We excuse away the way we are being with vague, abstract generalizations, brushing aside, for example, our lack of powerful performance with the notion that we’re a small, weak, undeveloped nation.
Seeing ourselves small and weak and unable, we settle into a mediocrity that cripples how we tackle the tasks of building our days.
Life is a day to day building block, a planned, strategic effort involving the mind, the soul, and the body in the act of creating the future we foresee, with cultivated foresight.
It calls for developing and inculcating insight, vision and an inspiring purpose. Without insight, we cannot cultivate foresight, that anticipating of the kind of future we could create.
Just as vital, we’ve got to exercise hindsight, a depth of awareness and consciousness of where we’ve come from, the road we traversed to where we are today. This Naipaulesque insight underlines not only how conscious we are about our own current condition and how we got to be the way we are, but exercising hindsight, a constant glance into the rearview mirror as we move forward, reveals a wisdom, a way forward that avoids repeating our mistakes and failures.
It’s not unlike a child learning to walk and talk, this effort at building our Guyanese nation: the child falls, mispronounces words, and learns to avoid these failures and mistakes, constantly aware of the possibility of falling or talking in incoherent babble. The baby grows up to walk and talk with powerful performance and, in the case of a man like Usain Bolt, sprint with absolute perfection, never falling over.
Just like this, we the Guyanese nation cannot move powerfully into the future unless we exercise insight, foresight and hindsight in building our days. We stagnate and shuffle along in fear, myopia and weak performance. But we could transform how we are being.
What is powerful performance?
We seem to think we could just take it easy and deal with whatever comes along, as it happens. We drift through our days. We do not exercise enough insight and foresight and hindsight to feel and know and believe, with utmost certainty, our inherent individual possibility.
Our nation is a society, and a society is a body of people, a social space. More than a country with geographic boundaries, we’re a people with an identity, that Guyanese passport, and our nation is our social space, a knitting together of every individual person who holds a Guyanese passport, who identifies as a Guyanese citizen.
Our paucity in this 21st century is our lack of love for classic literature. A national education, for example, on the work of Marcel Proust, the French writer whose classic novel, titled in English ‘Remembrance of Things Past’, possibly the greatest novel ever written, would do so much to inculcate in our hearts and minds a profound understanding of who we are as human beings.
Like Northrup Frye taught Mankind, life is about cultivating an “educated imagination”, a way of imagining what we could create for ourselves.
Developed nations like we see in Europe, Asia and North America got to be the way they are because they imagined what’s possible. Once they exercised their imagination, based on cultivating in their citizenry that depth of educated imagination in colleges and universities, they were able to exercise powerful performance. Today, America, Canada, Europe, Singapore, South Korea, Japan and other nations have become the standard for what development means.
We Guyanese see ourselves in a way that causes us to feel we cannot aim for powerful performances in living out our lives in this society. We settle, excusing away our weak performance and our small accomplishments with excuses: it’s someone else’s fault, or we didn’t get a good break in life.
These passive abstractions leave us feeling helpless, unable and feeling forlorn and frustrated. Yet, it gives us a sense of satisfaction, laid back in the hammock of our inaction in a comfort zone, refusing to see that our potential is drifting away from our grasp.
A nation is a group of individuals: and building a developed, highly performing society, calls for those individuals performing powerfully in building solid personal lives. It takes personal responsibility, individual commitment, and a way of being whereby we don’t settle into that languid, lethargic comfort zone.
The time it takes to idle away a few hours in a rumshop, liming, or gaffing to no purpose would be powerfully invested in simply reading a book, discussing a book or sharing ideas from a book we read.
We’ve got to start walking around Georgetown, traversing our village street, and engaging each other with such notions as the backdrop to our mindset: we’ve got to be aware and conscious of such constant self-questions, as ‘how do I develop, engage and cultivate powerful performance as a Guyanese?’ Such a way of being transforms how we approach life, and how we cooperate and engage with each other.
Powerful performance is a way of being, a presupposition of how we see ourselves, the way we feel about creating inspiring possibilities for ourselves, individually.
Whilst it takes good governance and a societal effort to cultivate the social space, we’ve got to get the idea that each one of us is a powerful agent of the transformation that’s necessary. It’s up to us individually, personally, to transform how this society performs, both for the citizen and on the world stage.
The most powerful tool we have is not acrimony and strife, but conversation, words, media and a national stage where we could talk to each other, seeking always understanding, synergy and cooperation.
Unless we walk around with the mental and emotional backdrop that we’re seeking powerful performance from ourselves and those we encounter, we would remain weak, passive and in that indolent pathos that is so crippling.
Cultivating this penchant for powerful performance, for that way of being whereby we move into our days with confidence and assurance and goodwill in our hearts is an inspiring way of being.
Such a way of being rids us of excuses and lack of self-responsibility, and causes us to perform with the powerful potential inherent in each one of us, in each Guyanese heart.