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ISLAMIC MEDICAL EDUCATION RESOURCES-03

0105-A PEOPLE-CENTERED DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY

Paper delivered at the First Bangsamoro Development Conference held in Cotabatu 19-21 May 2001 by Professor Omar Hasan Kasule MB ChB, (MUK), MPH, DrPH (Harvard) Deputy Dean, Kulliyah of Medicine, International Islamic University, Malaysia. omarkasule@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

This paper presents and develops a thesis that development should start with people development that is achieved by education and motivation. The people then will become engines of growth. The paper envisages the role of the government as a facilitator and not the engine of growth. It warns against development models based on mega projects and extensive external borrowing.

 

1.0    GUIDING CONCEPTS

Revival, tajdid: Development strategies must be viewed as a revival of the community after a period of decline. Revival, tajdid, is a recurring phenomenon in Muslim history and is a manifestation of the dynamism of Islam. The Bangsamoro people have a history and a future and both have to be considered in talking about development planning. In their history they were a thriving civilization, part of the worldwide community of Muslims, dar al Islam, and were masters of their own destiny. The arrival of Magellan was a catastrophe whose results are still visible today. They were colonized, exploited, brutalized, and marginalized. Their culture and pride were threatened with extinction. The physical and psychological scars of Spanish and later American colonization are still visible. Any successful development strategy must first remove or mitigate the negative historical experiences and rebuild the self-confidence of the people.

 

Bottom-up and not top-down development: Experience of western development aid over the past half-century in Africa and Asia has shown that top-down, big-project, externally motivated development projects have not made a difference to the lives of the people. We must be careful not to repeat these mistakes. The task should be development and inspiring the people, giving them education and skills, giving them self-confidence and a sense of worth, and providing them with the infrastructure (roads, telecommunication, banking, law and order) and then letting them be the engine of development. True development is based on self-reliance.

 

Makkan and Madinan phases of development: The development strategy must have two phases: a ‘Makkan’ phase to educate and prepare the people and a ‘Madina’ phase to set up structures and implement strategies. Starting with bureaucracies, structures, and big projects before preparing the people is a recipe for failure.

 

People-centered and not government-centered development: The role of government should be to facilitate development. The actual work is to be left to the people. Islamic civilization has always been based on limited government. The Prophet in Madina refused to interfere with the working of the market unless there was exploitation. Islamic Law, the shari’at itself has two parts: a small public part that requires a government for implementation and the larger private part that communities, families, and individuals implement on their own. Muslims in their history always had community-based waqf institutions that supported education and social welfare. Economic activity based on the bazaar was always free of government control. Thus economic development programs for the Bangsamoro people should aim at empowering the people. Government must play a limited role.

 

The debt trap: The Qur’an prohibited usury, riba, and warned about its negative impact. As part of their development strategy Muslims should keep clear of riba as individuals or governments. Borrowing funds for economic development creates such a great burden of interest payments that many developing countries spend most of their national income in debt servicing and have mortgaged their independence for many decades ahead. Infra-structural developments should be financed by tax revenues or private investments rather than borrowing. It is better to develop the infrastructure slowly than to develop it fast and fall prey to riba-based exploitation by lenders.

 

2.0 STRATEGIC THRUSTS

Education: The most important activity in the ‘Makka’ phase is education. The start is to provide special incentives to attract all Muslims with necessary educational qualifications to work in the educational sector. Special training programs will be needed for those with the basic education but who have no teaching qualifications. The next step is to encourage the communities to build schools in their local areas so that there is no Muslim child living more than 2-3 kilometers from a school. The government cannot build all the schools needed but it should provide logistic help for example in can guarantee providing certain building materials if the parents can provide the necessary labor. The third step is to work on the school curricula so that they fulfill the following specific purposes: (a) imparting basic Islamic teachings; etiquette, akhlaq; and rebuilding the self-confidence of the Muslims (b) imparting knowledge and skills that are prescribed in the Filipino national education curriculum (c) imbuing the spirit of self-reliance so that the graduates will become entrepreneurs either in the agriculture, business, or cottage industries.    

 

Development of infra structure: Sustained development is not possible with a primitive infrastructure. Priority therefore has to be given to upgrading transport, communication, water, sanitation, and energy facilities. Infra-structural development requires heavy capital investment, managerial and technical skills. The best approach is to invite investors from several countries and set up utility companies with shares also available for the citizens.

 

Job-creation: Jobs are created when manufacturing industries are set up. This requires creating conditions that will attract investors: peace, stability, rule of law, and removal of bureaucratic barriers. The government should not be involved in industry; all activity should be left to private enterprise with special emphasis being put on Muslim entrepreneurs from within and outside South-East Asia. The aim of the investment strategy is to put money in the pockets of the workers so that they can look after their families and accumulate savings to be able to set up their own enterprises.

 

Trade: The Muslims were great traders in South-East Asia before the arrival of colonial rule. Islamic civilization is a trading civilization. Muslims must be encouraged to go into business, petty trading at first and building up to bigger enterprises. The government can provide training on basic business skills for the youths like money management and marketing. Since the Muslim areas are poor, Muslim traders should be encouraged to go to other areas of the Republic as traders but they should remember that their aim is to bring their earnings and investing them in their native area. Passports should be issued readily and without much bureaucratic fuss for those who want to try their hand at petty trading all over South-East Asia. Contact persons should be identified in all Filipino and Southeast Asian major towns to help any newly arrived traders with advice and other possible facilities.

 

Demography: Development requires people. The Muslim areas are under-populated although resource-rich. Vigorous public health programs of disease prevention and health promotion can increase population. Universal immunization coverage for children and health education for adults are a starting point. Early marriage should be encouraged so that all children are born in the secure institution of the family. The application of national family planning programs should be studied in view of the demographic situation in the south because population distribution in the Philippines is different in different regions; some require population control whereas others require population increase. As Muslims the Bangsamoro people should also consider that family planning programs sometimes are accompanied by sexual immorality that is against Islamic teachings.

 

Ummatic thrust: The Bangsamoro people must reclaim their position within the ummat and the abode of Islam, dar al Islam, that was interrupted brutally by the arrival of Magellan 5 centuries ago. This does not in any way weaken or threaten their allegiance to the Philippino nation-state. It actually will benefit the whole of the country in the era of globalization when creating cultural and business networks gives a country a competitive edge. Reconnecting with the ummat means facilitating more intercourse with other Muslim communities all over the world. The following specific projects can be undertaken: allowing Muslim Universities, colleges, research institutions, and non-governmental organizations to set up branches in Southern Philippines. Filipino diplomatic missions overseas can have a cultural attaché dealing with Muslim affairs. Direct international flights to a hub in the South can help encourage Muslim tourism. Selective immigration and absorption of Muslims with capital and skills from all over the Muslim world should be encouraged. Legal barriers to inter-marriage with Muslims from other countries should be removed. Intermarriage has proved to be the most effective way of building a worldwide ummatic network.

 

Professional success is based on a good basic education, apprenticeship with a competent mentor, setting goals and a time frame to achieve then, a clear pro-growth strategy, and delivery of quality results. Professional networking starts with identification of strategic partners. The basis should be mutual benefit and not manipulating or using people. Networking should start in Muslim circles. It can spread to others within the professional circles. Wider social circles are considered after that. It is not enough to establish a network. It must be nurtured by constant contact.

 

Economic empowerment is a fardh for Muslims. Islam hates and fights poverty. Any impoverished Muslim community has a duty to eradicate poverty because it is a cause of weakness. Economic empowerment is not satisfying the basic needs of life. It must have as an end-result the objective of self-employment for all Muslims so that they may be investors and generators of wealth. Every individual Muslim must have a long-term economic development plan that includes accumulation of assets and their investment. The starting point is to make sure that every single Muslim has some real estate. This means a small piece of land in an urban or rural area on which some sort of shelter, however simple, is erected. The land can also be exploited for agriculture. Every adult Muslim must have some form of income-generating economic activity even if he is employed in big or a small job. If these strategies are followed the Muslims will be able to establish a Muslim economic base within a generation.

 

3.0 MOTIVATION

Little development can be achieved if the people are not motivated. Motivation explains why individuals behave the way they do. Motivation is bringing out the best in people. Motivation is an internal drive, a conscious voluntary choice, a positive attitude to work, with purpose and high expectation of success. Motivation is inside, its outward manifestation is behavior of the worker: a strong sense of direction in the work, persistence in face of obstacles and challenges, and intensity of performance. Highly motivated individuals manifest some common characteristics: clarity of vision and objectives, strategic and tactical plans for achieving objectives, high expectancy, energy, drive and self confidence, need for responsibility and control, strong communication skills, taking risks, accepting correction or criticism, want for recognition, doing interesting work, high expectancy, and having authority. These characteristics are not in-born. They can be cultivated and nurtured in any individual. Part of the development program will be motivation of all Muslims: men, women, and children of the rural and urban areas. The best motivation is self-motivation. The role of leaders is to facilitate the process of self-motivation. Superior performance results when the inner person is influenced positively: his thinking, his self-esteem and his commitment.

 

Leaders need motivation to be able to manage; followers need motivation to be able to perform. Motivation is infectious. Motivated leaders usually have motivated followers. Motivated peers are surrounded by motivated individuals. Most people with average abilities can be super producers if motivated well. Motivation should not be confused with performance. A highly motivated person may not perform well because of mistakes, lack of resources, or technical skills. Turning motivation into performance is a challenge, it requires setting objectives and goals, abilities and skills, training, and resources. Performance is affected by the individual's capacity to perform, the willingness to perform, and being given an opportunity to perform. Job satisfaction is how well a worker likes the job. High job satisfaction is directly related to high motivation.

Muslims find their motivation in their religion and their cultural heritage. Any approach to motivation that ignores this will not succeed. The Prophet (PBUH) taught that every human endeavor is an act of worship and charity. Thus a Muslim working knows he is worshipping his Lord and this is a powerful motivator in itself irrespective of any material gain. The concept of strife towards excellence, ihsaan, is a great motivator for a Muslim. A Muslim looks at the salary and other material benefits as a means to enable him feed, clothe, and house himself and his family so that he can devote his energy to the work. He does not look at them as a just return for his labor. His labor is worship and only Allah can recompense for it. There are aspects of Muslim character that affect motivation: sharaf (fear of losing face, shame for self and family), thawab (reward in the hereafter), karam (generosity), and wafa (fulfillment).

 

4.0 COMMITMENT TO A VISION

Motivation has a spiritual component that manifests as commitment, ikhlaas (2:139). Ikhlaas is expressed in the intention, Ikhlaas al niyyat. Work is the consequence of the intention. Every work is rewarded according to the intention behind it, innama al a’amaal bi al niyaat (Bukhari K1 B1). Every person is rewarded according to his/her niyyat, li kulli imri ma nawa (Bukhari K1 B1. The amount of reward is commensurate with the intention, iqaau al ajr ‘ala qadr al niyyat (Bukhari K24 B15). The niyyat must be constant and consistent throughout the whole period of performance until completion. Start must be early and serious, baadiru bi al ‘amal (Muslim K1 H186). Work is best judged by its last stages, al ‘amal bi al khawatiim (Bukhari K81 B33). The best of work is that which is consistent and continuous, khayr al ‘amal adwamuha (Bukhari K2 B32). In all performance, the human performs that which he is capable of even if the niyyat envisaged more (Bukhari K19 B18). As we talk about motivation and commitment we must clearly define the developmental goals for Muslims in the Philippines. My suggestion for that goal is taken from the hadith of the prophet that the strong believer is better than a weak one. Muslims in the Philippines must set themselves the goal of a radical transformation from a despised and marginalized community to a strong, vibrant, self-reliant, and confident people. Strength is defined in spiritual, demographic, economic, technological, and social ascendancy.

 

5.0 HARD WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY

Centuries of marginalization have their psychological toll. People give up struggling because they know that they will not be given opportunities to reap the rewards of their efforts. This attitude must change immediately. Muslims must work harder than anybody else because dignity and strength are from hard work. Any work or any human endeavor is ‘ibadat. Thus the farmer, the teacher, the engineer, and the housewife get the rewards of ‘ibadat as they go on with their daily chores as long as they have the intention of pleasing Allah. Work is responsibility (2:134). The Qur’an emphasizes the importance of work, al hath ‘ala al ‘amal (6:135). There is reward for work done, jazaau al ‘amal (2:85). Humans have freedom to choice in the work that they do, hurriyat al insaan fi al ‘amal (4:66). Work can be good, ‘amal hasan (9:121). Work can also be bad, ‘amal sayyi (3:28). Some people try to decorate bad work to make it appear good, tazyiin al ‘amal al sayyi (6:108). Bad work is condemned, dhammu al ‘amal al sayyi (2:282). The reward for bad work is a bad, jazau al ‘amal al sayyi (2:231). Good work reflects underlying faith, al ‘amal al saalih min al imaan (38:24). Good work is rewarded in the hereafter, thawaab al ‘amal al saalih al ukhrawi (2:25). It is also rewarded on earth, thawab al ‘amal al saalih fi al duniya (16:97). Work must be performed with the purest of intentions. Any form of showing off must be avoided. Riyaa is a type of minor shirk (Ahmad 5:428). Working for the purposes of showing off, riyaa, is frowned upon (Ahmad 2:162).

 

6.0  THE EDUCATION STRATEGY

There are 6 conceptual issues in education that are discussed below from the Islamic perspective: purpose, integration, service, leadership, and motivation. The purpose of education should be producing a perfect person, insaan kaamil, who is also strong with skills and commitment, mu’umin qawiyy. Integrated education deriving from the tauhidi paradigm implies a holistic approach to the human development in the social, psychological, material, & spiritual dimensions. Education should emphasize community service within the context of Islamic mutual social support, takaful ijtimae, and not only personal benefit. The educated must provide leadership as social activists, as opinion leaders, and as advisors and counselors. The most important task is therefore that of education. We need to build people before we build structures. The task of the present leadership is to build people who in turn will build structures. The education system should produce a person who has iman, taqwah, amanat, & akhlaq

 

7.0  SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

The essence of personal development is purification of the soul. The Prophet said that if the soul is good the rest of the body becomes good, idha salaha al qalb salaha al jasad kullihi (Bukhari K2 B39). The spiritual development program consists of study (tilawat al Qur’an, tafsir al Qur’an, Dars al hadith, and hifdh al ma’athuraat) and practical actions (fardh ‘ain, nawafil, zawaid, tafakkur). Nafilat refers to acts of worship in addition to the obligatory ones. There is reward for undertaking them and no punishment for not carrying them out. Nafilat is purely for the benefit of the worshipper (p. 1190 17:79). Nawafil have an additional purpose of plugging gaps and deficiencies in the performance of the obligatory duties. Contemplation is meditation about Allah’s creations and signs with deliberation. It is a spiritual and not an intellectual exercise. It requires concentration therefore it is often undertaken at times and places where environmental sensory distractions are minimum. Contemplation is best undertaken at night due to the serenity and lack of interruption. Salat is also a unique opportunity for contemplation. Contemplation of the nature of Allah is forbidden. Contemplation is possible only on signs and creations of Allah. Contemplation can be carried out in the mosque or in other places isolated from the daily routines of life (open desert, forest, ocean etc). Spending time in the mosque for purposes of contemplation and ‘ibadat is called ’itikaaf or ‘ukuuf fi al masjid (2:125, 2:187, 22:25). When one is in isolation, khalwat, he has special spiritual experiences. There is a feeling of being liberated from the daily concerns of the earth, duniya. There is also a sweet feeling of being alone with Allah, al khalwat ma’a al llaah. An individual can undertake the program. It is however recommended to work together in a small group called a study circle, halaqa, or usra. Each usra should be led by a naqib.

 

 

 

 

 

8.0  INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT

A Muslim physician must be intellectually curious and try to understand all what is going on in the social environment. He should develop his intellectual analysis skills so that he can have a deeper conceptual understanding. The ummat is facing a lot of problems that have no ready solutions. Concerted efforts by intellectuals from various disciplines are needed to analyze the problems in order to reach correct solutions. This effort has not been carried out. Towards the end of the 13th century of Hegira, Jamal al Ddiin al Afghani and others called for intellectual revival in the ummat. This occurred after the realization that Muslim attempts to counter European colonial invasion politically or militarily were not successful. An intellectual dimension was needed to understand the reasons for European strength and the reasons for Muslim weakness. Since that time Muslim thinkers have grappled with intellectual issues. Some have been apologetic looking for ways to find a compromise between Islam and the West. Others have been trying to return to Islamic originality and reconstruct the ummatic civilization once again. The Muslim encounter with the European civilization has been long starting being characterised by alternating periods of military confrontation and intellectual invasion. In the 3rd century H Greek and Byzantine sciences, philosophy, and ideas entered the ummat. There was much intellectual confusion as Muslim intellectuals tried to understand and deal with those new ideas. The second period of encounter was the Crusade invasions of the Muslim world that was mostly a military confrontation. Colonial invasion and occupation of Muslim lands in the 16 – 20th centuries was military at the beginning but soon turned into an intellectual invasion.

 

The methods of intellectual growth are: wide reading, discussions, and a critical outlook. Muslims must critically study the history of Islam in the Philippine archipelago over the past 5 centuries to draw lessons that are useful in the formulation of their development strategy. The Qur’an has called for study of the history of past human experiences (3:137). This enables learning valuable lessons that are useful for the contemporary and future periods (3:137). Study of history also will give Muslims hope. They will realize that things can change and that their future can be better than their present. The Qur’an mentions the civilizational cycles among communities, tilka al ayaam nudawiluha bayna al naas (3:140). Those who are strong today may weaken tomorrow and those who are weak today may become strong tomorrow. Each community or civilization has a fixed term, ajal al umam (7:34) much like human life, ajal al insaan. It can die as much as a human dies. The rise and fall of civilizations follows fixed social laws. If a community does the right things Allah gives them strength for a limited time as a test. If they persist in doing good they will continue being strong. It is however part of human nature that as soon as they become strong, they relax and pick up bad behavior which leads to a downfall. Oppression and transgression, dhulm, luxury and excess, taraf, are the commonest causes of civilizational decay (11:116). As long as Muslims stick to the right moral path, they will eventually succeed. The Qur’an has informed us that the righteous inherit the earth (7:100). A community changes for the good or the bad by the change of individuals in it (8:53). The reasons for rise of civilizations are: innovation and dynamism; Courage, adventurism and risk-taking; internal freedom; law and order; outward-looking vs narrow ethno-centrism; group feeling, ‘asabiyyat; big population, and natural resources. The reasons for fall of civilizations are: Intellectual stagnation, Oppression, Demographic contraction, and Economic contraction.

 

We must be able to face the challenges of globalization. Prof Malik Badri talked about the Lizard Hole phenomenon based on the hadith of the prophet that Muslims in later times would follow Christians and Jews like lizards follow one another into lizard holes. European thinkers create new lizard holes on a continuous basis to make sure they retain intellectual leadership. The pace of lizard hole creation is so fast that they do not have enough new ideas. Old ideas are presented as new ones using different terminology and words. The tragedy is that Muslim leaders and Muslim intellectuals will follow Europeans into the lizard holes without questioning. Three examples can illustrate this point. The term modernism or modernity was introduced to refer to scientism, logic, and empiricism that have been thought to be the major engine of European growth and expansion since the renaissance. Muslim intellectuals debate the challenge of modernity as if it is a new concept. European thinkers seeing their industrial decline, demographic contraction, and moral decadence, started talking about post-modernity. Muslim intellectuals now debate the Islamic position vis a vis post modernity!. It is as if Muslim intellectuals will enter the lizard hole even when they know it leads to decline and decadence. Globalization is one of the lizard hole phenomena that the fertile European mind has produced. As discussed below there is nothing new with it but still Muslim and other intellectuals are following suit to enter the lizard hole. We must think about our security: military security, food security, and water security.

 

8.0 PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT

CHARACTER

Character is what determines what type of individual you are (Muslim 4:1362 hadith # 6221). Good character is a great virtue (KS67, KS69). The best gift that a parent can give a child is good character (KS67). Habits and behaviors are quite consistent. Behavior is likely to be repeated. When you observe bad behavior even once make a note of it because it is likely to be repeated. Character is internal and is related to basic personality. Behavior is its outward manifestation. A habit is a persistent, repeated behavior that after a time becomes unconscious. You cannot judge people’s character unless you have interacted with them and seen their behavior. Bad manners and behavior reflect a bad character. Good behavior reflects good character. There are exceptional situations when a behavior may not be reflection of underlying character. These are the exceptions and are only temporary. Consistent observation of behavior over a long time reveals true character. The following are some of the components of a positive character: Piety, generosity, charity, chastity, trust, humility, balance, moderation, patience, endurance, cooperation, forgiving, ignoring stupid company, reconciliation, honor and dignity, shyness, modesty, integrity, courage, and wisdom. These traits are best manifested in an atmosphere of positive attitudes, optimism, and behavior. Positive behavior includes: controlling the appetite by eating little, fasting, sexual self-control, fulfilling needs of others, mercy, good words and acts; and good deeds which wipe out bad ones.

 

SELF-IMPROVEMENT AND TAKING CHARGE

You cannot improve yourself without effort. You must make the intention to be a better person and take action to achieve your goals. Life is not chance. Everything that occurs is pre-destined. You however do not know your predestination. You have to work hard, search for it, and use your will power and choice that Allah gave you. Accept personal responsibility for mistakes. Do not blame others for your problems. Learn from your past experiences, positive and negative. Good manners or experiences should be reinforced while bad ones should be avoided.  Keep in mind always the three ultimate objectives: (a) the pleasure of Allah, ridha al laah & marudhaat al llaah (2:207), (b) wisdom, hikmah, and (c) success, falaah. You cannot succeed on your own; this is a world of interdependence. You must learn to net work and collaborate with others in synergistic relations. Learn to distinguish between what you want and what you need. Wants are emotional; needs are rational. Always choose needs over wants. Be realistic. Do not live in a dream world. Develop a positive attitude. Be optimistic and develop positive behavior. Happiness is not an objective in life. Pursuing happiness can be running after an illusion since happiness is not definable. The realistic objective is contentment and satisfaction with yourself and what you have. However contentment should not be understood in a negative sense of refusing to take active steps to improve some of the negative things in your character and behavior. You should consider yourself as living in the future. Life on earth is just a transition. Always prepare for the future (both what remains of your life on earth and life in the hereafter). A futuristic outlook will enable you to deal with setbacks of life. You should always know that the future could always be better.

 

ASSERTIVENESS

Assertiveness and self-control are needed for success: Being assertive is learning to take control. A person who has self-control can stand up to the temptations of shaitan. The following are needed for you to take control of your self: self- confidence, self-esteem, self-reliance, self-control, self-discipline, and self-development. Assertiveness is a feeling of self-worth in dealing with others. It involves a lot of self-control. Non-assertive people may end up being influenced by a bad environment or they may make wrong choices that they regret later. Non-assertive persons cannot interact well with others because they cannot state their opinions or advance their interests or the interests of the group they belong to. A non-assertive attitude becomes in the long run a feeling of inferiority that could be exploited. Non-assertive persons may feel so bad about themselves that they eventually react in socially destructive ways. Non-assertive persons are easily influenced by bad company and end up committing evil. Assertiveness is not aggression but is closely related. Do not cross the line between the two. You can show anger without being bad. Learn to state your opinion without being hostile. Learn to defend your position without being defensive.

 

SELF-CONFIDENCE

Self-confidence is to know yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, to be comfortable with what you are, and to be psychologically secure. Children are born with a lot of self-confidence. They lose it as they grow through various negative experiences. Others’ views and comparing one self with others are among the causes of loss of self-confidence. True confidence is expressed and shows quietly. Many unconfident people make noise to hide their inner weakness.

 

SELF-ESTEEM

You can raise your self-esteem by being secure psychologically about yourself. You must accept and appreciate what you are. You have to love yourself and know that whatever Allah endowed you with is the best for you. Look around you and identify people you admire. Try to emulate the qualities you admire in them. Stay with good people who radiate self-esteem and confidence. Congratulate and encourage yourself on any progress you make in emulating good behavior. Learn to compliment and congratulate others who have traits and behaviors that you admire. This will keep you from negative attitudes and diseases like envy and will push you along on the road to developing your own self-esteem. Avoid people with bad character and behavior. Others who do not know will consider you to be one of them. It is easier for a big mountain to move than for bad character to change. Do not repeat a mistake. Remember that character is consistent. Bad behavior is rarely an accident. It can be forgiven but cannot be erased

 

SELF-RELIANCE

Self-help and self-improvement are very important for the individual. They are in essence taking charge of your life, relying on yourself in solving problems, and taking the initiative to improve. It is only emotionally mature individuals who can rely on themselves. Dependency is childhood. Self-help and self-reliance should however not be taken to the extreme. There are occasions when you need help and must have networks for providing this help. Refusing to ask for help when needed is a cause of stress and is not wise. Economic self-reliance is necessary in order not to be a burden on others and also to assert your self-esteem. However the need to keep your self-esteem should never make you refuse to seek help when you actually need it. A vital distinction must be made between being childish and child-like. Childishness is dependency and inability to achieve emotional maturity, self-confidence, and self-esteem. Child-like on the other hand is a very positive attribute. It emphasizes being explorative, taking initiative, being bold to experiment, being optimistic, and not feeling defeated or cornered. These behaviors are found in children and tend to annoy parents. They are very useful for the adult. The mistake is for children to grown up too soon or for adults to regress to childhood in the way they use these attributes.

 

SELF-DISCIPLINE

Self-discipline is needed for success. Control your whims and emotions. Stickability is a good trait; do not accept defeat easily. Act according to long-term and not short-term interests. Do not act impulsively. Follow your head and not your emotions. Trust your instincts.

 

PROJECTING A POSITIVE IMAGE

Projecting a positive image helps build credibility and leads to success. We are not talking about a phoney image that is discovered sooner or later with disastrous consequences. The image must be backed up by real achievements. It is better to under promise but over deliver. Perceptions are very strong determinants of behavior. You have to keep away from negative perceptions and cultivate positive ones. Two individuals looking at the same reality have different perceptions because of their prior life experiences. Always evaluate yourself. The perceived image may not be the intended image. The difference is crucial. Self- confidence and self-discipline are ingredients of a positive image. You have to start by discovering your strengths and enhancing them. You have to acknowledge your weaknesses and compensate for them. A positive image needs maintenance by regular self-evaluation and taking corrective action where needed. A positive image must be maintained in difficult times; this will require extra effort. Keeping company with people who have a positive self-image will help you develop your own image. Positive thinking is contagious; it spreads to those around. Your communication with others (letter, fax, telephone, and conversation) is an exercise in image projection. Physical appearance (clothes, hair, cleanliness) also project image. Dress well but not for arrogance. Good manners, correct etiquette, and sensitivity enhance the image. Your voice, handshake, smiles, body language, and eye contact can make or unmake your image. Your posture and manner of walking can tell a lot about you. Solving your personal problems and keeping out of depression, anxiety or stress helps maintain your positive self-image.

 

ENTREPRENEURIAL ATTITUDE

You need to develop an entrepreneurial attitude. This requires developing initiative, optimism, and self-confidence in order to bolster your creativity. Take calculated risks. Look for opportunities and exploit them. Perseverance and determination are necessary for continued success.

© Professor Omar Hasan Kasule May 2001