Having been on the self-imposed task of promoting Inside Watch Africa (IWA) across the globe for the past 10 years, I have become accustomed to people asking me what the name Inside Watch Africa means to me as the publisher. The truth is, I have given different answers to different people at different occasions. It is for this reason that I have come to realise that IWA means and will continue to mean different things to me at different occasions.
In this 10th year anniversary of IWA, I have decided to look at its sustainability from different angles all through these years on my desk which was why I shared a thought on the need to explore “home grown solutions’’ to fix the intractable, lingering problems facing Africa on my desk in the March edition.
Still dwelling on sustainability in this edition, let us consider how by taking a critical look at and harnessing one’s innate gifts and potential either individually or corporately will ultimately help to sustain whatever venture one embarks on. Although, it is an established fact that every one of us is born with great potential to succeed in life, the irony of life is that most people spend their lives wallowing in mediocrity without thinking of their God-given gift and potentials, it is usually a few people who are able to strive to maximize their potential.
The crux of the matter is the ability to identify the innate gifts, thus it is instructive as individuals that we deliberately and constantly spend time watching our inside until we are able to see those potential that we all know are right on our inside. There is nothing wrong in also spending time to watch what is on the outside so as to understand our environment since as human beings we live in an ecosystem and we must constantly interact and interface with our environment. The issue is that we rarely spend time with our real selves and so we seldom know ourselves and in order to live a balanced life we must know who we really are.
Leslie Calvin “Les” Brown, born on February 17, 1945, is an American motivational speaker, author, radio DJ, former television host, and former politician, who uses the catch phrase “it’s possible!” and essentially, he teaches people to follow their dreams as he learned to do.
Brown was born with his twin brother, Wesley, in an abandoned building in Liberty City, a low-income section of Miami, Florida. He was subsequently adopted by Mamie Brown, a 38-year-old single woman who worked as a cafeteria attendant and domestic assistant. He was declared “educable mentally retarded” while in grade school. Despite the self-esteem and confidence loss issues this created, he learned how to reach his full potential with the encouragement of his mother and assistance from a helpful teacher in high school, a key point in many motivational speeches he gives.
According to many of Brown’s speeches, he first decided to get into public radio and kept returning to the same radio station, time and time again looking for a break. The radio station owner who kept turning him back, saying he had no job for him, eventually hired him as one of the menial workers as he kept coming back. In due course, he got his break when one day, the afternoon DJ got drunk and could not carry out his duties. Brown seized the opportunity performed so well that he was hired full-time as on-air talent. Upon his termination from the radio station, he ran for election into the Ohio House of Representatives and won.
In my opinion, the main lesson in Brown’s story is the fact that not minding the fact that so many things stood against his making a headway in life, he was undeterred to succeed because he had taken time to watch himself on the inside, he knew his potential, thus when the chance came his way he grabbed it with both hands and the rest as we all say is history.
Just as business owners do not have control over external environmental factors such as their competition, social, legal and technological changes, and the economic and political factors that may positively or negatively impact on their businesses, individuals and societies also do not have control over their environmental factors. Therefore, it seems to me that it is more strategic to deploy more investments in our internal environmental that we have more control over.
As my people usually say, “okun inu ni eniyan fi gbe ti ita “, which simply means it is with the inner strength that one does what is able to do externally. Therefore, I consider it instructive for Africa to deliberately invest in an inside watch exercise across the continent at different strata of life because no matter what venture we are involved in or we intend to embark on, sustainability will only be accessible and attainable when we spend quality time on proper assessment of ourselves.
Our mantra in Kristomedia Limited is that you readers are the reason why ten years after, IWA is still standing. We say a very big thank you to you for your confidence in us and for your support for us over the years. It is for this reason that we will always give our very best to ensure that every edition of IWA is a ‘reader’s delight’. This edition will not be different. Enjoy!