The Audacity of Knowing – We Can!
The most popular man in the World as at today is a man with a name many will call the most inappropriate for a United States President. World leaders are courting him now; even Ahmadinejad – the outspoken and a sworn enemy of the USA sent him a congratulatory message. Back home in Nigeria – our very hilarious politicians are not left out of the dance. Pages of national dailies are adorned with his pictures and even former President Obasanjo wrote an article to congratulate the man of the moment. There are many lessons to learn from this singular occurrence which might be the change needed by America to regain its respect in the World as well as a resurrection of its ailing economy. I will just write my own opinion of the whole issue and what lessons we should all take from there.
1. There is no excuse for failure: I guess this is the most important lesson to be learned from the life of Barack Obama. He was born as a result of a love affair between a Kenyan man and an American woman that never led to marriage. His formative years were not spent in the home of a single mother as some people say but with grandparents after his mother remarried. Many of us are quick to condemn the country we were born in, how poor our parents are, the economy and even the color of our skin for our woes and unproductive life. Everyone has a story and it is amusing that people will continue blaming others for their shortcomings in life. The earlier we understand that life is an individual journey where the best players become fulfilled. Obama’s life oozes of a DRIVE that cannot be subdued and he continually strove for excellence in all he did. If there is anything we should learn from him – it is to know that no matter the situation; we can accomplish anything.
2. Be Consistent: I have been interested in Obama for about 4 years now especially after his blockbuster speech at the 2004 Democratic convention. The result of that speech is evident in the book titled – audacity of hope. Reading this book will show you a glimpse into the kind of politics Obama believes in. During the Presidential debates with Mc Cain – some people were mad at Obama for always acknowledging his opponents strong points e.g. Senator Mc Cain is right about that, John is correct, e.t.c. I looked back to who he claimed to be in his book and concluded that he is very consistent. He practices the kind of politics that does not seek to denigrate the opponent but stick to facts and the betterment of his country. And that is why we respect him. We respect men who will always stick to the truth and not continually shift grounds as it suits them.
3. It pays to serve: Service is in Obama’s blood. This is a man who devoted his life to community service in Chicago. God recognises a man who gives his all and the reward is giving them higher challenges. The lesson is linked to the parable of talents. If he did not volunteer in Illinois which is technically not his home State – no one will trust him enough to elect him into the State legislative house.
4. Never give up: Obama shares a trait with a former president of the United States. They both come from Illinois – Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln lost many elections but I wonder what drives him to contest for a higher office each time. I think it is important to realise that Obama also lost an election into the Federal House before he became a State legislator. He thereafter won election into the US Senate. The rest is known history.
5. First term doesn’t mean sit down: When Obama won elections into the US Senate; one would expect the first term Senator from Illinois to take it easy and learn the ropes of America’s complex legislative business. No – he took it with a blast – using his experience gained from his years of teaching constitutional law; he redefined first term and became an instant hit and a very influential member of the upper house. I have learned that my age, number of years of experience, etc will never push me down in life.
6. A Woman’s product: Many of us do not understand the power of a woman in shaping a man’s life. The women in Obama’s life are awesome. His grandmother should be honored with a biography because we have a lot to learn from her. Marrying the right woman is perhaps his best decision in life. Michelle Obama exudes the kind of charm a great woman only possess. I am happy to learn from this and I will always respect the women who are shaping my life.
7. A good family man wins: Imagine Obama as a wife beater who do not care about family. Tufiakwa. Lailai. It is a good thing to run a family the way God ordained it. Loving one’s wife and the kids; being very sensitive to family members etc. Obama left in the heat of campaign to check his ailing grandmother. That is a family man and it is a very sweet scent to carry.
8. Understand the basics of affiliation: The people around us will most likely show us the direction to take in life, how we live and how to pursue our goals. Obama has been consistent in always having the right people in his company. He demonstrated it again when he chose his running partner – a man that compliment his young age as well as other qualities he possesses.
9. My brain not my skin color: I very much hope that Obama’s success will spark a change in paradigm for our black American brothers from being niggers to achievers. Most Black Americans have the stereotype mind that deceives them into believing the American dream is not for them. Now – the excuses are reduced and we hope in the nearest future – drug usage, baby mommas/daddies will reduce amongst our black brothers. This extends to Africa too where most people believe that only white men can excel in some certain professions. If a black man can be the President of the strongest nation on earth – a black man can also be an astronaut and more!
10. Even in the 21st Century, God still counts: I won’t say much. But Obama loves God and he is not ashamed of it. He is a self-professed Christian. Most people are either thinking God does not exist or relegate him to a level that is so low. When all is said and done – God is still the owner of the Universe.
In my next post – I will write about the lessons for Nigeria/Nigerians. We cannot let this moment pass without ensuring we got the lessons right and the implications the decisions we take have on us all.