Happy New Year everyone! I’m glad we all made it into a brand new year that’s just 10 days fresh! I’m sure most of us have a long list of resolutions to achieve the perfect us for the year! Just remember effective ambition must be measured which requires realistic goals. Be ambitious but don’t live in la-la land.
This whole resolution frenzy brought me to a thought I have been mauling over for some time now. Let me start with a brief back story. I was around town today when I remembered meeting one of my mother’s former workmates. I had last seen this man in 1994 when I was a lot younger. I met Mr X last year and he is still in the same job at the same firm. He has been doing the same job for +23 years! That just blew my mind and really got me thinking about Zambian ambition.
When you speak to the average Zambian you will find that their typical ambition is to get a good job and keep it as long as they can. Elevation/promotion is just supposed to happen as a result of seniority and work experience. Our ambition seems to be to make sure we get a comfy job and sit pretty and enjoy life. This “good job” is supposed to automatically usher us into the good life where success just kind of happens to us. Success seems to be more of a matter of luck than an actual striving for something in the accepted narrative. Once you have the “good Job” you have arrived and success is inevitable.
Anyway back to Mr X, I was at pains to understand how he kept the same job for so long; then I looked at my own employment history and realised that I need to get that Zambian out of me before I spend my whole life in one place. Mr X is pretty lucky that his company retained him for so long but that’s not everyone’s story. Some are less fortunate and find themselves being declared redundant or going down with a sinking ship. It reminds me of the analogy of rats given in the book “Who moved my cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. It’s basically a book about change and planning for it. Mr X is more like the little rat that had spent time finding cheese and then making a permanent home there without realising that the cheese is gradually depleting. Sadly, a lot of us find ourselves in this category when we get to a level of success that we consider as comfortable and secure. But in this ever changing world is “security” real and should we stop moving forward.
It seems to me like our goals should always be a moving target. The day we stop moving is the day we give life permission to catch up with us and smack us with the ugly parts of “the unexpected”. We should perpetually be in motion with an ever-evolving definition of success. The pace of our motion is ours to determine but we must not seek out retirement until the engine gives up on us. We must not always seek to be ahead of the trend which is often scary but rewarding. We need to tear up the dream of getting a job that makes you so comfortable that you quit trying because the adventure is in trying and not in the mundane maintenance of a comfy job. This year I resolved to exorcise my inner Zambian and get ahead of the trend. I remember the words of a pretty wise friend who told me “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. This year we get into that rat race looking for new land and new adventures. We were built for the road so let’s act like it. We literally are staring at a blank page that is ready to be inked in with tales of trying and sometimes failing but always moving forward. I’m challenging you to make 2017 the year you keep it moving and get ahead of the race. Like Howard Wolowitz I’m looking for people to join my Perpetual Motion Squad. Whose with me?