Friday, March 2, 2012


A certain Comedian being interviewed quipped, 'At the height of my career, I was invited by the Bush family to go make a presentation. So when my time came, I stood before the bushes....I mean the Bushes and made my performance'. Smart people will read between the lines and get the joke...others, well do not take life too seriously. Reminds me of a quote that Coach Phillip brought to my attention the other day, "On your way to making a million, stop by and pick up a rose"~Jim Rohn.

It happens a lot. Even with this post. People want to get to the subject matter immediately. So it does not help me much when I have a title like the one above...that basically hides the message. Such like a way of writing pleases readers but not prospective clients. This message has further been fueled by another post by a friend of mine Robert Bake, the founder and President at Authors' Forum-Kampala.

Lingering is not such a good thing. When you are crossing a border between two countries, there is normally a small piece of land in between the two called 'No Man's Land'. Here, there is no government, no legislation. If you pitched a tent there, you will belong to no country. You will have no identity.

That analogy is pretty extreme, yet this scenario pervades our lives daily. We for some reason, love circling the airport for long before finally landing. We like beating about the bushes instead of going to the real deal. It is much like what we talked of in the previous post. We never like being real-especially with other people. We love  putting the best foot forward so we can impress. There is a time and place for that.

I remember several months ago, there were two parties that needed to get into a business agreement. The financier was more concerned with the safety and guarantee of their cash. The business people were more concerned with earning the trust of the financier. You should have seen the back and forth, back and forth between the two parties. It was like watching a pretty s.l.o.w tennis match. Much as the business people did all they could to please the financier, nothing was shifting...well until I spoke up. I told the financier the bare truth. The truth that there is a possibility that the project would not work, and that her finances would be in jeopardy. When the business people agreed with me, you should have been there to see the peace in this financier's face. That is all she needed. When these guys said what they were afraid of saying, that settled the matter right there and she was on board!

Fear of losing is always there. The earlier it is tackled head on the better. Much like the quote I saw the other day, "Face your fears instead of Face Booking them!" Quite true. You see, staying in no man's land has this illusion that you are safe....and that is exactly it! It's an illusion. There is no safety in no-man's land. There is no safety in lingering for long instead of doing the uncomfortable right on (Sounds poetic). Yes, you might lose the client if you told the bare truth...but the trust you will get from your action will be far much valuable than getting a client who will mistrust you later

The reason as to why psychologically many people love the No man's land is that there is no paying taxes over there! Well, neither are there paved roads and utilities delivered!

The same applies with decision-making. I heard an elderly gentleman working for the UN some weeks back say these words, "At the UN, we are encouraged to make decisions IMMEDIATELY, and not to sleep over them". How so true. Being undecided for long is weary. Living a life of legacy needs focus and concentration, things which cannot be achieved if you are living in' no man's land'. My admonition to everyone is to gauge your life at the moment. Like that nice Sunday school song, let me ask: "Whose side are you yelling on"? What are you focusing on for your life really? What 'country' do you belong to? Could it be possible that you are in 'No Man's Land' at the moment?

That is the end of my message. I just need to qualify it with some stories here and there now. I remember few years back I had to make a decision about a relationship. We had taken a very long time living in a 'separated' state ostensibly to sort our options. That was OK, since the decision had already been taken to 'separate'. So we were not in No Man's land per se. However, when the said time came to take sides and agree on one decision, the other party still wanted more time. I guess their mind was already leaning on one side, a side that they knew I dreaded much. To be honest, I really did dread the decision not going my way. But let me say this, the greater dread was waiting another season of time to decide. I could not wait any longer. The waiting state has the capacity of literally crippling you. It has the capacity of taking the life out of you. Sometimes it presents the 'false hope' that the longer you wait, the more probable it is to take a more favorable decision. So when we insisted on taking this decision, well, as you would have imagined, it went flat out against me. I have never cried so much...even lost weight in a record two days! But guess what? I was as free as a bird. I was at least with a standing...and that ultimately gives you direction on the next steps. That was a biggie I tell you.

Another story I am reminded of is the day I took a flight from Nairobi to Entebbe. I used a small plane, the kind of which cant fly 37,000 ft above the ground. In essence, I saw the whole land mass all the way from Nairobi...and a large water body as we entered Uganda's airspace. That was the fun part, until we approached Entebbe and the Pilot informed us that he will be circling the airport for some time until something was sorted on the ground before landing. So there we were suspended in the air, going round in circles. Not fun at all. When we finally did land that is when relief hit me. It is amazing to know that very many people's lives are suspended out there in this and that. They know what exactly they need to do...but have not made the DECISION to.

I have been there. When my wife (then 'just a good friend') introduced me to her mentors, the lady told her later on that I am a slow decision maker. According to Beth, her mentor told her that I would finally become her husband, but I am a slow decision maker. It was very true. For some reason, I wanted all the details to fit.I wanted to know the big picture as well as the nitty gritty of the details before making a decision. I have learnt since that it is wise to move on at the earliest opportunity, and manage the consequences of my decision. After all, you can never regret about a decision, you can only LEARN from it and ADJUST.

In Kenya, few years back, the country was plunged into chaos. Reason? Two men were claiming to have won the presidential elections. When finally the two parties were brought together on a table, and a compromising DECISION taken, the dust settled. Here is the deal, you will always have the good of both sides of your decision. The problem is, you can never have them both. Staying in the suspended state gives you the POTENTIAL of both good, but does not give any one of them to you.

My take on life is this: First, we need to ACT SOONER than later  on our decisions. Second, we need to reduce the amount of time taken living in no man's land. Thirdly, you might never be very sure of a decision. If you were wrong, just learn from it and move on. Lastly, it never pays playing safe.

Have a bush-free day, wont you?

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