Humble pie is the worst. Ask anybody who has ever eaten it and they will tell you.

By the way, I don’t think there is anyone in Zambia that has achieved revered success that has not eaten humble pie.

I should think this is why almost all (if not all) the successful people in Zambia tend to be so pompous and arrogant; it’s because they have been through hell and high water, they have had the worst downs and now they are in a position where all of a sudden, everybody notices them, everybody is polite to them, everybody treats them like Kings and Queens.

The treatment was not always that nice though. For those holding powerful portfolios in corporate Zambia, there was a time when they went out on a limb to get a job, to get a start, to get someone’s trust.

For those in the private sector, there was a time when no banker would entertainment them; Vehicle dealers on the showroom floor ignored them when they walked in to look at cars and enquire on prices; friends and relatives snickered and laughed each time they mentioned which next project they were venturing into.

Important people simply did not stick to time or altogether ignored scheduled appointments – they just weren’t somebody enough for anybody to care.

The resentment, the agonising setbacks, the ill-treatment goes on for a long time as you are fighting your battles trying to achieve your goals.

What’s interesting is that for any strategic thinker, there is always that presence of mind that appreciates that people will treat you indifferently, or even like trash, at some point, but as you begin to make a noticeable climb in life, people’s attitude towards you begins to change.

Those that hurled insults at you, those that looked at you with much disdain begin to now speak respectably about you. This is the strangest thing about human beings, but it seems to be the way the majority of human beings are wired.

So the strategic thinker will always understand that all this is part of the journey to success. What matters is whether you can hang on to your dreams in the midst of all the pressure. If you can, then you will inevitably find your breakthrough.

The breakthrough. What a wonderful feeling you get when you finally breakthrough, when you reasonably come to the conclusion that the storm is over, you have successfully weathered it. This is the point when you reflect on all the shame and embarrassment you went through, all the lows when you felt deeply disappointed in yourself as you recapitulated daily events late at night. You reflect on all the comments – rude and spirit crushing – that people passed about you and your difficult situation.

You remember all the nights that you prayed seeking God’s intervention to grant you a better day, wondering why others appear so blessed and you continue to wallow.

When you have these reflections following your breakthrough, you come to realise that all these moments form part of a rich history that has culminated into a high that sees you reach the point of no return.

You are gone into the world of the few achievers and there is no coming back to the old life.

This is what it is to get your breakthrough. Have you never seen someone that has fought so hard for certain things, perhaps building a business?

This individual for all intents and purposes appears to be reasonably bright with much potential and a lot of appetite but for some reason, things just aren’t working out.

This always seems like an injustice even if you are a neutral party watching from a distance. However, there is a reason why breakthroughs are called as such; they are literally just that! You break through whatever barriers – visible or invisible – have been standing in your way.

And also, it is important to understand that breakthroughs are valuable just because of that history of obstacles, frustrations, setbacks and failures that we go through.  If the first time you started a business, you turned a profit of K1 million in your first month and continued to climb, then there’d be no such valuable thing as breakthrough.

You have to eat the humble pie of frustration, failure and setbacks before triumph; there is really no other way.

That’s why I mentioned in the beginning of the article that many, if not all of the successful people in Zambia tend to be overly pompous.

It’s because life has been quite difficult for them and they want you to appreciate that. This is why well-to-do people seldom help by dishing out money, very rarely will they do this.

If you require something, they would rather empower you with a job so you labour for your requirement, or some other kind of opportunity such as a formal education.

It’s the principle that counts and that principle is you must earn every ngwee that you are getting, to understand that nothing in life is free.

And so to the ladies and gentlemen out there breaking a sweat trying to make a better life, bending over backwards in the short term in order to live like Kings and Queens in the long term, yet not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel, I solemnly tell you now: do not despair.

Do not give up, your breakthrough will come; it could well be just around the corner. That long awaited breakthrough always comes. If you hang on long enough, it always comes.

At some point, something has to give: either you will give in or the obstacles – visible or invisible – will fall and that’s when you shall make you long awaited breakthrough.

As I write this paper, I have a deep conviction that it will encourage one or two people out there to fight on.

Words tend to resonate with people likeminded with the speaker or writer.

It is not unusual for people that email me to tell me that we are essentially of one spirit. We have a few troopers out there fighting for a  better life, a better society, a better Zambia, knowing full well that if they don’t stand up as torch bearers and fight for certain things, this country could well remain behind with ridiculous poverty levels.

I write these articles titled Impetus To Achieve in large part because when I look around our country, I see too many people that are risk averse, people failing to take the risks that actually increase prosperity and can take our country to the next level.

One particular kind of person that really disturbs me is the kind that knows full well what the country needs.

You’ll find this person aspires to rise to certain heights whilst simultaneously delivering something to society that will change things, yet this person is conquered by fear of venturing into the unknown and therefore eventually does nothing; this kind of person is the most depressing.

If you know you had high hopes over the years and yet you have failed to stand up and pursue your dreams and aspirations, know that you are one of the worst kind of character in this world and you better hope to God that you are given your long awaited breakthrough so that you come out of that slumber and give your country what she needs.

Remember the famous words: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.’

I’ve said a million times and I will say it again that youth unemployment is a very big problem that our country faces; if you are one of those individuals that can contribute even a modicum to helping out with this crisis and yet you are stuck somewhere caged by cowardice, you need to get up off of your laurels and make your breakthrough.

The country needs you to attain that long awaited breakthrough.

I also write these articles to breathe a lease of life into every individual in our country, on our continent that is fighting hard to change our label from corrupt, impoverished, backward with an outstretched begging bowl etc. to one where we will come to be known as the manufacturing capital of the world, the business hub of the globe.

These unsung heroes normally don’t get a good enough recognition, but I want to salute you today.

For all the difficulties that you go through on a daily basis – particularly the small business people – just remember that you will one day make your breakthrough.

The path that you have chosen, your dreams, hopes, aspirations are not for the faint hearted. More importantly, take it as a national duty to carry out your objectives because the hopes of the country have been pinned on you.

That all important economic freedom that we long for; that all important change in the Zambian mindset that will give us a collective national psyche and belief that as a country, we are capable of anything, really does rest on your shoulders and because of that you must fight on till to make your long awaited breakthrough.


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