The Perspective with Edward Bwalya Phiri: ‘Be the change you wish to see’

American Mogul and Billionaire, Oprah Gail Winfrey once said that, “The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” And famous Tele-Evangelist Joyce Meyer once said that, “A positive attitude gives you power over your circumstances, instead of your circumstances having power over you.”

On the Perspective today, attention is on attitude. And according to the ABC or the Tricomponent Attitude Model [in consumer behaviour], attitude consists of three variables; A for the Affective [feelings and emotions]; B for the Behaviour [conation, thus to act and behave]; and C for Cognitive [belief and Knowledge].

Dave Boreham sought to define attitude when he wrote that, “Attitude has been defined as a state of mind. Perhaps one of the best definitions I have heard for attitude is the way I habitually think under any situation. In other words enthusiasm, confidence, love, happiness, caring, honesty, smart work, delegation, self-management are attitudes. So are depression, worry, fear, frustration, hate, deceit and so on.”

The Oxford University defined attitude as a settled way of thinking or feeling. It can also be defined as feelings or opinions held, which influence and guide how people behave and act. To a larger extent, attitude is perceived through actions. So much of what we see and experience, good or bad, stems from people’s attitudes. A prominent life coach Bob Proctor once wrote that “Attitude is nothing, and yet it is everything. It is a window to the world, you can change the world by changing your attitude.”

Unfortunately, it is human nature to resist change; however, change is inevitable. When people settle, they build a comfort zone that makes it difficult for them to accept any change, but would rather settle for the status quo. Nevertheless, change brings growth and development at personal, corporate, national, continent and global levels because it offers a new challenge and a new mandate that evokes a renewed commitment.

Generally, people’s actions stem from societal credence, accepted norms and personal convictions. It is interesting and unfortunate that most of us want to see a lot of things change around us, but we don’t want to be part of that change. Mahatma Gandhi once advised that, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” He also wrote back in 1913 that, “we but mirror the world. All tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.” It is actually a laughable and humiliating situation to continue dreaming of an ecstasy or nirvana but continue to do the exact opposite.
Change is relative to a particular condition and does not occur in a vacuum. It actually takes time and effort to realise. We must therefore be willing to expend our resources; innate and material, in order to realise it. There is therefore an inevitable and urgent need for a paradigm shift in society.

Robin Sharma wrote that, “A paradigm is simply a way of looking at a circumstance or at life in general. Some people see the glass of life as half empty. The optimists see it as half full. They interpret the same circumstances differently because they have adopted a different paradigm. A paradigm is basically the lens through which you see the events of your life, both external and internal.”

This write-up highlights six attitudinal categories that require change of perspective; namely, Mob Psychology, Dependency Syndrome, Cleanliness, Indolence and Laissez Faire attitude.

I. Mob Psychology

This is also known as the crowd mentality. Most people are generally influenced by others, and are always thinking about what other people’s reactions would be to their thoughts or actions. The sentiments of the majority become the norm. And people fear to be different. John Mason wrote that, “If a thousand people say something foolish, it is still foolish. Truth is never dependent upon consensus of belief.” Dare to be different, endeavour to be assertive and build your identity by being independent. Lori Goodwin warns that, “The mob mentality may keep you safe, but your soul will pay for it in the end.”

II. Dependency Syndrome

Most people know this as the “BOMA iyanganepo [Government must consider helping]” syndrome. In most instances people appeal for assistance even on things that themselves can afford to do. It is unfortunate that most people depend on arms or handouts for their subsistence. Why should begging become an occupation for a sane and able bodied person? Both the beggar and the arms giver need to change their attitude. Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie wrote in 1885 that, “If you give a man fish, he is hungry in an hour. If you teach him how to catch fish, you do him a good turn.” The import from this quote is that everyone needs to learn how to fend for themselves, that will improve your confidence and your health.

III. Cleanliness

Most people would only want to see and enjoy a clean environment but would not want to contribute in making the environment clean. One of the cleanliness slogans states that, “Keep your surrounding clean, make the earth green. Cleanliness is an emblem of the purity of mind. Anti-Litter, Don’t Be Bitter, Stop the Litter! Green Earth.”

The majority in society have impure minds reflected by their poor attitude towards the environment. They throw litter and garbage anyhow as a sure depiction of the clutter in their minds. Unfortunately, this affects the quality of life and shortens life expectancy. Robin Sharma wrote that, “To dramatically improve the quality of your life, you must cultivate a new perspective of why you are on earth. You must realise that just as you entered the world with nothing, you are destined to leave with nothing. This being the case, there is only one reason for your being here…you should make it a priority to change your world view and start seeing yourself as part of the collective.” Endeavour and make every effort to be part of the environmental solution and not the problem.

IV. Indolence

John mason wrote that, “the world makes room for a person of purpose. His words and actions demonstrate that he knows where he is going. You are built to conquer circumstances, solve problems, and attain goals. You will find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer, goals to achieve, and purpose to fulfil.” Slothfulness leads to poverty and condemns generations to life confinement of vicious cycle.

Development is a collective responsibility where every citizen makes a contribution. Michael E Porter wrote that, “National prosperity is created, not inherited. It does not grow out of a country’s natural endowments, its labour pool, its interest rates, or its currency’s value, as classical economics insists.” Strive to make a contribution; a nation’s wealth measure by the size of the Gross Domestic Product [GDP]. GDP is an aggregate economic output of every citizen’s contribution, in monetary terms. If you can’t contribute don’t complain about the status quo, it is as simple as that.

V. Laissez Faire Attitude

The culture of taking life casually and allowing fate take its cause is dangerous and is killing individuals and nations alike. People need to take control of their lives and of the nation. You cannot wish for change and be indifferent at the same time. Get involve in your own and national affairs. For today I will end here; it’s Au revoir, from EBP. For queries or comments write to: elbardogma@yahoo.com

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