Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stinking Thinking (2)

The slogan of United Negro College Fund goes like this: A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

I am not certain of how one’s mind could be wasted. Nonetheless, the fact remains that we are given our minds to think. As such, the proper use of the mind should be its application to understand and conquer one’s environment. “Wastage” of one’s mind must then the non-utilization or underutilization of the mind. Why the heck would United Negro College Fund use the slogan? I am sure they figured out that almost every aspect of our lives is tied to the mind.

We have covered that already in my previous posts, so I am not going to dwell on it.

The only thing that saddens is the fact that some folks are still struggling with making the connection between an individual’s mindset or attitude and their socio-economic status. I am recognizing the fact that there are natural limitations to what we desire to achieve, regardless of our mental attitude. For instance, I am a not a good soccer player. As such it would be insane of me to just “motivate” myself into becoming the best soccer player ever. So whom I am addressing is actually a talented soccer player, who thinks they are not good enough or can’t be successful due to a twisted mental outlook.

I like to move from this mind thing. Nonetheless, for some reason it appears that the more I think of it, the more I see cases in Tanzania where the core issue is the mindset. I was going through my daily rounds of the Tanzanian media online and I came across a story on IPP Media about the Motivational Talk Show, an event that was organized by the International Platform for Young People to discover and develop their potential in collaboration with Familia Newspaper.

Read the story for yourself here .

One of the speakers at the event was Reginald Mengi. I liked what he said, because his speech highlights what I have been preaching all along. That is, success or failure is tied to the mindset. I am glad Mengi talked about that, because some of the readers of this blog have been questioning the essence of the mindset and I am “wasting my time on it”. He also pointed the fact that God plays a role. For some folks this spiritual aspect might not make any sense, but as a believer, this is 100% true.

I hope I will not be getting more questions about the mindset. Reginald Mengi has helped me settle everything.

Despite all the good things that Mengi said, you couldn’t miss one Tanzanian in the mix with just plain stinking thinking. The culprit, ladies and gentlemen, was this dude called Mr. Eric James Shigongo. I have no adequate information about this dude, but my Internet search revealed that he is or could be some sort of a novelist. This is what Eric said:

Tanzania has a lot of resources that could make it a rich country but propaganda from western countries and the USA that Tanzania is the poorest country was what made people relax in fighting against poverty”.

I don’t know about you, but that is an epitome of stinking thinking. It seriously wonder where Tanzanians got the notion that our problems in 2007 are caused by the western propaganda. I just find it hard to swallow such nonsense. For one, propaganda is just what it is – propaganda. It is difficult for me to find a connection between what CNN shows to the American audience about Africa, for instance, with the failure of Tanzanians to execute our own strategies. If find it hard to believe that CNN’s broadcast in Atlanta, Georgia, is actually making a drunkard out of a villager in Dodoma. Secondly, has Mr. Shigongo looked into the effect of the Azimio la Arusha on the spirit of private enterprise? Let me not even go there.

These are tired and stupid arguments that should be eliminated from the minds and the lips of Tanzanians. Let’s start preaching hard work, innovation, competition, intelligence, accountability, responsibility, etc. That is because success and victory are about overcoming something. This is a man-eat-man world. No one wants to relinquish his or her position. Given that fact, we have to fight. We have to compete. We have to conquer. That is the nature and the reality of the free market, the new wave we have embraced. Forget about the mkoloni in 1945. The game we are playing in 2007 requires more brain than muscles. You have to be tough in the mind.

Taking the same concept to a personal level. Would a neighbor’s “uzushi” in the your “mtaa” that your children are dirty stop you from washing your kids? Wouldn’t that be a motivational factor to prove that your kids are the cleanest in the neighborhood? Better yet, if your children were truly dirty, wouldn’t you find ways and means to clean them up? I really don’t know how what others say about your true situation stops you from change it. It is amazing that we entertain this crap.

Some ideas and notions make a very good political speech in the Tanzanian context, but on a serious note, they are damaging the mindset of the rest of Tanzanians. I wonder what the University students in attendance got out of this, but it is a sad thing that Mr. Shigongo just contaminated the minds of young folks who needed to know the realities. He just fed their minds a political junk that has no logical and intelligent justification.

As much as I want to move away from exploring the effect and the influence of the mindset in connection with one’s development and change, I find it hard to do so. It appears to me that we need to dwell on it some more. It seems that we need to work on this some more to help Tanzanians. As a novelist, I am sure Mr. Shigongo is a thinker and full of imagination. What startles me is this: how did he load his head with this junk? If he is a representative of folks who are influential in Tanzania (given the fact that Mr. Shigongo was invited as a motivational speaker, he should be regarded as influential in Tanzania), then we have a huge mindset problem in Tanzania.

How I wish that Tanzanians (the majority) could see how the wrong mindset is killing them…
Photo: Mpoki


Anonymous said...

Most theorists consider that the key responsibility of an embedded power group is to challenge the assumptions which comprise the group's own mindset. According to these commentators, power groups which fail to review or revise their mindsets with sufficient regularity cannot hold power indefinitely, as a single mindset is unlikely to possess the flexibility and adaptability needed to address all future events. For example, the variations in mindset between Democratic Party and Republican Party Presidents in the US may have made that country more able to challenge assumptions than the Kremlin with its more static bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

Cognitive Biases don`t pay:

mindset, in decision theory and general systems theory, refers to a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviours, choices, or tools. This phenomenon of cognitive bias is also sometimes described as mental inertia, "groupthink", or a "paradigm", and it is often difficult to counteract its effects upon analysis and decision making processes.

Anonymous said...

Mindset is obviously not newer and it's written more for a lay audience, but I found Self-Theories very clear and it lays out the research base more fully.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 4:16 and 4:25
In my opinion, mental inertia and a set of assumptions, methods, or notations held by a groups actually prohibit such a group to make the desired change.

If no new information is provided, not new way of thinking is introduced, it is a given that such a group can remain stagnant eternally.

Unfortunately for the majority of Tanzanians, there is a minority group that do not want the majority to wake up from a mental slumber.

Hiza said...

Benjamin Barber, an eminent sociologist, once said, “I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures... I divide the world into the learners and nonlearners.”
What on earth would make someone a nonlearner? Everyone is born with an intense drive to learn. Infants stretch their skills daily. Not just ordinary skills, but the most difficult tasks of a lifetime, like learning to walk and talk. They never decide it’s too hard or not worth the effort. Babies don’t worry about making mistakes or humiliating themselves. They walk, they fall, they get up. They just barge forward. What could put an end to this exuberant learning? The fixed mindset...
In the fixed mindset it’s not enough just to succeed. It’s not enough just to look smart and talented. You have to be pretty much flawless. And you have to be flawless right away... After all, if you have it you have it, and if you don’t you don’t...

Jaduong Metty said...

I'm not a psychologist nor am I a social scientist, but it appears the Tanzanian society needs to learn a new way of looking at life.

Our (the majority of Tanzanians) mindset is obviously fixed on the wrong things, and just from some of the comments I get here, it appears that some of the Tanzanians find it "insulting" to challenge the status quo.

But in some ways, I cannot blame them. It is difficult to accept the fact that what you have believed all along is wrong. The fear of letting go of the old mindset is actually making some folks very defensive and offensive.

All in all, our thinking has to change.

Hiza said...

Where are you getting these nice photos? Very nice photos!


Jaduong Metty said...

I get these photos from various Tanzanian photo blogs. You can go to the link of photo bloggers I have provided in my blog to view various Bongo photos.

Anonymous said...

Can`t you find better photos? Different people were questioning about rebranding Africa.

I`m questioning the kinds of photos that are in here. The Western Media (BBC,CNN) like to show poor images of Africa. I wonder if it is the same thing with this blog?

I don`t know why some people like these sorts of images. Is the "mindset thing" about those images?

Jaduong Metty said...

I put images that go with my reflection. We are talking and desiring for improving Tanzania here. As such, such images are the ones that we want to practically erase and not simply shove them in some dusty files.

As a Tanzanian, I know this is a representation of the life of 80% of Tanzanians. If you want the Oysterbay and Masaki images, I believe those are representing the lives of a minority.

So let's not try to boost ourselves psychologically by creating false images.

Rebranding Africa can't happen simply by putting up "nice" pictures. It will happen by truly changing lives. I know what I am contending is not politically correct, but my people have swallowed political blah blah for a long time.

Anonymous said...

Shingongo messed up all the Mengi's point i could see Reginald quoting Jascha Heifetz

"No matter what side of the argument you are on, you always find people on your side that you wish were on the other."

Mindset ya wabongo wengi ni ya kuvalia umasikini suti na kutupa lawama kwingine ! Its easy that way you know ! lol


Anonymous said...

Sorry, we are not beggars.

Anonymous said...

Do people live on trees in Africa?

Anonymous said...

Bling Bling zipo kibao Africa nyie wekeni hivo vibanda, mi naziona skyscrapper nyingi na bungalows nyingi ndani ya Africa.

Akili zenu za kitumwa na kasumba zitawadidimiza na mtazidi kuwanyenyekea wazungu mpaka mwisho wa dunia.


Metty eeh!Mimi mara nyingi nashindwa kukukatalia fikira zako.I just wanted U know that!halafu mimi ni mbishi .

Patrick GK said...

Metty, Hiza,

Well said, eloquently put!

However, I would like to approach this "mindset" question from a different perspective.

I do believe that we have well qualified professionals, be they planners, economists or what-have-you in Tanzania and some have advisorial capacities in the government.

Now in the event that the powers-that-be ignore or outrightly refuse to heed sound advice from these professionals(for whatever reason), wouldn't it be unfair to hold them(the advisors) responsible for the inevitable poor results? You bet it is.

It has happened more than a few times in Tanzania(commissions are formed but their findings and recommendations are ignored, to put it mildly).

Now if one is not careful, they may be barking up the wrong tree.

How do you get those in authority to change the way they think ie. have a dynamic mindset as opposed to the current fixed one? That is the question, or is it? Just wondering...

Jaduong Metty said...

This blog is intended to exchange ideas on a high level. But it is apparent some folks have decided to act childishly. As a moderator, such comments will always meet my wrath.

If you disagree with a certain position, please provide an intelligent opposing perspective. We have to grow.

Jaduong Metty said...

Thanks for your encouragement.

Sema usiogope!

@Anonymous 5:31
I'm no less an African than you are. Proposing alternative ways of how Tanzanians should make progress does not make one a westerner. Besides, 95% of my cousins, aunts, uncles live on the same huts I am putting up.

Pride without anything to show up for it is ridiculous. I am not suggesting that a human value should be regarded in terms of dollars, but the truth remains that poverty stinks. We both now that poverty in Tanzania is pretty much tied to the mindset.

Yes Masaki mansions to exist, but you won't find that in Iringa, Tarima, Nzega, Rufiji, Kongwa, Kilosa, Misungwi, Ujiji, Hanang etc.

Beggars we are. What do you think JK is doing on his international rounds? Anatembeza bakuli! We have been beggars for so long mpaka we forget that we are! Fact: Our budget is 40% dependent on foreign aid. That is almost half our budget. And that has been the situation for as long as I can remember.

So let's cut to the political chase and get down to being real with ourselves ourselves. Collectively, We stink!

The core issue is attitude (mindset). Technical advice will always be in contradiction to the political climate in Tanzania. Once you introduce accountability, and implement system improvement, we will have to do away with plenty of folks.

The the big boys will always shove the reports and recommendations somewhere in thd dusty storage area.

Talking about inertia? That's it to the core. Recently, Mr. Karume barked at journalist for calling CCM conservative (i.e. lacking flexibility). Apparently he didn't get what the journalists meant, and that tells what we are facing in Bongoland.

Hiza said...

@ Patrick.
“How do you get those in authority to change the way they think” Tough question:

Some people will make it, some will not. And not because they are not capable, but because they don't think they will make it - their mindset hasn't changed. Without that, without the enthusiasm to go forth and try something different or new from their regular habits, they will set themselves up for failure, even before they begin. And just saying "I'll change" won't work. It will help, but that is not all of it

Hiza said...


Stop unnecessary arguments. If you don’t agree with someone points, you need to provide your own critique. We are just small fish presenting ideas; you real don’t have to agree with anybody. Please, no name calling, do your own research and give us your critique.


Jaduong Metty said...

I am assuming you are addressing the Anonymous. I've simply decided to delete his/her comments. Apparently, this person is not getting the spirit of the discsussions here.

It doesn't getting any lower when a person starts getting down personal. That's a sign of intellectual immaturity.

Hiza said...


Exactly, ‘Anonymous’ I think you delete his/her comments. I feel the comments was very personal


Anonymous said...

I don`t care if you deleted my comments or not but you got the impression that I don`t entertain hypocritical views and analysts.

Anonymous said...

It is not the question of spirit of discussion, you people can`t even meet why are posting ideas pretending that you are creatures of morality and integrity?

If you were moral and had integrity you would not have deleted what I said. why should I attack you personally? Why are you saying our thinking stink?
it is your own brain that stink.

Maiki said...

Anonymous! Leadership is not some simple attribute or function of education, training, or your personality, but a complex set of values , beliefs, opinions, self understanding, feelings and attitude, Successful leaders are “different” from followers, they have developed a system or technique to accomplish things through others. They have an inner sense of how to manage people and resources. They know who they are. They understand their strengths and weaknesses. And they are not afraid to ask for help and acknowledge their mistakes. They are open and honest. You can wrap all these attributes up in one word: “attitude”

It is all in your mind! Stinking thinking brings stinking results. As within, as without, or as your thoughts determine who you are. I believe the aim of this blog is to create an atmosphere of constructive, critical thinking. We aim to dig deep into the root of the problems facing us as individuals and our country. We need to get rid of the stinking mentality that brings about stinking results!