle will be focusing on his own life and succeeding. If the energy that is used by the people in fighting these factious battles is used to find solutions to the person problems I guarantee that the person’s situation will be different.

The sad thing about these misconceptions is that people will relinquish the power they have, which they can use to change that which affects them. When someone has found a very good excuse which at times is understandable as the economy is not performing as it should. When people give excuses what it does is that it shuts down the mind in that the mind stops actively looking for solutions to the problem.

When a person is determined to do something he finds a way because he/she will have allowed their mind to contemplate on the challenge but because people have a good excuse their minds will stop looking for a solution. The lovely pierce of knowledge, “where there is a will there is a way” is very true in every sense. The mind is the greatest gift that God has given us it is a marvel, it bugles the mind how at times you have those “aha “ moments where an idea suddenly pops in your mind that will solve your current challenges. You will only get an “aha” moment only if sufficient effort and time has been put by the brain to ponder over a specific problem.

The kind of thinking where most people blame the economy has doomed a lot of youths and this has been so profound in the minds of the unemployed to such an extent that they believe they cannot change their predicament. Even when the economy bounces back some of the personal challenges will remain the same because not all problems that are faced by a person can be solved when the economy improves.

When a person is in such a predicament where they are unable to fend for themselves or at least to try, it shows that they are lazy to some extent either they are lazy to think or lazy to find something to do that will give them a revenue. One would say I’m being very harsh on the people who are unemployed and they can’t find capital. I’m a strong believer that people should take responsibility for their actions and their predicament. Patrick Bet David author of the book “20 Ways of doing the impossible” shares this same belief. He argues that if you don’t take ownership of your actions you will not learn from your mistakes and therefore you will not improve. Professor PLO Lumumba of Kenya is also proponent of this kind of thinking he sums everything up by a quote “I think therefor I am” which emphasizes that everyone is able to shape their own destiny.

A striking example of this way of thinking which exemplifies the soundness of this belief. One of the acquaintance I grew up with in Budiriro who started selling his wares at the shops on his small table. This person sold at that table for years but he was no ordinary vendor he had a different mindset from the rest of the people. He applied for a loan to use for capital from a bank when he put his parents’ house as collateral. He got the loan, started a super market and guess what he now has two very vibrant supermarkets right now. Who would have thought that such an achievement could be possible? It is a worthwhile achievement to me because this is a typical story of a Zimbabwean who went against all odds and was able to achieve success. Now you come back to the rest of the youths who are drowning themselves in drugs and self-pity who haven’t found a winning formula little do they know that the winning formula is found deep within themselves.

The economic crisis which existed in the 2008 era where there was hyperinflation and money changers made a lot of money overnight. People engaged in deals or “madhiri” that allowed them to make instant wealth. Others went to South Africa and upon return came back with so much wealth that it seemed that wealth can be made in a very short period of time. This has really affected the mindsets of a lot of people who now seek to get rich overnight. The ordinary Zimbabwean believes that there will make one deal that will change everything and they will be instantly rich. I have seen people coming up with all sought of ideas that will make them rich in a very short time. This is not different from gambling where you bet against the odds. People lose their fortunes when they put all their money on one dubious deal they think will make them a lot of money overnight. In most cases they will be duped or they invest in an unprofitable venture. If you are very very lucky it might work out for you but in most cases people lose their fortunes. The ordinary citizen who is inpatient to accumulate wealth over time will mostly engage in deals which are dubious and lose their fortune. When a business transaction is too good to be true in most cases it is a well calculated scam manufactured by con-artist. We as a people we have to be patient wealth is built and accumulated over a period of time Jack Ma founder of Alibaba clearly highlights that you can never be rich in one year you need to plan 5 years ahead from your current position. That plan will help you to achieve your goal and you will surprised that you would have achieved something within a reasonable time period even.

There is no one path to success there are so many ways to achieve success. In Zimbabwe there is a strong belief that in order for you to succeed you have to go to school and pass with good grades. Then you go for college and from there you find a good paying job. This mantra has failed so many times especially in Zimbabwe were half of the youths are unemployed. The ones that are employed are being exploited by the companies as they are capitalizing on the high unemployment levels they can replace anyone at any time. There are so many examples of success were an individual achieves worthwhile achievement but without following the above mantra. Look at people like Peter Ndlovu who have achieved so much because of his talent to play football. He became the first African to play in the English premier league. An achievement which he could not have achieved if he had followed the ideology that you have to go all the way to college.

One habit that really is the center of any successful person is saving and this vital habit is nonexistent in most households in Zimbabwe. The misconception that most citizens have is that when they cut costs they have saved money but it is actually partially true. It is very important for one to reduce costs so as to do more with the same amount of money but that doesn’t constitute saving. Women are prone to going from one shop to the other looking for the cheapest possible product then after that the finally but the cheapest products available. After they buy the products they are left with some change money which they have saved. The women then go to spend the money on refreshments. This defeats the whole purpose of reducing costs, you reduce costs in order to maximize the money so that you will then save the money. Saving is the act of preserving or protecting from loss. Saving in the actual use of the word entails putting certain amount of money aside so that money can accumulate thereby forming savings. The majority of families in Zimbabwe don’t have savings and as a result people are devastated when they lose their source of income and also they will fail to utilize opportunities that knock at their doors because they don’t have ready money.

It is paramount for any person who seeks to be successful in any endeavor to critically look at themselves and rid themselves of this misconceptions. This will open up their mind and allow their minds to go through the thought process of solving problems unhindered by these misconceptions that clouds their judgment and exaggerates challenges to overwhelming levels.

When you face life with an open mind completely free of these misconceptions you will be positive of a brighter future.