Conscious Dreaming and My YALI RLC Experience.
I wouldn’t pretend that I share in the stress others expressed was characteristic of the application phase to YALI. However, I now understand that a couple of failures that had hit me only prepared me for this. This only further taught me there was no such thing as failure but rather an opportunity to learn. I had only graduated from engineering school some months back, had gotten two job offers that were never concluded, had been denied a visa twice for a job opportunity in Belgium… All these had taught me something that will help me all through my YALI experience. My attention was on developing my personal projects until my friend Yvette got me three (3) days to the deadline asking me to apply for the YALI Emerging Leaders Program. She thought I had a good profile and I could be selected. I spent the 29th and 30th of May 2018 getting my application ready. I went through all phases of the selection process and boom!! it was time for the online training.
The online sessions announced to be a little demanding. Having to work most days from 7:30 am till 7:00 pm and having to follow the courses from 10pm was quite a challenging experience. I should have known the onsite program wasn’t going to be any different.
Fast forward, I was in Ghana at Kotoka Int’l airport and it’s “Akwaaba” to my teammates and I. We sorted the immigration issues and Daniel (the driver) drove us to the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA).
Later that evening, we had a tour of the facility with Erasmus (A YALI Staff), after the tour it was almost 7:00 pm so we headed back for dinner. At dinner there were too many introductions and frankly I doubt if I remembered even three of those names. However I had three weeks to know them better.
The Canopy Walk and how it changed my Life
When I walked into the business and entrepreneurship class and met Amadou Chico (www.twitter.com/chicoinspires), my facilitator, I expressed two worries to him. Firstly, I had come to YALI to learn to be a great businessman and secondly, I needed to overcome my fear of losing money. He had shared his story to us and I was so inspired by the positivity that he unleashed with every single word. I was fed up with people telling me “Mikah, your idea is great and you should implement it” but years after, they still remain nothing better than ideas. I needed to start a business. And even if I lost, I will have learnt a way that wasn’t right. After all “There is no such thing as failure; they’re only learning opportunities”.
At the Kakum National Park, we had to walk through 350 meters at heights from 11m to 40m. After a very scary first lap, you had the chance of taking left to complete the walk with two other laps or going right to complete all 7 laps. At this point I reminded myself of the fact that success had no shortcuts and that every single experience will serve you later in the future. My mistakes earlier on had been the reason why I was there and so, I wasn’t going to offer myself anything short of the full experience. It was time for a scary adventure but this time, I was happy to come to terms with my fears. To me, if I challenged this particular FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real), then my fear of losing money or failing in business would have been challenged equally. I did lose something on that walk, which we will talk about later. Though it was a time to have fun, I was in deep thoughts. Very silent to others but deafened by the loudness of my thoughts. Something had to die before I went through those 350m. It was going to be my fear to lose money and the next time I have a business idea, I wasn’t going to be too careful that I end up doing nothing. “We are so scared to fail in business or to lose money that we end UP choking and killing billion-dollar companies before they’re born”. Yeah!! You’re guilty of that time you needed to take action and you didn’t take aren’t you? It doesn’t matter whether it is that time you didn’t stand for something you believe in, or advocate for something because you felt intimidated… I guess you know them better. Let’s link the dots now and challenge you.
THE POWER OF DREAMING
We are all dreamers, we dream of an ideal community where we hope to live in. We virtually dream about everything around and about our future. What most of us don’t know yet is the power of dreaming and one other thing I call “the conscious dreaming”. True dreamers create mental images of their dreams. They create such real and vivid images of their dreams that their bodies become obsessed with these dreams. They dream so much that the dreams migrate from the subconscious of their minds and brains into real life that they start interacting with physical processes, making their 5 major senses to becomes sensitive to these dreams and to detect them. This is the type of dreamers that we as Africans need today. I remember coming down from my room at the GIMPA executive hostel, down to the lobby on a warm Sunday afternoon. I was meeting Lizette, a YALI WA alumnus. We started a discussion about the journey to YALI. After the pleasantries of how I got there, she went further to ask me THE QUESTION. “So Edwin, what do you do back in your community”?
She had actually wanted to know What made me stand out and which earned my admission into the YALI emerging leaders program. After I told her about my organization I co-founded back in 2016 and how we have reached to more than 6000 students nationwide carrying out career orientation and sensitization, ensuring that college programs and opportunities were more available to them; helping to provide holiday jobs for hundreds of students annually and assisting many other gain admissions into the most prestigious engineering and medical schools in my country, she then asked me, “Which track did you apply for”?
OK it then dawned on me something wasn’t all that right. I was in the business and entrepreneurship track and all what I said wasn’t much of a business or something classic of what the guys in my track will say. I also recalled that a couple of months before, while applying for the YALI Emerging Leaders Training program, I didn’t say this much about my organization that made me stand out. So HOW THEN DID I GET HERE?
I was only a dreamer; I was only a young person who was tired of complaining and wanted to change the status quo. I was only a young man who wanted to make cash from trash. I was only a young African who didn’t want to see problems and challenges rather solutions and opportunities.
I got retained amongst 129 participants starting from 14,000 applications by dreaming so well. I hadn’t realized 1% of my dreams and most of my works in agriculture were still at the stage of studies, meaning I didn’t have anything to show for or as proof. They were only in my mind. The dreams I talk to you about carry 3 things with them: Energy, Enthusiasm, and are highly contagious. That was how I got to YALI. I painted such a vivid picture of the Cameroon I wanted to see, and how much I had mapped out my plan of contributing to the realization of this Cameroon that I believe my readers got contaminated with it, and they felt the energy that came with it. The result was an opportunity to meet like minded individuals, and offered me the chance of becoming the change I hoped for.
Call to Action
A great man once said, if your dreams aren’t scaring you, then you’re not dreaming yet. Why should dreams even be realistic? I thought what makes them dreams were their unrealistic nature to the first hearer? If you can’t dream it, you cannot realise it. It all starts with a mental picture but if nothing is done about them, they equally die naturally as they were created. Dreams need to be backed up by hard work, and a support system, networks, access to information and most importantly people who will give you another chance when you fail, because no matter what or how careful you are, you will fail, and even if you haven’t failed yet, you must fail before you make it to greatness. If you dread failure as much as I did, I have a way out for you, DO NOTHING and believe me you wouldn’t even change yourself and you’d never be great. YALI gave me everything I needed. 3 weeks that I know have changed my life and has repositioned me to be more attentive and sensitive to the challenges around me and how to make the best of these circumstances. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself, and it doesn’t matter what you intend to do. You just need to believe in your vision and most importantly believe in something that is greater than you, then take consistent and conscious steps towards the attainment of your goals and before long everything will become more glaring to you as they begin to align before your eyes. Everything is possible to achieve if we have the nerve to take the baby steps, one at a time, consistently, not fixing our eyes on success but rather on the impact we create and how we make life better for our communities and those around you.
To all Open Dreamers, Open Dreams strongly believes that each and every one of you, scholar, is born with the ability to attain greatness irrespective of your backgrounds, and her role is to open the doors to help you attain them if you’d only believe in yourself and support your dreams with the necessary work and efforts.
In the next series, I’d tell you how I dreamt my way to my first million. I urge you to dream. The more it scares you, the better. Whatever the mind can imagine, the hands will surely create.