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TONI THORNE: Lessons from 2016


TONI THORNE: Lessons from 2016

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I TRUST THAT everyone had a wonderful holiday with lots of food and family. 2016 was a tough year for many of us. Many suffered the loss of loved ones; our marriages failed; we lost our jobs; had some heartbreaks, and the list goes on. 

There is a young entrepreneur who I have always admired. I knew 2016 was a difficult year when she posted that she was filing for divorce after having a lavish wedding in 2015. This year, as if things were not bad enough, her multimillion dollar company filed for bankruptcy. So many influential people on the international stage also left us in 2016. 

Barbados saw quite a few downgrades. Frustration grows among the people that cannot simply be shrugged off as “Bajans being miserable”. In short, 2016 was an interesting year. As I look toward 2017, I want to share a few lessons I learnt in 2016. 

We tend to want things done when we want them. As the Bajan saying goes: “Tekking time ain’t laziness”.  Debt can be frustrating. While incurring debt for a degree is regarded as “good debt”, for years, I longed to be able to pay it off. It was a constant desire and at times felt like an Albatross, around my neck. The process to paying off my debt taught me a patience and discipline that would never have been learnt otherwise. 

 I was chatting with a group of female friends  and we were highlighting all the faults of men we are close to. It was definitely not a men-bashing exercise but more like a “gosh, you deal with that too?” bonding session. Halfway through, a voice said to me in a Bajan accent: “Wuh wunna ain’t perfect. Who mek wunna, Jesus?”. As simple as this may seem, this little voice hit me like a ton of bricks. We are so focused at times on what the other person has done and less inclined to understand what we have done to be on the receiving end of their actions. 

When you buy a pig in a bag you don’t know what you are buying. Always ensure you know the full details on any situation you get yourself into. 

My uncle Grattan gave me a schooling recently on the two worst kinds of buyers. According to him (and my late grandfather), the worst kinds of buyers are those who pay for everything up front and those who never pay. I have on many occasions paid for services upfront and lived to regret it. Many people lack accountability and integrity and they never do the job as well when we pay them before the job begins. Now, it also serves as a red flag. Not only does it suggest that there are cash flow issues but more often than not, many service providers have the view that you have a wobaton of money and they become nonchalant with your work. This is not a generalisation but it has happened more than I appreciate.

Pick your battles wisely. Every dog that barks at you does not need a response. However, do not ever be anyone’s pushover. Sometimes, you will need to make an example of people who have done you wrong. Only after the experience you realise that such people will serve as a reminder to anyone who seeks to take advantage of you in the future. God does not like ugly and he also does not like when people do not help themselves. Peace of mind is paramount but in some situations, you have to go to war – for your self-respect and dignity. 

Have you ever had a dream and you were too ashamed to tell anyone because they may think you are too delusional or out of your mind? This happens to all of us. In 2017, I would like us to be more comfortable discussing our dreams with ourselves and the right people. Your boss cannot know to recommend you for a promotion if he or she believes it is not in your interest. Your man cannot always guess that you want  to be engaged eventually if you never make mention of it.  Your woman cannot be expected to rub your feet when you walk into the house if you don’t make this desire known.  These are simple things so imagine the huge dreams! 


Toni Thorne is a young entrepreneur and World Economic Forum Global Shaper who loves global youth culture, a great debate and living in paradise. Email: [email protected]