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Dare to be different

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By Patrick Achitabwino:

Any wonder why we achieve little? The answer is simple, we follow the bandwagon and we are no different to millions of others. People that have been successful have been as a result of following the road not taken, they have been challenging the status quo and that made a difference.

Not long ago it was unthinkable that an ordinary person could own a radio and television station until when Gospel Kazako did it. He does not come from a wealthy background; he does not have the most prestigious qualifications. The only thing he has is that he believed that he could make a difference, he dared to be different.

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In the book the Millionaire Mind it is well explained that successful people are different, they don’t follow the crowd, and those who don’t follow the crowd are often criticized for being different. Have an idea that people will criticize and run with it, that is what is going to make a difference.

Offer your services in the most exceptional way such that others would need to learn from you. By the time they are learning from you, you have already covered many more miles in your business and service delivery. You are never the same, you have made it.

Napoleon’s Dzombe’s Mtalimanja logo has an exciting motto in it. It simply reads: Grow big or go home. That is certainly the mantra that has grown Mtalimanja into a multibillion business. Napoleon Dzombe made a difference. He dropped out of school when he was in Form Two and informed his father that he wanted to start a business. His father gave him a cow.

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Napoleon Dzombe sold it for K77 which marked the beginning of his businesses. Using the money he bought salt that he would sell to farmers in rural areas on the payment mode that they would give him the money equivalent through groundnuts or maize upon harvesting.

That is how Napoleon Dzombe dared to be different. The difference has seen Mtalimanja becoming one of the biggest exporters of soya, a conglomerate with business interests in sugar, rice, tooth picks, mats, blinds and many products.

It is daring to be different that matters. When revolts against British colonialism were more justified to be through armed revolutions, Mahatma Gandhi opted for non violence and that is what he is renowned for.

In the midst of abject poverty and segregation in the United States of America, Martin Luther King Jr brought hope to the downtrodden blacks of America with his speech ‘I have a dream.’ The speech resonates in the minds of people throughout the world over half a century years after his assassination. He dared to be different.

Neil Armstrong was a Nasa astronaut and the first man on the moon or, more accurately, the first man to set foot on the moon. He was also an accomplished test pilot and a figure so large in American and world history that you can bet many generations from now people will still be talking about him, as well as his moon landing. Armstrong dared to be different. If he had not decided to be different then his name would have had no space to be remembered for in history.

Daring to be different is all that makes a difference. Your social economic stand is nothing, it is the different path you take that matters most. Consider the story of William Kamkwamba. When The Daily Times wrote a story on Kamkwamba’s wind turbine in November 2006, the story circulated through the blogosphere and Ted conference director Emeka Okafor invited Kamkwamba to talk at TedGlobal 2007 in Arusha, Tanzania as a guest.

Hi s speech moved the audience, and several venture capitalists at the conference pledged to help finance his secondary education. His story was covered by Sarah Childress for The Wall Street Journal. He became a student at African Bible College Christian Academy in Lilongwe. He then went on to receive a scholarship to the African Leadership Academy and in 2014 graduated from Dartmouth College in Hannover, New Hampshire.

In 2013 TIME magazine named Kamkwamba one of the ‘30 People Under 30 Changing the World’.

In 2010, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was selected as the University of Florida common book, required for all incoming students to read. In 2014, it was selected as the common book at Auburn University and University of Michigan College of Engineering, as well. William made an appearance at each university to discuss his book and life.

In 2014, Kamkwamba received his bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire where he was a student and elected to the Sphinx Senior Honor Society. This is the same William who a crippling famine forced to drop out of school, and he was not able to return to school because his family was unable to afford the tuition fee. If he had not dared to be different, his life story would have remained unknown.

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