Sat. Dec 14th, 2019

The Accessible and Effective Voice of the Century


4 min read

I know I’m not haughty and I abhor people who look down on others. But consistently I have heard the question, ‘who do you think you are?’ quite often. A football match and a heated conversation have opened the eyes of my mind, prompting this piece. You wonder why people keep asking you, who you think you are; kindly spend some time with me.

Google gives me this as the definition for confidence – The feeling or belief that one can have faith in or rely on someone or something. Synonyms include trust, belief, faith, credence, conviction.

It was love at first sight in all of the times I met words like odd, eccentric, bohemian, unconventional and unconformity. Almost everything I stand for is in the minority. So on one fateful day, when I made known my thoughts about the excessive money we spend on funerals and weddings, the question popped up. Who do you think you are? Arrows and grenades were thrown at me just for expressing my thoughts. These people forgot we are in a democratic state. Were they asking me who am I to think that way? Were they trying to confine me to their own thinking?

Another day and another person told me I couldn’t have principles because I was broke. That only the rich could be principled. He was in effect asking me, who I thought I was to think I could be principled because I was, broke. I bet people who think like that don’t even know adhering to the teachings of any Holy book means you are applying some principles. That is why this person told me to cut corners to be rich and after that be principled. That is his principle!

Now to the heated conversation and the football match. First, the convo.
This dialogue was all about tradition and development. The other man’s pulse was racing. All because I said it will be better for a non-royal, who can help advance a town to be made chief than a royal who has no vision to be given the throne just because it is his time.

You may disagree but I think traditions and laws alike, are made by men and it should be tailored to the advancement of the society not to its retrogression. Vociferously, this man kept on asking me why I could think of such an abomination. All I could think about was how I could let this man drop this 11th century thinking and think about how development ensues.

I think as a country we are juggling with the idea of development like this man. We know why we should improve our standard of living but it seems the how has eluded us for a long time.

This is where confidence comes in.

Two young talents at the London football club Chelsea, Hudson-Odoi and Nathan Ampadu are yet to be 19 years but have had first team experience at Chelsea FC. During the weekend a Chelsea fan was asking vehemently why Hudson-Odoi was acting like he was 25 years on the pitch.

And who does he think he is to be attempting dribbles at that young age. Just because the lad made one mistake amidst numerous successful dribbles, he was wack. Then the question, ‘who do you think you are?’, screamed at me again, now no more a fledgling but weathered. These young exceptional footballers have Ghanaian descent but were not brought up in our socialization. No doubt they believe they can achieve and their belief is unfolding.

It dawned on me why we have less young achievers in sports, academia, media, politics and almost every facet of our life.

Why we are less adventurous relative to other nations, laid bare mocking at me. Do you understand why most of our best footballers and performers only find feet in their mid to late twenties?

From the start, our dreams, because they are not the conventional medicine, nursing, teaching, and law are told ‘NO’. Our parents clam us up the moment we try to share an opinion or initiate something new. Doubtless these traditional professions are crucial but ruminate on how the biggest economy in the world – U.S – occupies that position. The country’s entrepreneurs; Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffet are the echelons in wealth but none is clothed in conventional suit and tie. They made their own path. Let us find our own path or let us continue to wobble to nowhere.

It should now be clear to us that without a conscious effort to nurture confident and not insecure youth we are heading nowhere. No secure mind spends beyond his or her budget just to impress people.

The brutal mechanisms our society devises to quash potentially prosperous ideas needs commendation.
In 2017 I turned down an opportunity to host a radio programme on my school radio station. I convinced myself with the excuse that it was not my time and that time has never come. But now I know better and do better!

The people who keep on asking you, who you think you are don’t even know who they are, so give no audience to any destructive critic.

‘Morph yourself into something you choose to be, not what is expected of you. You will kill your happiness and who you are as a person by following the crowd. You’re perfect just the way you are.’ – Nicole Beverage

Kofi Boateng

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