Whatever progress we want in our lives and environment must start with our desire and willingness to change the status quo.
Some take the sessions lightly and others come to the table with gusto, guns blazing with full 17-page manifestos’ ready to change the course of the universe.
As the final sparkles of 2021 faded away I sat sniffling at the gun powder in the air and staring at the blank sky wondering what all the celebration and Razzmatazz was about.
2021 had been an unsettling year following the very devastating year 2020, I was puzzled, did I miss “the memo” that said 2022 would be easier or less disruptive, or did other people get a guarantee that 2022 would restore peace and sanity after two years of disruption?
I guess a new beginning always brings hope and that’s a good enough reason for people to celebrate but I still really wondered what people were actually celebrating or was there a problem with me?
By the time the sun was rising in the wee hours of 2022 it however quickly dawned on me that the problem was definitely not with “them” but indeed with me. I had been smarting from a 5-day headache caused by a mental quagmire brought about by a question I posed to myself on the 26th of December.
For the first time in many years, I got the pleasure of staying home for Christmas. For the first two days, I was extremely irritated and wore a long face choosing to stay busy in my study instead of joining in the merry-making.
After all, Covid had ruined my travel plans and I could not see beyond the closed borders and vaccination issues. On day three I got tired of being disappointed and decided to get some good sleep. That sleep proved to be very deep and addictive and after sleeping in for 3 days in a row I came out of hibernation not only with a fully grown beard but also with one single profound question?
If all mankind genuinely want progress in their life and the environment around them then why does inertia thrive? In other words, most people have beautiful and passionate goals and plans at the beginning of every year, plans that if a third were properly executed could change the face of the earth positively so why the torpor?
End of year evaluation and goal setting sessions brings up many different emotions in many people, there is the let’s check on what we actually achieved and improve on it emotion, then let’s quickly forget last years set of goals and make some new ones in a hurry emotion and finally the feeling of make no new goals such that no one keeps you accountable to anything feeling. As we say in Kenya all dreams are valid thus all these emotions and reactions are indeed valid however I must confess not all paths lead to the promised land.
For the last 12 years, I have actively taken my mentees through goal setting at the end of the year. The process starts on the 26th of December when they submit Version 1 and by the 31st we are probably on version 3 or 4. I think it’s an irritating process to do over the Christmas holiday’s however they humor me and find time in between the merry-making of swallowing chicken, beers, and cake to piece something together.
Some take the sessions lightly and others come to the table with gusto, guns blazing with full 17-page manifestos’ ready to change the course of the universe. One can always tell who has come prepared to share their lofty ambitions and those who are there to observe, listen and learn. It is very interesting observing the look of shock and horror on most people’s faces when we go through the past years’ goals to try to see how many were actually achieved in the spirit of what was originally set. It is almost unbelievable and unfathomable that they seem shocked at the reality of what they have not achieved but alas, that’s where we find ourselves most of the time. So why do we make so little progress despite having the desire and passion for better?
Calling on Socrates, Pythagoras, and Bob Marley
So I posted my profound question to three of my revered friends, experts in Culture, Engineering, and Psychology, men and women with gravitas and expertise outside my domain. One quipped: “addiction to comfort zones “ we are too comfortable with our lives and are set in the way we have set them so rather than make changes we would rather stay put in mediocrity. The other said: Lack of clarity in the vision or lack of purpose behind the goal. In this case, if the goal doesn’t have a great “why” behind it or in cases where the goals were copy-pasted from friends of the family the person lacks the energy and staying power to pursue them. Lastly, I was reminded of the human tendency to stand still and expect things to magically happen also known as the strategy of ”blind faith” or is it misconstrued hope?
I would like to submit my humble philosophical answer to the headache :
In my opinion, whatever progress we want in our lives and environment must start with our desire and willingness to change the status quo. As 2022 begins, this new year gives us an opportunity to make the necessary changes to our mindset. We all get to begin with a new clean slate “Tabular Rasa” thus the real questions are :
So in summary ultimately and fundamentally: “ Nothing changes if nothing changes “ !
This piece has been written by Kris Senanu, Chief Enterprise Business Officer At Safaricom PLC