Emmanuel Maingi

Author:  Emmanuel Maingi – Co-Founder and Director, Athena Group

“One might not grossly fail in their lives but some failure in life is inevitable and it’s impossible to live without some form of it unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you fail by default. The knowledge you’ve emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks, means that you are ever after secure in your ability to survive. You’ll never truly know yourself or the true strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity or some form of failure; such knowledge is a true gift for all that’s painfully one, and is worth more than any qualification in this life. Personal happiness lies in knowing that life is not a checklist of acquisitions and achievements. Life is difficult and complicated, and beyond anyone’s total control and the humility to know that, will enable one to survive its ups and downs.

Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not and therefore the fount of all invention and it’s innovation in its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we’ve never shared.

Choosing to live in narrow spaces leads to mental acrophobia and that brings its own terrors. I think the will-fully unimaginative see more monsters; they’re often more afraid.”

What we achieve inwardly, will change outer reality – it expresses in part our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people lives simply by existence.”

JK Rowling

The lesson from this great icon of our time; is that life is not a plateau and we ought to recognize that failure/ adversity is part of the journey and a learning platform for us to be better tomorrow that we are today. Being able to empathize with those facing adversity should be part of our goals as we advance our life’s goals by recognizing that by extending help to someone in need should be part of our core values as we might be the only ones willing to help. As the famous quote that “in the journey to greatness, always extend a hand to others – empowerment. As an enabled and empowered society is as powerful as any super power. This can be achieved by mentoring the smart, able and imaginative, supporting worthy causes through finance or hours in ones busy schedule, paying school fees for needy and able students.

It’s also important to recognize the power of self-reflection and imagination as it unlocks the future in ways we never thought possible. I know society has idolised success by equating it to financial and career success but this can be anything as the saying goes – “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” and if success to one means that helping the needy or dedicating their life to serving humanity, that’s a form of success.

It’s as such that we are all differently talented and should not be afraid to follow our dreams just because society (society as dictated by our own experiences and those around us) dictates so. Your dreams are valid no matter the height you have to climb or toil to achieve them. I personally don’t believe in arriving or achieving my goals and settling in the comfort that they bring along but to seek more as is human nature that we are born curious and according to the famous quote as was read by Steve Jobs at a Stanford University graduation, stay hungry, stay foolish which is the one thing that pushes me to know more than we currently do.

I will close by giving an example of Bill Gates whom we are all familiar with. When him and Paul Allen Co-founded Microsoft, they had a vision and never envisioned being the top 10 World’s wealthiest individuals but they stayed the course at a time when they operated from a garage of their parents’ and today, they have achieved what we term as self-actualisation in monetary and financial resources terms but they continue to give more value to the world by setting up institutions like Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to empower the World’s unfortunate. Microsoft Corp now has a market capitalisation of $469.16b as of 18th November 2016. Had they given up, they’d not be industry titans and icons we know.

A week ago, Melinda and Gates were among 21 luminaries from multiple industries — including Ellen DeGeneres, Michael Jordan, architect Frank Gehry, Diana Ross, Tom Hanks and NASA engineer Margaret Hamilton to be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States’ highest civilian honour for their contribution to life-changing causes. Bill and Melinda’s were through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — which has so far contributed over $36b resulting to a reduction in child mortality rates by half in the over 100 countries they operate in.

Life is what you make it and your destiny lies in your belief to conquer and win. The difference between success and failure lies in ones ability to turn pessimism into optimism even at times of difficulties.

Seek to add value to the World each day of your life and it shall be reciprocated.


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