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2020: Our year of self-discovery and self-mastery

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Arnold Schwarzenegger

The year 2020 is significant because it carries the direction for the next ten years within it. It is extremely dangerous to start this year on a wrong note. We must know ourselves to grow ourselves. The greatest hindrance to personal development is personal neglect. Aristotle once said, “The purpose of education is not the assimilation of knowledge but the development of personality”. “Who am I?” is a question we ask ourselves throughout our lives in so many ways. Although popular imagination consigns self-discovery to adolescence, the work of finding yourself is lifelong. Understanding and deciding who we are can bring a clarity of purpose, healing, strength, fulfillment, and a steady sort of pleasure to our lives.

The best form of education is self-discovery. Self-discovery with self-mastery is real power. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, ‘’Make the best of yourself because that is all there is of you.’’ The pertinent question is this: How can you make the best of yourself when you don’t even know who you are? Certificates and degrees don’t reveal people to themselves; they at most measure our IQ (Intelligent Quotient). I have often tell people that there is no Recovery without Discovery. A poor man is simply someone that has not discovered himself. The more you discover yourself, the more you realize the treasures that are hidden deep within you. We carry inside ourselves latent treasures that can only be unveiled through self-discovery. The essential part of the process of learning is gaining an understanding of ourselves. The main purpose of education is to take us on a journey of self-discovery and to unravel our hidden potential and gifts, but the kind of education we practice in the world of today, with Africa being the worst hit, stifles our initiatives, distorts our identity and ‘blankets’ our gifts!

In the school where I am privileged to be Dean of Schools and Academics, we have experienced great difficulties with students that their parents want them to study something when it is very glaring that the potential of the student is elsewhere. To solve this problem, we set up a special test called a psychometric test. Psychometric tests are a standard and scientific method used to measure individuals’ mental capabilities and behavioural style. Psychometric tests are designed to measure candidates’ suitability for a role based on the required personality characteristics and aptitude (or cognitive abilities). This test is designed to ask students a few questions and their sincere responses will produce a special result that tells the institution the unique abilities of the student and the corresponding career paths that they can choose from. I especially recommend this unique test to be taken by high school students in order to place them in their area of strength and unique abilities. I have observed in my years of experience in education that when kids are placed in the wrong places, they will produce the wrong results. Educational institutions must design systems that will help students in their journey of self-discovery.

There is no self-worth without self-discovery. I have often said that when you learn how much you are worth, you will stop giving people discounts. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are. Until you live a life that is truly yours, you have not lived! Many people live a larger part of their life wanting to be someone else. For all the time you work hard to being someone else, they are wasted years. Be yourself – everyone else is already taken.

The key to success is discovering your uniqueness and significance. Socrates said, ‘’Man, know thyself.’’ The secret of success lies in self-discovery. Life is a journey of self-discovery, but it is a pity how most people live all their life trying to win people’s acceptance. If you live on people’s acceptance, you will die from their rejection. Madonna Ciccone said, “Poor is the man whose pleasures depend on the permission of another.” I have observed that the greatest hindrance to living a fulfilling life is being ‘stuck’ on other people’s opinion and permission. Make no apologies for following your heart; a man on a mission needs no permission.

The amazing story of megastar, Arnold Schwarzenegger is a true ‘’rags to riches’’ tale of a penniless immigrant making it in the land of opportunity, the United States of America. With an almost unpronounceable surname and a thick Austrian accent, who would ever believe that an ordinary bodybuilder from a small village in Austria would become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars and one day be the Governor of California!

Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger was born on July 30, 1947 near Graz, Austria. He rose to fame as the world’s top bodybuilder, launching a career that would make him a giant Hollywood star and later, the governor of California. His father, Gustav, who constantly ridiculed Schwarzenegger’s early dreams of becoming a bodybuilder wanted him to become a police officer just like him.

Regardless of his father’s intimidation, the young Arnold held tenaciously to his dream and would not allow his father mold him into what he was not. On several occasions, he vehemently refused to tread the path that his father had laid for him. As an escape for all the ridicules at home, Arnold turned to live his passion: bodybuilding and the movies in a foreign land. He eventually became a fugitive for his passion, an intense passion that would later bring him to international limelight.

His sojourn into bodybuilding brought him both fame and fortune. In all, Schwarzenegger would win five unprecedented Mr. Universe titles and seven Mr. Olympia crowns during his bodybuilding career. Arnold, with his great physical strength and sense of humor catapulted himself into the top echelon of the acting world and has become one of the highest-paid action film stars in Hollywood, with several films to his credit. After years of blockbuster movie roles, Schwarzenegger went into politics, becoming the governor of California (2003 – 2011). Arnold ran as a republican in 2003 in the California recall election that ousted the incumbent Democratic Governor, Gray Davis. He was re-elected in a landslide in the 2006 elections.

In 2012, he returned to his acting career, starring Jean-Claude Van-Damme, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone in the star-studded film, ‘The Expendables’. Within just one week, the movie had climbed to the No. 1 spot at the box office bringing in nearly $28.6million. His foray into politics has made him an active and respected member of the Republican Party with the hope of becoming a possible future Republican presidential candidate of the United States of America. The legendary actor has this to say in one of his speeches in 2001, ‘’My own plan formed when I was 14 years old; my father had wanted me to be a police officer like he was, and my mother wanted me to go to trade school.’’

It is not schooling or certificate that made Arnold who he is today; it is his own personal attempt at discovering himself when everybody wanted him to be something else! I wonder what the world would have lost if Arnold ended up becoming a police officer that his father wanted to mold him into? Parents are meant to trigger the journey of self-discovery in their children and not to mold them into their own desire. This is the greatest parental sin that has continuously ravage the world, leaving us with many children that had been sentenced to a lifetime of identity crises!

In 2020, make self-discovery and self-mastery a priority. You are designed by God not to blend in but to stand out. There is only one thing that God will never call you to be in life, and that is being someone else! You aren’t called to be anyone else; you are called to be ‘YOU’.

I will be recommending seven books for you on self-discovery in 2020. At least, read the one by Oprah Winfrey and any other three: “The Gift of Being Yourself: The Sacred Call to Self-Discovery” by David G. Benner; “The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose” by Oprah Winfrey; “Flow” by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi; “The Journey Called You: A Roadmap to Self-Discovery and Acceptance” by Julie Fuimano; “Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration” by Meera Lee Patel; “Finding Your Own North Star: Claiming the Life You Were Meant to Live” by Martha Beck; “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho.

Wishing you a year filled with the discovery of what heaven has deposited in you. To all the fans of the “Youths With Purpose” Column, I cherish, value and love you all.


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