On Monday, my better half said something very interesting and thought-provoking (as he always does!) He mentioned that his father always told him that in life, in everything we do, we always have to work our way to the top from the bottom. The only time people work from the top to the bottom is when they are digging a grave. So, if you strive to live your life from top down, know that you are digging your own grave. In other words, donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t expect to run before you can crawl!
Well, there might be a lot of interpretations of this but the simplest and perhaps most logical one for me is, in life, we need to take everything one step at a time, in the right direction. Jumping a few steps ahead might just result in us becoming casualties, whether it is in our careers or day to day lives.
Think about it; from the moment we are born, we take everything in slowly. We crawl before we stand and take baby steps before we can run or frolic. We learn the small things in nursery school before we can move on to secondary or tertiary education. In pretty much the same way, children of normal intelligence who skip classes and are pushed onto higher levels are not intellectually and emotionally prepared for the strain that comes with their advancement.
The same might apply to our careers; if we are promoted too high, too soon or apply for and are employed to do a job that is way beyond our depth, we might eventually be deemed incompetent and lose both our dignity, self-confidence and our job at the same time.
Ambition is actually a very good thing because it keeps us on our toes and enables us to do certain things, such as the way we dress to the way we decorate our homes, with class. If we, however, decide to become over-ambitious and try to keep up with the Jonases even though doing so will entail that we will live beyond our means, then we are being unreasonable. We might get up to our necks in debt and our downfall will come when we canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t keep up with the payments of all the loans we took out so thoughtlessly.
The sooner we accept that life is a gradual process, with benchmarks that we have to pass before getting to our final destination, the more meaningful our goals, marked on the map of our existence will be.
OxfamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s policy advocacy coordinator, Helen Buluma Magombo, who I interviewed for last yearÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s MotherÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Day feature, said one of the most important things she learnt from her mother was patience.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“She told me to be patient enough to let my plans materialise after making certain investments and that if things did not work out, I should be patient enough to take another course of action. This has helped me a lot today because I am aware of what is required to get to a certain level in society, the financial ladder and career development. A lot of young people, fresh from school strive to become something in society, to buy a certain car or have a posh lifestyle without understanding the people they see living that life have endured certain things, they have invested, sacrificed and worked hard to get to that level.Ã¢â‚¬Â
In a way, this resonates with the theory I have highlighted; work your way from the bottom up. Crawl before you walk, chew before you swallow, think before you speak out; follow the natural order of things or risk becoming a casualty!