How to Choose Role Models

Majority of youth have no problem amassing wealth through evading tax evasion and corruption as long as they do not get prosecuted, a new report has revealed. A new report commissioned by the East African Institute (EAI), the Kenya Youth Survey Report, revealed that 50 per cent of youth in Kenya do not care what means one uses to make money as long as they do not end up in jail. 

This was anchored by 30 per cent who exuded the belief that corruption is profitable with 35 percent ready to give or receive a bribe. Only 40 percent of the polled strongly believed that it was important to pay taxes. A similar situation was displayed in the political arena where 62 percent of youth were noted to be vulnerable to electoral bribery with 40 per cent confessing that they would only vote for aspirants who bribe them, which was exhibited more in the rural area. "More rural women, compared to urban would vote for the person who bribed them. Rural males were also twice more likely to vote for the candidate who paid them compared to their urban counterparts," read the report in part. These statistics however contradicted the high level of faith anchored values that 85 percent of the youth possessed. Despite wealth coming third in values among the youth after faith, family (60 per cent) and work (30 per cent), most youth were still willing to compromise their integrity based on their faith to justify their deeds as it was put Dr Alex Owiti Director EAI. "These are the people being recruited in public offices, counties police force. What then does it mean to the fight against corruption? Where are the spaces of integrity for us to carry out clean business?" he noted. "It is like they use their strong faith to justify that they are right keeping the in their involvement." Noting the contradiction, Inuka Kenya boss John Githongo said the report shows exactly how the younger generation is emulating from their older counterparts. "They have seen how our systems work where people steal and nothing happens to them beyond prosecution so nothing will happen to them either. It is just gimmicking that it is fighting corruption," he noted. Acting Director General Vision 2030 Gituro Wainaina shared the same thoughts: "This report cuts across every demographics in the country. We have tendencies of praising corrupt individuals hence let us not blame the youth for propagating it." The sample size of the survey was 1860 and was conducted in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. It was conducted between 2014-2015.

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These statistics are shocking and sad but it need not always be the case. There are still ways of being successful without being corrupt. It all depends on the people we look up to. There are many people we can emulate. It may be hard to find a positive role model especially if you have been raised in an environment with few or no people to look up to but your fate doesn’t have to turn out negatively because of this. If Africa’s young people would stretch a little further with hope, then they could find someone whose footsteps they can walk in. Here are my nuggets on how to identify a role model.

1.      Learn to love yourself

Whitney Houston sang one of my favourite songs and some of the words of the song that I remember are, ‘learning to love yourself, it is the greatest love of all.’ One of the worst mistakes you can make is to admire someone so much without seeing any good in who you are. Each of us has something good inside. Go into a quiet room and look at yourself in the mirror. Name all the things you love about yourself. No one is perfect but that is still okay. Next, speak positivity into your life every minute you can. Our lives are made up of the things we tell ourselves. Read motivational books and don’t forget the bible or Quran. Listen to good music that speaks good things about life. Never let anyone undermine you and I don’t mean that you should fight them. Just keep doing your best in everything that you do. Karma always proves the people who despise others wrong. Walk away when you feel it’s too much. It’s the best thing you can do.

2.      Identify your passion

What do you love doing most? What kind of things do you want to achieve? What kind of person would you want to become? Once you answer these questions, you will be able to find the right kind of people to look up to. Oprah Winfrey said that if you don’t know your passion, one of your life’s purposes is to identify what it is. The best way to know your passion is to try as many things as you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Attend conferences and seminars, start an organization, go to school, make new friends, network with as many people as you can or start your own business. Stop waiting for people to tell you about available opportunities when you haven’t made an effort to find out on your own. Find them then ask for help. Better yet, be the one to create those opportunities. Everything is always worth a try if you believe in it.

3.      Work on your confidence

Confidence is key when you want to achieve great things in life. It all emanates from loving yourself. Stand in a hall or infront of the mirror and pretend you are speaking to many people. Record your voice using your phone and listen to it. Our greatest fear often lies in us. Listen to yourself speak and work on your weakness. Face things head on and visit new places so as to get out of the cocoon you are used to.

4.      Identify your role model

We often tend to look at people who we would want to be like. Not everyone draws inspiration from other people but majority of people do. Find the people who have achieved great things and they don’t have to famous or rich. They need to possess some certain attributes that you can emulate. If you want to be a musician, find the successful people in the music industry. It all applies to other fields. Always remember to strive on building your character and your personality and not the person you admire. You can never be them in fact you can be a better person. Take one step at a time and try not to put so much pressure on yourself. Keep trying; keep your head held high. One day you will get there. We all will.

5.      Approach your role model if you can

You don’t have to meet your role model. Some people prefer to watch others from a distance or perhaps they are too far away from their reach. However, if you can, take the step. There is the fear of rejection but it’s always worth a try. Find their contact or whatever means you can to reach out to them. Pray every single day as you wait to meet the person you want to because it can be discouraging when you have no idea how to meet them or any connections but I believe in a God who brings the right people into our lives at the right time. When you do, tell them all you would want to and keep in touch if possible. Learn about their mistakes and avoid them. Don’t do everything they did. Make sure your role models make you feel good about yourself. They should encourage you and appreciate for who you are and if they don’t, don’t force them to.

6.      Never let anyone make you feel worthless

One of my favourite songs is ‘The Power of the Dream,’ sang by Celine Dion. There words that I love. They say that ‘the strength of just I can has brought together people of all nations, there’s nothing ordinary in the living of each day, there’s a special part everyone of us will play.’ In case you meet someone you genuinely admire and someone else makes you feel like you are not worth their time or their space, don’t beat yourself up and think that it’s true and don’t work so hard just to prove them wrong. That way your focus will be in the wrong place. As long as the person you admire thinks well of you, it doesn’t really matter what they think. Work hard and meet your own expectations. You are worth much more than you think. If anyone ever looks down upon you, try to forgive. It’s hard; you won’t forget how they made you feel but at least you won’t be bitter.

 These are my tips on how to identify your role model. You can add more. Let’s work on changing the narrative that these statistics portray and help someone else do the same. If we are to build our countries and Africa, our continent, then we have to start from somewhere. It’s not entirely hopeless. As Nelson Mandela said, ‘Your playing small does not serve the world. Who are you not to be great?’ There you go, let’s rise up and be the change.

God Bless Africa and may he bless you too!

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