JEFF BROOMES: Some sound advice for the youth
FOR ALL OF my life, I have seen something special about Barbados and about being a Barbadian. I am a firm believer in Barbadian exceptionalism. There is no place better!
I want our youth to embrace this and now give my advice and guidance to them at this time of year.
Our country does not just become excellent, people and their actions make it great. This is manifest more in our young people than in anyone else. They are the dreamers, the planners and the shapers who can uphold all that’s good about our nation.
Let’s be firm in our belief that anything worth having is worth planning for. Have a strategic focus of where you want to go, how you plan on getting there and the sacrifices and exertions necessary for your accomplishments.
Do not sell yourself short with doubts and second-guessing and do not oversell yourself with narcissistic beliefs that you are better than you are and have more skills than you do. Just remember that what you do not have does not mean that it is not what you can get.
Growth always comes with any genuine pursuit of excellence. You must reflect, assess, reassess and readjust where necessary. With better information and improved skills and abilities, different decision making may become necessary. It should be embraced.
“Anything worth having is worth working for.” Lethargy, distraction, loss of interest and laziness are enemies of success. Be wary and ensure that your guiding principle is genuine commitment. Envy or procrastination hurts commitment and almost always ensures failure.
There is no such thing as a short cut to success. Don’t ever be fooled into that belief. Lots of dreams and good ideas have fallen off the truck on the short cut road and been left to die and rot. You must be dedicated and constant in your efforts! Your ideas will take shape and surge!
If you are not sincere, just don’t start, because you simply frustrate good people who would then be left to quote Joan Armatrading, “why did you come here, when you know I got troubles enough?” Be led in your pursuit of excellence by positive uncompromising guiding principles.
There is never just “the way” to do anything. There is always “a way”. Hence, we should honour diversity and embrace creativity. Align your actions to your strategic focus and never allow yourself to be a prisoner to habit.
Your efforts should be spent not on trying to do things the right way but on trying to do the right things. Do not seek to copy but seek to innovate in a way that will take this country and even this world to a higher and better place. Encourage transformation and transcendence.
Be curious about everything you hear and see! Think, analyse and form structures that will allow you to incorporate anything positive or helpful into your strategic purpose. Curiosity, they say, killed the cat (which was on its last life), but I believe, curiosity gives life to possibility. Excellence is not an achievement but an assessment by others and an emotional satisfaction from oneself. Be principled in your actions and behaviours. Do not do things simply to court friendships or favours. Do them because they are right and consistent with your values.
Let your actions and behaviours be open to assessment and evaluation. If you have to hide or you are ashamed, be assured that you have done wrong. We all make mistakes, but they should just be seen as a call for readjustment or a recalibration. This takes you to a good place.
Always give yourself time for reflection to reconfirm that your actions are consistent and in congruence with your strategic focus. Be your harshest examiner and you have nothing to fear from others who may only be seeking to pull you down or to remake your manifest values.
Jeff Broomes is an experienced educator, principal and community organiser who also served as vice-president of the BCA and director of the WICB. Email: [email protected]