Hold On Forever!

tumblr_mc0w6cTzam1ryr9i1o1_500 Earlier this week, I received a letter from one of my Senegalese fans, B. Her letter hit me hard, for its rawness and truth. Although my life is very hectic, I wanted to get back to her rather sooner than later, because we cannot afford to lose any such engaged person to hopelessness and despair.

I also decided to post her letter here and my answer, because I know many go through the same. And I am trying to lift them up through this as well.

Read on, and hope it helps.

B's Letter:

Hi Magatte,

It's 2h30 am in Dakar and I cannot sleep...I have been very troubled these days and my mind constantly keeps going back to you. You know, when discouragement hits me really hard, I listen to the Coran, my beloved Khasidas and I read/watch inspirational talks/quotes. Among them are your youtube videos and blog. You are such an inspiration, machallah! So, I thought I would write to you to share a couple of concerns and hopefully pick your brain and get unstuck.

Magatte, I am very concerned about our country's economic development and I am trying my best to make my little contribution. I know I am still very far and that the road will be a long one. First, because working in a so-called development agency is not the best place where you can effect meaningful change, hence I am considering making a drastic change. Secondly, because I have not identified yet a field, an area and issue that will keep me awake in the middle of the night (like you said at the Global Competitiveness Forum, I loved that). Everything is a priority area for Senegal and Africa and it can be overwhelming to pick and commit to one fight (education, health, citizenship, access to water, people's empowerment etc)! I personally believe that being spread out is not an option, especially if one want to get meaningful results. Magatte, how do you choose one cause to fight for the rest of your life when so many issues move you to tears?

I was just reading your blogpost titled "My biggest fear" and this sentence deeply resonated with me: "Thus if I became famous like some freaks I will not name here or for some BS, I would not be happy, at all." This might sound like an unfair generalization but I have come to realize that our people give precedence to looks, wealth, fame, elegance, over substance, authenticity and hard work. People like to take shortcuts and being famous at any cost is what seems to drive the majority of Senegalese, hence the booming of "top models", wrestlers, actresses, tv presenters, politicians-by-training (and not for genuinely serving the community), people who indulge in multiple TV appearances where they make shallow interventions. I have nothing against people being artistic or into sports and expressing their inner talents through those means. However, the core of the matter is to be seen and "sagn-see ba diek". Even if you are selling BS, people will worship you. Sometimes it saddens me to see that the millions for whom a few are genuinely fighting for do not seem to care about development, about doing what is right, about preserving our values. People lie and take shortcuts to be rich and famous. Girls sell their souls for petty cash. It saddens me that the majority of the Senegalese population gets abused by BS-tellers who manipulate them and seek political power just to just fill up their bank accounts. Magatte, where does one find the energy to keep on fighting when the majority don't give a damn and barely listen? How does one keep on fighting when trying to be genuine+authentic in a general atmosphere where one is looked at like an alien? I am just in tears as I am writing this...

I hope you will have time to read my long message and look forward to your insights. You really give me strength to push through the disappointments.

Love,

B

 

My  Answer:

Hello My Dear B!

Sorry it took me awhile to get back to you. I have been very busy.

I know too well the feelings and realities that you are describing. It is not surprising you feel development agencies are not the proper answer to our situation and needs. Because they simply are not!!! For many reasons, that I am sure you probably understand better than most by now. So I support you getting out of there, because we cannot afford to have the very few youth (and people in general) who have their heart + mind in the right place slowly give into the ranks of the "establishment" because they got beat. So get out before you let your fighting soul die there!

All those problems you are referring to (when you say "education, health, citizenship, access to water, people's empowerment etc") have to do with ONE cause at the end of the day: POVERTY more or less directly!! And poverty is because people have no jobs. And we know jobs are created by entrepreneurs. So in a way, you already do know what keeps you up at night :) And the remedy is a "monomaniacal focus on entrepreneurship". Everything that you do from here on should focus on supporting entrepreneurship. It does not matter if you decide to work from the Education, Government, Private or NGO sector, you need to be laser focused on "How can I support entrepreneurship from my position". So pick what you are most excited/passionate about and operate from there.

As for all the crass-ness and mediocrity surrounding you that you are referring to, I can understand how frustrating it can be. And it is tempting to lift up your hands in the air with a defeated "Why even bother? I give up!". But in times like this , you must remember that you are not alone in this. Somewhere else, 10 feet away from you, or 10,000 miles away from you, someone else is fighting your fight. Your job is to find them and together create little islands of excellence in everything you do and the way you do it (especially having and taking pride in not cutting corners). At some point others will start noticing, and wanting to emulate that for you would have created something very irresistible.

Things will change, I believe that firmly. But things will change because of people like YOU! And every little thing you do counts. Cheikh Amadou Bamba, Mandela, Ghandi, Dr King, and countless others all operated within very hostile environments, and they still managed to win their battles. I am trying to give up on being mad at my fellow contemporaries, but it does not mean that I am happy to say "Oh this is the way it is". Instead, I focus on those beautiful alternatives I am working on creating for them. I know that the day those become real, others will slowly embrace them. And at some point it will become the new norm. Most will resist at first of course, because as humans we are creatures of habit. But there are always going to be those 2-3 first people to join you. And those are the ones who will change everything. But you have to create "IT" first, for them to have something to rally to. At the end of the day, "there is nothing to promote until there is something to sell". So go back to your core, remember your dreams for your country and the world you live in, and get back to work! Be relentless at it and only llisten to that small voice in you, the voice of God. Let that voice and its comfort guide you as you create your "it" and they will come! Criticize by Creating!!! Hope it helps! Much Love.

Magatte

My Biggest Fear

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivUs5uWvuOI&w=560&h=315]  

This video, made by a handful of African students in Germany I've never met (except for  the great Micha Ru  I met online, thank you FB), is one of my favorite YouTube videos.  I'm honored to have been included by them.  I feel accountable to this generation of young Africans around the world who are looking to mentors and models to remind them that the future will be different.

When Dambisa Moyo writes Dead Aid, or I write about Jeff Sachs, we are not criticizing foreign aid or its advocates merely to be critical.  What those who "care" don't understand is the profound injuries to the pride and self-respect that results when our only role as Africans is to be pitied.  The fact that these young Africans somewhere in Germany acknowledge me as worth mentioning in their paean to African achievement and self-worth gives me an immense sense of responsibility towards them and the future of Africa.

I know, I know, I know.... It's been ages since I wrote here. I have been extremely busy with the next phase of my company, Tiossan. We went through a complete rebranding and also opened our first retail store in Hudson, NY.  All of that happened as I continued doing something I really love doing: encourage and empower as many people around the world to follow their passions, especially as they relate to entrepreneurship and just "find out who they are , and do it on purpose" as per Dollie Parton. Freshly back from a an emotionally nerve wrecking time in Nigeria (in the good sense) and just recently Gabon where I spoke at the NewYork Forum Africa and the Dialogue For Action Africa (I had a talk each day for three days), preceded by talks at MIT and Yale. I am so passionate by what I do and sharing my vision for the world with the world that it always feels to the audience that I was born with this ability to speak in public, that it is effortless. But if only they knew that I cannot sleep for hours after I deliver a talk or speech. Indeed, when I speak, it all comes from my core, the depths of my guts and all that I am and who I am. I have this vision of a better world, a vision so pure and wonderful that I am in a complete state of ecstasy! I get such a rush of adrenaline pumping through my veins, I can hardly sleep for hours (sometimes days) after such interventions.

In any case, tonight I am back at my computer to write. Someone I know from Facebook sent me a comment saying that he intends to write a book on humans greatest fears and wanted to know if I had any words for him. This is a very compelling subject and I confess that I have often asked myself the question "What is my greatest fear?".

I think it varies from person to person but I also think there is a common feeling most people think their biggest fears have to do with fear of personal failure of some kind:  financial failure, professional failure, romantic failure, etc.

But fear of not living up to our potential is even scarier, because with all external failures one can always blame someone else, something else, some kind of circumstances.
Not living up to our potential is a failure for which the only person who can possibly be responsible is oneself.  Moreover, the only one who can know whether you have lived up to your potential or not is you (and God).
That is a very scary situation, isn't it ?  No one to blame - but yourself!
So does this change how you choose to live on a moment-to-moment basis?
It  should.
For my part, I, Magatte Wade, am VERY  afraid (actually terrified) of not fulfilling my  potential by not having the impact I want (namely transform perceptions of Africa, create many jobs, create fabulous schools to prepare the next generation to be spectacular).
Even if I became famous, if  I don't make real stuff happen I'll be disappointed when I render my last breath.
Thus if I became famous like some freaks I will not name here or for some BS, I would not be happy, at all.
It has to be real - I have to make those goals actually happen. And THAT is the source of my infinite energy and limitless passion. It is contagious and I hope you get infected.
P.S.:  With love and gratitude towards George Ayittey, who has been fighting this battle on behalf of all Africans for many decades now, and whose TED Africa talk on Cheetahs vs. Hippos will forever remain a classic.

Employment ensures Peace and a Happy Society

Couple days ago, a gunman opened fire at a Market in Florence, Italy, killing two Senegalese Street Vendors, before turning the gun on himself.

Since then, friends have been sending me notes asking if I had heard of it. This morning, I got tagged on Facebook by a friend called Zachary Caceres, wondering if I had seen the news. Zac is extremely intelligent and thoughtful and hit the nail on the head when he wrote this:

"Extremely sad attack in Italy on Senegalese Street Traders. One of the unintended consequences of protectionism and government intervention is the (justified) feeling that the economy is becoming a zero-sum game. Ironically, worldwide Street Trading is a major growth and employment sector, which the Italian formal economy could only hope to rival.

Instead of growth and opportunity, you have a set number of jobs -- many of which are patronage jobs like civil service or in government protected unions -- which everyone has to fight over. Instead of the arrival of foreigners being an opportunity for cultural enrichment and trade, they are instead just another competitor fighting over the fixed economic pie. 

This brings out the worst of our tribal heritage. Advocates that believe in peace and equality and also Government interventionism should consider this."

I agree with him. Let's also add that with or without immigrants, Europe will be completely screwed if they do not manage to create more jobs & opportunities. And their current trend for protectionism and nationalism is really counter productive for that. For now they gang up against those who do not look like them, next it will be those who are not from the town, then those who is not from the traditional ruling families of the town... I said it before: "Well jobs to me are to any sustainable society what water is to Life! Lose them and watch everything die around us, including us humans" and "employment ensures peace and a happy society. JOBS, JOBS, JOBS are critical, everywhere". More here.

African Entrepreneurs Taken Seriously

Until now I have never devoted a blog post to an event I will be speaking at. Not sure why, just something I don't think about I guess.

This time is different.  Because this is more than an event. It is a way of thinking AND behaving that I so truly, deeply believe in. Actually it is one of the very few forms of "development" that the proud African woman do-it-first-and-they'll-show-up  I am  can accept and does respect.

Convergence Africa simply states its vision as "where capital meets opportunity". I say "YES! YES! and YES!" (singing). When I see and hear those words of "where Capital meets opportunity" right next to the word "Africa", well it brings tears to my eyes.

Africa's time has come, I'll never say it enough. And the world will be better for it.

So I cannot wait to join this global community of folks who take African entrepreneurship seriously. I can't wait to hug again fellow warriors friends like Claude Grunitzky and Jacqueline Musiitwa and greet other fellow warriors I have not met  yet, but whose work I have been following and cheering for along the sideline like Fred Swaniker and Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu .

It will be refreshing to participate to a convergence where the crowd is made of representatives of a healthy eco-system an entrepreneur needs with topics directly related to the entrepreneur's toolkit (ie. legal framework for a business, execution, securing financing, training of the next generation of leaders and talent, channelling african creativity for new business opportunity, etc).

I also cannot wait for the Gala dinner at which the  2011 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship will honor  outstandingly deserving change agents. While the hippos are fattening themselves into a pond that they can't get out of anymore and slowly drowning in it, the cheetahs are creating, innovating and enjoying the run of their lives. We have not given up on our Continent, and we are using entrepreneurship as the Master Tool to create better lives for ourselves, those around us and those to come.

Be a coward & Surrender or Be noble & Live your life

"In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of man be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless in those who have never achieved his title. Do not lose your knowledge that man's proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads. Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it is possible, it's yours.” Ayn Rand (Russian born American Writer & Novelist, 1905-1982)

All Woman?

Just FYI, this is the track I was listening to while writing this blog post.

This article on Lynn Tilton in the New York Magazine was a real treat for me.

An interesting man with whom my Beloved and I have befriended, forwarded it to me. And I must admit that I am a bit confused as to why he felt compelled to send it to me. Did she remind him of me?  A part of me recognizes that this woman could easily be a cartoon version of me. I had never heard of Lynn Tilton before. But as I was reading the article, I was going from "WOW!" to "WTF?" back to "Yes, Woman!" but again to "Are you freaking serious?"And if nothing else, I am simply compelled by the stories of unusual entrepreneurs.

Like Lynn Tilton, I am bold, mouthy, a control freak, extremely sexual, love business (which I view as the greatest force of good in the world), adore my femininity/sensuality and playing with it everywhere all of the time (especially when men fall willing victims of it :) )

I still have not made up my mind on this woman and where she is trying to go, but I can share what I like and do not like about her:

LIKE, +++++, PROs, SHE ROCKS

  • She is a full woman ("an all woman" in her own words). I am profoundly disturbed, annoyed and saddened by all the mutant females that inhabit corporate boardrooms and meetings nowadays, all these so-called women who are consumed in their efforts to imitate men so much that the only thing they have left of being woman are breasts, literally! She understands that there are other ways to stand up to men so that they get "I'll be your girlfriend, but I won't be your b****" . I want to see women bring more beauty and sensuality to this world.
  • She gets the power of business, especially industry and manufacturing-based economy for a country.  She takes seriously how employment ensures peace and a happy society. JOBS, JOBS, JOBS are critical, everywhere!!! It is funny-annoying how too many people take it for granted in this country, so much they get bored just thinking about it, but without it, we can't even begin to be a sustainable society. And that is true for African countries, all of you do-gooders out there - unless you are so in love with "indigenous people" that you want to keep us poor just for kicks!  Just like water sounds like the most boring thing to  and is under rated by most , without it there would be no Life the way we know it. Well jobs to me are to any sustainable society what water is to Life! Lose them and watch everything die around us, including us humans.
  • She perceived that the intellectual notion of business needs to be defended so that we can get more business friendly policies. For my part, I realized few years ago that being a good business person and creating jobs is not enough. Unfortunately "crapitalism" (term used by Gene Epstein, econ editor of Barron's to describe what happens when big business goes to bed with government ) has spoiled the well in people's minds. They think that the corrupt crapitalism that we see everywhere is capitalism - but it is not.  Most of us love small businesses for they are created by people like you and I, providing much-needed services and products to people who need and want them. Most of us admire such folks, and the fact they provide jobs that sustain entire families, help their communities thrive. And it is all based on free will. You buy from that company if you chose so, you work for it if you chose so, and so forth. We all love those principles. Those principle are what I call "capitalism", simply. Are those principles not worth defending for everything they have given us and how they improved our lives? Well if any one is still doubting, I am absolutely ALL OUT to defend those principles. The development of my country Senegal, and beyond that the development of the world depends on it. And right now, unfortunately , I am afraid that a lot of young people are being taught at universities (primarily) by misguided anti-business professors to hate and compromise those principles using the wrong examples. I am sadly seeing how these tenured professors at these well endowed universities, front row beneficiaries are teaching the children, grand-children, great-grandchildren of their greatest benefactors (business people who ran successful businesses who turned around and made donations to allow for those universities to be and function) to despise the very powerful forces that allowed their existence in the first place and subsistence to this day (even the way endowments works means these universities have to place their money in equities, i.e., real businesses). All of this just to say that I feel lucky that I opened my eyes early, which is why I am working at both level: being a real entrepreneur, as well as being an evangelist for business. I do not want to be like a lot of current business people who are just now realizing how our work is taken for granted and how much the anti-business people have managed to own the moral high ground on these issues. They were preaching against the healthy principles of business while we entrepreneurs were busy creating real value for all parties involved. The name of the game must change and we must DO and PREACH right now! We must win the moral high ground because that will allow for faster change, quicker! There is no reason why billions of people must remain poor and live in inhuman conditions for one second longer because a very few select group of people are too petty to recognize they have been wrong all along! I am furious! The "criticize by creating" is my mantra...ZEN....
  • Her spiritual beliefs. I love people who are still connected to the power of the Earth and the Ancestors who came before us. At the end of the day, the journey must be more about than just our little selves, because we are each a part of something so much bigger. So by the time I am hopefully peacefully about to give my last breath, I would like to be smiling feeling in my heart "God, I played my part. I am ready to come home now".
  • She is her own person and definitely not a sheep. At this point of my life, may God help the person that will try to tell me what I can't, nor shouldn't do. I am the ONLY qualified person to determine who/what I can, should or want to be/do!
ARGH!, CONs, But WHY?
.

  • She is too bling-bling in her appearance and her lifestyle. Again for me true class is when money is not a factor because you have so much of it who cares or you have none and who cares.
  • She has gotten a very dirty mouth. While I love mouthy people I believe there is a true art to it, if not you are just a dirty mouth and there is nothing beautiful about that and you know how much I care about beauty. As a matter of fact, one of my upcoming blogs will be on the art of insult, inspired by the classy insults of back in the days, when there was no need for nasty "f" words and such yet you could still elegantly  make your point like Charles, Count Talleyrand's "In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily".
  • Being an all woman should not mean harassing men all over the place.  Gross and distasteful!. There is nothing more fun and sensual than to ensnare a man in a web of love. But that is all one needs to do: build a web of love, an irresistible one, and they will come. Trust me :) So this below is just crazy, just as I thought I could not read worse about this woman's lack of class, taste and manners.
"This employee also says that Tilton perceives all of her male employees as being in love with her. Which is perhaps the reason that, holding court in a conference room during her 50th- birthday party, Tilton offered her male employees a choice: They could take a Jell-O shot off her stomach or lick whipped cream off her breasts. “The crazy part was, she saw it as morale building,” says one person present. “People were hiding in the bathroom.”"
If you have not left the building yet and want to read more, see the full article here.
By the way and at this point of my post, I must say that despite my dislikes about Lynn Tilton, I do appreciate and respect her. She has got what matters when it is all said and done: love, smarts, courage and sensuality.

Luxury is not Chic... Tiossano ç'est Chic!

I spent these past two years creating the mesmerizing scents for my upcoming line of Tiossano body care  products. I have been immersed in the world of scents and initiated to the art of perfume. I have been blessed to learn from some of  the world most renowned noses.  I also read from some of the most enlightening specialists. Amongst them is an interesting character, Luca Turin.

Luca Turin (1953 - ) is a biophysicist with a long-standing interest in the sense of smell, the art of perfume, and the fragrance industry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luca_Turin

A quotation from him in English that perfectly describes what my brand Tiossano draws from:

The French like luxury, but what the French call luxury is actually call-girl chic.  Put it this way.  After finishing secondary school at sixteen, I went back to Paris to go to university, Paris XII, Pierre et Marie Curie.  I rented a room from Madame Clouzot, the sister of the film director Henri-Georges Clouzot, right near the Champs Elysees.  She explained that there were only two great French perfume makers, Guerlain and Caron.  Guerlain, she said, was for cocottes – kept women.  Caron was for the duchesse.  But in fact it was 1880s cocotte style that passes for chic in France.  What the French consider 'chic' is actually kept-woman vulgarity. . . . Caron, on the other hand, is absolutely proper, proper chic. . . .  Chic is, first, when you don't have to prove that you have money, either because you have a lot and it doesn't matter or because you don't have any and it doesn't matter.  Chic is not aspirational. . . Chic is the most impossible thing to define.  Luxury is a humourless thing, largely, and when humor happens in luxury it happens involuntarily.  Chic is all about humor.  Which means chic is about intelligence.  And there has to be oddness – most luxury is conformist, and chic cannot be.  Chic must be polite and not incommode others, but within that it can be as weird as it wants.

Stay True To Your Dreams

Paul Coelho is one of my favorite writers, with the Alchemist & Brida at the top of my list when it comes to his books. His story is a fabulous real world example of the importance of staying true to your dreams.

"Paulo Coelho was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.[1] He attended a Jesuit school. As a teenager, Coelho wanted to become a writer. Upon telling his mother this, she responded with "My dear, your father is an Engineer. He's a logical, reasonable man with a very clear vision of the world. Do you actually know what it means to be a writer?"[1] After researching, Coelho concluded that a writer "always wears glasses and never combs his hair" and has a "duty and an obligation never to be understood by his own generation," amongst other things.[1] At 17, Coelho's introversion and opposition to following a traditional path led to his parents committing him to a,mental institution from which he escaped three times before being released at the age of 20.[2][3] Coelho later remarked that "It wasn't that they wanted to hurt me, but they didn't know what to do... They did not do that to destroy me, they did that to save me.[4]

At his parents' wishes, Coelho enrolled in law school and abandoned his dream of becoming a writer. One year later, he dropped out and lived life as a hippie, traveling through South AmericaNorth AfricaMexico, and Europe and becoming immersed in thedrug culture of the 1960s.[5][6] Upon his return to Brazil, Coelho worked as a songwriter, composing lyrics for Elis ReginaRita Lee, and Brazilian icon Raul Seixas. Composing with Raul led to Paulo being associated with satanism and occultism, due to the content of some songs.[7] In 1974, Coelho was arrested and tortured for "subversive" activities by the ruling military government, who had taken power ten years earlier and viewed his lyrics as left-wing and dangerous.[4] Coelho also worked as an actor, journalist, and theatre director before pursuing his writing career.[7]

In 1986, Coelho walked the 500-plus mile Road of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain, a turning point in his life.[5][8] On the path, Coelho had a spiritual awakening, which he described autobiographically in The Pilgrimage.[9] In an interview, Coelho stated "[In 1986], I was very happy in the things I was doing. I was doing something that gave me food and water -- to use the metaphor in "The Alchemist", I was working, I had a person who I loved, I had money, but I was not fulfilling my dream. My dream was, and still is, to be a writer."[10] Coelho would leave his lucrative career as a songwriter and pursue writing full-time.

Writing career

In 1982 Coelho published his first book, Hell Archives, which failed to make any kind of impact.[7] In 1986 he contributed to thePractical Manual of Vampirism, although he later tried to take it off the shelves since he considered it “of bad quality."[7] After making the pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in 1986, Coelho wrote The Pilgrimage. The following year, Coelho wrote The Alchemistand published it through a small Brazilian publishing house who made an initial print run of 900 copies and decided not to reprint.[11]He subsequently found a bigger publishing house, and with the publication of his next book Brida, The Alchemist became a Brazilian bestseller.[11] The Alchemist has gone on to sell more than 30 million copies, becoming one of the best-selling books in history, and has been translated into more than 67 languages, winning the Guinness World Record for most translated book by a living author.[7][12]"

Entrepreneurship: Best Path to Personal Growth

The exert below exemplifies very well why a wonderful entrepreneurial friend of ours, Donna Hadjipopov, told my husband Michael that "entrepreneurship  is the highest form of personal growth".

How right is Donna!

1. You’re going to be tested. Hammered, actually. When I started my journey as an entrepreneur, my vision was fixed on the financial rewards of growing a business. I had no way of knowing how many great personal tests I would face along the way. I was too inexperienced to anticipate how market factors, competitive pressures, cash constraints, and managing employees would create an environment of nearly constant pressure. New twists, turns, and surprises surface with exhausting frequency. There’s a wise saying that “…hammering hardens steel and plays havoc on putty.” It’s the opportunity for you to become strengthened and refined under the heat and hammering of business challenges. Sadly, many wilt, falter, or fail under these circumstances. So be prepared to face and conquer real-life tests as an entrepreneur and to be better for it.

 

2. You’re going to fail. That’s a good thing. Think of failure as the toll paid for future success. Every great success story includes painful chapters of failure and misstep. It’s a fact that through failure, questions are answered and solutions are discovered. Og Mandino said, “Failure is the highway to success, as every discovery we make of what is false leads us to earnestly seek after what is true and points out some error which we shall afterward carefully avoid.” And it’s the experience of failure that breeds the ability to be flexible, humble, and thoughtful—qualities required to create a company that can stand the test of time. Flexibility, humility, and thoughtfulness go a long way in life, too.

 

3. You’re going to learn patience. It develops as a natural result of the hammering and the failures that you’re sure to experience.Patience is the trait that truly separates inexperienced entrepreneurs from the seasoned and successful. Patience earned through experience is what allows a business operator to get beyond idealistic dreams and deal in the world of sound, realistic expectations. Pray that it develops within you as soon as possible.

 

4. You’re going to have a major impact on people. It’s inevitable. People—perhaps many people—are going to give a portion of their lives to your cause. This isn’t a small thing. Your actions toward your customers, vendors, and especially your employeeswill have a positive or negative impact on their lives. You will learn that managing people is really about leadership, and leadership is about inspiring people to reach their full potential. In The 8th Habit, Stephen Covey explains that it is absolutely crucial that we “…find our voice and inspire others to find theirs.” And again, from Drucker, “Management is about human beings. Its task is to make their strengths effective and their weaknesses irrelevant.” I hope that as you build your company, you will find that it is an ideal platform for doing much more than selling widgets—the opportunity is there to change many lives for good.

 

5. You’re going to develop character. Sure, you might get rich, retire young, and travel the world, too. But realize that this isn’t really the end game. In time (sooner rather than later, with any luck), you’ll recognize that building a business is much different than what you might have initially envisioned. If you choose to pay the price for success, you’ll find that it’s actually much harder than most accounts of business success would suggest. But through that hardship, great rewards are available. While there is no guarantee of riches, through the pursuit, you will obtainrewards of character. And the development of sound character is perhaps the most important perk of entrepreneurship. At the end of the day, no one really cares how much money you made. They care about who you are."

More here

 

Cowgirl Code

On this blog post, I saw the following and very interesting concept of "Cowboy Code". While my answer to the author is that I think Capital Hill should adopt this ideology, I also would love to see more girls and women adopt it too! More dignity and honor would be  great for a change, and I believe we, the ladies-chicks-nanas (whatever you want to call yourself) have a great role model opportunity to shape the world to be a better place:

Here are the Ten Principles of Cowboy Ethics:

1. Live each day with courage

2. Take pride in your work

3. Always finish what you start

4. Do what has to be done

5. Be tough, but fair

6. When you make a promise, keep it

7. Ride for the brand

8. Talk less and say more

9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale

10. Know where to draw the line"

 

Paradoxical Commandments

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.
People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.
Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.
The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith

Spiritual Initiation better than an MBA?

I was just introduced to a beautiful book: The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of Spirit, by Joseph Chilton Pearce. The excerpts below from the book provide what I believe is a fabulous description of why I believe in my Sufi Guide.  Although the author of the book is using the example of Australian Aborigines, this is a great description of why I believe that indigenous cultures have not only wisdom, but actual mental/spiritual/cognitive capacities that have been lost in the modern world:

“Should we as a species become tone-deaf – that is, lose our capacity for tonal discrimination – we would be unable to perceive music as a sensory phenomenon or even comprehend the word music. It would be impossible for us to grasp that we had lost something if we had no neural system for experiencing that which was lost. We might at some point read of an ancient society that had once all but worshiped a phenomenon they called music, but we couldn’t explain this phenomenon outside of its own parameters of sensation because it has no metaphoric equivalents. We can’t say music is like anything. Tone, for instance, is what it is, not what it is like. And, for a tone-deaf species, music would be a useless, meaningless word without referent. If we follow this analogy, we might understand Robert Wolff’s deep frustration at trying to get across to us what the Senoi had opened him to. Indeed we have no idea of what we have lost.

A society or race that has developed a brain system involved in states of consciousness might never be comprehended or even perceived by an object-oriented brain-mind capable only of re-creating objectified things and altering nature, and , at the same time, knowing nothing of subjective internal states or experience. Such an object-oriented society might never know that some people might have nurtured and tended states of consciousness until they had evolved to astonishing heights and even become self-sustaining outside all physical aspects. Only a brain-mind that had likewise developed could comprehend and resonate with such beings.”

Joseph Chilton Pearce The Death of Religion and the Rebirth of Spirit p.180

As I read this, I had to consider the implications of my Guide's belief that I have even stronger powers than he has - a belief that I used to consider to be unimaginable, but  now, because I trust my Guide, I trust completely is true.

The notion of "Be true to your voice," while accurate, is only the faintest shadow of the kind of capabilities we all have within us.  Once you learn to listen, really, really, deeply listen, to the deepest, truest voice within you, you will be truly extraordinary.  In my case, I guess that it is for this reason that my precious beloved Michael suggested a little while ago I spend a few years in Senegal mentoring with my Guide, rather than going to get an MBA (I had been talking about taking time off from starting up Tiossano to get an MBA).  He really was not just challenging me; he believes that for me, apprenticing with my Guide would be a much more valuable use of my time than is getting an MBA.  Now, I agree.  I see on the one hand, that getting an MBA, even from Harvard, would not teach me anything about entrepreneurship.  On the other hand, I see that many of my fears and weaknesses come from not being in touch with my deepest abilities, whereas many of my best decisions and best insights come from being in touch with that part of my being.  And now I am convinced that I myself barely know what I am capable of perceiving, and that an apprenticeship with my Guide would open up entirely new worlds of perception for me, worlds which would make me a happier, better, and more capable human being.

I honestly don't know what the right path is for each of us, but I do believe that we all have truly extraordinary abilities that are untapped within us, that are mostly contaminated with fear and anger and uncertainty and doubt and resentment and ten thousand irrelevant emotions. If we can simply transcend all the emotional crap that keeps us down, we will truly, truly be invincible and amazing and dazzling and beautiful and we will transform the world, completely, and deeply than is the case even in our wildest, most private, most ambitious, most insanely over-the-top "I am great" dreams.  So release yourselves, Gods and Goddesses, for we so need you in this world. Now!

So, spiritual initiation anyone? :)

I Almost Gave Up today :(

Sometimes and when the world seems particularly unresponsive, I have found myself to want to give it all up.

One day it got so horrible that Michael, King of Enlightened Positivity, sent me select hand-picked quotes on perseverance and the need to hang on, especially when you feel that you are barely hanging by the skin of your teeth.

We all have those days, but next time it happens to you, please find comfort in the words below. Print these quotes, or re-write them with your most beautiful hand-writing, frame it and place it at eye level somewhere you can always have access to it.

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan "press on" has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race” -- Calvin Coolidge

Decide carefully, exactly what you want in life, then work like mad to make sure you get it! -- Hector Crawford

“Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be attained.” -- Marie Curie

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” -- Dale Carnegie

"Studies indicate that the one quality all successful people have is persistence." -- Joyce Brothers (1928-) U.S. psychologist and talk show host

"If you wish success in life, make perseverance your bosom friend, experience your wise counselor, caution your elder brother and hope your guardian genius. " -- Joseph Addison

"Nothing could be worse than the fear that one has given up too soon, and left one unexpended effort which might have saved the world." -- Jane Addams

And the Best Baguette Prize Awarded in Paris goes to…. a fellow Senegalese born Baker

 

 

The secret to his award-winning bread? Nothing too complicated: “A good baguette needs to look good, have a crispy crust and a good smell and taste,” he said.

I tell you: there is no secret to anything in the world but just EXCELLENCE! It wins every single time!

As a Montmartre lover, I know where I will be getting my baguette this summer  while in Paris:)

Read the full article here

A Knight of a Corporation!

We can each see what we want in this news.  I want to see a beautiful and quite inspiring "Principle over Profit" case. This also goes to show how Corporations can be part of the solution with principled leaders running them. And the most satisfying part is I believe that in the long run, it will all work out for the Chinese people, Google and the world at large  for I believe the True, the Good and Noble always wins in the end. Bravo, Google!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KioG1W9GIE8&feature=player_embedded]