Breaking Free from Colonial Influences: Renewing Our Mind for a Sustainable Future 

The goal of this is to renew and transform our minds to accommodate the future we desire and; better still renew our minds for a sustainable future. 

Before you scurry away at the words transform and mind, I know, trust me, I’d scurry away too because everyone who has read a self-help book on self-awareness and the mind has suddenly become an expert at it. Some have even gone ahead to author books on the subject matter. Trust me, I get it, am aware and I acknowledge that the subject areas of self-awareness, beliefs and mindset are prevalent. Let me burst your bubble a little, because trust me I am not your ordinary organizational psychologist. These learnings for many often remain at a conscious level, failing to drive the collective results and a transformative orientation the country, organizations and individuals require. 

This brings me to the statement I should have opened with; a strong presupposition that holds true if you think about it critically “The way you think is the way that you lead”. If you doubt the truthfulness or the efficacy of this statement, please humour me and take a quick moment to scan our country, your homes, your life, and everything around you. What words come to mind? I thought so too…. 

You are not alone, at our recently concluded excellent culture workshop, I conducted this same survey and it yielded alarming results akin to yours right now. I invite you to also perform an audit of your leadership. What does it look like? You see Nigeria, as a nation, and your organization as an entity reflects your/our collective thinking and thought patterns and that’s exactly why you must take this seriously. 

Now that I have your attention, let’s proceed; Thinking doesn’t just appear from space; it stems from a place called beliefs, which, in turn, are shaped by our roots and experiences. What did you hear as a child? What did your mind give credibility to? What meanings did your mind associate to those experiences (strongholds)? The reason you must pay attention to these is not because you want to dwell on them, but because you want to know the exact mentalities to change and most importantly, these strongholds it impact our attitudes, beliefs, and ultimately, our results. 

To create the future we desire, we need a new set of keys, we need a re-orientation and renewal of mind. 

The Resilient Builders (Old Generation, Parents, and Grandparents) ™   

Considering the origin of some of our thinking patterns and beliefs, we can trace them back to colonial influences. Our forefathers experienced a profound shift from their familiar lifestyle to one marred by trade, commodification, and the erosion of customs and traditions. Their ideas were scrutinized and had to align with foreign ways of thinking. Leadership mentality was stripped, weakening their ability to make decisions and be strong leaders. Slowly their ideas or thoughts had to be passed through scrutiny before it was accepted (sound familiar?) Slowly their ideas never sounded good enough, it had to be aligned to the foreigner’s way of thinking. Slowly their leader mentality was stripped (much as you may frown, these influences were never designed to make you leaders) their wives and families see them as not being able to hold their own make decisions or be strong at it 

Our own fathers’ generation, witnessing their parents’ struggles, saw the firsthand anger trauma and stress on the family and their own lives and vowed not to live their lives like that. Many began their own enterprises, fueled by the need to prove themselves and upon the foundation of masked anger, bitterness, trauma and even a sense of loss.  

We can all agree that the premise or the foundation upon which they built their enterprise i.e anger, bitterness, fear etc are all ideologies, convictions and values that cannot be transferred as viable to the present generation. Hence our own struggles…. 

The Conscious Bridge (Late 30s, 40s, and Early 50s) ™  

As conscious builders, we are slightly more woke than our parents; 75% (that’s a big number) of folks in my age range have an MBA, possibly have worked in some nice consulting firm and some of us have had the privilege of taking over our parents businesses; We are faced with the stark reality that our parents don’t actually have a business to give us because we are aware (I hope) that a business is beyond the assets but the convictions and ideologies and beliefs and the core that makes it thrive. We are now realizing some 30-something years after Daddy cannot transfer the blood, sweat and anger as ideologies or convictions or as a business to me and you. Why? We are more exposed, and our vision cannot be achieved using the template they used. But you see, because we assumed we were “woke” we did not pay attention to renewing and transforming our own minds, we unconsciously entered into that cycle of building our businesses on the premise of trying to prove a point. To state it nicely, our exposure and vision require a different template, but without renewing and transforming our own minds, we unconsciously perpetuate the same cycle of proving points and reliving past hurts. We didn’t even stop there, with the advent of Google, we just leverage what we see as values, beliefs, even to our vision and we wonder why we do not have attractive, long-term, sustained businesses (I literally want to laugh hehe like Sheldon in the big bang theory). This is a whole new kettle of fish I hope to explore in our next publication. 

The force we bring to leadership often stems from the hurt of past experiences, e.g. the senior in school who used to bully you, your parents rejected your own ideas and so on and so forth and that’s exactly why this generation is rejecting our way of doing things affecting our businesses and relationships. They are even more woke than we are, more exposed than we are and the pseudo feeling of “we are in charge more than us. 

The irony is that like our forefathers, our solution economy generation is beginning to import Western ways to run their enterprises, repeating the same cycle of building on shaky foundations and borrowed beliefs, values, customs, culture, and patterns that do not reflect our true selves. 

The solution lies in renewal and transformation. What is the solution? Renewal, transformation, We need an operating system that takes us to and keeps us in the future. In the same way we were educated into what we are now we need to educate ourselves out of it and be educated into what we should be. we must educate ourselves about the potential of what we can become. 

Let’s collaborate to rebuild our broken walls, shedding the remnants of colonial influences, and embracing a renewed mindset that paves the way for a sustainable future. Together, we can break free from the cycle and embrace our unique identities, creating a new legacy for generations to come. 

Until next time, share your thoughts as we journey towards a transformative future. 

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