Monday, January 7, 2008

South Africa – will the last one out please turn off the lights

This is definitely not the first thing I imagined I would be writing here in 2008, and really its just a slight glimpse of the negativity I’ve seen and heard over the past month. Sadly and ironically, with Eskom going at its current rate, you could ask whether there would even be lights to turn off.

I know that, for some, there is a right time and there are right reasons to leave SA, and I would be the first to support someone doing so on this basis. But running just to get away? Doesn't make sense to me.

My guest post on SA Rocks generated the anticipated backlash from disgruntled citizens. Thankfully there were some good points raised inbetween the droning and moaning, the most interesting to me being the fact that many of those who are currently staying here and have a large role to play in the future of building this country have a culture of taking rather than a culture of building. In addition to this, during this time I also happened to come across a large number of people who are less then enthralled by SA’s current leadership, policies, status and [insert your own relevant noun here].

Is all of this negativity warranted? It could be, and there is evidence of these things they describe around us. But again, its about choice – about choosing to ‘see’ something that others probably don’t see. That’s what visionaries are – people who change nations and the future because they can see something that other people don’t see. Let’s face it, when things are going well, its easy to be positive, and when they’re going badly, its very easy to be negative. That’s why there are so many negative people around in SA now – they’re taking the easy way out, choosing not to see or believe for something more.

So negative attitudes versus positive attitudes here have become a bit of a quantity versus quality debate – the sheer volume of negative people trying to outweigh the faith and belief of the positive people.

If we are to build this nation well, we all need to be a part of it, and it's easy to believe that as an individual, I can't make a difference - but I beg to differ! Practically, how can I make a difference? Here are some quick thoughts on a few of the more important elements:

  • Believe. Believe you can make a difference. Believe you're here for a reason. Either you believe or you don't, there's no middle road here.
  • Attitude. Choose the right attitude, not just for the new year, but for your whole stay here on planet Earth.
  • Be who you are. You are unique, and you've been put exactly where you are to do something absolutely amazing. But you can't do what you're supposed to if you're trying to be someone else.
  • Invest. I'm not talking about the JSE here. Invest your money in others. Invest your time in others. Invest your belief in others.
  • Be generous. When's the last time you gave someone something expecting nothing in return? Perhaps gave something to someone anonymously. Often, giving requires sacrificing something... neither one is fun, but the value you create is always exponentially more than what you give [if it is given with the right heart].
  • Encourage. This is how you invest your belief in others. It's so much easier to try your best when someone is cheering you from the sidelines. And how awesome is it to watch someone achieve more than they ever dreamed of... and to be a part of that?
I know that these are difficult to do... that's why I say that being negative is the easy way out. But to me they are the building blocks for, well... building well.

Thankfully I know quite a few of the positive visionaries, and their inspiration and input has been invaluable. They are great people who I am privileged to know, and I would be honoured to work with them in changing this nation. The other important factor that makes a difference – faith. Faith that things do happen for a reason [whether good or bad]. Faith that we are here for a reason. Faith that whatever happens, it is only temporary, for we are only here on Earth briefly – it’s what we take into eternity that really counts!

So to all those who want to stay and build, I say “I’ll stand with you and believe!” And to all those whose greatest aspiration in life is to leave SA, there's nothing more I can say to you, so please don't bring your negative snipes without putting something constructive with it, because I'm just not interested.


Anonymous said...

Well said, Darren!

Have a look at City Press's YOUR SA initiative -

Darren said...

Thanks anon! I think it's City Press that does those great billboards [if I recall one: "You're the leader you've been waiting for"] - I've been trying to find something on those, so if you know where to look please send it through.