I desperately needed a legal document (Power of Attorney), while we were on vacation in Florida several years ago. I got stressed up trying to figure out how to get it.
Then I called my cousin, a Nigerian-American, for advice. He said, “Calm down, Sam. This is America. Someone has helped you to think about it. Go to Staples. You will see it there, along with other docments. Just fill in the blanks.”
He continued; “This culture values convenience and innovating to make things easy for you. If you want to do anything here and it’s getting complicated, take that as a sign you are going off track. The issue is no longer the problem. The problem is your mindset”.
It’s been over a decade. I have not forgotten that conversation. I don’t think I ever will. I have experienced the American system on many dimensions since then, and I have seen those values for convenience and innovation play out.
The average African is raised in a difficult environment, and eventually develops unconscious bias for hardship. It then does not bother him to inflict hardship on others. When things work too easily, he can be suspicious, afraid things may soon go bad.
Making life easier for others is an expression of love. It is also the way to create wealth in a capitalist economy, because it obeys the basic principle of money. Money is a means of exchange of value. Cultures that make life easier for others prosper more.
What has your experience been in get ting a driving license, home loan, international passport, business registration, registration in school, business loan, water, electricity, etc., in your country?
It’s easy to put the blame on others, but if you grew up in a culture that accepts hardship as normal, there is a high likelihood you accommodate it and afflict others with it, possibly unconsciously. What is in the soil is what you find in the tree.
Our world changes for the better when we shift our mindsets and behaviour. Will you personally commit to always invest thought into making things easier for others? Will you improve the quality of products and services you offer and the processes for offering them?
If you occupy a leadership position, your beliefs and values affect your leadership. Are you making things easier or more difficult for them? Always bear in mind that the way you treat your followers is the way they will treat one another. Leaders shape values.
By Sam Adeyemi.