Monday, December 27, 2010

Generation Next.

“Give me a single place to stand, and  a lever, and I will move the earth” Archimedes.

 I will not attempt to pretend I’m an orator, but I tell you I am just a messenger who has got a message, and I know exactly how to deliver it. Trust me, I could cash in on this big time, but I concluded that I don’t have to be a published writer to be successful; I only need to be a read one. So join me as we explore the subject at hand.  

In the last two years of every decade, things usually change so fast. These changes always influence events in the coming decade. Nigeria is no exception in this regard. In the period between 1998 and 2000, series of event that will shape the destiny of the next decade occurred all over the world. Narrowing it down to the Nigerian experience, radical and revolutionary changes took place in every facet of our national life; from political to social, economy to religion. Politically, the foundation for the age of democratic governance was laid when the military handed over to the civilians. As we will see later, this event later dictated the mode of governance in the period between 2001 and 2010. Socio-economically, the foundation laid between 1998 and 2000 was too multi-faceted to be enumerated here. But a look at just two facet of it will be enough a pointer. The entertainment and technology industry becomes handy here. In the pre-1998 era, Nigeria heavily relied on foreign content to get entertained. I still remember how a cousin of mine use to stay glued to media players, listening to Dr Dre, Snoop Dog, P.Diddy, Mase, and Tupac to mention but few. Heralding a micro-revolution however were the likes of the Remedies, Plantashun Boiz, and Maintain; dazzling us with shakomo, you and I, and I catch cold. In the technology world, this period experienced the gradual decline of mail and communication by post, as we saw internet and GSM technology grace our world. The resultant effects are too obvious that I’d avoid tautology.

Like a big bang, the events of the following decade (2001-2010) took unsuspecting Nigerians by surprise. In the political world, we saw political actors demonstrating governance/democracy models for us, while analysts showed us it pitfalls and recommended the best and the prevailing models to us. More intriguing however is the fact that, the period between 2008 and 2010 has already produced the changes that will shape the face of the next decade (2011-2020). From the revolution of Fashola, Oshiomole, Professor Attahiru Jega, Goodluck Jonathan, and most recently, Aregbesola; one would do less than agree that the tone, mood, and texture for the next decade has been set.

The entertainment industry no doubt, equally gave us its own insight. I still remember how Edrees Abdulkareem, Tuface, Tetuilla, Ruggedman, Mode9, Psquare, and the likes led a revolution only a few had envisaged. The scene moved from 90/10 foreign-local content reliance to 20/80 foreign-local content reliance. However, perhaps not many people have noticed that the period between 2008 and 2010 has produced the changes that will shape the next decade. Maybe you have not noticed that you don’t need Kanye West when you have M.I, neither will you need John Legend when you have Darey Art-Alade. You don’t need Chris Brown when you have Ice Prince, neither do you need Akon when you have 9ice. Who needs Justin Bieber when we have Whizkid! No doubt, the tone, mood, and texture for the next decade are set.
From the simple call, sms, yahoomail, Nokia 3310, Motorola c112 to MMS, Facebook, Twitter, BlackBerry, Ipad/Q/phone, name it; the technology world too never denied us its offerings, and the closing two-year changes. No doubt, the mood is also set in this area.

Inherent in all these citations, perhaps not noticeable, is the fact that the decades produced its movers and shakers. I mean the creative individuals who led the way. The Fela Durotoyes, Lanre Olusola, Chimamanda Adichie, Temitayo “Tylor” Ilori, Gbenga Sesan, Deolu Akinyemi, Toyosi Akerele, Dele Momodu, Niyi Adesanya, Dora Akunyili, Fashola, Jonathan, Obama, Tuface, M.I, 9ice, Darey, D’banj, Psquare, Dagrin, Cohbams, Asa, Samson Siasia, Mourinho, Mikel Obi, Messi, C.Ronaldo, and Mark Zuckerbergs (Facebook) of this world. Respect and honour to these people, who added colour to the out-going decade; but the fact still remains that, though they will still be relevant in the next decade, they were all produced by this decade, for itself, while a few of them were used to set the tone, mood, and texture for the next decade. In other words, the next decade will be producing its own movers and shakers. I call them the Generation Next! The people that will make up this generation are always the ones who saw the handwriting on the wall, and got themselves prepared. Now, the story so far has enabled you to see the handwriting on the wall, so my last task will be, showing you how to get prepared. Know this: “your space is not vacant, but there are vacant spaces for you to occupy”.

7 steps to Generation Next

Seeing the handwriting on the wall is not enough to secure a space on the platform. You need a proper preparation. Here, I will be taking you through the 7 steps you must take to find a space for yourself amongst the next generation of movers and shakers.

Step 1 – Clear your doubt and confusion.

One thing I’ve discovered and accepted as a fact is that, you can’t possibly expect to succeed when you are confused, or motivated by the wrong definition of success. One of the misgivings of the modern world is materialism, the craze for money. It moves men to place high premium on material acquisition, rather than fulfillment. I was under a teaching by Dapo Adelegan in 2007, where he said, “when you dream, let it be of noble intention, and not money-driven. In the end, you’ll get the money, ‘cos it runs after noble intention”. When you allow the money to drive you, you get frustrated at its absence, and possibly lose your motivation. Ideas rule the world, and when you are running on wrong beliefs, you don’t get the fulfilling ones. Oh, except you are okay with the sustaining ones. The great French philosopher, J.J Rousseau said: “it is too difficult to think nobly when one thinks only of earning a living”. Clear your doubt!

Step 2 – Identify your Vision/Purpose/Talents/Skills.

Don’t forget the subject at hand here; it is about steps to take to get on the Generation Next. So, I will not attempt to compound your confusion on the subject, vision. Rather, I’ll place it into context, and as such simplify your task. The Generation Next are a set of people who’s got solution to problems (Vision), and are willing and ready to provide it because that’s what they live for (Purpose), and they have their own unique way of delivery (Talents/Skills). You see how simple it is?! Don’t forget here, that you are up against people who have got the same purpose, talents and skills with you. The only thing differentiating you is your vision. But I’m sorry to disappoint you; those people equally share your vision, the only thing they don’t share is your own dimension of the vision. Jonathan Swift said: “vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others”. This is why I talked about clearing your doubt and confusion earlier on. You hardly get inspired to come up with brilliant idea in this regard, when you are motivated by “confusion”. From experience, I’ve found out that the best of my ideas came when I wasn’t thinking about money. I’ll wrap up with this: prior to 1846, surgical operations had to be done very quickly. The world record for a leg amputation is 15seconds – by Dominique Larrey, who was Napoleon’s Chief Surgeon. Then it was tough, and painful that Charles Darwin gave up a promising career in Medicine. But then, William Mortan caught a vision; he invented anaesthesia in 1846. Now someone can cut and leave you open for six hours, no pain, no toughness. Identify your vision!!!

Step 3 – Research the dynamics of your vision.

It will be a folly on your part to think it’s time to launch out after clarifying your vision. You must know there are forces stimulating the environment in which you intend to live your vision. You would do well by researching the forces and understanding them. You must have a full control of your vision and its tendencies. You equally need to know that these forces will, at a stage, spur the obscured tendencies of your vision into life. Recently, I conceived a service idea, and it was at the brainstorming stage that one of my ally discovered many more needs hiding away inside the original need we intend servicing, and many more ideas inside the original one. We then developed the capacity to execute not only the original idea, but the ones it’s going to give birth to. The message is this: if we had gone out to launch, our capacity wouldn’t have been able to take care of the further needs to be created by the stimulating forces of our environment, and as such, we would have succeeded in proving our insufficiency. Now you can see that the consequences are too numerous and obvious. Imagine a pencil world without eraser and sharpener!

Step 4 – Imagine and prepare for possible pitfalls and drawbacks.

Sometimes in 2003 I noticed something, which threw me into thinking. I came across some U.S and U.K appliances, and I noticed some little black engine beside each. Step-down they call it. After understanding its working, I admired the wisdom of the manufacturers who imagined the non-compatibility of such appliances with Nigeria’s voltage rating. Simple, you will be taken aback when your vision comes across a pitfall you never imagined, and courage and determination is scared out of you. So you will do well by envisaging the pitfalls and drawbacks, and preparing for them. You want to call it backup plan.

Step 5 – Network wisely.

Sir Isaac Newton said “if I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”. Let me say emphatically here that you hardly will go far if you don’t surround yourself with people of high net-worth value. There have been many names for it. Some call it synergy, while Carnegie calls it Mastermind. Whatever name you call it, the underlining factor here is that, you need to form association with people who has like mind, and share the same passion with you. People who have developed expertise, and have succeeded in the line you want to toll. People who are not motivated by confusion. People, who will appreciate your vision, and be willing to sell it. And let me quickly correct an impression here; you don’t want to think you can achieve this by developing a very large friend’s base. Research shows that out of every 200 friends you have; only 20 of them contribute to your advancement, while the remaining 180 are just socializing. A recent study of 1,000 people who have crossed the 5,000 friends limit on Facebook shows that only 80 out of this 5,000 makes a fundamental contribution to their lives. Save the statistics, all you want to do is discover your clique, and place a high premium on them. These people eventually form your think-tank, and your ever-ready resources. Bill Gates said of Microsoft; “take away our twenty most important people, and I tell you we would become an unimportant company”. Network wisely.

Step 6 – Cross the bridge and break it.

Here, I’m going to be sounding a little bit religious. The bible recorded it that, when Elijah placed his cloak across Elisha’s shoulders, Elisha begged to go back home and kiss his father and mother good-bye. He did this and equally killed all his animals, sharing them to people, after which he left with Elijah. What happened there was that, Elisha caught the vision, understood it, accepted it, shed off distracting responsibilities, and started living his purpose. All you have been doing so far is catching the vision, understanding it, accepting it, and preparing to start living it. You have not actually started living it. The reason is very simple. There is a stage of a vision you get to, all you see is the impossible, but sure success, and the inherent cross. At this stage you look back, and all you see is your comfort zone. You don’t want to live! Elisha must have felt the same way too. But then he left. There is a part of the story I loved so much; the king of Israel called Elisha, father! You must launch out and never look back. Know this; “if you can’t handle the lows of your vision, then you don’t deserve the highs. Cross the bridge and break it!

Step 7 – Know when to skill-up and go for it.

The one last important thing you need to know is that, everything on this planet earth has a life span. A time will come in the course of fulfilling your vision, when your skill set will no longer be enough to sustain momentum. Be wise enough to know it’s time to skill-up. Develop new expertise.

To the trail blazers of the outgoing decade, who will still be relevant, and the evolving trail blazers of the next decade.
I take my fulfillment in the number of souls that will be inspired by this effort. So, refer the ones you love, and the ones you hate to this note.

With Love,
Alamu Samson.