There is nothing better than the sense of achievement. When you accomplish a difficult task, it feels like you have conquered the world. Nothing, and I mean, nothing can stand in your way.
I’m all too familiar with the deeply intoxicating feeling nowadays especially when I have successfully completed a difficult hike. I can sense my levels of confidence rising up, and more often than not I find myself staring in the face of what used to make me tremble.
This must be a good thing, right? Well, it depends. There’s nothing wrong in gaining confidence and having a sense of accomplishment. However, it is also easy to let the spirit of pride take ahold of you.
In the book of Proverbs it says man’s pride shall bring him low, but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.
So this is to me. I need to understand 1 Peter 5:6, which says “humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time”. The act of humility has to be done by me, no one else can do for me.
Therefore, I need to read it again. I must have a humble spirit as I conquer one summit after the other. You should do the same. For it is very pleasing to the Lord.
As a young mind, nature provides a pavilion from which the insatiable curiosity can be quenched by facts, bizarre, queer, funny, shocking, grizzly, lovely and beautiful, all observed from the world around us. But one that has stood the test of time in my mind is that sharks never go to sleep. Could that be true? Like never taking a wink, or say a power nap in between a snack? So do sharks dream at all? Perhaps that is all done while swimming round the globe, terrorizing pockets of seals and other shark delicacies from different areas in the vast expanse of the oceans.
Since the shark, in this case I’m thinking of the great white, is not exactly a partner with which to engage an academic discussion. I’ve seen a shark in an oceanarium once, the savage stare says it all. You cannot tame this beast, let alone have a conversation with. And since I’m also not a specialist in marine biology, I have let this problem go unresolved. It is an itch I can’t reach to scratch – oh, the torture. That is until yesterday. It occurred to me that there are other areas in life that must be repeated constantly, without taking a break, for the rest of one’s life. Just like the shark that has to be constantly on the move, without having a shut-eye.
I connected this to hiking. These last two months have seen me focus on my career and other areas that required my attention, bound to a desk. I haven’t been able to visit any hill in the months of February and March. I can feel something is wrong. Something is not in its place. I feel like a huge yawning hole has suddenly appeared in my life. It’s like shark has taken a nap, has stopped moving, starving itself of the essential oxygen and is now spiraling down to the bottom of the ocean. Yes, I’m told the shark has no waving gills, and therefore has to remain in motion to force the water past its body, in the process harvesting the molecule that keeps fish and mammals alive. I need to return to the hills otherwise, I feel like I will suffocate down in the valley.
This is a blessing. To know that it is not enough to do one good act once. We must do it again, and again. It’s true for food. We have to eat constantly. It’s true for our spiritual lives. We have to engage God daily. It’s true for our career. We have to work everyday. It’s true for adventure. We have to go back to nature and engage it constantly. We are not far removed from what is essential, what is lovely and what is good. It’s a beautiful mechanism.
And all it took for me to realize that is the tale about sharks never going to sleep. I’ll return to the mountains and breathe that fresh air once again. And I know, this is something I will do to the last day on earth. I’m looking forward to that.
By the way, I will never feel sorry for sharks anymore. If you are an apex predator, on top of your game, then constancy will be the currency. Others call it keeping the momentum.
What’s your game? What do you need to keep on doing in order to have a fulfilled life? Do it well. Do it all the time. Don’t stop. Just like Mr Shark on the move, all the time!
First things first, I have an important disclaimer to share with the reader. I have been included in one chapter of the book to be reviewed, and I have also appeared in the acknowledgements. I had not make any prior arrangements with Daniel to review his book. However, upon reading it, I felt compelled to share my reaction and reflection on this motivational book. My review follows below.
I have just finished reading the book Grit by Daniel Dunga. Daniel is an accomplished Malawian author. He’s a Mandela Washington Fellow under President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). He is a competent professional speaker with Toastmasters International (TI). He is also a graduate of the Success Motivation International (SMI). Daniel is a regular motivational speaker at various conferences and events. He delivers trainings in a range of personal development areas.
Grit is the second motivational book by Daniel. It is a revised edition of the previous volume by the same name. The first edition came out in 2016. It was a great book on personal development that celebrated hard work as an approach to achieving one’s strategic goals. It was also the first book in Malawi that localised the information on self-improvement by citing cases that are well known to the readership in the country. For the first time, we could all relate to the examples that were shared in the book. However, Grit still retained an eye for the international audience by quoting well known authors from the West.
This balanced approach allowed it to earn immediate respect among the self-help practitioners. It has gone on to be distributed for free to various groups of students around the country. Such was the impact of delivery by the first edition.
The second edition therefore, had a big challenge to surmount. What would it offer that was already not covered by its predecessor? I have all the three versions of both publications: a paperback and ebook version of the first edition, and a paperback for the second edition. In fact, I made sure that I was the first one to get the second edition by winning the auction on social media on who would get the first signed copy.
The second edition has included a practical chapter about Grit in motion. Some books, in the quest to motivate others, become unbearably theoretical. One is given scenarios, which though sounding very impressive, have little if any practical significance. The readers feel highly motivated while reading the book, but find that once the narration is over, there’s little that could be gleaned from the lessons that were shared with them. This has led other quarters of society to question the relevance of motivational books. Do they really help?
Well, it depends. It depends on who is talking to you, and whether what is being shared is relevant to your situation. In this case, one would argue that the setting of the story matters. If it is a local story, and you are able to relate to it in a much more direct way, it is not hard to see that the possibility of learning some practical lessons becomes higher. Without any doubt, Grit achieves just that.
My only concern at the moment is that, though the volume has significantly increased in size, it could still accommodate more anecdotes. I feel the author has much more to offer than what is already shared in the book. For instance, his experience as a motivational speaker is absent in the book. His adventures when setting up Blantyre Pitch Night, the first platform for entrepreneurs in Blantyre, the Commercial City of Malawi, should have presented some interesting issues. This platform has a sister talk night in Lilongwe, the Capital City of Malawi. Surely, there could be something to learn that might help those that organize similar events.
Malawi needs to celebrate its local heroes, and Grit, I feel, should utilize that opportunity and become grittier in putting together the inspiring stories.
Having said that, I’m happy that I made the right choice to purchase the second edition of Grit. Much importantly, reading the book has left me fired up to accomplish those difficult tasks that are likely going to influence a positive change in the fortunes of my life. I therefore, highly recommend that every teenager, every career person, every business person, every leader worth his/her salt, should purchase a personal copy of Grit. It will challenge you. It will motivate you. It will guide you and it will not disappoint.