By Jared Oundo, the Author of the Chemistry of Success
Over the years I have interacted with people who have never stepped in campus lecture hall and yet they are very successful. I have read stories of successful people who didn’t go to school like Bishop Tudor Bismarck and the late Hon. Njenga Karume, the former defense minister of Kenya. Here are some of the things they and others I’ve encountered along the way have taught me.
- You can learn something valuable from anyone.
Whenever we find ourselves ignoring someone because we’ve already resolved that they aren’t “smart” enough to articulate something meaningful, we’ve made a big blunder. Besides being presuming and proud, these mind-set blocks out every useful thing the other person might pass along. Instead of just listening and mining the conversation for nuggets of wisdom, we allow our pre-existing bias to brand everything as “not smart enough for me.” It is incredibly bad idea. I’ve yet to meet someone who couldn’t teach me something.
- If excellence slips, it really doesn’t matter how good your ideas were.
The most creative design plans, no matter how many brains contributed to them, can fatally falter in the execution phase if quality slips. This is similarly true for intangible plans. Imparting prominence requires a range of effort and attention, not just an initial brain-fuelled flurry to get exemplary ideas on paper.
- Don’t ever allow a bully to intimidate you – not even once.
Now some might say this one is too dogmatic because it’s possible to allow a bully to intimidate you in the short term so you can benefit in the long term. Some supervisors are bully especially the young ladies who rise into positions by “playing smart” and without necessarily deserving the positions. The more you lie low the more she takes you for granted and she may end up making your work like little hell. But the best advice I ever received about this came from a retired general, “When you let a bully intimidate you, the bully doesn’t necessarily win, but you categorically lose.” What he meant is that you lose upstairs where the loss takes an increasingly worse toll on your spirit. Yes you can recover from that, but it’s going to take a lot more effort to bring your self-confidence up to par again than if you’d stood your ground to begin with.
- Reciprocity is the name of the relationship game and always will be.
If you can’t find it in yourself to return a favour, or give back more than you got when someone helped you out of a predicament, then you are relationship handicapped. While this may seem like basic instinctual logic (and it is), it’s amazing how often it’s snubbed. While relationships shouldn’t be tit for tat arrangements, the underlying willingness to reciprocate—even if it’s really hard to do—must be there for the relationship to grow and flourish. None of us are one-way streets.
- Learning is good; Doing is much better.
Well, this one is a slight bit on the nose. Learning is more than good, it’s important. Learning is the tincture that makes the human brain the most influential organic decision-making and problem-solving tool on the planet. The main point here is that there’s a certain magic in doing what many people basically miss out on. You can learn a lot about vehicle engines, but until you get under the cover and work on one, you can’t see just how remarkable an invention these engines we take for granted truly are.
- Kindness isn’t optional.
Why do some people just “get” this while others find being kind a bore? Personally, I think it has a lot to do with our need to feel right, and an attendant unwillingness to consider that maybe we really aren’t right, and it’s not worth treating another person unkindly to prove whatever point is on the table. Above and beyond being unkind is irrational because it only incites unkindness aimed at you, and who wants that?
- You can survive anything (assuming it doesn’t physically kill you).
Usually we can find the inner reserves to overcome just about anything, and will probably surprise ourselves that we pulled it off.
- Money is essential, but experience is irreplaceable.
When you buy something, you’ll enjoy that thing for some time, but our intrinsic tendency toward adaptation will eventually assert itself and the thing will become yet another thing we own. When we invest in experience, conversely, we are buying memories, and new learning, and new ways of thinking, and a whole lot more. Those are things that become part of who we are, and no physical item can touch that dollar for dollar.
- Just be prepared.
Just be prepared for anything. This is the scouts’ motto. Allude to that tremendous philosopher, Mike Tyson, “Everyone has a plan – until they get punched in the face.” Precisely, be ready to get punched in the face, and then refer back to number 7 on this list.
This is an exerpt from Jared Oundo’s Chemistry of Success book