By: SANDRA IDOSSOU
Recently, when I was on vacation in my homeland Bénin, I was privileged to speak to two different groups of young people. The first event was at a Summer University organised by the Bénin Action Pluriel, an association headed by the former United Nations Resident Co-ordinator in Rwanda, Aurelien Agbenonci.
The second event was organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation with the aim of equipping young leaders with tools that will prepare them for the future.
Interacting with these young and energetic people was simply overwhelming. Their aspirations, hopes and doubts of the future show that no matter who we are, it is our responsibility to guide, mentor and be role models for young Africans.
Here are some of the principles I shared with them:
Dare to dream
The only thing that is offered to both rich and poor people is the freedom to dream. You do not have to pay anything to anyone to dream. So, do not limit yourself.
James Allen, the British author of “As a Man Thinketh” says that “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be.”
Dear young Africans, dream big. Life is what happens more with our attitude and mindset than with our actions.
Daring is an essential element in taking one’s destiny in one’s hand. If you wait for things to simply happen, you might wait for a long time. Dare to open that door, to believe in your future; dare to go beyond obstacles, to seize opportunities around you.
Preparation is key
It is said that luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Preparation is essential in all we do.
Take time to get ready. Read books, upgrade your skills, gain knowledge and learn new languages. Don’t waste time on unproductive things.
Avoid idleness. Time is an important ingredient, do not waste it.
I am grieved by the amount of time wasted by people, especially the youth, watching irrelevant issues on television.
If we want take advantage of the economic boom that is happening in Africa, now is the time to be prepared.
Quality is everything
Maybe one of the reasons that inspired me to become a trainer on quality is my personal discipline to always strive for excellence in everything I do.
Mediocrity or average goals will not help us excel. We should refuse to give in to the myth that because we are in Africa, we should not aim at perfection. If it is not of high quality, do not go for it.
Work hard; there is no other way round
Wish there was another way around this but truth be told, success comes to those who work hard. There is no magic. I have been energy in what you do.
Becoming a publisher forced me to learn so much on this job that even today, only God knows how hard I have to work on the challenging tricks of this adventure.
Be reliable even in small things
We live in a time where sadly, many people do not keep their word. Many have lost the value of keeping their promises, agreements and engagements. As a trainer and publisher, I have learnt that if you are reliable in small things, people will look for you.
Adhere to your word, whether verbal or written. Always remember that “commitment means staying loyal to what you said you were going to do, long after the mood you said it in has left you”.
Be passionate and love what you do
Passion is the only ingredient that pushes you to continue especially during difficult moments.
Without passion, success is not possible. Passion is a beautiful flame that when kept ignited, keeps your determination up.
Success is a journey with many ups and downs. There is no single book with all the tools you will need for success.
As a proud and optimistic African, I am very sure that if we all do the right things daily, we will be able to take our continent to the next level of development.