Learn or burn!

Sat, 21 May 2016 Source: Kobina Ansah

LEARN OR BURN! When I read earlier last week in the dailies how telco giant, MTN, was doing all it could for calls placed through social media apps to be scrapped, I laughed. It seemed to be the second biggest joke of the week. The biggest was when UK President referred to Nigeria as being “fantastically corrupt.” After all, we know where the ‘fantastically corrupted loots’ are sent to. Yeah right!?

Guess why MTN’s rant is/was a joke. It’s like the church calling for a ban on ‘trotro’ evangelism because their tithes/offertories were reducing. Those ‘trotro’ evangelists are really deft at taking offertory, trust me.

MTN’s joke (I mean rant) is like National Lotteries Authority (NLA) calling for the head of Supabet and other betting agencies because their clients patronize the services of such competitors instead of theirs. It’s like Ghana Post (are they even still at post?) calling for a ban on all emails and text messages. Yes. That’s very much how absurd it looks like!

Is life a competition? Maybe it is. Maybe it is not. Like it or not, we may gloss over the existence of competition but that doesn’t rule out its existence. Don’t get too comfortable with your status quo. There’s no time to waste in any zone of comfort.

When the lion wakes up, in order to see the next morning, it has no choice than to run faster than its prey. When its prey wakes up, in order to see the next morning, too, it has no choice than to run faster than the lion! Run or be run over! You get comfortable at your own peril.

In this life, you better move with the pace of development (technology) else you will be run over. Utterly! You had better thought about how to run your business/dreams with technology lest technology runs over you. Innovate… or die. Learn… or burn!

Reminds me of the early 2000s when the MP3 age was crawling into our music scene. American recording companies, through their trade group, fought so hard against the new wave of downloading digital music online because their CDs were almost remaining only as monuments- no one was buying them!

Guess what. Instead of riding on the back of this innovation and brainstorming on how to take advantage of it, they spent millions suing online companies that had sprung up to sell these digital forms of music. They kept fighting (their own former clients) until they realized they had to concede to this innovation, thus, eventually relinquishing to Apples’ iTunes many years later. Truth is, you can’t fight innovation and win!

Tell you what, we are inching closer to a world where technology would almost replace the ‘comfortable’ man… unbelievable as it may seem. Beat technology lest it beats you!

Back in 2006 when NLA introduced automated machines to facilitate their services, most of their workers complained. Though training sessions were put in place to make such enhance their IT skills, others were just not ready to learn. A few years later when the old, manual system phased out, such ‘comfortable’ workers phased out, too! Comfort zone is death zone.

Comfort zone has no comfort. Comfort zone is danger zone! Comfort zone is a dead end. It leads to nowhere.

I learn a lot when I observe the tech world. It is almost always on top of its game. Techies always need (not want) to beat their last success. It is a need. That is what keeps their industry alive.

Microsoft is always upgrading itself. Apple, too. Facebook is always thinking on its feet. There’s no such thing as comfort zone in the tech world. Same with the automobile industry. They keep awing us with new cars with even better features. Your presumably latest gadgets/cars take only months to be the oldest. There’s constant innovation. Nothing ever like comfort zone.

There’s no comfort zone in life either. Our greatest threat is the comfort of a zone. The more comfortable you seem, the more extinct you may become. Enhance your skills. Innovation is a need. Upgrade your life lest you become ‘pasco’ before you know!

What skill do you have? What do you have in your hands? What have you been doing same for the past decade or two?

Ponder. Do you think you have ‘reached’ because of a few applauses? Do you consider yourself to have ‘arrived’ because of a few cheers? Are you comfortable with a few awards?

Comfort zone is death zone. Comfort zone has literally killed most of our national assets which used to be the talk of town back then. State Transport Company (STC) on my mind.

Whatever you are good at, until you become the best of it, you don’t stop learning. Mind you, you will never be anywhere near best. So… you keep learning and re-learning! We live to learn. Keep at your skills. Keep honing them. Keep polishing your skills… and not skin. A polished skill will always attract more people than a polished skin.

Keep thinking outside the window. Keep developing yourself. Keep outcompeting yourself until you are no more. Your recent success shouldn’t be your last. Keep staying at the top. Create. Recreate. Learn. Relearn. Find creative, innovative ways of doing what you love to do. There’s more inside you than you can ever imagine. Challenge yourself to think wide!

Before you think of comfortability, think about the ‘money-ain’t-problem’ MTN crying over dwindling profits. Run out of your comfort zone lest you be run over. Don’t let the praises get into your head yet. Improve on your craft. Perfect it. Learn lest you burn! The writer is a playwright and the Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications, a writing company in Accra. (www.scribecommltd.com)

Columnist: Kobina Ansah