Do you want control or do you want results?
This question I first heard it from Erich Viedge when he was relating a story of his life in Toastmasters.
I remember when my Aunt’s eldest son stayed with me in Johannesburg CBD. I remember the first day when he arrived setting the ground rules. “Carl, Johannesburg is not safe, do not be in the streets at night.” And what did he do on that first night? He walked the streets of Johannesburg at night. Our relationship then became that of me always reminding him that he should never think that Johannesburg is Vryburg and that he is gambling with his life.
I was genuinely worried about his safety and my concern was informed by love.
Each day after work, I will find dirty dishes patiently waiting for me to wash them and Carl nowhere to be found.
Few months later, he left Johannesburg after finding a job in Rustenburg. His younger brother, Slay moved to Johannesburg and I accommodated him.
Slay was a totally different character from his brother. Each day I would find him resting on the bed, the flat neat and no single dirty dish. I was impressed with him at first sight, he was not risking his life by walking the streets of Johannesburg at all. Well, not really. I started thinking about how much he is missing out there by keeping himself locked in the flat the entire day. I remember saying to him, “Slay, you will not survive in Johannesburg by spending the whole day indoors. You need to go out there, meet people and craft opportunities for yourself.”
Just like his brother, he did not listen. Each day, I found the flat clean and orderly, and him resting on the bed, though I did not see it as resting. It then became my national anthem when I got home, “Slay, you will not survive in Johannesburg by spending the whole day indoors. You need to go out there, meet people and craft opportunities for yourself.”
You would think he would listen. Never!
He eventually went back home, in Vryburg. It was during that time when I had no one to shout at and show off my strength, that I realized that I did not know what I really wanted in life. I only realized then that I had serious issues with two people that were extreme opposites and my advice to them was for them to exchange their personalities.
All I wanted was to have my way. I wanted control. I was a power monger. And for that reason I lost infinitely many opportunities to have a meaningful relationship with my brothers, my blood. I was driven by the desire to be the “leader”.
Gaoretelelwe Malebalwa DTM