You have one, and only one, noble task to carry out in life; that no matter the circumstances people may be in, you will be their reliable source of joy, a spring of cold water in the desert of desolation, a ray of light in the dungeon of despair, the Moses stick on the banks on the washing currents of the Red Sea of restlessness.
You are there to be an inspiration. People that we admire and cherish, those whose stories we read again and again and their documentaries watch and listen to, do have one common principle – they inspire hope in us. They inject in us the dose of belief that we can make it. In Dr Thomson Mpinganjira, we are inspired that, through hard work, we can become business gurus; Napoleon Dzombe injects in us the drive for philanthropy; female pilots Yolanda Ndala-Kunda and Lusekelo Mwenifumbo are a testimony to the girl-child that barriers are there to be broken; Legson Kayira taught us that you could walk to glory if only you believe; William Kamkwamba is a manifestation that all things are possible, no matter how insane your ideas may be perceived to be in the first instance.
Writing in the book Great Motivation Secrets Of Great Leaders, John Baldon explains that if the life of Ronald Reagan, fortieth president of USA, had been a movie script, it would never have sold. But, as a genuine life, it was one of the remarkable achievements against incredible odds. Reagan had the attributes that we all need to embody.
Consider his optimism. It is said that he always looked on the bright side of life. He saw opportunity where others saw despair. He believed in the American dream and communicated it eloquently to a people that were burdened by defeats abroad, clobbered by soaring inflation at home and who had lost confidence in government. Refer that to your country men. Mike Mlombwa walked on foot from Neno to Blantyre in search of his dream. Young Konjesi made a radio station from almost nothing. Kalua built Combine Cargo after being fired, Mpinganjira went on to have a bank despite several banking licence rejections. Carry on with your optimism; it is the catalyst of success.
Let inspiration make you resilient. Baldon says that Reagan had the ability to overcome adversity. He grew up with an alcoholic father but he did not let that hold him back. In his political life, he was successful as a governor, but was never nominated for the presidency. Nonetheless, he persevered and won election in 1980. Keep on going, never give up. You have many lessons on resilience to inspire you. Spinal cord injuries did not stop Scader Louis from pursuing her dream to become an accountant. First defeat in presidential election did not stop Bingu wa Mutharika from becoming Malawi’s president years later. Why giving up? Stumbling blocks do not stand in your way to bring your journey to an end; they are there to be conquered and reveal a new world to you – one that you enter through hard work and resilience.
The life of Reagan further points to resolve. It is said that he held to his ideas. He did not bend; he pushed those ideas hard. If Mahatma Gandhi had not held firmly to his ideas on pacifism, he would not have been a global icon. If Mama Theresa had never soldiered on with her passion for the poor, her name would have been nowhere to be referred to. If Martin Luther King Jnr had not held to the belief ‘I have a dream’, the black man’s emancipation would have taken ages and centuries to be realised in the USA. Whatever you want to be, hold on to it and work hard to achieve it. No matter the forces swerving you left and right, keep holding on as if it is the only cliff floating on the sea.
And for you to inspire others, you need to have charm. Reagan is said to have oozed charm. He had the ability to connect with people on a very personal level and make them feel important. He had the ‘I am one of you’ attitude. Talk to the successful people, you will always feel like you are one of them. They always listen attentively and will respect you and your opinions. Seek an audience with the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Malawi Dr Dalitso Kabambe; you will be amazed with his simplicity and down-to-earth attitude. The same is true of Mpinganjira of FDH Financial Holdings Limited, Dr George Partridge of Press Corporation, Dzombe of Mtalimanja, Paul Guta of Nedbank, Maclean Simwaka of Automotive Products Limited, Tom Malata of the Malawi Revenue Authority, Temwani Simwaka of Standard Bank, the list is endless.
Above all, as was the case with Reagan, radiate hope. Here is the thing; radiating hope was the main spring of the life of Reagan. In 1980, Baldon says, Reagan shared that hope with a nation that had been battered by the Vietnam war and Iranian hostage affair.
He pointed out America’s virtues and made people feel good about those virtues and about themselves. People want hope; be the channel of it to them. Dr Kamuzu Banda gave the people of Malawi the hope for independence, Bakili Muluzi brought the hope for democracy, Bingu wa Mutharika enacted hope in Malawians that their country was not poor but its people were poor as well as bringing the belief that we could turn from a predominantly importing and consuming nation into a predominantly producing and exporting nation. Look at the people around you; you will notice that their achievements are a result of radiating hope.
You have the Reagan DNA in you not by birth but inspiration. Make the world the best place and it will be.