Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Guest Blogger Author Jonathan Wutawunashe

Please help we welcome guest blogger Jonathan Wutawunashe!


The success of every animal in the food chain depends largely on its credibility. The roar of the lion, the size of the elephant, the athletic profile of the cheetah-all would be meaningless if they did not correspond to the big cats’ ability to act devastatingly to the disadvantage of their prey. A roaring wimp, a lethargic giant or a limping sprinter can be assured of minimal impact on the eco-system.
So it is with humans. While, on balance, our primary preoccupation is not predatory (this point, I know, is hotly debatable), the same principle that governs things in the jungle holds for us too in the different kind of jungle in which not only we, but our hopes and dreams too, must survive and succeed. We must fulfill our threats if our impact on society is to be meaningful.
Fifty-plus years of sometimes difficult life have taught me a few lessons that I am sure others have learnt over a longer or a shorter time. Among these, one that I have found the most motivating is about the principles that govern an individual’s ability to realize his or her potential in any area of human activity. My reading of history, university training in human behaviour, experience in international affairs, engagement with the arts and with business, family life and the successes and failures I have encountered in my own life have combined to convince me that the character of our participation in the processes of life has a direct bearing on outcomes
In this my first book, I offer the thesis that success is the outcome of a simple process based on deciding, doing and learning. These activities are locked in a sequential loop that can be linear or non-linear depending on specific circumstances. Whatever the sequence at any point, however, one element is constant, and that element is you. You take the decision, you do the things you have decided, and you learn the lessons that are necessary for you to succeed. I readily admit that this is a blatant truism, but venture that too few people realize how powerful and liberating this obvious fact is. Most failures in life are failures in commonsense.

In 1981, I went to several recording studios to present material that I thought was worth recording. At one such studio, I was told that it was a waste of time to try, as there was no market for that genre of music. The producer probably thought I was throwing a futile tantrum when I vowed, in response, that not only would my music be played on the radio, but I would one day open a recording studio so that new artistes would find a friendly place where producers would at least give them the benefit of the doubt. (In the event, my band, the Family Singers, became popular trend-setters who have recorded several chart-busters and are heard in many countries of the world.) Well, I have so far opened four studios where newcomers to the industry are made to feel safe, and are given encouragement and help with their recordings. In this endeavour, I have had the help of my wife Shuvai, our son Tinashe and our daughter Tendai, who are musicians of note in their own right. Tinashe is currently studying music at a leading music university on a merit scholarship, and Tendai, who recently won the hotly contested scholarship, plans to join him soon. I hope that when they finish they will bring their enhanced skills back to our studios, or create similar ones themselves. I made a threat, and I have fulfilled it.

I remember an incident in 1962 when my father, who was then a schoolteacher, taught us a startling lesson. On some trivial pretext, one of the older girls in the school had promised to commit suicide by hanging herself from a tree. When he heard about the crisis, my father drove us in his car to the scene of the drama, where he invited the lady with the death wish and a few on-lookers to join us in the car. We then drove to a wooded area, where he identified a sturdily built tree of adequate height, and offered to assist the young lady with the practical details of self immolation. He even provided a rope that was normally used to winch the car out of the mud whenever it got stuck. Our wide-eyed horror and disbelief quickly gave way to astonished relief when the girl showed clear signs of desperation to embrace life in the face of a real opportunity to carry out the terminal threat she had issued. She made a threat that she (fortunately!) could not fulfill.

In many ways, each of our days is a tabula rasa, a clean slate on which anything can be written, or nothing at all. We are the authors, and we choose whether, what and when to write. It is the nadir of escapism and denial to blame our failure to act on our dreams on the weather, the fates or other people. Some procrastinators even claim that they are “waiting on God”, even when God is recorded as saying that they should stand firm and take action. When our daughter was two, she amused us one day when she was caught with her head in the refrigerator, her hand buried in the peanut butter jar and her face unevenly surfaced with the brown delight. With not a moment’s hesitation, she announced, “It’s Tinashe”. Never mind the fact that her brother was at school at that moment, and it was she who was speaking with a choking accent from inside the fridge! How similar this is to our all-too-frequent fudge-faced denial of any involvement in creating, through inaction, the messes we find ourselves in!

My brother Andrew stopped suddenly as we were walking down Broadway in New York City. “Jonathan!” he exclaimed. We were standing in the shadow of the Grand Marquis Marriott Hotel. “Do you know what started all this?” He paused for effect. “An idea in the mind of a man.” Over the years, I have mulled this deep but simple truth, and it has motivated me to do things I had never thought of attempting. J.W. Marriott thought it, and then did it, and that is why it stands there. As I have thought about it, my mind has been drawn to examples closer home. When I look at the Reserve Bank building in Harare, the environment-friendly marvel at Eastgate and other architectural miracles that surround us, I realize that it was the disciplined leap from thought to action that accomplished them, ideas in the minds of men and women who chose the path of commonsense and refused to let brilliant schemes go unattempted. Such people reject futility and prefer lives that carry visible meaning. They choose to fulfill the creative threats that their fecund minds generate.

Every language under the sun has a saying about learning, experience and knowledge. Indeed, it would be odd if our languages were not replete with references to the acquisition of skills and of knowledge; the moment we were born, we embarked immediately on an urgent project to supplant uninformed instinct with knowledge that was more certain, starting with the rap music- like craning of our necks that we quickly refined to a more guided search for mother’s milk. The disgusted yelp with which we cursed an unfamiliar world soon enough gave way to a more devious stratagem to gain beneficial attention whenever we grew hungry, felt lonely or disapproved of the humid fit of our nappies. Anything that is alive will continuously monitor incoming information, carefully observe the consequences of certain actions, and relentlessly adapt its environment to its requirements. The dodo dies. It is therefore of vital importance, as we seek to fulfill the threats whose fulfillment can prolong our lives, that we be voracious in seeking and using information that will sustain our chosen venture in life.

The threat of this book is to cajole, annoy and shock you into self-fulfilling action. In it, I say think, act and keep your eyes peeled. Who knows, you just might be on to something.

Most people have a problem with taking the first step in any enterprise. The basic instinct responsible for this is essentially a good one: self-preservation is the most primal, and literally the most vital of the instinctive behaviours of all living things. We are programmed to take flight when the odds are against us. However, indiscriminate flight when manifested in humans is generally associated with psychological disorder, as it appears to negate rationality, the one attribute that sets apart humankind from the world of beasts.

The whole essence of human intelligence is the ability to discriminate, to tell the difference between one set of circumstances and another. When this faculty is suppressed, anxiety neurosis sets in, and paralysed inaction is the result. Herein lies the foil to many a great venture, but at the same time a valuable clue as to what needs to be done if great ideas are to be translated into real achievements. The urge to flee from we know not what must be recognised and accosted as the front-line enemy that it is.

The first rational step in confronting a problem is to cut it down to size. Exaggeration and panic are fast friends. The story is told of a dozen spies who were deployed to stake out a city that their group planned to invade. Ten of the scouts brought back the report that, whereas the place was indeed ideal for acquisition and settlement, this would not be possible on account of the terrifying size of the inhabitants. However, the two remaining spies placed a different emphasis on their report: the place was so ideal, they said, that it would be unforgivable not to wrest it from its gigantic inhabitants.

The moral of the story is that, in any given situation, we have a choice of perspective. We can shrink from a challenge or seize the opportunity of testing our skills in tackling it, depending on the perspective we elect.

In your specific circumstances, then, once you have conditioned yourself for action by going through a "why not?" inventory, you must consciously choose to define the challenge in a manner that makes it inevitable for you to tackle it. If you have applied the inventory properly, you will have by now eliminated genuine, rational reasons for not doing what you have been dreaming of by adjusting and simplifying the concept to the point where it is actually doable. You will also have, by now, eliminated any ambiguity as to who is to do the doable, having custom - tailored the challenge to meet talents that you know you have. By now, the yellow - bellied, cop - out red herring "why me?" will have been banished by an aggressive, action - oriented "why not me?" Now you must act.

Most people have had the experience, in one social situation or another, of wanting to start a conversation with someone they are meeting for the first time. The legendary butterflies begin to flutter wildly, and an onset of the shakes is not unheard of. The body's chemistry adjusts itself for flight, and the brain's language facility appears suddenly to have abdicated its usual responsibilities. The first sound that comes out, if it does come out, is often not the one that was mentally rehearsed beforehand. What we have in such situations is a case of an irrational activation of an instinct that is meant to kick in in radically different circumstances. The antidote is to deliberately impose rationality on the situation. Talk to yourself if you have to, but bring the instinct under the discipline of your mind.

Professional athletes are often to be seen taking deep breaths and verbalizing confidence - building slogans to themselves as they "psych" up for a tournament. This is their way of disciplining potentially debilitating anxieties and fears and converting them into winning aggressiveness. There is courage within us; all we need to do is to consciously draw upon it to obliterate irrational fears we have about doing things that are indeed good for us. In the social situation discussed above, once actual action - greeting the stranger about whom we are curious - is taken, the transgressing instinct retires and the normality of the whole situation becomes obvious.

The same principle holds true for the business venture you have been dreaming and fretting about. Take the first step, and soon enough you will be wondering what the hesitancy was all about. The truth of the matter is, everyday millions of people less talented than you are wake up, brush their teeth, take a shower, eat cereal and start a business. It is all very normal.

Take any action that is relevant to the realisation of your dream. Consider, for instance, the implications of walking to the bank and picking up application forms to open a business account. This action is simple, inexpensive, rational, and very normal. People walk to the bank every morning and pick up forms. But do not be deceived; this action is a very important one. It begins a chain of actions that are equally simple, but that together will result in the creation in reality of an enterprise that was just an idea in your mind. Each step you take obligates you to take the next.

Once you have the forms, it seems reasonable that you fill them out, giving details of who and what you are, the nature of the business you intend to run, and other details that, in sum, say what you intend to become. While you may not be particularly conscious of it, the animal that begins to emerge as you fill out an ordinary form with an ordinary pen is what the books call a business plan: who am I, what are my assets, how do I want to employ them and to produce what in what time - frame?

Of course, it will not make sense to take the trouble to complete a form, and then leave the matter there. An inescapable logic dictates that you should hand in the completed form to the bank clerk and wait for her to check the form, establish an account number and issue a temporary cheque book to be used while the proper one is being printed. Now something exists in reality that before was just an idea. All of a sudden, you are in business, and there were no dramatic bells and fanfare, just a series of ordinary steps, each requiring the next and making the completion of the sequence virtually inevitable.

Beginning is the most critical activity for the success of any idea. This is my first book - length publication. The idea of writing it was, clearly, a good one, but as long as the first word remained unwritten, the rest of the book could not take shape. By the same token, chapter 2 was made possible by the existence of chapter 1. As I sit at the typewriter now, it strikes me that a chain of momentous events was started by the simple act of scribbling across a piece of paper the thought with which this book opens. It soon enough became clear that, if the process of writing, editing and rewriting were to be reasonably painless, an upgrade of technology was advisable.

Because I scribbled the first word - "the" - on a piece of paper a fortnight or so ago, I am now the proud owner of a word processor. The excitement itself of learning to use what is for me a new tool has provided amazing momentum for the pursuance of the task of writing and completing the manuscript. The feat of producing a full - length book now seems possible on account of the fact that I am already involved and therefore motivated. It will not make sense for me to stop, now that the first chapter is finished, and the seeds of the third chapter are discernible in the chapter I am now working on. Whatever your chosen venture is, then, the thing to do is to begin.

Physicists tell us that most objects are inclined to stay in place, passively obeying the laws of physics. Animate beings define and distinguish themselves by their capacity to decide that they need not slavishly obey the law of inertia. They therefore execute, on a daily basis, acts of defiance against this law, driven by their conscious desires. In other words, animate beings differentiate themselves in that they have an agenda that has a logical relationship with their wishes.

Momentum is built the very moment inertia is overcome. Once something begins to move, it will take another, measurable force to stop it from moving. So it is with a venture once the first step is taken to pursue it. Once you begin, something more determined than you will have to oppose you if there is any chance of the venture failing. The fact of the matter is, there aren't that many such negative forces in the realm of logic, and searching the domain of superstition for such opponents is an unnecessary and self - defeating exertion.

You will find that, once you take the first step, powerful forces are unleashed to help you. A forceful psychology that exclaims to you that you can do it begins to operate in you and against what you now find are imaginary obstacles. A brilliant logic illuminates the sensibleness of what you feared to do. Faith begins to move the mountain that you now realise was standing on a major fault - line. Come to think of it, you did it before. The day when, as a baby, you took your first step or uttered your first sound all by yourself, you did it, and now this whole thing called walking and talking has come into its proper perspective. It is such an ordinary, normal and doable thing.

You will discover that it is the same with whatever enterprise it is that you have been hesitating to embark upon, once you have taken a step - any step - that is consistent with converting that brilliant idea into a tangible reality.

Title: Fulfill Your Threats

Video Review Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ANidCr0-14E&feature=g-upl&context=G205ab81AUAAAAAAABAA

Author: Jonathan Wutawunashe

Available on Amazon in Kindle Format: http://www.amazon.com/Fulfill-Threats-Principles-Succeed-ebook/dp/B00375LJA0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322349679&sr=1-1

Blog: http://possibilitypages.blogspot.com/


Ambassador Jonathan Wutawunashe cut his teeth as a diplomat in Washington, DC and New York during the 1980s. Educated and trained in his native Zimbabwe, in Australia, the United States and Belgium, Wutawunashe played key roles as a top manager and leader in key posts and functions in Zimbabwe, North America, Europe and Asia. One of his more widely publicized accomplishments was his presentation of the case against nuclear weapons at the International Court of Justice in November 1995.

Ambassador Wutawunashe is a sought-after speaker and counselor who has motivated audiences at universities, churches, training seminars, trade symposiums and in other contexts in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. His personal achievements include writing for magazines and academic journals from an early age, musical compositions and an extensive discography that has caught the attention of researchers and writers on global culture. He has done creative work for television, for which he has received plaudits, and has also established several audio-visual recording and mastering studios. The Ambassador holds post-graduate degrees in literature and social sciences. He is married to Shuvai, and the couple have three children, Tinashe, Tendai and Paidamoyo. You can read more about Wutawunashe on Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Wutawunashe.


This incisive, well-written book shares profound insights into the psychology that drives doers to do what they do, and to do it with confidence, method and persistence. Its energizing claim is that we can all be effective doers if we take simple steps to yank our ambitions from the realm of idle thought and idle talk, and to mobilize those dreams and aspirations into projects that achieve results that can be seen, touched and experienced. Wutawunashe draws from experience and observation to illustrate how business ideas, personal development efforts, social influence and other schemes can be pursued in a manner that assures effective, sustained impact . In an engaging style that melds entertaining anecdotes, humorous turn of phrase and powerful didactic principle in a uniquely seamless manner, Wutawunashe delivers a powerful manual that could well come with a warranty, given the ease with which the reader can apply these lessons and see results.


In this my first book, I offer the thesis that success is the outcome of a simple process based on deciding, doing and learning. These activities are locked in a sequential loop that can be linear or non-linear depending on specific circumstances. Whatever the sequence at any point, however, one element is constant, and that element is you. You take the decision, you do the things you have decided, and you learn the lessons that are necessary for you to succeed. I readily admit that this is a blatant truism, but venture that too few people realize how powerful and liberating this obvious fact is. Most failures in life are failures in commonsense.

Jonathan's Book Launch Contest February 4 -23
First Prize is a Kindle Fire
Two runner up prizes : $50.00 gift certificates

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