The social-economic environment in Zimbabwe is disturbing. Things are hard, people losing jobs all the time, companies closing and others downsizing. Hardships are everywhere and it has reached alarming levels. It disturbs me a lot every time I meet friends or relatives we talk harsh economic environment.
Are you taking personal responsibility about your situation in Zimbabwe? Offering solutions that are small but practical. Or are you joining those who choose to complain, blame and make excuses. I hope this article will inspire you to be positive. What is happening affects me on a daily basis but I have adjusted my response mechanism.
Failure of Government
The government has failed in many areas but that does not take away the fact that we have responsibilities. We all need to eat, send children to school and many other bills have to be. At this point, I will pause and say many do this but still complain, blame and make excuses. Just wait after an election result and hear the complains, you hear all sorts of theories and you start questioning our education. I always ask people what happened in 2008, before we talk about rigging.
The vote has the power to change things, anyway, the point I was going to make is most people don’t vote and yet they expect things to change. A lot of challenges facing the nation can be linked to the present government but complaining and blaming blinds us from opportunities.
Who is corrupt
We have the land and we want to blame the government for hunger, ok let’s say the government does nothing shall we die of hunger? Someone will say corruption is killing the nation but I want to ask who is corrupt; the police officer on the road or the driver, who has been stopped by the traffic police officer, most would say the police officer. Who is paying bribes to get their children to get a place at school, and who are the school officials.
Yes the government can do a lot to stop corruption but what are you doing to stop it. It’s easy to blame the government, but if we take responsibility and stop making excuses we will stop corruption. A buyer at one Bon Marche supermarket wanted me to pay him to buy my mushrooms, I refused and that was the last time I talked to him and I know those supplying that shop pay bribes to supply.
Who can stop corruption in the private sector for instance does the government of Zimbabwe have a direct responsibility to stop corruption at OK Zimbabwe. We all agree corruption is killing the country but who is doing the corruption? It’s us.
Focus on opportunities
I talked of land which is lying idle. Most believe that the former white farmers must come back first for us to prosper. I would say those farmers had the experience. It will be good if they come back but guess what most of them are old and soon they will die. Who will feed the nation? I salute all farmers who are doing their best in this harsh economic environment.
I look at the Somalis and feel sorry. Here is hoping their country gets back to normal, but we all know that is a pipe dream. Some Somalis walk all the way to South Africa. When they get there they unite and work together to improve their lives. These Somalis in the diaspora sustain their country through remittances just like Zimbabwe. Look at how many Nigerians are in Zimbabwe. How many Zambians are here the list is endless. They are pursuing opportunities in this country.
Many people do not realise how good our country is. How many countries are as peaceful as ours? Great climate, wonderful tourism opportunities but tourists do not come for several reasons. One of the reasons is negative publicity and that negative publicity comes mostly from us. I want to give you a challenge. Look for a tourist or someone from outside who just came here for whatever reason. Most if not all are in awe, what they read or hear about Zimbabwe is far from what they see here. Most admit what they hear or read are mostly lies.
And the moment you point positive things the government is doing or good things in the country you are blamed for supporting Zanu PF. Despite all the negative things there are also many positive things in Zimbabwe. It’s just a choice of what you want to focus on.
Decline of industry
Others complain that the government is not giving them capital to do farming. That’s true but look at the type of car they are driving. Industry is collapsing for all the reasons we know and I shall not list them. Look at the salaries and benefits for top management and then look at the salaries of the majority of the workers. Then you hear the company directors/executives talk about the challenges the company is facing. Guess what the companies are a true reflection of the government. Most of the capital is going towards paying salaries and benefits of top managers and little is left for capital expenditure and working capital.
Solving our problems
I always talk to a friend on current affairs and one day I said the best option is to solve problems and move on. He responded that it was impossible because the government is there to do certain things. As individuals, we do not have the capacity to deal with the challenges for instance supplying water to all homes. At the time we discussed he was using gas to cook (a solution). He just bought solar panels which on a day with sunshine can run the fridge, freezer, computer, laptop, tab and phone (a great solution). Why didn’t he wait for ZESA to solve the power problem?
You might be asking me: does a mine run on solar? I will answer you by saying other companies have found solutions. Others import their own power and others have closed and relocated to neighbouring countries. All are solutions. For how long shall we blame and complain and not find solutions. Others blame the government of coming up with brilliant economic blueprints which they don’t implement. The same people also have excellent business plans and ideas they are not implementing.
Waiting for a failed Government
Talk of complaining and blaming hear your government blame sanctions, drought and a host of factors. No matter what is blamed, the responsibility still lies with the government to provide for its people. The same applies to us. Israelis do not complain of poor rainfall they innovate. Today we import a lot of seed and technology from Israel. They choose to find solutions. Someone may interject the government there is solving things. Well, that’s true to an extent. The people there also choose to innovate and by so doing have businesses all over the world. Those businesses sustain their country.
Two types of people in Zimbabwe
Let’s find solutions to our problems and not expect someone to come and save us. For how long shall we complain and blame others. Take time to think about this I hope you can see that Zimbabweans are the same from the top to the bottom we all need to change our mentality or else we shall complain till we die. The economy got bad starting 1997 when we gave the war veterans compensation, the Zimbabwean dollar started to depreciate and the rest is history.
There are two types of people, those who choose to complain and blame others. Blame Mugabe for everything bad in their lives, 20 years on they are still the same, Mugabe is still in power and who knows how many years the same government will still be in power further who knows if the government that will come will change things. The second set is those who look for solutions, others left the country, others remained and some do not complain but take opportunities because where there is complaining there are abundant opportunities for business.
Those who chose to leave are the same people who are sustaining this country through remittances to their friends, relatives and families. I want you to research on what each industry contributes to GDP, look at donor funds and FDI nothing matches remittances which are currently at about US$2 billion per annum, now can someone tell me what we will have become without some of our friends and relatives in the diaspora.
Turning to prophets
Others studied the population and saw they can become “prophets” and they lie every day and go away with it but they make too much money than they need, desperation is high, people have lost hope so these false prophets are feasting on these people who want easy solutions to life’s problems. Whilst I do not support the false prophets they have more than solved their problems, but what I want you to see is they are feasting on poor people who complain every day, blame others for their problems and are too lazy to think of solutions, they are giving money to the “prophet” to get their problems solved, the “prophet will not solve their problems, unfortunately. With the few given examples above I am suggesting that we all have solutions somehow.
I am sorry some have closed their minds courtesy of the false prophet who is promoting laziness by suggesting that things just come. We have heard of miracle money, miracle babies and a lot more. The bible that I read teaches hard work, it teaches we must work, it teaches that nothing comes for free. But most believe that they will get things for free. This is a discussion for some time but is a huge contribution to this mess we are in, failing to find solutions to our problems and just say with faith things will be solved.
Take personal responsibilities for your progress
A far more effective and positive way of looking at life is to take the view that you are responsible for yourself. For your choices, and your actions. It is up to you to create your own opportunities. To take the initiative for getting what you want out of life. Instead of looking outside yourself for answers. Exercise your personal area of freedom to make decisions and take actions that don’t depend on the approval or consent of other people. What you think, appreciate, value, believe, where you work, the friends you have, how you spend your free time. Whether and how much you exercise, what you eat and drink is your choice.
I performed dismally form 1 to 2. My brothers tried in vain to motivate me to do better. But perhaps not in vain though because on the first day at school in form three I and my friend did the unusual. We studied till late and since then my life has not been the same. I did well academically from then onwards.
You are in control
When we like how things are turning out, it’s quite easy to say that we are responsible for our success. But when things aren’t so good, we’re so quick to point fingers at other people and place the blame on them. Remember this—when you point your finger outside, you have just now accepted the victim status. You have control over your life. You have control over your friends, your love relationships, and your career. In control of who you decide to vote for or decide not to vote. The decision to see whom you want to see, what to wear, and what to eat.
What about your circumstances?
Don’t try to change the uncontrollable, attempt to figure out what’s going to happen, or try to control circumstances. It is never circumstances that make you happy. If it were, then people with great circumstances would never be unhappy, and that’s hardly the situation. Rich people can have more problems than most people.
If circumstances were what made you happy, people with horrible circumstances would never feel happy, and that isn’t true either. Look at individuals with disabilities—some compete in Special Olympics and are happy. Other individuals with the same disabilities sit around and are miserable for their entire lives. Most times when we blame others, it’s actually our own actions, or failure to act, that has caused our predicament, or at least significantly contributed to it.
When you blame someone else, you are effectively shifting some of your responsibility onto them, and judging them as having ‘failed in their responsibility.’ But is this fair? To shift responsibility to someone else is to give up control. It is like saying, “I don’t have control of this situation, he has.” When you blame, you reject an opportunity to build courage, character and personal growth.
Channel your energy
Worse still, if you choose blame over personal responsibility, you cannot grow, because you have adopted the wrong focus. You risk getting bogged down in resentment rather than channelling your energy into your own goals. It doesn’t matter what someone else has done or what has transpired in your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual growth are more important. Your future depends on where you channel your energy today. Blaming others simply consumes that energy for no worthwhile result.
Like I highlighted above a lot of blaming is done in Zimbabwe. When you’re in an ‘irresponsible’ (blaming) state you’re subject to all sorts of negative emotions, like anger, hostility, fear, resentment and doubt. But most of our problems exist only because we’re ‘able’ to blame someone or something for them. As soon as you stop blaming, and take personal responsibility for finding a way to resolve your problems, your negative emotions will begin disappearing.
Who did you blame today?
Blaming others is a form of complaining. And complaining becomes a habit; the more you complain the easier it is to opt-out of taking personal responsibility and just keep on complaining. Chronic complaining is one of the most self-destructive and toxic habits you can ever fall into. A complainer ends up focusing on what’s wrong. This always makes things look worse than they are. There may be much in your life to be grateful for, but you just see the bad stuff – problems, annoyances, irritations. This drags you down and drains your energy.
Are you constantly complaining?
The worst thing is that constant complaining will eventually cause you to see practically everything in a negative light. Your unconscious mind, doing its job of protecting your self-image, tries to make new observations fit with what you already know. What you already believe influences your perception of everything around you. So when you continuously focus on problems, your unconscious mind will tend to search for and interpret new information in a way that confirms your preconceptions, and will actually avoid information and interpretations that contradict your beliefs. You will stop seeing positive aspects of your situation, not because they don’t exist, but because you have trained your unconscious mind not to look for them.
Making excuses is another destructive habit that tends to arise from consistent evasion of personal responsibility for what happens in your life.
The habit of making excuses will severely prejudice your chance of success in almost anything you do. When you set goals, you will tend to automatically create a ‘provisional excuse’ – one that you hold in reserve just in case the accomplishment of the goal is too difficult. Perhaps achieving the goal will turn out to require more effort, self-discipline and persistence than you are able to produce. When things start to go off the rails, you have a ready-made excuse you can trot out to let yourself off the hook.
I attend church leadership meetings, what usually happens is one person comes up complains and blames, everyone agrees we have a problem, what is the solution usually there is silence, someone then brings a solution and suggest that we assign someone to work on it, usually, there is silence and people look down, someone may volunteer or is assigned. After some time the person comes back to give feedback and all the criticism starts. Does this sound familiar (it happens everywhere).
This state of mind will lead you to set cautious, conservative goals and to limit your vision of who you can be and what you can achieve. It will also lead you to set lower standards for yourself. Failure will become acceptable, even expected, Christians will start asking so if life is my responsibility so where is God and what is the role of God in my life and what is the role of prayer and faith, watch out for part 2 in which I will deal with those issues in view of scripture.
Read Part 2 – Are Taking Personal Responsibility – Part 2