It is yet another beautiful Friday evening as the Readers’ Hub brings to you another interactive and insightful segment on its Social Media Monk session.
My name is Bassing Kamal and I’m most grateful for the latitude granted me to moderate this session.
Tonight, we are pleased to have one of our ardent Readers to take us through the topic Let Your Life Speak.
He is a 25 year ‘young’ man who hails from Zambia. As the second born in a family of four children, he is a younger brother of one and a proud older brother of two. His hometown is in the capital city of Lusaka where he has spent all his adolescent years up until the time he got an opportunity to be trained as a Doctor in China.
He is an author and a medical Doctor in training who is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in clinical medicine (MBBS) in the people’s republic of China.
He is an award winning author of his maiden book You Matter To This Generation and passionate about adding value to the lives of individuals by sharing timeless nuggets of wisdom, love and insightful inspiration aimed at helping them to grow and progressively become the best versions of themselves.
As a lover of books and learning, founded on a willingness to grow himself and thus help others grow as well, he had been using social media and other platforms to write and share his journey and knowledge with others.
A few years ago, he decided to take a step forward in his journey of growth by writing and publishing his first book You Matter To This Generation which was thereafter followed by his second book Let Your Life Speak.
His first book is a reminder of the worth and value we all carry, having been endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable and intrinsic gifts and Purpose. The book also served to challenge the reader to a higher sense of responsibility regarding his or her place in the grander scheme of things.
His second book is essentially a buildup on this promise; employing the metaphoric and literal aspects of book writing to give practical insights on how to make your difference in society and live a life of meaningful contribution.
Abel’s personal maxim is: “…every single day I yearn for a worthwhile paradigm shift. This is not just ‘what I do’; it’s ‘who I am’. “
His goal is to make use of every platform available to him to positively impact others from a place of authenticity.
Please ladies and gentlemen, help me welcome, our guest for tonight’s session of the Readers’ Hub Social Media Monk: Mr.Abel Hara
Bassing: Sir, you are most welcome.
Abel Hara: Thank you very much Sir. It’s an honor and a privilege to be numbered among you. I learn a lot via this amazing platform and it’s truly an honor to get to share something today. Thank you!
Bassing: This is humbling and the Readers’ Hub is most grateful.
Abel Hara: The honor is mine. Thank you!
Bassing: Sir, the theme for discussion, “Let Your Life Speak” sounds metaphorical and profound. Can you please help us with a brief explanation to enable us to understand what, precisely, you mean this title?
Abel Hara: With pleasure. Thanks for asking. The theme Let Your Life Speak is doubly effective in its implication: On one hand, it deals with the practical aspects or ‘how-to’s’ of book writing birthed from the lessons I have garnered so far in my journey as an author. On the other hand, it goes beneath the surface of merely writing a book (which is a subtle metaphor for making your mark, living a legacy and making your difference) to address the deeper reality of living a life that is meaningful.
Let Your Life Speak thus serves as a double edged sword, if you will; cutting through some paradigms or ways of thinking we may have subscribed to as individuals who are part of a greater society; challenging us to reassess what really matters and to see success through the lens of meaningful contribution (which naturally results from self-capacity building) as opposed to self-aggrandizement.
It’s a call to: Live a life of meaning and significance; to live a life that matters.
It’s a call to live a life that transcends the ordinary. This doesn’t necessarily equate to fame and/or fortune but to the effectiveness and fulfillment of a life well lived. It’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily how long you live but what you live for that counts.
In summary, Let Your Life Speak as a theme posits a practical and relevant perspective on how to make your difference; not in some generalized, esoteric or loftily idealistic way, but in a practical way that not only has a bearing on your everyday life but also on that of the people in your sphere of influence.
Bassing: Impressive. Yet, still on the thematic concern held supra.The theme Let Your Life Speak” presupposes that there is a tendency for people to let something else, instead of their lives, speak about them or for them. What is that something else and what are the repercussions?
Abel Hara: The theme Let Your Life Speak is inherent with a sense of responsibility. You have the inherent capacity to allow your life to resound with meaning and resonate with relevance. Let me elaborate:
There is an inherent need to subscribe to intentionality if we are to live meaningfully. Intentionality means taking deliberate steps on a daily basis to ensure that you are aligned with and living according to your vision or mental picture of your preferred future.
Lack of proactivity or self-responsibility implies always letting or watching life happen to you. It virtually goes without saying that nothing just happens. If you leave your life to chance, you don’t or hardly stand a chance! There is a required price for every desired prize.
In life, you are running with a vision, going on a mission or burning with a passion. If you don’t belong to any of these, life is likely to become a burden.
Bassing: But this may remain a mere rhetoric without subjecting it to practicality. So taking it a step further. How can a person ascertain how well their life speaks?
Abel Hara: One way for a person to ascertain how well their life speaks is by assessing their definition of success and perhaps Redefining it if they discover it is something they had left to chance. Let me elaborate: The effectiveness of your life isn’t limited to the material things or accruing what everyone may term as “success”. There may be general benchmarks that cut across the board for everyone but there are also particulars that qualify what effectiveness looks like for each individual.
Generally, the effectiveness of your life is predicated on your alignment or consistency with your values. It becomes imperative hence to understand what success means–for YOU. That is a Very keen observation. I appreciate the question. I’ll add to this perspective.
Self-Introspection is key. Do you like who you are becoming? Your sense of mission, your passion or your vision (which is a dynamic that evolves and becomes clearer over time) is what serves to qualify what counts as success–for you. What does Success mean–to you? What does Success look like in the various seasons or stages of your life? In summary, your definition of success should satisfy 4 criteria:
- It must be tailored or customized to your individuality or uniqueness. It must fit your design.
- It must align with and not contradict your value system or what you hold most dear. As a person of faith I would say it must be a fruit of your relationship with God.
- It must transcend your immediate stage or season of life; giving you a mental picture of your preferred future to look forward to. Remember; life is in stages: where you are NOW is not your end but a platform to your unfolding future. Work towards it; the best is yet to come!
- It must be reflected in your everyday life. It must not be merely theoretical or nice sounding but it must actually have a bearing on the way you live. It must inspire you every day.
Bassing: In fact, our topic for tonight seems too philosophical. Let’s make it practical. You wrote a magnificent book with the title “Let Your Life Speak”, and you sought to inspire authors and potentials to write and publish books to share their stories, thoughts and experiences with the world. Why did you choose the title “Let Your Life Speak” instead “Let Your Book Speak” and how does writing a book help the author’s life to speak?
Abel Hara: I’ll try to answer in such a way as to help to further break this down into practical and actionable steps relevant in the context of our everyday lives. Thanks for asking. I deliberately entitled my book Let Your Life Speak and not Let Your Book Speak because it is actually your life that reverberates on the page; the book is just the medium.
A book is not an end in and of itself but essentially a medium for conveying ideas, thoughts and feelings on paper (or electronic media) and [hopefully] positively influencing others. An author has to understand that ultimately, he or she is the message. Your book cannot be greater than you.
A book helps the author’s life to speak by functioning as a medium: So the book is a medium you use to convey and pass on the big idea to a wider audience of people. A book multiples the authors’ influence. It allows you to reach a broader scope of people beyond your immediate sphere of influence. It gives your words a new life. It freezes your experience. It allows you to mentor people you may never meet. A book gives you life beyond your grave because ordinarily your book will always outlive you. A book is helpful for branding and multiplying influence and enrichment of your credibility. The above, to mention but a few are some of the practical ways in which a book can help an author’s life to speak. An author has to understand that ultimately, he or she is the message. A book helps the author’s life to speak by functioning as a medium:
So the book is a medium you use to convey and pass on the big idea to a wider audience of people. A book multiples the authors’ influence. It allows you to reach a broader scope of people beyond your immediate sphere of influence. It gives your words a new life. It freezes your experience. It allows you to mentor people you may never meet. A book gives you life beyond your grave because ordinarily your book will always outlive you. A book is helpful for branding and multiplying influence and enrichment of your credibility.
The above, to mention but a few are some of the practical ways in which a book can help an author’s life to speak.
Bassing: So what inspired you to write this book?
Abel Hara: I was inspired to write this book by the questions I would regularly get as pertains to balancing being a medical student and writing and the like. I thought:
Hey, What if you found a way to compile some of the lessons you have garnered thus far in your journey–making them available to help and inspire others? Giving them a basic roadmap from which they can have a frame work to work out their own path in writing.
It became an obsession, and the unlikely setting of lockdown in China during the first few months when the pandemic was gaining notoriety proved to be a perfect setting for me to write.
Bassing: How can anybody, regardless of their social and economic status, live a life that impacts positively on a broad spectrum of society?
Abel Hara: Interesting question. By embracing a sense of responsibility for their lives and not leaving their lives to chance. By living their lives in such a way that by the time they leave this life, they would have left behind positively influenced lives in their wake. By understanding that life is in stages. Where you are now is not your end but platform to your unfolding future.
I would ask: “What is in your hands?” It takes a willingness to start from where you are, using what you have and consistently doing what you can.An old adage goes: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”
This implies that what you currently have firmly within your grasp is worth far more than what you may aspire to acquire out there. In other words, how we handle a present opportunity has a huge bearing on future opportunities. It helps us to build capacity to manage even greater things.
If people are willing to see opportunity in the “here and now” and not in some distant “there and then”; if they are willing to embrace responsibility beginning with their immediate sphere of influence; if they are open to learning and living in alignment with their values–then they can position themselves to make an impact at any level of society. You don’t have to do everything at once; you do need a starting point.
Bassing: Of course, we all need a starting point. The puzzle however still remains: How would a person find the courage and resilience to lead an exemplary life in a society that places little or no premium on virtues such as sacrifice, competence, meritocracy, integrity, and morality?
Abel Hara: Well noted Sir. I think one way to do this is by establishing a system of core values to which you subscribe. These values will help guide the ethics of how you navigate your way around a society that places little or no premium on character or worthwhile virtues. Character is the greatest asset in the school of Greatness.
The fact that society may not place a premium on it makes it even more pertinent for individuals who model consistency and meaningful values to rewrite the narrative. The family unit is really essential in instilling certain foundational values early on.
I think a lot of this is also an inside-job because societal ethics can only go so far in curtailing unproductive behavior.
That’s why self-discipline comes in: self-imposed standards for the sake of a higher goal. You need to have an overarching sense of mission, vision and passion in this world otherwise anything will go for a you.
Personal vision gives you your address; your personal address; and this in turn informs the way you need to navigate the nuanced dynamics of life consistently.
Bassing: Indeed, character is the greatest asset in the school of Greatness. But one thing that is common among the African countries is that:
In Ghana,(I don’t know if same is true of Zambia) it appears riches and power speak louder than knowledge and wisdom. As a country, we do not question people’s source of wealth and power but are becoming critical of people who acquire knowledge and try to apply that knowledge to transform our country. How can we, as a country, reverse this anomaly?
Abel Hara: What a multifaceted question. In many ways this rings true of Zambia as well. This is an amazing question and I believe the solutions may be multifactorial but one thing that can possibly help change the narrative is the way we present knowledge to the masses. Knowledge often appears unattractive when one is facing what appears to be a more present or dire need.
If I am starving, for instance, I will likely use the little resources available to buy food as opposed to reading a book or learning something which will teach me how to be financially secure. People are often (for better or for worse) focused (at best) or shortsighted (at worst) to what appears to be an immediate need. Knowledge and its application often come with long term results or delayed gratification. I think one way to reverse this anomaly is by making knowledge attractive or communicating it in a way that the ‘average’ (for want of a better word) person can understand.
This requires showing the correlation between societal development and knowledge and learning to communicate it in a way that makes it worth aspiring towards. I recall once having a conversation with someone about books and they told me a lot of people have a poor reading culture, so how on earth did I plan on making books worthwhile to those in my sphere of influence?
Though it’s not directly connected to the question, that experience taught me the importance of learning to show people the link between the knowledge being presented and what they care about. The things that have a bearing on their everyday lives.
If the bearers of knowledge come off as merely philosophical or head-in-the-clouds while not presenting anything quantifiable in the context of everyday life or beneficial in that regard, it will contribute to the production of this seeming gap.
Bassing: The philosopher, Plato, is reported to have made the profound statement, “an unexamined life is not worth living”. When we are examining our lives, what are the most critical aspects that should be our focus?
Abel Hara: Wow. What a profound question Sir. To mention but a few:
- Intrapersonal relationship- this is your relationship with yourself.
- Our personal growth. Always put yourself in a position to grow. We must constantly challenge ourselves to do something beyond that which we have already mastered.
- Our impact on other people (interpersonal relationship).
- Our definition of success as earlier articulated.
- Our value system which guides our choices.
- Who or what is mentoring or informing our outlook on life.
- Purpose. Purpose is your sense of why.
It is a dynamic that evolves over time and informs every aspect of our lives If we can periodically take time to introspect and ponder our lives in a holistic way and cultivate habits around our value system, then this can become a helpful self-regulation mechanism to keep us in sync with our values.
Bassing: Before I send you questions from our Readers to answer, let’s look at another practical scenario. Using your personal experiences and observations about life and living, how can we let our lives speak the hidden qualities and talents in us without making others harbour malice, hatred and jealousy towards us?
Abel Hara: Based on my relatively brief life experience thus far and what I am learning. I have observed that many people rarely take time to study themselves and uncover their gifts. We are often so busy studying other people or other things that we shut ourselves from the self-awareness necessary to know ourselves and begin to invest in our growth. It’s often easier to outsource our routines or lifestyles to work, institutions of learning or non-negotiable responsibilities but the real gift is being intentional about your personal growth.
Become genuinely curious about yourself. Self-discovery takes self-study; self-development takes self-investment. Study yourself to know your areas of strength so you can start to leverage them and make the most of them. Take deliberate steps to discover your gifts and talents; begin to sharpen them and deliberately use them.
Your gift will often not come fully formed. It will be like a seed. Like a seed, it has to grow. It is essential to exercise your gift after you discover it so that it can reach its highest potential.
External feedback is also crucial: Surround yourself with a circle of people who love enough for you to be healthily vulnerable and who are honest enough to tell you the truth. I also think it’s virtually impossible to control another person’s reaction to your growth. It’s inevitable that there will be feelings of animosity at any person’s rising.
What we can control is the choice to not number ourselves among those who do so by selflessly celebrating the progress of others; recognizing that it doesn’t make us any less. Treat other people with a certain level of honor and dignity even if they don’t necessarily reciprocate it. Do the right thing consistently for your sake and model the right behavior.
QUESTIONS WITH OUR READERS FROM (THE READERS’ HUB)
Mabel: Please Mr.Abel.My name is Mabel. Please are you married?
Abel Hara: No am not yet married. I’m still en route.
Mr. Haadi: “In life, you are running with a vision, going on a mission, or burning with a passion. If you don’t belong to any of these, life is likely to be a burden”. This is a profound statement from our guest. I will be glad if Abel Hara can throw more light on this.
It doesn’t look like we have an ideal society that is enabling enough for a person to have vision, mission and passion to succeed. I see more stumbling blocks and we live by default on what life/society offers us.
Abel Hara: Thanks for raising this question. I appreciate. It’s important to bridge the gap between the ideal and the context of our everyday lives. Vision, mission, and passion are interrelated and not far removed from our everyday lives. They are not diabolically opposed to our lives even in the less than ideal situations we often find ourselves in.
They serve as markers that guide your progress and even amidst stumbling blocks and other obstacles; they gift you with perspective that allows you to rise above and Persist even when the going gets tough. In fact, we need then even more in a less than ideal setting.
I’ll also add that the very real and present challenges and obstacles can actually counter intuitively serve to develop and refine your vision so you can go translate it to the “Real world”. Every true vision will be tested for authenticity.
Dr.Stanley Asasu: Good evening, Mr. Kamal. Your esteemed guest is undoubtedly handling the topic with finesse. I’d love to hear his perspective on a couple of questions that I have, especially in light of letting one’s life speak.
1. Must one necessarily live a “positive life” to be able to influence positively, eg. through a book they write or intend to write?
2. As an African studying in an international community in Asia, I suppose he might have been exposed to diverse nationalities, and particularly other Africans. What are his thoughts on pan-Africanism? This question came to mind, when I thought of how people like President K. K. Kaunda of his beloved country, Zambia, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, among others let their lives speak so profoundly through their pan-Africanist works; yet, today, there are those who think pan-Africanism is not only unattainable, but unnecessary.
3. Could he kindly share a few experiences and or lessons he has learnt, living in China through the height of the current pandemic?
Abel Hara: Duly noted. Influencing positively doesn’t necessarily require a huge platform nor is it limited to doing “big” things like being a public speaker or writing a book and the like. All of these are essentially mediums through which your influence finds expression. The most important things are being a leader or a positive influence in the context of your peculiarity/authenticity and area of gifting. If this eventually translates to doing what is typically associated with a “positive life”, then so be it.
But at a foundational level, the common denominator is recognition of any problem or issue in your sphere of influence that you can uniquely solve and developing effectiveness through a track record of consistency.
Having spent a considerable period of time in China and (frankly speaking) met some of my African brothers and sisters for the company first time in Asia of all places, my perspective regarding pan Africanism has changed a lot.
In the past, it was simply a nice sounding word from a past century and though I learnt about it I never quite connected with it in a visceral sense.
Coming to China strangely awakened me to the bond that we all share we and not only heightened my sense of awe for the sacrifices our forebears made but it made me begin to question what my role is and whether we have all too quickly to forgotten the richness of our heritage and what that requires of our generation, as well as what we will one day get to pass on.
Am grateful that my world has grown exponentially and am returning home standing on the shoulders of our giants and the rich legacy they left us.
I have learnt a lot amidst this pandemic. I would never have imagined such a period. Many of us who were ‘stuck’ in lockdown situations for months had varying experiences.
For me the one of the best lessons was getting to see first-hand the resilience of the local people during the early months of the pandemic. Last time a video was shown expressing the solidarity that the people showed amidst all that was going on.
I also learned the value of interpersonal relationships. One thing that kept me sane amidst those 6 months of lockdown was the fact that I had people regularly checking on me and vice versa.
I wrote a brief article in the middle of the lockdown to describe my observations at the time. Let me share it:
Bassing: But Sir, in a generation rife with the short-sighted tendency of merely thinking about the ‘here and now’, often unwilling to pay the price and cultivate the virtues necessary for societal impact, how can one become a transgenertional thinker?
Abel Hara: Transgenertional thinking connotes living a notable impact print on the sands of time which future generations will come to know about. It requires learning to see life beyond the immediacy of this present moment; recognizing that whether you want to or not, you will be handing over a legacy beginning with your family and immediate sphere of influence and extending to society at large. It requires coming to a realization that it’s not just about me.
So everything you do or don’t do will have an impact on those coming after you. Think about it: How do you want to be remembered?
Will your life inspire and bring out the best in someone?
What impact do you want to make in the lives of the people in your sphere of influence?
What difference do you want to make in the lives of other people and what can you begin to do TODAY to create that legacy?
Bassing: Regarding the important question of timing, when is the right time to venture out in pursuit of your dreams and desires to make worthwhile societal impact? When is the right time?
Abel Hara: Generally speaking, and provided there aren’t any other factors that might require not stepping forward with respect to one’s dreams and desire to contribute to societal impact;
I would recommend starting now! The key lies in understanding where you are starting from. You don’t have to do everything at once. All you need is a starting point. There may never be a perfect time or perfect moment; be willing to seize the moment and make it perfect. Start from where you are now. Use what is in your hands now. Do the best you can now.
And progressively build towards the fulfillment of your vision. It won’t be fulfilled in its entirety at once but in phases. And guess what? In the process of working on your dream you have an opportunity to undergo character development–to become the kind of man or woman who fits into a sustainable version of the vision you are aspiring to accomplish. Who you become in the process matters as well.
Bassing: Of course, we would all love to start now! But you see, Sir! This subject “Let your Life Speak” encapsulates a number of principles surrounding the presupposition that you do not only have a life but a responsibility to allow it to reverberate with meaning.
From a general standpoint, how can we successfully apply principles so that we can see the intended result and not merely amass head knowledge that has no tangible bearing in the context of our everyday lives?
Abel Hara: A principle is essentially a law that governs a particular result. It does not discriminate. It works for anyone, anytime and anywhere. The only way to override a principle is by using a higher one. I’m no physicist but to loosely borrow a principle: Gravity is a law on earth but the principle of aerodynamics allows planes to transcend this law. The same way the principle of flotation allows a boat weighing many tons to float on the water. There is a law at work. Laws do not necessarily care about how we feel. It’s a question of whether or not we submit to them. If we don’t, we can end up fulfilling the negative side of it so it’s important for us to tread with wisdom.
- Principles are universal; people are unique.
On the other hand:
- While Principles are universal; working anytime, any day and anywhere, the application of Principles is Not necessarily universal
Find out the underlying principle behind the example of success [whatever success may mean for you] that you may be studying at a particular time. Strategically apply that principle to the peculiarity of your definition of success and the context of your present circumstances.
This can also be thought of as how to learn from inspirations or people that inspire us but who may not necessarily be in our area of interest.
You can learn from anyone but you need to know how to apply what you learn in your context. The key then, is cultivating a progressively more in-depth understanding of what ultimately constitutes YOUR definition of success because this will serve to qualify who you learn from and the way you apply what you learn to your life. People are unique and different, but principles are universal. The application of principles however is not UNIVERSAL but needs to be tailored to the peculiarity of the individual and the prevailing conditions and circumstances. One key to reproducing success is: Finding the principle that governs the result you seek and strategically applying it in the peculiarity and context of your life.
Bassing: How can young people (and the young at heart) bridge the seeming gap between the hard earned wisdom of old generations and the strength and vitality of the youth? How can one be original and practice authenticity in pursuit of personal capacity building and societal development without falling prey to the naïve tendency to dismiss the ancient landmarks or tried and tested principles?
Abel Hara: Thanks for asking. The young and the older (or the young at heart) need each other. It’s sad that sometimes the young despise the ancient landmarks; the tried and tested wisdom of old.
Now granted, the fact that something has endured the test of time doesn’t automatically mean it’s viable in the present context or necessarily even correct, but it would be remiss to simply dismiss it as having no relevance in our “modern” context. We have a lot to learn from our elders. We need to honor and learn from the hard earned wisdom they have garnered and build on that foundation. We must also realize that one day we will be the “older generation”.
It’s also important that the elders encourage and guide the vitality and boundless energy of the younger generation. We must not dismiss younger people as naive and inexperienced but offer the gift of wisdom and experience to provide a framework for their innovation and boundless enthusiasm to thrive.
Enthusiasm of youth and the experience of the old are not mutually exclusive; at least they should not be. They temper one another. The young often have most of their lives ahead of them.
What they lack in experience they often compensate for with energy and enthusiasm.
The older often have a wealth of experience. Sometimes this can jade our enthusiasm and lead to cynical tendencies because we have “seen it all.”
Enthusiasm without experience can lead to projects crashing down in flames because of ignorantly repeating the mistakes of old without been forewarned.
Experience without enthusiasm can lead to lack of innovation; and an inclination to do things in a certain way which might no longer be effective. In summary, there needs to be a marrying of the two to birth excellence and sustainable development. If you don’t learn from the past, you are prone to repeat its errors.
Conversely, if you refuse to adapt and grow; if you don’t subscribe to a continuous learning process to avoid becoming outdated; a time will come when the things you are saying and doing, which once mattered, will no longer be relevant to the needs of those around you.
Bassing: Interesting perspective, impressive submissions and great analysis. Indeed, it’s becoming more interesting and interesting. Unfortunately, this is where we end tonight’s session of our Social Media Monk with our guest.
The Readers’ Hub expresses its most profound gratitude to you for finding time out of your busy schedule to interact and share with us your deep seated knowledge on this very important topic. It was an awesome discussion and we are most grateful. May the good Lord shower his grace upon you in all your life endeavors. Thank you.
Abel Hara: Thank you so much for the opportunity. I count it a privilege and I’m humbled and grateful for the time and platform given to share. Thank you for the weekly wisdom and life applicable insights we get to experience here as well as the common love for literature.
Bassing: Readers, we have come to the end of another interactive, insightful and intellectually engaging segment of our Social Media Monk session. We are most grateful to all those who find time to interact and asked questions where necessary. I am convinced beyond any reasonable doubt that Readers have picked some useful information out of the interaction on the thematic concern held supra.
Until we meet same time with another interactive segment of the *Social Media Monk* session next week, do have a fruitful weekend and a restful night.
NB: Please don’t forget to share after reading for others to also benefit.
Hub Editor: Bassing .A.M.A.Kamal.
(firstname.lastname@example.org) ! THE END!