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Mfonobong Inyang: We are the Heroes We’ve Been Waiting for

Phew! You made it through to the New Year, trust me that is a full-fledged achievement all by itself. However, even Thanos cannot snap things back to status quo ab initio. In fact, let me tell you for free that there is no ‘normal’ to go back to – what we have now is a new world order. We’re still facing a raging pandemic; we can’t tweet it away or downplay it with unintelligent conspiracy theories. We just have to put on our adult pants, roll up our sleeves, and take responsibility for our lives. It is what it is.

New Year, Which You?

Which you is going to show up in 2021? The issue here is not whether it’s an old me or a new me – it’s which you does your future require you to be? How flexible are you willing to be in the light of the stark realities of these times? Does your future require you to go back to school? Move to a different location? Stay on your job instead of your desire to change careers? Change your circle of friends? How bad you want something is measured by how much you’re willing to give up to get it. Habits are greater than resolutions; routines are predictive of your future. The proof of belief is investment – once you put in the time, resources and creative energies required, then you’re ready to cause a shift.

Tell Your Story!

This is cliché but what 2020 reminded us in very profound and I dare say, painful ways is that life is fleeting. The idea is not to become paranoid but to live fully with a sense of urgency. You need to document your journey, your contributions, and your legacy. Generations coming after you shouldn’t struggle to find your name in the annals of history; they should know in unequivocal terms that you lived, you loved and you led. This may mean many things to many people but the core message here is never to be anonymous.

Start Local; Think Global

Another cliché many of us have heard almost all our lives is that the world is getting smaller – a global village. Many things like the internet have ensured that we live in a borderless world, and what the pandemic reminds us is that people in one part of the earth can be affected either positively or adversely by the actions or inactions of certain people in other parts of the earth.

The world is literally now your oyster, your playground. Don’t limit yourself and your reach to the scope of immediate environment. You can start with digital exports, audio-visual content, knowledge products like eBooks, podcasts and thereafter evolve into bigger things. You can reach a global audience, earn foreign exchange (very important) and position yourself as an authority in your chosen field of endeavour.

Sell Something

Selling is one of the greatest life skills you should acquire if you don’t already have one. Last year, I  shared why that Detty December shouldn’t only be about buying. For every festive period, people are cashing out because they are offering a product or service – you will remain at the bottom of the food chain if all you plan to do is ‘splurge’. Start by shamelessly selling your skills, I said shamelessly because if you go broke, the same people that you don’t want to see you selling will not send you 2k urgently.

Sisi Yemmie recently revealed a cookbook – from her passion, she created a product. Notice that she already has hundreds of thousands in social media following, now that audience that she shares free content with won’t mind paying a fee for that book. The rule is to first serve people, then sell to them. You connect with people emotionally because their buying decisions are largely based on emotions then justified with logic. Get people to know, like and trust you, then you can sell almost anything to them.

Disruption Proof

So 2020 ‘carried many of us handicap’. The good thing is that we survived 2020 but now in 2021, we have to thrive! Whilst COVID-19 is still a novel virus, we are far more educated about it and its effects than we were a year ago, so the pandemic is no longer a tenable excuse. We cannot continue to blame Dr. Strange for seeing 14,000,605 possible futures but not giving us any heads up. You need to create a different playbook that factors in disruptions.

Disruption can be a policy, like the one that knocked bike-hailing start-ups out of business. FX issues, border closure, and the dire state of affairs at the ports can inflate your price point. It can be the weather, floods can sweep through your farmland. It can be insecurity, like a business complex being vandalized. It can be the pandemic and the attendant effects like lockdowns. You will need more scenario-based planning and not the straight-jacketed and textbook approach. Ask yourself: can I do my work remotely? Do I have to leave my house to earn? Can my food stock or savings last me one month? Do I have an arrangement for self-isolation? And so on.

Health

If you won’t take care of yourself, who will? Your physical, mental, emotional health has to be a priority for you this year. Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive. Last year, for an extrovert, I spent a very significant part of it at home. It was almost counterintuitive for me to be that recluse but the pandemic required such – it was a small price to pay for salvation. This year, amongst other things, I am cutting down on fizzy drinks and exercising some more so that my immune and respiratory systems can receive a boost. In the event that you face any health challenge, you need to give yourself a fighting chance.

Many of us belong to communities of faith which orients us to expect the best, however, there is ample wisdom is bracing up for possible impact especially with the second wave aggressively in play. It’s great that vaccines are now rolling out but it’s no silver bullet neither is that an excuse to lose guard. Your best bet remains the Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) like masking up, hand washing, physical distancing, and so on.

Active Citizens

Hope is not a strategy. What we’re not going to do this year is to fight for God yet we leave our fight to God. We will not, on our own part as citizens or as elected public officials, allow the outsourcing of our responsibilities to God. Anyone that cannot take the heat should exit the kitchen! As active citizens who know that the office of the citizen is the highest in this country, we will contribute our own quota to nation-building while holding those who we have employed and entrusted with power through the excise of our democratic franchise, accountable.

“Thursday is Thursday,” do you remember that three-worded tweet that sent an electrifying wave across our Twitter timelines? Never underestimate your capacity as a catalyst to bring about desirable changes no matter how uphill of a task it seems! We are all we have, we are the heroes we’ve been waiting for.

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