Albert Einstein, the German American physicist and 1921 Nobel Prize Winner,” defined insanity as ‘doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results’. If this is true, why then is it that most people – especially those of us from the African community – still stick to our conventions, but expect to get ahead? How is it that we undertake the same activities every day, month and year with a hope of a different output from the past?
At the Connect4Better event held in Novotel Blackfriars London in February 2016, the Mayor of Lambeth, Councillor Donatus Obilor Anyanwu, spoke on a similar concept. In the event, he encouraged the audience that we need to break out of our “Nollywood Mindset”. I call this “living in our stretch zone”.
In his speech, he made mention that the success he is experiencing is largely as a result of his willingness to try new things and relate to people of other races and cultural orientations. He remarked on how some people know more about what’s happening in their home country than what is happening around them in their country/city of residence.
The question therefore is, “how relevant are you to your environment?” – This is not just a matter of skills, but also about networking amongst other relevant factors. This is because when you are competing with someone with a similar experience and skillset, the company is likely to employ someone that will not disrupt the already established chemistry and social-culture within the organisation. In addition, someone with proven networking skills is more likely to make connections and make things happen in the new role, and would have a distinct advantage to someone with the same educational background and experience, but who have limited their networking potential.
So go for that coffee, go for that company retreat or after office social gathering. It is important to clarify – living in your stretch zone does not mean compromising your deeply held beliefs and convictions. For example, if you do not drink alcohol, go to the drinks after work but order an orange juice or a soft drink, and most of all make sure you are there with your entire mind, have fun and talk to people! You’d be surprised the things you have in common, and how that can lead to opportunities in the future. It is not about conforming, but about staying relevant.
‘Connect4Better’ (Cee4Bee) life Chances
Get involved, join our campaign, let’s connect to help less opportuned Black Africans in UK and future generations will be grateful. Like/share this post; drop your comments and ideas. (This post was written by Tolu Oyewole, Writer, Teacher, Motivational Speaker and Business Consultant at TAOO CONSULT contact – firstname.lastname@example.org)