Saturday, February 09, 2013

Doing what others say can't be done

Doing what others say can't be done
Fri 08 Feb. 2013, 13:30 CAT

We shouldn't fear changes. All necessary changes to the way we do things should be made. It is interesting to see how well the creation of new districts has been received by the people of the affected areas. The new districts have certainly brought government closer to the people. But one wonders why some opposition leaders in Lusaka were so opposed to the creation of new districts. What is it that bothered them so much about the creation of new districts? Of course, pointed to the issue of expense and said it can't be done. But what they forgot is that there are many ways of running a district and the way they know is not the only way.

The colonial authorities didn't run the districts the way we had been running them over the past four decades. The colonial authorities had three people running a district - a district commissioner, a magistrate and a messenger - instead of the so many officers we today have in a district. And they functioned. The colonial authority was felt by the people.

It is good this government has decided to do what others say can't be done. If one visits Chinsali, one would wonder why Michael Sata decided to make it the provincial headquarters of the newly created Muchinga Province because the town has nothing in terms of infrastructure to accommodate a provincial headquarters. But without the necessary infrastructure, people are working very hard to create what is not there, what is missing and what is needed. The provincial minister has no house, he lives in a small room at some small guesthouse. And so is the provincial permanent secretary. But they are working and are determined to do what others say can't be done. This is a great lesson to all of us. We should do what takes us out of our comfort zones.

Michael is doing things that would appear crazy to some people who only want to operate in their comfort zones. This is what being revolutionary means. It means being like David. Find a giant and slay it. Always pick an obstacle big enough that it matters when you overcome it.

Until you give yourself some great cause, you haven't really begun to fully live. Henry Miller commented, "The man who looks for security, even in the mind, is like a man who would chop off his limbs in order to have artificial ones which would never give him pain or trouble."

It is said that nothing significant is ever accomplished by a fully realistic person. We know it is hard to understand some of these things. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding one's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave, to the creative ones, to those who are ready to do what others say can't be done.

It is also said that tradition offers no hope for the present and makes no preparation for the future. Day by day, year by year, broaden your horizon. Russel Davenport remarked, "Progress in every age results only from the fact that there are some men and women who refuse to believe that what they know to be right cannot be done."

Know the rules and then break some, we are advised by some wise people. Take the lid off. Melvin Evans said, "The men who build the future are those who know that greater things are yet to come, and that they themselves will help bring them about. The blazing sun of hope illuminates their minds. They never stop to doubt. They haven't time."

What do we learn from all this? Be involved in something bigger than you. God has never yet had any unqualified workers. "We are the wire, God is the current. Our only power is to let the current pass through it" (Carlo Carretto). Be a mind through which Christ thinks; a heart through which Christ loves; a voice through which Christ speaks; and a hand through which Christ helps.

If you really want to defend what you believe, live it. Dorothea Brand stated, "All that is necessary is to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: act as if it were impossible to fail." Do a right-about-face that turns you from failure to success. One of the greatest pleasures you can discover is doing what people say you cannot do.

And this is the most interesting aspect of Michael and his government - they are doing things that people say they cannot do. What they are doing as a government can also be done at an individual level. We can all do what others say can't be done. We can all do what takes us out of our comfort zones. We can all move away from saying 'this has never been done this ways,' and 'it can never be done this way'.

Let us not forget that our future and the future of our country will be that which we ourselves as individuals and as a collective are able to build. And our future as individuals and as a nation will not be built in the future; it will be built on the threshold of what we as individuals and as a collective do today. The future is not built in the future. The future is built on what we do today.

What Michael and his colleagues are doing is pulling us into the future, and we should continue to follow them. There are of course challenges along the way. But when there are challenges, we should be daring, be brave and have that special grace, that special spirit that says, 'Give me a challenge and I will meet it with joy.' Let's have a hunger to create, to build where there is nothing. Let's have a desire to serve and serve all.

If we don't do these things for ourselves, if we don't take difficult decisions and work hard to change our lives, nobody will do it for us. We shouldn't wait for some stroke of good fortune, some benign giant, some socially conscious Samson to come along and pick up the wretched of the earth. We have to do it ourselves.

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