The concept of serving mankind and being served has been with us since time immemorial. It is significantly rooted in Africa’s greatest value-oriented concept, “Ubuntu”; which means, “I am because we are”. It is the driving force of our lifelong endeavours, and social support initiatives.
While some have fully understood, conscientized and internalized this value, and even advocating for its transmission to every part of the world, others are dimming its light, and making it seem as an “old-fashioned style of living”.
The evolution of human society, from simple to complex, mechanical to organic, classless to classes, equal access to resources to differential and unequal access to resources and opportunities, and the rising quest and struggle for power, wealth, and fame and its impact on contemporary society cannot be overemphasized. These changes have strongly shaped our experiences, culture, value system, economic outlook and political environment.
Politicians like all other humans, have dynamic features that pivot the way they perceive, think, and take certain action-oriented decisions. For us to become well-grounded in the cultural imperatives, demands and expectations of society, we need to pass through a series of societal, cultural, religious, educational and personal transformative events, learning and shaping. In spite of the varied laws, rules and regulations implemented to regulate, control and shape our existence on earth, some people, in one way or the other still prime themselves to become deviants and liabilities.
In some instances, some people strive diligently to curb inhumane and devaluing practices and activities that deepen that vulnerability of the “weak population”.
However, it is very devastating and disheartening when we hear certain people being labelled as “corrupt or selfish”. Whenever this label is being called out, the most obvious questions that will boggle our mind are; where are these “people” from? which society do they live in? which family are they from? what are their relationship with the Supreme Being? or how strong are their moral or ethical standing? In worst situations, such tag can diffuse to become a generalized “label” for the society in which its members engage in some of anti-social acts or are associated with moral ills.
Today, the mere mention of a particular politician’s name unfolds a descriptive analysis of the person’s familial, cultural, religious and societal background, and more evidently, his or her character-traits, value system, passion and vision for society, position of his/her wealth, and how wise he/she is.
In the subsequent paragraphs, we shall discuss in detail the five key things that strongly regulate, control and shape the thinking patterns, and consequently behaviour/actions of “today politicians”. These variables cannot be singled out and measured independently; they depend on one another to integratively and holistically elicit a particular behaviour.
The first variable worth mentioning is character trait and personality trait. Character-trait and personality-trait are two distinct but closely related concepts. Practically, character trait focuses on a series of life taught activities and constellation of patterned habits, events, experiences, values, or any life event, in which the individual either learned personally or through agents of socialization such as the family, community, school, religious institution, workplace etc. by which the person internalizes them, constantly repeats and practices them, and in effect becomes the product of those experiences. Every character-trait exhibited by an individual in public clearly depicts whether that person has been properly socialized or not. It questions the personality of the person, together with his/her family, cultural, religious and social background.
Whenever you do a good deed, greater part of the credit goes to your family and society and vice-versa because people believe that society has a greater responsibility in shaping people’s character, even though your personality becomes highly satisfied/thrilled.
Personality trait, however, gives a clear picture of who the individual is, including your character-trait – taking into consideration the influence of the ID, Ego, and SuperEgo, your thought processes, feelings, levels of awareness, temperaments, perceptions, beliefs and personally-equipped attributes on your actions and behaviour. It is the brand you create for yourself as a social and natural being. Personality traits are characteristic qualities that differentiate one person from another.
Despite its being a versatile and dynamic ingredient, it is not prudent to be changing its traits as and when you feel or think, but must always be consistent with your behaviour and actions. Circumstances can pave way for you to change some traits you think are devaluing or destroying your personality; if they occur, take full charge of it and shape your personality for the better. However, people with strong personality-traits constantly do a self-evaluation exercise to examine and review certain ingredients of their personality.
In essence, whatever decision or action a politician takes is driven by his or her character and personality traits. This can give the “masses or electorates” a vivid description of every politician aspiring for a position in our society, as to whether he/she is an “asset or a liability”.
These are the constellation of societal, cultural, religious, moral or ethical qualities or attributes that are very dear to us. They are things society cherishes and upholds in high standing or high esteem. It has elements of specificity, dynamism and universality, just as culture is. It consists of a set of coherent attributes, attitudes, beliefs, ethical standards, we deem significant, emulate and practice consistently. While some society believe in evidence-based teaching and learning (innovation), others are more concerned about strategic thinking and planning. In the same vein, while some countries are striving to achieve an appreciable level of equity in resource allocation and distribution, others are scaling up for equality-based practices and initiatives.
In the minds of some politicians are universal values such as honesty, integrity, accountability, fairness, reciprocity, interdependence, self-reliance, respect, justice, collaboration, empowerment etc, while others toe a contrary path to attain certain heights to fulfil their personal aggrandizement. Even though every society is working diligently to train and socialize its members with certain key attributes, some members continue to go contrary to that, making it difficult to sustain some values. For instance, the moment someone mentions the word “politics”, devaluing elements such as corruption, dishonesty, wickedness, start to pop up, rather than the proclamation of our cherished attribute, “ubuntu”. This indicates that some of the values in society have been exchanged for devaluing concepts, which in effect tarnish its image and reputation.
If a particular society continues to enmesh its members with devaluing ingredients, its political leaders will likely to toe their thinking patterns toward activities that limit its growth and development.
Passion and Vision
These are intertwined concepts that strongly shape the lives of people and society. Passion is the overarching central driving force that keeps us moving towards our goal in life. Every burning desire in us is driven by passion; it rekindles and rejuvenate our spirit even when we think that all hope is lost. It is the wheel that drives values such as commitment, zeal, boldness, courage, patience and the decision to never quit, even in our greatest fearful or challenging situation.
It is that human oriented and personality directed value that has the power to harmonize our brain, spirit, body and soul, towards a perfect direction. Even though it looks like an abstract concept, its applicability is best felt when integrated with consistent actions.
It is worth noting that without vision, passion has not basis, and without passion vision cannot be realized. This depicts that a visionless person has no passion, and a passionate person without vision is like an empty shell.
Vision is therefore the clear and comprehensive bigger picture we aim to realize. It is the overall lifelong path we want to reach in life. Vision in particular is fueled by our power of visualization, positivity, imagination, innovation and creativity. Just as the eye is the visual aid of the body, vision is the compass that directs our movement, decisions, actions and path in life. Each time we are confronted with a dilemma situation: a crossroad where we need to choose one option over another, our visionary lens guides us to make the right and best choice.
Just as the eye sometimes fails to function as expected due to a diagnosed ailment, one’s visionary lens can also get broken and expired if we don’t fuel it with deliberate and constant actions. You can dream the biggest dream ever, but if you don’t sustain its flames daily through consistent actions, you cannot never achieve it!
Vision can be proper or improper, good or bad, feasible or non-feasible, clear or vague, and person-centered or society-oriented.
Aside the bigger picture one sets forth to achieve in life, politicians should not envisage to use power and authority to amass wealth and loot a particular country’s resources. Any political leader with such mentality has an improper visionary lens; hence, he/she can be referred to as “visionless”. Some just have the passion to struggle for power to become leaders, but they do not possess the proper visionary lens to shape and make people’s lives better in society.
Visionary leaders look beyond their individualistic world and creatively develop, nurture, implement and sustain initiatives or ideas that have the capacity to greatly impact recent generation and those yet to come.
These are the resources, belongings, properties, assets, opportunities and services that are legally available to an individual and/or possessed by an individual. It is one of the most significant resources that has the capacity to influence people, society, and global decisions. Accordance of respect to people in society is now mostly driven by wealth; respect is now significantly equated to the degree of your wealth.
The desire to gain more wealth has manipulated the minds of so many people to quit the dream they are worth for. Some don’t even care if they have to shed innocent blood to attain the quantum of wealth they yearn to have. It has also influenced a lot of people to enter into politics, in some instances, with the notion that their wealth will quadruple sooner or later through a smart play of the “game of politics”. Pursuance of humanitarian agenda has been greatly exchanged in most societies for “investment in the game of politics”. Some may call it “dirty game” but whichever way they may call it, it’s a game anyway!
This is the rightful application of knowledge, values, skills, competencies, experiences and life events for personal and societal benefit. It is the ability to consistently discern between what is good or bad, right or wrong, and possessing an entrenched decision to impact the lives of people with the right information, services, resources and opportunities.
Being wise means that there's consistency in your moral behaviour, you think before you speak and act, you restrain yourself from unworthy and unproductive words/actions/behaviour and lean consistently on God's Handwriting. Wisdom automatically makes one to be known by all, because a wise person's life always shines and becomes a fountain of lessons, where people always drink from.
One cannot become a servant leader if he/she takes for granted, God’s Word. Inferences of true leadership qualities are rooted in the Handwriting of our Supreme Being.
True political leaders prime themselves and their lives through wisdom-oriented thinking patterns and activities. All their decisions and thoughts are geared toward doing things to bring progress, growth and development in lives of all mankind.
Author: Theophilus Quaicoe