Mindset: The Wake-Up Call for the Sleeping Giant
Career is a six-letter word that defines our lives. Very few people get to choose their careers while the rest often stumble upon one. It is always a question of whether you choose your career, or it chooses you. Career choice is among the hardest and most important decision a young person must make. Factors like ethnicity, gender and socio-economic conditions have immense impact on career choice. In the past 20 years the world has seen dramatic improvement in gender inclusion and ethnic diversity in workplaces.
In the context of the African continent particularly Tanzania, gender inclusion has been an integral part of the employment and education policies. Women are encouraged and given the upper hand when applying for different jobs both in the private and public sectors.
However, many people might suggest that socio-economic conditions are the major factors at play in Tanzania and other sub-Saharan countries. The access to education and potential opportunities is limited by the socio-economic conditions surrounding the young person. For instance, I had a friend I went to university with who had to wait for his student loan application to come through till the last minute to report for admission. This person represents many young people at different levels of education and professional work who cannot access educational and professional opportunities due to lack of resources and/or favourable conditions. The young people who fell in these categories are in other words, victims of circumstances.
Although these may seem to be the root of all undesirable careers and countless unrealized dreams, there is another equally if not more important factor at play. Mr. Tony Dovale, a South African high-performance facilitator said it best “Conscious discipline creates control and clarity to act intentionally”. A person’s mindset may amplify or undermine their intelligence, personality and ultimately their successes and failures in life.
People from all walks of life have struggled with mindset at least once in their lives. A positive mindset may lead to great success regardless of the socio-economic status, gender, or ethnicity. This is evident in the likes of Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, and our emerging leaders like Rebeca Gyumi. These people did not have favourable social and economic constructs to achieve what they achieved in life, but they fought and are still fighting against the systems they are entangled in to achieve the best possible outcomes for their communities.
The best thing about mindset is that it can be nurtured from a very young age. A person who grows with the right mindset can learn to think for themselves very early in life and do great in their careers. Most of these individuals can make career choices quite early and strive for excellence both academically and professionally.
Nurturing a child’s mindset falls under the obligation category for two kinds of people, parents and teachers. For parents, the task begins right after the child is born. Early childhood development knowledge is essential to parents because they are the primary caregivers of the children. Proper ECD knowledge will lead to a child’s efficient cognitive development. Teachers on the other hand, possess immense influence on the child’s intellectual development. When a child gets to live in both worlds, they are bound to have great potential of becoming successful in their lives.
Parents and teachers may complement one another in building a child’s self-confidence, assertiveness, protectiveness and literature (reading and writing) habits. These are very important behavioural aspects for building great mindsets.
Mussa is an Independent M&E Consultant, Policy analyst, Storyteller, Poet and Fine Artist. He is currently working on youth engagement in social action and childhood development. He is a TEDx Speaker and a prospective member of the Global Shapers, Dar es Salaam hub.
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