If you hang around five confident people, you will be the sixth.
If you hang around five intelligent people, you will be the sixth.
If you hang around five millionaires, you will be the sixth.
If you hang around five idiots, you will be the sixth.
If you hang around five broke people, you will be the sixth.
I haven’t yet seen any gyms or exercise businesses stepping up their advertising to drive all these willing and highly potential customers through their doors, but perhaps they will begin tomorrow. UPDATE!
I got this flier in my email exactly 36 hours after sending this article in for publication, and I can swear that the guy behind this had no idea that this is what I was writing about this week; kudos to Bob Ssebugwawo!
I’M making one small amendment in my season’s greetings this year, and wishing you all Tolerance, Toleration and Tolerability in the New Year ahead.
Tolerance not in the sense that allows for the compromise that is to blame for so much of the mediocrity that some of us suffer in our part of the world, but in the real sense of the word in everything we do or are involved in – from discussing politics to manoeuvring through traffic or busy shopping centres.
This is not to be confused with beating around the bush and being generally lackadaisical, ineffective and ineffectual, as some former Mayor (who shall remain unnamed) took the word itself to mean when he said something like, “I am straight to the point. I don’t go ‘tolerating’ around when I want something…” in response to an interview question about his amazing success with members of the opposite sex.
Unlike the toleration I am wishing upon the entire country, okwetoloola, in Luganda, is to go round and round or chase one’s tail the way an idle dog tends to do when lacking useful entertainment or application, is a big problem – both in private and public offices. This is evidenced by the number of gripes and complaints you and I have about our various service providers or crucial government officers in charge of the desk we approach for assistance
The former Mayor who confused toleration with toloolation actually hit on a serious problem that needs addressing, but that’s not the one I am focussing on in my season’s greetings.
Tolerance, Toleration & Tolerability.
Tolerance, we should have; Toleration, we should generally exhibit; Tolerability (not really a proper word), we should provide.
This last week in particular gave us some tolerance training by presenting short-fuse situations such as massive traffic jams even within four-car parking lots, angry shoppers scrambling to scoop up last remaining singular items before setting off for the village, and irascible shopping attendants whose usual irritability was being stampeded by these hordes of early-salary-must-leave-town-soon shoppers.
All of us had the opportunity to put our tolerance to the test in these situations, as people behind us in the stationary traffic hooted inexplicably even though hundreds of cars in front of you were as immobile as yourself, and those polite enough to join the supermarket queue rather than jump it kept muttering, “Msstw…” as a form of verbal hooting to make you move along faster.
Heading out of town for the Christmas break, we were provided with even more chances to test our tolerance levels as we sped down the narrow highways with just inches of space between cars; or even watching those cars in front of us continually drop empty plastic bottles and snack remnants out of the window onto the road as they trundled along to litter the village.
Even at the privacy of our computers, the word privacy being mocked here since the first thing most of us do is log on to platforms like Facebook and Twitter, we have had more and more practice for tolerance, toleration and tolerability.
Especially in recent days when politics loomed large as a topic for discussion, which discussions escalate quite quickly into angry shouting matches decorated by lively insults like shopping mall Christmas trees carry baubles and tinsel.
Considering that next year we will be going deeper into the heart of politics with electioneering, I fear that without tolerance, toleration and tolerability there will be cases of computers being physically thrown at people during online political discussions, and maybe worse.
So as we use this week of holidaying to spend time away from traffic jams, from the office, from ineffective service providers, from having to fill out forms with little hope of resultant action, may 2015 bring with it Tolerance, Toleration and Tolerability.
IN two days’ time the less informed will be “making New Year’s Resolutions”, which for most people is just the start of an annual process of breaking promises that one did not even need to make in the first place.
I would never discourage anyone from starting off, since even the week or so that most people spend adhering to their stated promise is helpfully better than nothing.
But by now, we should be fast forwarding past light resolutions. Quitting smoking and heavy drinking, going to the gym, eating healthy and other such are ranked low in necessity – and thankfully, IQ tests and work appraisals don’t look into such things.
They mostly fail, anyway, because there is rarely a guide that goes along with them; I’ve made many a resolution in the past following the usual procedure that involves being in a heightened state of emotions and reciting the so-called resolution to a loved one.
I eventually learnt that they are easier to keep if they are planned and follow some sort of guide, rather than made verbally and backed by memory. Most resolutions evaporate with the New Year’s hangover, as do the witnesses who should monitor implementation.
We need heavy yet simple resolutions, well-planned and documented; resolutions based on serious premise involving a behaviour change that will make an impact on our own lives and those of the people we come into contact with – called ‘stakeholders’, in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility.
Wish-list resolutions about corruption would be good, but are irrational because the corrupt have a material objective that can’t just be wished away – they want to eat good food, drive fast or big or new cars, live in big houses… They can’t go without these things in exchange for integrity or the respect of other respectable people in society.
We would also be remiss in hoping that civil servants would make resolutions to not squander public resources or prioritise spending better so that ordinary Ugandans of humble means can have their lives uplifted or improved; it’s much easier for them to use these resources for self-aggrandisement.
Let’s go for resolutions that anyone can meet simply and evidently.
The best are contained in a simple but powerful text – ‘Desiderata’, by United States poet Max Ehrmann. Read it and follow:
“Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.”
That’s all – Strive to be happy, in this New Year.