I know that everyone is now busy making new resolutions for 2013 even though few people have achieved half of 2012 resolutions. Even if we do not achieve most of the resolutions that we draw up at the beginning of the year, it is still good to make new ones every year. It is better to draw up resolutions and achieve just a fraction of them than to have none at all and achieve nothing in the year.
For 2013, I would like to suggest, as one resolution for all success-seeking people, a commitment to greatly advance in knowledge. A lot of us treat schools as places where we get qualifications that can be used to get jobs. We now need to view educational institutions as places where we acquire knowledge that enables us to be capable of offering great value to employers. With this view, we would embed in ourselves the need for continuously seeking new knowledge to an extent that even after completing school or college programmes, we would still be seeking to acquire new knowledge.
In fact, knowledge is not just acquired via examinable courses in schools and colleges. We can acquire knowledge through life-long learning approaches that promote exchange of ideas with specialists and experienced professionals in different fields. We can acquire knowledge by reading books all the time. We can also acquire knowledge by searching on the web. The internet is home to a huge amount of knowledge – most of which is free for all to access, learn and use.
I would like to share three case studies of friends who are very hungry for knowledge and in these case studies, you will see how they make big personal sacrifices in order to continuously acquire new knowledge. You will also be able to see how that spirit has made these three people quite successful in their chosen careers.
First is a case of a friend who works for the United Nations in Europe. He is a Malawian professional and fully qualified in his field of practice. This friend reads for 2 hours every day. He makes sure that he is home by 6 pm from work and chats with family and has his dinner by 7 pm so that he can read from around 7:30 to 9:30 pm every day. Since he has acquired so much knowledge, he is a great writer and wakes up at 3 am every day to write for another 2 hours and has won many international awards for his writing.
The second one is a case of another friend who is a CEO of a big company here in Malawi. I went to his house and I found books all over the living room. I asked him why and he told me that it was because that was a Sunday. This friend makes sure that he reads at least two books every month. Each Sunday, the family switches off television and all other forms of entertainment are not allowed on Sundays so that after church, the only other activity that they do apart from lunch and dinner is reading!
The third case involves another CEO of another respected company in Blantyre. He told me last week that he is very disappointed because he did not read a lot in 2012. I asked how many books he had read in the year and he told me ‘eight books.’ I was very impressed because I know that on average, very few people outside of schools and colleges read more than one book in a year. And yet, for this successful CEO, eight books are not enough in a year! May be that explains why he rose that far in his career!
As you begin to formulate your new personal plans for 2013, consider placing high importance on life-long learning and make plans to advance in your knowledge as the years also advance. Good luck as you plan to rise and shine!