Monday, October 11, 2010


What is working and how can we do more of it? What are young Nigerians doing that is making them outstanding and high achievers despite the limitations in our society? That’s the bright-spot philosophy inspired by Chip and Dan Heath (Yeah, I’m so into the Heath brothers’ book- SWITCH).

Millions of youths in Nigeria can’t wait for the next election, when they will be given an opportunity to vote for a new government leader that will fix all the hopeless problems in our country and make policy reforms that are people-centered. But, as noted in Fast Company, “A problem may look hopelessly complex. But there's a game plan that can yield movement on even the toughest issues. And it starts with locating a bright spot -- a ray of hope.” It went on to illustrate this by listing some people who found their bright spot and rose to the top-- Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young couldn't handle stardom, then he spent a year watching and learning how veteran QB Kerry Collins did his job; Alan Mulally was CEO material but scored the top job at Ford only after identifying two key improvement areas with the help of an executive coach; Actress Angelina Jolie triggered her transformation from wild child to humanitarian by moving out of Los Angeles and its culture of bad influences.

In journalism class, we are taught that when a dog bites a man, it is not news. But when a man bites a dog, it should make the headline-- or at least frontpage. In the same tone, it seems people who nag about the many challenges in our society are no longer making news because, being problem-focused is driving us backward. We all need to switch position, become solution-focused and start sharing stories of how people are overcoming everyday challenges to become the best they can be. For example, our story should not be “We failed woefully because of lack of electricity to read for exams” but “We thrived and succeeded despite all the poor infrastructures and limitations.”

There are many bright spots in Nigeria. We just need to recognize them, understand them and learn from them. Feel free to send us stories of any young person you know in your community who has chosen to rise above the limiting circumstances around him/her. It will be interesting to share their story in order to inspire our generation to arise and emulate the winning and solution-focused attitude of these people. Send email to Find your bright spot, arise from the depression and prostration in which circumstances in Nigeria have kept you, and blaze the trail for others coming after you.

***Feedback:"Find your bright spot" in DIS GENERATION is incisive. May God keep refilling your pen-Egharevba Henry

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