The Voice of Africa



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I grew up in a rural area in the Ashanti region of Ghana, West Africa. Technology had reached most parts of the country, but I didn’t see much of it floating around in my village. To be fair, if alarm clocks were popular then, my 8-year-old mind was too lame to have noticed. Like other kids my age, I was fascinated by some of nature’s solutions to life, especially the crow of the rooster.

The crow of the rooster was the wake-up call for many families in my village. Without any training or warning of any sort, roosters would crow the loudest around the same time every dawn, as if to announce to their respective households that it was time to get up and get going. Consequently, many families woke up to the sound of the crow of the rooster. My family did, it was the secret to my punctuality to school every morning. This reminds of me of a story:

One Monday morning, a lad showed up about 30 minutes late to school. First class was math. The teacher had introduced a new topic, so it was a big deal that he showed up late that morning. The teacher was outraged because he didn’t want to repeat what he had just taught. After what seemed like 5 minutes of emotional outburst, the teacher finally asked, “why are you now showing up to class?” The boy answered with uttermost regret, “someone killed the rooster that wakes me up every morning.” I wish this boy had read something like this before the incident, he would have
avoided the troubles that followed his tardiness. That’s why I take pleasure in you reading this article. Let’s talk about protecting your rooster; the goals and dreams that get you up and going each morning, each day, each month and each year.

Students dream of graduation, entrepreneurs dream of running successful businesses, parents dream of raising scholars and responsible citizens, scientists dream of spearheading the next discovery, musicians dream of the next big hit, athletes dream of winning championships, engineers dream of leading the next invention, you dream of ……… (fill in the blank). The dream or desire by itself won’t avail anything. It is the pursuit of the dream that will bring results. But in order to pursue your dream, you have to keep it alive. You’ve got to protect your dreams from the naysayers, the dream-killers and the small-minded people in your life.

The naysayers in your life are the people who constantly criticize your ideas, dreams and desires. Their criticism is usually destructive. They are always in disagreement with your pursuits in life. There are those who may do this maliciously out of envy or jealously. But there are others who may do it because they sincerely doubt your ability to achieve something. It is usually obvious when it’s the former group, but subtle and dangerous when it comes from the latter group. Either way, their opposing energy may cripple your confidence in yourself or in your pursuit. Protect your ideas and goals from naysayers. Share your dreams with positive-minded individuals. Tell it to people who believe in you and in your dreams. Seek advice from people who will give you constructive criticism.
The dream-killers in your life are folks with low energy and those who lack enthusiasm in life. They are the people that suck the energy out of you every time you are around them. Because they don’t have much going for them, you don’t feel challenged when you are around them.


This could be a friend or group of friends who are so laid back that when you are around them you become complacent. You may end up taking refuge in your most recent accomplishment or anything that you may have going better for you than they have going for themselves. The unfortunate truth is, if you hang around them long enough, you’ll become exactly like one of them. You know what they say about birds of the same feather, they flock together. Surround yourself with high achievers and people who are like-minded and productive. Build a network of dreamers so that you will encourage each other. The small-minded people in your life are the folks who have become comfortable with the status-quo. They have just enough of everything they need to satisfy their needs in life. They don’t think past their current needs and they interpret others’ effort to enhance their quality of life as greed or something unnecessary. Usually these people have not had much exposure in life. Pursuits of anything bigger than what they have seen or heard seems unrealistic and unachievable. Unfortunately, this may be an arsenal you have built against yourself. You may be the small-minded person in your own life, and this may be hindering you from dreaming and achieving bigger goals in life.

You can’t think beyond your level of exposure. Expose yourself to great minds and works through seminars, travels, books and other media. Expose yourself to infinite possibilities through the power of your imagination. Let us conclude the session by re-visiting the original rooster story. I never
found out who killed the lad’s rooster, and I’m not bothered that I’m missing that piece of information. That’s because it wouldn’t matter who did it.


Whether it was a stranger, friend or family-member, the rooster would still be dead, and the kid would still be late to class. I’m not pointing any fingers, but you can agree with me that the boy’s neighbors, friends and family members had the easiest access to the rooster. Maybe they didn’t do it, but they didn’t protect it from the stranger who might have done it. It is your responsibility to
protect your dream.

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