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Friday, June 15, 2007

Procrastination solution, sorted with my grandmother

The answer to my progressive problem of common procrastination, a chronic lifestyle disease shared by so many of my generation, lies where I never thought. With my unsophisticated grandmother. You see, grandma, 'Bamma', as we admiringly being referring to her since we could speak, never procrastinates. She never puts what she could do today for tomorrow. Or what she could do now, for later.

'Bamma' - shangaan for mothers (yes, in plural to pile that respect) - is of a generation that toiled. A nation that got it right when it came to the work ethic, to personal triumph, to meeting those goals, to delivering, to commitment - personal loyalty. The old woman was born in 1933.

I'm not surprised that the old woman wakes up nearly at the same early-bird-catches-the-fattest-worm hour each day (unless ill-health pins her down to bed - genuinely). She often says, "I can't just sit around with my hands and do nothing. I need to do something". More like her hands are itching, that she must scratch them with some chore. Some work.

She is just like my wife's grandmother, Mmalasi, of the same generation, who died three months ago at 97 - born in 1910. She was still keeping her early bird lifestyle and work ethic. She mantained the zero-procrastination, zero-laziness attitude to her last days.

My generation. Me to be precise. I postpone on my big dream today, chronically. That defining work. I put it off for tomorrow. And like grandma always says, "tomorrow is promised no man". And in deed, that tomorrow to assault on my dreams, to put in the work ethic, the hours, the sweat, never comes. Because it is not promised me. Not in the sense that I would die today. But in the realistic sense that what I couldn't do today. What I'm postponing today, I'll just as much procrastinate tomorrow.

But it is definitely promised my grandma because she itchces everyday, every hour, to get hold of something she can work on. She will either be sewing something, grabbing that broom and sweeping up the crab in the yard and more. And it is this sweeping, as I saw my mom sweep this morning, that I thought I should do what Robin Sharma said in his international bestseller book The Greatness Guide: 'Do a clean sweep of your life'.

And that's exactly what I've started doing since I came to the village yesterday. Reflect, intro-inspect, preserve the good, burn the bad, and sweep 'em. Then attempt to duplicate the spirit of the generation of 'Bamma'.

And perhaps I'll start on writing that first novel. Write that business plan on my women's lifestyle magazine. Go on my first international trip. Buy that dictaphone to do research on my novel. Buy that business plan writing book. Wake up at 5am as I always aspired to. Go to gym as much as I desire to. Go on those runs the way I use to at Rhodes. Do that Postgrad Diploma in Marketing Management. Do that MA. Make those calls to lure my first PR clients to my company. In short, to demonstrate some commitment to my best life by doing today, what I could do today. Doing now, what I could do now.

"Judge of a man by his questions, rather than by his answers." - Voltaire


Sword Inc said...

Were you talking about me?

Israel Izz Mlambo said...

Sword, can I be of any help?

Anonymous said...

I have seen the blog. That is good Keep up the good work

Right now Bamma is with me at Erasmuskloof, she wakes up earlier than we who are going to work and cook porridge for ‘Mr. M’ (Matlhogonolo) and force him to finish half a bowl while the other bowl is waiting for him at the

Szavanna said...

Thanks for this post I really enjoyed reading it - it reminds me of my grandfather, Nagyapo.

Nagyapo was one of the most "sophisticated" grandfathers you could imagine. He was a computer poineer, a mathematician, member of science societies, winner of many awards. He was even member of the "society of rabbits" or "a nyulak" in Hungarian - which was a bunch of fun loving mathematicians - who spent their time solving complex mathematical riddles under the table - during boring staff meetings at the university of Szeged (my hometown).

I conclude the same thing - Nagyapo had a plan in his mind and carried on just like Bamma - as if someone would be instructing his every step not caring at all what the others around him were busy with. This was actually true to my grandmother as well - they were both exceptional people.

So all one needs to do is - figure out what made them carry on the way they did even in the most difficult times.

If you have the time - have a look at a post and photos about Nagyapo here : http://szavannablog.wordpress.com/2005/11/04/my-grandfather-and-the-early-computers/

Szavanna said...

Sorry...that link didn't work - may be this one : http://szavannablog.wordpress.com/2005/11/

Israel Izz Mlambo said...

Yes, we should figure out what makes this world wars generation tick. What gives them the chutzpah. What makes their hands and minds itch. I intend to. And soon I will. I must have a conversation with Bamma soon. She may be nice and cut my work in half.