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5 Life Lessons from the AFCON/CAN 2012

I can’t apologize enough for not blogging for so long. I just needed to get myself a new laptop since the old one was giving me some unbearable problems.  I could have blogged from my phone but I prefer blogging using my laptop. Nonetheless, I am happy to be back and I have so many things to share starting with the African Cup of Nations (AFCON/CAN 2012.)

Lesson 1: You can always prove people wrong

Have people written you off? Are they saying you can’t make it in life? Do you feel let down and can’t continue because all you hear are negative statements about your inability to be great? Do you remember the favorites for this year’s African Cup of Nations tournament? People expected Cote D’Ivoire or Ghana to lift the trophy. Nobody, I mean nobody, ever imagined Zambia lifting the trophy in Gabon but they proved everyone wrong. They didn’t get discouraged for not being regarded as one of the favorites. They stood their ground, fought and conquered. You can do the same. You might have been ruled out. You might have been discouraged but never lose faith in yourself. Never make your enemies happy…. Persevere.

 

Lesson 2: Never underestimate an opponent

We live in a world where people are overconfident and take things for granted. They find themselves wanting when the very foundations they boast of get shaken by the storms of life. Zambia defeated both favorites of the tournament on their way to lifting the trophy. They did so well…. They fought well but in their match against Ghana, it was so obvious that the Ghanaians underestimated them. The Ghanaians thought it was going to be a walkover and were really shocked at the end of the day. Never underestimate any opponent in your life no matter how strong you feel.

Lesson 3: Missed that spot kick? Rise and move on!

Missing a spot kick is like missing an opportunity in your life. For those who don’t know, a spot kick is a free kick at the goal from a point (penalty spot) within the penalty area and 12 yards (about 11 m) from the goal, with only the goalkeeper allowed to defend it: awarded to the attacking team after a foul within the penalty area by a member of the defending team. We sometimes miss opportunities in our lives but that shouldn’t put us down. That should rather lift us and make us aware that there will be other opportunities in the future. Renowned forwards like Asamoah Gyan and Didier Drogba missed penalty kicks in the tournament. Even in the final, the latter missed a penalty kick but that didn’t stop him from fighting for his country. He battled till the final whistle. We are bound to miss some opportunities in life but we must learn to keep a cool head, learn the lesson and move on. Making mistakes doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re trying and learning in life.

 

Lesson 4: Unity is Key!

Some of the powerhouses of African football were absent at the tournament. Countries like Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Cameroon could not make it to Equatorial Guinea/Gabon. It was however expected that, either Ghana or Ivory Coast stood a greater chance of annexing the trophy but that didn’t happen. Before the tournament, people were so concerned with the confidence in the Ghana camp. I saw that to be overconfidence. Others protested it wasn’t. At the end of the tournament, we all heard what the ex-coach of Ghana said. “When spider webs unite, we can tie up the lion.” – Asante Proverb.

There was little or no unity in the Black Stars camp as that missed penalty kick by Gyan evidenced. Ayew was the one going to take the shot by Gyan went and took the ball from him. We heard of misunderstandings in the changing room etc. Together, we are better!

 

Lesson 5: After every good fight, there is a reward.

All the battles in your life will end with a trophy in your hands. When Christopher Katongo lifted the trophy for Zambia, it was a joy to behold. The 30 year old who was crowned Best Player at the AFCON2012 was a symbol of patriotism, perseverance and wisdom. There were matches that he couldn’t even play the whole 90 minutes but he did so well anytime he was on the field. He led his country with pride. He made the players know the essence of the tournament. In the final, the Zambians really struggled against the Ivorians but fought really hard. You may be going through a difficult time in your life.  Just fight on because at the end of the battle, there is always a greater reward. You will surely make it!

Stop waiting for something to happen, go out and make it happen.

 

Who can say?….. Another version of the Chorkor Trotro!

 

 

There once was a very poor man living in a village who had a very fine horse. So fine, in fact, that the lord of the castle wanted to buy it but the old man always refused.

“To me this horse is not merely an animal. He’s a friend. How could I sell you my friend?”

One morning he went to the stable and found his horse gone. All the villagers said, “We told you! You should have sold your horse. Now he’s been stolen instead. What terrible luck.”

“Bad luck or good luck,” the old man said. “Who can say?”

Everyone laughed at him but 15 days later the horse returned, followed by a whole herd of wild horses. He had escaped from the stable, courted a young mare and returned with the rest of the herd following behind!

“What luck!” the villagers cried.

The old man and his son began training the wild horses but a week later the man’s son broke his leg trying to train one of the horses.

“Bad luck,” said his friends. “What are you going to do now without your son to help you? You who are already so poor.”

“Bad luck, good luck, who can say?” the old man replied. A few days later an army belonging to the lord of the land passed through the village and forced all the young men to become soldiers. All…… except the old man’s son because of his broken leg.

“How lucky you are,” the villagers cried. “All our children gone to war, but you’ve been able to keep your son. Our sons will probably be killed…”

The old man replied, “Bad luck, good luck… who can say?”

People ask me why I love the Chorkor Trotro TV series on TV3 in Ghana. I always tell them I learn from the awkward situations and not only from the best of situations. On the front of the Chorkor Trotro bus in the TV series is written “Let them say.” Let them say speaks volumes.

 

One day I will blog about that but what it simply means is that, let the people talk all they want but do your own talking. Never be misguided or misled or discouraged by what people say about you. The best way is to prove them wrong. Who can say? I bet no one. There are just three things I would like to talk about from the story…..not to bore you.

 

#1 What people say about you should not affect you negatively

I was at the airport yesterday and engaged myself in a conversation with a lady. She had come to wait for a friend who was coming to Ghana from Italy in a very beautiful dress. As we started talking I said something about friends that made her speak as if she was on drugs. She was talking like one controlled by a remote. Eddie Murphy could not have even spoken faster than her. She was coming from a wedding with the same dress. This lady buys clothes from a woman (Shop 1) in her neighborhood but a friend of hers advised her to buy from a different shop (Shop 2) because that shop had exotic clothes.

 

She listened and spent her savings on the new dress from the Shop 2. She went to the wedding and realized that she was the “lady gaga” of the event. Everyone including the couple had dressed in a simple but awesome way. She was telling me how her friend’s words made her lose money and also made her a laughing jackal at the wedding. If you listen to people all the time, you are bound for disgrace.

 

#2 Be who you are!

The man never changed who he was. He was a poor man…yes… but he knew who he was. He didn’t change because of what people said to him. He did not even sell his horse to the lord of the land. He valued the horse. We must value our integrity. Dignity is something thrown to the dogs lately. People don all sorts of things because of money. People sell their bodies, kill other human beings because of money but this man knew what it was to value something.

 

We have two ears. One is to listen and the other is to let the negative you hear out. All the negative things he heard entered in one ear and out in the other. He was not ready to be a different person. He was not ready to be ungrateful. He was still the man he used be. He carved a niche for himself as the man who was ever grateful. Bad luck or good luck….he was grateful.

 

#3 Don’t let circumstances change you!

I always say “this too shall pass” when I go through a difficult period. I have lived with this maxim for a long time. When I go through a bad phase of my life, I know it will surely end. No condition is permanent. When you are hungry, don’t kill yourself because eventually you will get food to eat.

When you are satisfied, don’t fool about because eventually you will go hungry.

 

Life is all about ups and downs. We just have to make an effort to stand the test of time. The poor man never made any circumstance change his belief. He believed in the fact that bad luck or good luck isn’t his to say. Even when his favorite horse left, it didn’t change him. When the son got hurt, it didn’t change him as well.
The future comes to us in bits and pieces. We never know what lies in store for us but if you always maintain a positive attitude the doors of chance remain open, and you will be a happier person.

 

Who can say? No one can say so don’t lose hope. Live by the Chorkor Trotro mantra.

 

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