The untimely death of Steven Covey was both a shock and a wake up call for all those who are passionate about leadership development in its different dynamics. He was an inspirational writer that has left a mark on both his generation and generations to come through the pages of his books. He probably never anticipated that the end of his life would come this soon just like most of us. He was referred to as one who had mastered the fundamental keys to success and I could not agree any less. His books have impacted my life and millions of other people from all over the world. His legacy will continue to bless and inspire many people.
Tagore Rabindranath one of India’s greatest men; wrote…
“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls
Where words come out from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary sand of dead habits
Where the mind is led forward into ever widening thought and action.”
It has been said that the world is a global village without borders or limits. Everything one could ever desire to know or research about is simply a click away. Our children have substituted computer games and programs for outdoor games. We have become more accustomed to the fast paced life and have no patience for anything that seems to require persistent diligence and consistency. Year in and year out, we set resolutions that we hardly work through. We sign up for health programs that we never keep up with. We pay for things we do not need, with money we don’t have to impress people that we don’t like.
Despite the vast availability of knowledge at our figure tips, it is no guarantee that we are more knowledgeable than the generations that have gone before us. We buy newspapers to follow up on both local and international celebrities. We listen to news only to be up dated about the latest corporate gossip in town. We sit around with friends only to discuss soccer or the latest cars. All these add to the flavour of life but there has got to be more to life than this kind of shallow talk and news that we have become accustomed to.
It’s amazing that many of us can’t recall the last time we were able to read through an entire book for the purpose of self-improvement and not because its part of our academic curriculum. The communal cultural system that enabled our fore fathers to pass on information from one generation to another has totally broken down. Today we take the elderly to homes where they can be cared for while we focus on making more money. Our children are more aware of the latest celebrity than the history of their nation, clan or even family. It is a shame that in the midst of information explosion, moral decay alongside ignorance continues to eat away at our nations and countries.
Our friends from the western world have found a way of preserving their history and ancient finding through books and libraries. It has been said that if you want to keep information from an African, put it in a book and this has proved to be true over the years. Our reading culture as Africans is so poor and yet we yearn and desire to cross from the developing to the developed world. There is so much information, wisdom, discoveries and secrets of life that have been hidden on history pages which continue to collect dust on book shelves.
Many of our young people are educated but not learned. This means that they have gone through the education system but have not learned anything other than what they needed to pass their exams and half of which might have been cram work. There is a need for us to embrace a paradigm shift if we are to take our nation and generation to its next level. There is a need to read wider that our day to day basics. We must embrace the reading, meditating and researching culture that enabled the fore generations to acquire what we enjoy today and to rediscover what has been lost over the years due to the widening generational gap.
We at the International Institute for Global Leadership (IIGL- www.global-leadership.com
) believe that there is a ‘new breed’ of young people who are coming of age at this time and they have a critical role in planetary sustainability through the transformation of human consciousness. We aim at assisting the leadership development of individuals with potential by providing a non-academic value-centered educational foundation that results in personal empowerment through exposure to leading edge ideas and innovative resources in their respective fields of interest. The curriculum is designed to offer gradual self-empowerment supported by practical tools in leadership development. We prepare students to become personally empowered, consciously aware, high-integrity and heart-centered leaders in their communities and the world. I believe that this is the much needed approach to the knowledge plight in Africa and the rest of the world.
Personal initiative is at the center of this paradigm shift that is slowly evolving through the individual minds that are embracing this shift and choosing to be the torch bearers in their communities and countries. Remember one book can change a mind and one mind can change the world. You can be the change marker that you desire to be, it starts with changing your mind and perspective about life. Knowledge is the key to success; it is the power that rules the world.