Execution

Wow! It’s been a while! First things first, Happy New Year and Happy New Month!

Away from the niceties and into the central theme of this article. So, today I would like to handle a critical matter, that is, execution. I felt the urge to begin my writing this year with an important subject that really separates leaders from followers, the successful from the unsuccessful, the rich from the poor, and the wise from fools. In one way or the other, execution is one of the most significant elements to success in any field. Time and again, we have heard that “procrastination is the thief of time.” Also, we know that procrastination is the silent killer of man’s deepest dreams yet we still find ourselves pushing forward a significant activity. How many times have we backed out of important but not urgent matters? In any case, what often makes us fail to spring into action may be fear, paralysis by analysis, or the discouragement concerning the effort that we need to put into attaining the success. At other times, it may be the lack of enthusiasm or drive to just get it done.

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Image Credits: Board of Wisdom

On a lighter note, I read someone’s post on social media where he had written that the year often begins in March; January and February serve as a period of reminiscing the past year and also as a grace period for preparing to enter into the new year. Funny weird, isn’t it? It is easy to conclude that such comments come from a lack of enthusiasm and motivation to seize the day. In effect, inaction breeds immobility and yet time and tide wait for no man! We ought to be in action, but this does not mean that we just move around aimlessly without a purpose. We need to have a purpose and to attain this purpose, we ought to set goals. To accomplish the goals, we need to execute the steps necessary to achieve them. Ever heard of the quote which says, “Dreams without goals are just dreams…and they fuel disappointments.” We hate disappointments, right?

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Image Credits: Quotefacny

The Good Book tells us that, “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” [Proverbs 4:7, KJV]. So, in the above scripture, we have two elements – Wisdom and Understanding. The latter is gotten as people gain knowledge. We know that wisdom and knowledge go hand in hand. However, there is an important factor that connects the two. This factor is execution. Even as man searches for knowledge, there is the need for them to appreciate that the wisdom is in the execution! If you cannot put into practice (execute) what you learn, then the knowledge becomes useless.

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Image Credits: Highland Park Baptist Church

Imagine you are an archer and you have really prepared well for a particular global tournament. When you win the competition, you get to walk home with a fortune. So, the tournament is held in an arena as large as the Wembley Stadium and is being broadcasted worldwide. It is your turn to march on to the field and take your shots. The only challenge is that there is no target! What! After all the preparations you walk into a competition, and there is no target? Well, that’s madness, isn’t it? Well, that’s how a large portion of the world is today! Shocked? Yes, we have many people with all the knowledge in the world, but they do not know where to apply it! It is said that the greatest tragedy in life is not death but a life without purpose.

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Image Credits: InspireCast

Knowing one’s purpose is the first step to living a great life. However, we also have individuals who know their purpose, but they have a rough time living their destiny. They have all the knowledge concerning the direction they should take but are still unsuccessful. In essence, their outward life does not portray who they are on the inside. On the inside, they may be having all the knowledge concerning their specialization, but on the outside, they are unsuccessful in their profession. Mercy! One of the challenges could be that they are poor in applying the knowledge they possess. Yes, we all desire to be wise. However, in our pursuit for wisdom, we face a lot of hurdles that at times make us play low in the name of sparing ourselves the blushes. However, there is a remedy for all that. The power lies in the execution. Simply put, “gaining knowledge is good, but wisdom is in the execution/application of whatever one has learned.” Also, “Knowledge is power but knowledge without action is useless.”

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Image Credits: Brainy Quote

Indeed, wisdom is the principal thing. We could go on and on expounding on the subject, but I choose to leave it at this point. Well, wisdom is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and taking the necessary actions to improve further. So, for a long time, I have been battling with execution. It has been a struggle not only in business but also in life. From time to time, I was wondering why my life was not improving despite all the effort I put in gaining knowledge only to know that I was poor when it came to execution. However, now I have a clear picture of my weakness.
For a start, I have begun reading Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan’s book titled, “Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done.” I have not gone past chapter one, and I am already learning a lot. In the book, Bossidy and Charan investigate how great leaders are masters of execution. In essence, they state that most companies struggle to make great strides because they are weak at execution. My reason for reading the book is to help revive my side-hustle which is in the negative zone despite having a great strategy and a grand master plan.

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Image Credits: Amazon

Even you today, you can identify areas in your life where you have failed to take appropriate action and begin to move. Remember, wisdom and power lie in the execution. Also, remember that the knowing is in the doing. And when you are overwhelmed, remember to seek assistance. Indeed, there is no shame in asking for help.

Happy Execution folks!

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Bonus Thought

We have a lot of self-improvement books, and we also have a lot of motivational speakers. In the present age where technology is transforming the way we live, we also have motivational channels and accounts. So, we are well equipped with the knowledge we need to live a great life. However, the challenge lies in the execution. Yes, the information we get from all the books, channels, accounts, and the people around us would not work unless we apply it, period! Even the reading of the scripture and listening to sermons would not work unless you work it out! At times, the results may take longer to manifest, but one thing is for sure, the right execution techniques will yield the desired results.

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Image Credits: Pinterest

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Teach him…

Abraham Lincoln’s letter to his teacher’s son acts as an eye opener to any human being. It introduces one to the journey of life. I bet as you go through the letter you will tend to see your life through the words. Here is the letter:

My son starts school today. It is all going to be strange and new to him for a while and I wish you would treat him gently. It is an adventure that might take him across continents. All adventures that probably include wars, tragedy and sorrow. To live this life will require faith, love and courage.

So dear Teacher, will you please take him by his hand and teach him things he will have to know, teaching him – but gently, if you can. Teach him that for every enemy, there is a friend. He will have to know that all men are not just, that all men are not true. But teach him also that for every scoundrel there is a hero, that for every crooked politician, there is a dedicated leader.

Teach him if you can that 10 cents earned is of far more value than a dollar found. In school, teacher, it is far more honorable to fail than to cheat. Teach him to learn how to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when he does win.

Teach him to be gentle with people, tough with tough people. Steer him away from envy if you can and teach him the secret of quiet laughter. Teach him if you can – how to laugh when he is sad, teach him there is no shame in tears. Teach him there can be glory in failure and despair in success. Teach him to scoff at cynics.

Teach him if you can the wonders of books, but also give time to ponder the extreme mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hill. Teach him to have faith in his own ideas, even if every one tell him they are wrong.

Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone else is doing it. Teach him to listen to every one, but teach him also to filters all that he hears on a screen of truth and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him to sell his talents and brains to the highest bidder but never to put a price tag on his heart and soul. Let him have the courage to be impatient, let him have the patient to be brave. Teach him to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will always have sublime faith in mankind, in God.

This is the order, teacher but see what best you can do. He is such a nice little boy and he is my son.

Important lessons such as enjoying failure to win through cheating, focusing on how to earn money rather than how much one earns, dealing with different types of people, importance of imagination & associating with nature, following one’s heart & dreams, love for oneself, for others and most importantly loving and believing in God just to mention a few can be learned from the letter.

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Image Credits: https://propelsteps.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/have-you-read-the-famous-letter-of-abraham-lincoln-to-his-sons-teacher/

The letter was adapted from: http://englishbookgeorgia.com/blogebg/a-letter-from-abraham-lincoln-to-his-sons-teacher/

Be Aware…

It was back in 2004. I was in primary school. It was the second term and music festivals were around the corner. The music teachers made efforts to train us hard. We worked under the rule of the army, ‘train hard to fight easy’. I was in the boys set piece. We were supposed to sing ‘The Riddle Song’. For those who know it, it is an English folk song with its origin being traced back to the 15th Century. I can still remember those practice moments like it was just yesterday. The lyrics to the song went like:

”I gave my love a cherry that had no stone
I gave my love a chicken that had no bones
I gave my love a ring that had no end
I gave my love a baby thats no cryen

How can there be a cherry that has no stone?
How can there be a chicken that has no bones?
How can there be a ring that has no end?
How can there be a baby thats no cryen?

A cherry when it’s blooming it has no stone
A chicken when it’s pipping, it has no bones
A ring when it’s rolling, it has no end
A baby when it’s sleeping, has no cryen”.

I was on a transition from childhood to adolescence. I was still unaware of the changes to expect. During our time, adolescence and puberty as a topic was being taught in Class 6. In 2004 I was not in Class 6 and so I could not understand the changes that were going on in me. I remember the first session when we started practising The Riddle Song. We were called in twos and asked to sing the whole song so that our trainers could determine to which voice we belonged. To my surprise, I was the only boy in our classroom who was grouped in the tenor voice. The rest of the boys were grouped in either soprano or alto. in the tenor group, I found myself alongside Class 7 and Class 8 boys.

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As boys sang The Riddle Song, girls sang Flora Gave Me Fairest Flowers. Their angelic voices could easily soothe a crying child to sleep. It could provide a man deep in debt with a brief moment of ecstasy where he would feel like he owns the whole world. Nonetheless, the harmony in their voices served as a catalyst to the boys who eventually took their game to the next level knowing that there is a she out there watching them.

In as much as I believed that my voice could not be found on the keyboard, I knew it was somewhere between soprano and alto. But alas! To my surprise, it was categorized as a tenor. For the coming weeks, Mr. Makongele and his elder brother were involved in training us. His elder brother was an army man on a break from a mission in Burundi. Mr. Makongele was a Kiswahili, Science, and Creative Arts (quite a tricky combination) teacher at our school. Their passion for music could be seen in the way they were able to sing out the lyrics to the song in all the four voices. Mr. Makongele was involved in training the soprano and alto ‘boys’ while his elder brother was involved in training the tenor and bass ‘men’.The training sessions were from 3.10pm to 5.00pm, a period when all the learning activity for the day had been exhausted and all that remained were games before we all attended an evening assembly for dismissal back to our homes.

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I was in denial. How could I be the only one with the tenor voice in our classroom? Why were the rest of the boys different from me? How comes I am the only one practising alongside the mature Class 7 and Class 8 boys with deep voices? Rather than appreciating this uniqueness, I kept on looking at myself as having a ‘disability’. The first few training sessions were a success as I always made the cut. The trainers were looking to have the final 42 set piece members. In as much as I kept on making the cut, I still lived in denial. I longed for those moments where I could train with the rest of my classmates. Most of the times I felt out of place as I trained with the tenor ‘men’. It reached a point where I contemplated making a switch to training with the rest of my classmates. I settled on soprano since alto was very competitive. Moreover, a large number of Class 6 boys and few Class 7 boys had the alto voice. They were all qualified to sing in that voice. I knew it was close to impossible to dislodge a member of the alto ‘boys’.

Colorful musical notes

The day I decided to make a switch to soprano was the day I made a very grave mistake. As a consequence of this switch and to cut the long story short, I never made it to the final 42. I carried this guilty conscience with me for a very long time simply because I missed out on a chance to represent our school in the Regional Music Competition held in Narok. When you mention Narok, Maasai Mara Game Reserve automatically comes into mind. Imagine I missed a chance to visit the game reserve. If only I had stuck to training with the tenor ‘men’ then I would have visited the park. As the wise men said, ‘If wishes were horses then beggars would ride on them’.

Sometimes in our lives, we are faced with a scenario where we feel that holding on is the dumbest thing we can ever do. We tend to overthink and this makes us imagine non-existent things and issues. In such situations, overthinking clouds our minds with thoughts which more often than not leads us into making uninformed decisions. Like in my case, I was unaware of adolescence till the day when I stepped into Class 6. If I had been aware, chances are high that I would have learned to accept myself and sing on with the tenor ‘men’. Awareness helps us understand our lives and our environment better. It assists us in making the necessary adjustments in our lives. It is, therefore, prudent that we be aware of the situation at hand before making decisions. This awareness will help us make sound judgment and in the emerge as wise decision-makers.

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