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The essence of greatness


By Jonah Nyoni/ Sithandekile Magida 

THIS article started as an office chat with one of my old friends Sithandekile Magida. She used to be a branding columnist in one of our sister papers, The Standard. The discussion was around what is important in this era of COVID-19. The future is uncertain, but we must do our best now, and live as though tomorrow might not come. This discussion ended up with us co-authoring this article.  We agreed that people who have achieved greatness in their times have specific patterns and rituals. These, they follow and execute every day. Success does not choose us, but we choose to be successful.

Regimented habits

Your ritual becomes your reality. Our life is a mass collection of habits. Greatness is first rehearsed in private and then displayed in public. Successful sportspersons give us a positive life lesson; your routine determines who you become in the ring.

At times we have unspoken habits which we don’t want anyone to see, but the unfortunate truth is the more you indulge in them the more you mature them. That’s the same with positive lifestyles, eventually, they mature and we get rewarded for them.

Put on your energy

The open secret that separates the wealthy and the poor is that the wealthy invest most of their time, whereas the poor spend much of their time. Put energy into whatever dream you have.

This takes mental energy (cognition, imagination or thinking), relational energy (synergies, partnerships, or social networks) and physical energy (execution or work)

See it before you have it

Success starts with imagination. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is everything. It is the preview to life’s coming attraction.” Your vision is your mental picture of what you want to become. One of the greatest gifts that God has given to humanity — giving them a competitive advantage over all creatures — is the ability to first create in form of mental pictures and then secondly, build those pictures physically.

Walk in your track

Finding your purpose is the greatest discovery of your life. Most people are only living to fulfill their basic needs like food, clothes, and shelter and they can’t live beyond that. Everyone needs this, but that’s not our destiny. Most people will spend their lifetime in a career that only helps them to fulfill these needs, but that’s not enough. When everyone lived their true purpose, this will be a better world.

Double the rate of your failure

Failure is part of success and failure is unavoidable. We just must master the art of failing forward. Also, challenges are part of the success journey.

The route gets so rutted and rough and you feel giving up will be the right option. Storms will always come and your attitude towards them will determine how you end up.

In storms, you choose to be taught by them or tossed away. Winston Churchill said: “Kites rise the highest against the wind — not with it.”. Don’t just go through storms, but grow through storms.


Will Edwards, an author and motivational speaker said faith is a “strong belief in something without proof or evidence”.  Faith is the fervent invisible force that says: “It’s possible!” Faith is the ability to get hold of the invisible.

Just do it

Oprah Winfrey says: “The big secret in life is that there is no secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you are willing to work”. Just do it, as the Nike mantra says. It’s time we acted our dreams. The simplest way to evade mediocrity and poverty is working wisely.

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