Friday, March 02, 2007

Stinking Thinking (3)

This is my blog. This is my home. This is my territory. As such, I am obligated and privileged to drive its direction. That being said, it does not mean that I am sort of a dictator. I like to hear what others have to say. I like to get a fresh perspective on issues that I reflect on. Nonetheless, when comments on various subjects are downright personal, such comments have to be deleted.

I am not forcing anyone to agree with my perspective. I only comment on the way I see and interpret what I see. I very much welcome opposing views so that we can enrich each other. However, when comments are not bringing anything intelligent to the table, such comments have to go.

Which brings me to this question: if you feel that a blog is not meeting your intellectual needs, why make a constant visit and drop cheap, personally attacking comments? Is that a sign of fixation? What is it about this blog that gets this Anonymous contributor so ticked off?

Let’s leave that alone.

I have once said this; drastic situations require drastic measures. Our Tanzanian situation requires tackling with a sense of urgency. Unfortunately, we aren’t showing signs of running. We are acting like people talking a walk in the park. We behave as if we have worked so hard and now we are enjoying retirement. We act like we have made it. All that is just a question of our attitude.

Today, I received an email. The email had an attachment that had the following message (I’m only chopping the last part). It went like this:
The difference between poor countries and rich ones is not the age of the country. This can be shown by countries like India and Egypt, that are more than 2000 years old and are poor. On the hand, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries.

The difference between poor and rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources. Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture and cattle raising, but it has the second world economy. The country is like an immense floating factory, importing raw material from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

Another example is Switzerland, which does not plant cocoa, but has the best chocolate of the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil for 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality. It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order and labor, which made it the world’s strong safe.

Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference. Race or skin color are also not important: Immigrant labeled lazy in their country of origin are the productive force in rich European countries.

What’s the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by education and culture.

On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich and developed countries, it is found that the great majority follows the following principles in their lives:
1. Ethics, as a basic principle
2. Integrity
3. Responsibility
4. Respect to the laws and rules
5. Respect to the rights of other citizens
6. Work loving
7. Strive for saving and investments
8. Will of super action
9. Punctuality
In poor countries, only a minority follows these basic principles in their daily lives.

We are not poor because we lack natural resources, or because nature was not cruel to us. We are poor because we lack attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich and developed societies.
For those who want very much to kill me, those ideas didn't come from me.

I guess what is killing Tanzanians is the fact that our attitude is engrained in our culture. As has been evidenced with furious comments that have questioned my call for a change in attitude, it is apparent that calling for a change in attitude is equated to attacking the Tanzanian culture. I can understand that fear, given that culture defines what a people are.

The truth of the matter is lack of the right attitude is so rampant in the Tanzanian society. Even the president is not exempted. What would one say when the president resorts to shift the blame, continue to beg than build capacity? At what point will Tanzanians understand that when you need something, you make it happen? At what point will it get in our leaders' heads that building capacity and making strides is our responsibility? Isn’t the begging mentality a sure sign of stinking thinking?

I know I am ticking some Tanzanian conservatives off, but our outlook and our attitude has to change. Progress is not just about money, it is also about intellectual, cultural, and spiritual transformation.

Photo: Michuzi


Anonymous said...

Metty, I enjoy reading your blog.

Ninge panda kusema kwamba, nyie muliokwisha kutembelea au kuishi nje ya TZ mumeona mengi. Mawazo na upeo wenu umefunguka zaidi. Kwa hivyo fikra zenu ni tofauti kiasi na sisi ambao hatuja toka nje ya bongo. However, sisi wa bongo, akilizetu ni safi kabisaa na hatuna mawazo ya kunuka.

Mmoja wa waandisho katika blog yako, Mashala, alisema tatizo kubwa la watanzania ni “ fear of unknown and fear of change. Most of us don’t fill comfortable to move out of our comfort zone. Unless we try to do something beyond what we have already mastered, hatuta weza kuondo umasikini wetu kwa urahisi au kujenja demokrasia iliyo imara.”

Nakubaliana saana na huyu blogger. Judging from his analysis, you can tell Mashala ana ishi Tanzania. We are not stupidity. Tuna jua nini kinachotakiwa kuondokana na hali duni ya maisha, lakini wengi wetu hatuna “GUTS” za kufanya mabadiliko hayo fast enough. Kwa sababu si-rahisi kujua matokeo ya mabadiliko. Mashala called it “ fear of unknown”. Kwa mfano, mimi pamoja na wafanya kazi wenzangu watatu tulikuwa tuna taka kuanzisha kampuni tuache kazi za serekali. We are CPAs. Tumekuwa kuki panga jambo hili for the last 4 years. We had good ideas, a plan; but we couldn’t execute the plan because of fear of unknown. These were our fears, tusipofanikiwa tutakula wapi? Malipo ya watoto shule tuta pata wapi? Ect … ect… We couldn’t overcome these fears. Ingawaje tulijua uwezo na sababu ya kuanzisha biashara yetu wenyewe tunayo. I will not consider our ideas as “Stinking Thinking,” We just couldn’t get out of our comfortable zone and to go beyond what we have already mastered, kufanya kazi na serekali.

The good news, mwenzetu mmoja ameondoka na kuanzisha kampuni yake mwenyewe. Nimiaka mitatu imepita tangia afungue biashara yake mwenywe. Hivi sasa ana wafanyakazi zaidi ya 7 and he is making millions per month. He had the will to change. He got out of his comfort zone and explores the unknown. Tuliobakia siyo kwamba ni wajinga, we just did not have the nerves to change.

I am delighted watu kama Mzee Mengi, wameanza kutufungulia mwanga jinsi ya ku- accumulate weath and how to over come our fear. You have to remember, watu wachache saana wenye utajiri wa Mengi wanao weza kujitokeza mbele ya mkadamnasi na kusema jinsi walivyo pata utajiri wao. Tatizo ni kwamba wengi wao wameupata kwa njia ambazo si-zakihalali. People like Mengi are great motivators. We need more people like him. We need more motivational speakers. We have great minds, big ideas, and rest assured we don’t have “thinking stinks.”

Frequently, in this blog muna wasifu saana wenzetu wa huko majuu kwa maendeleo waliyo nayo. Metty you quoted the United Negro College Fund "A mind is a terrible thing to waste". Mbna tunasikia weusi wa huko ndio omba omba wakubwa kuliko Kikwete? We are told nusu ya African Americans wana lishwa na serekali. They call it food stamps. Fact has it, zaidi ya nusu ya Black Americans hawamalizi shule ya msingi. Nasikia wana weza kuchukua mikopo na kwenda shule yeyote wanayo taka, but they don’t take advantage of it. Thanks to BBC, CNN, and Google, tuliona Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans aftermath. We were able to see the real life in Babylon. Afadhali mimi niliye tokea Kisiju, I can gross the bridge bila kupingwa risasi. Negros have all the opportunity to excel, Why haven’t they excel? May be they are been discriminated by wazungu.? If history serves me right, president Kennedy signed the civil right act in 1964, 43 years ago. Kama yote niliyo sema regarding Africans Americans ni kweli, “Stinking Thinking” ni weusi wote not just sisi wabongo? Remember, wabongo hatuna opportunity muliyo nayo huko. We don’t have Food-stamps either…… We survived during the long drought, no body died.

Anonymous said...

Hizo Guts unazosema mzee ni kila mahali sio Bongo tu hata huku marekani sio wote wenye Guts kama za Bill Gates kila mu na guts zake regardless of the nationality,race, color, or sex or environment. Siunaona Hillary Clinton anagombea urais, si unaona Baraka Obama Mmarekani mwenye asili ya Kikenya na Mzungu (Shombe).
kwa hiyo bwana mzee asikutishe mtu kitu wa hoja au kwa lolote kuishi Marekani au Uingereza hata kama unaona mengi si lolote si cochote kama huna guts za kufanya mambo ya maana utabakia palepale kufanya kazi Mcdonalds shift 3, wanaita 24/7 yaani 24 hours seven days a week. Napia hata kama hufanyi kazi Mcdonald na mshahara wako hauzidi dala laki moja kwa mwaka, kwa kiwango cha maisha ya huko Marekani bado ni mlala hoi tu asikuongopee mtu kitu. Watu huwa wanaridhika na starehe ndogo na mambo madogo ya kawaida tu. Hata kama watakuongeleshea kimombo masaa 24 hawana deal zaidi ya kusagia mambo ya bongo na fikra za watu. Umetoa mfano mzuri sana na stori nzuri sana ya ukweli kuhusu hali yako na rafiki zako.
unachotakiwa kufanya ni kumtafuta boss wenu awe nani na mtu wa aina gani. Nyie CPA wanne mnaweza kuanzisha CPA firm yenu kwa kumtafuta mtu mwingine wa tano ambaye sio lazima awe CPA, anatakiwa awe na sifa ambazo nyie hamna na mnazohitaji. mkifanya hivyo mmemaliza shughuli, huna haja ya kuwa na wasi kuhusu guts, comfort zone, fear of change,mindset etc.

Weka tangazo kwenye gazeti, au waombe PriceWaterhouseCoopers wakufanyie executive search, you have to pay them for that. After that you are set to go, you`ll be making millions as well.

Anonymous said...

In short, first things first,be fast too.

Hiza said...

@Anonymous said... 6:24pm
To leave your old job first, THEN get to starting your own business is really interesting! Although I'm not a big proponent of fear, I do tend to agree that there's nothing like fear to get us moving. It's when that fear becomes overwhelming that the incentive fails

More often than not, fear or having GUTS is only your perception and it's not real. It's only a state of mind. Overcoming fear can lead you to not only have more money; it improves virtually every aspect of your life. But how do you live a 'fearless' life? One of my favorites is to gather as much information as you can.


Hiza said...

Most of African leaders are in the office for gain, and not for service. Whether it is police bungling an investigation, or prosecutors who fail to ask the right questions to secure convictions, or bad planning that sees power outages each summer, in many instances it is Tanzania leaders in charge of the institutions that are failing our people.
It remains the task of scholars to offer solutions to Tanzania problems, as well as make a contribution to the revitalization of African continent in particular Tanzania that is united, peaceful, democratic, fully developed, and prosperous.


Maiki said...

Anonymous! I see you have a problem with the phrase "stinking thinking." Allow me to educate you - Stinking thinking is HAVING A CLOSED MIND TO NEW IDEAS.

Stinking thinking is a state of mind. Your ATTITUDE is the wind beneath your wings. Transform your attitude from negative to positive, and you will finally realize your full potential. This is where the problems lies!

Thoughts become words, words become actions, actions become habits, habits become character, character becomes destiny!

I see you really care about the opinions reflected in this blog, otherwise you would't be a frequent guest! What is it that is really nagging you? Can't we engage in some constructive debate?

Honestly, I don't wanna stay in a stinking state of mind. I am not an economist, neither am I a politician, but the politics and the economy of my country affect my well-being and the well-being of my family and I can discuss such without any portfolio, after all, politicians don't ask for my credentials when they come begging for my vote!! I have the right to hold them accountable for their actions.

Jaduong! Bring it on, this blog can be a good "kijiwe". Now if anyone wants to take things personally, that's their problem - don't be intimidated!

Proverbs 26:4
"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him".

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

For the whole time that I have visited this blog I haven`t seen any worthwhile reflection. There are lots of fallacious views and biased assumptions. There is no sufficient evidence to conclude that mindset is the primary source of problems. It is easy to make quick generalizations like that if one has obsession with mindset theories. Those theories would help people to get nowhere. I don`t see any point in them but if you like to embrace the idea that is totally not my business to worry about your ways of life and making judgement. the mind is your you can use it the way you like and follow the principles you like.
It`s not working for all and it`s not a superior point of view among many others.

Jaduong Metty said...

@Anonymous 6:24 PM
Just to let you know: I am using strong trigger words on purpose. My objective is to take all of us outside the box. So, just relax and understand the context in which these words are being used. You will definitely be ticked off if you take me out of context. My intention is to get anyone mad.

Back to your other comments: The question of attitude is somewhat universal to every race. Please review my previous posts on the issue of a black man’s curse (January 8,2007) and getting over tired excuses (January 20, 2007). If you read those, you will find a common thread between black folks in America and those in Tanzania. So I am addressing both groups.

Despite those similarities, we cannot be content simply because Africans in the Diaspora are having it bad. We have a responsibility as Tanzanians to chart our own course. Besides, the focus of this blog is to reflect on issues pertaining to Tanzanians. Simply because Kenyans, African Americans, or Sudanese might be having a heap similar problems does not preclude us from addressing our own issues.

I think the name of this blog is self-explanatory.

You challenged on frequently quoting and referring to the western world. I agree, I do that a lot. But the question is: would you rather emulate higher or emulate low? These people are high. I constantly remind people that I don’t like everything about American life. But that being said, we should take positive things we learn from them. Besides, a good idea is a good idea regardless of its origin. The problem that I see, in most cases, is when in inferiority complex or something else, my fellow Bongolanders stop paying attention to what I am communicating, but dwell on this notion: Anajidai tu kwa sababu yuko Marekani. That’s not the point. If I make sense, take my point. If I don’t, please don’t take my counsel. Respecting one’s ideas shouldn’t be based on their geographic location or social status.
Just an encouragement to you: Fear is a natural feeling. We are all afraid of the unknown. But success is about overcoming something, including fear. So as far as establishing your own CPA firm, this is what I would advise you to do: Keep your jobs, but start working on this on a part time basis, typically after hours. As you start building your client base and your earnings are about 80% of your salary from your permanent job, then quit and concentrate on the business. This will help you manage the risk of fluctuations in income from the private firm.

The initial stages of your private firm will require a lot of time dedication. If you don’t have a determination and strong work ethic, logging longer hours will probably not work for you. As your fellow CPA, I can relate. I am trying to build my own practice on the side.

Write me at if you want my thoughts on this.