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Still Chasing you tail in 2013?

January 22, 2013

When I was growing up, I used to say I’d be a veterinary doctor, simple because I loved animals so much that seeing them in pain would make me shed tears. As I grew up into adulthood I realized that there is a difference between doing something because you like it and doing something because you have a passion for it. I discovered I really did not have a passion for the practice, though I was passionate about the animals. In the end, though I never became a veterinary doctor, my love for animals is still intact.

In fact, to prove that I still love animals, about five years ago, I adopted one Jack Russell called Pancho from an American lady who was then running a safe haven for lost, sick or disowned animals here in Dar. Pancho was a beneficiary of this woman’s kindness and that is why today we have him, otherwise if she had no saved him he would have died where he was. He was rescued from a family who was mistreating him and I recall when I went to pick him up, he was as tiny as a standard-sized cat. Today he is one big and spoilt furry member of the family, thanks to the love given to him at home by everyone… well, almost everyone. If you read my article featured in this same newspaper on the 6th of January, I referenced him then and I am about to refer to him again now.

Some time last week he was having a cough; I think he was rained on or something. The cough was not that bad but I still felt pity for him. You see, this is not a person that you can give him a cough syrup, neither can you do a concoction of herbs for him to drink because he definitely will not. So all I could do is watch him cough and pat his head every time he coughed in my presence. I admit for a while there I wished I had become a vet so that I could help him out. Thankfully, I can now say he is well.

So well that on Thursday evening when I got home he was chasing his tail on seeing me, something I have not seen him do in a very long time. He used to do that when he was tinier but when he discovered he had “matured” he stopped behaving puppyish (since he is a dog I can’t say childish).  I really don’t know what had happened to him on that day because besides chasing his tail, he was also running and barking at the car, something other dogs do but I have never seen him doing it. Had I administered any medication on him, I would have concluded that it had affected his brain. All the same I am glad he behaved the way he did because it was this unusual behavior that prompted this article.

As I watched him chasing his tail and a few minutes later running and barking at the spinning wheels of the car, my one question was this: what will he do should he manage to get his tail, or the wheels of the car? Would he get into the car and drive, or would he ride the tires like most boys in Africa do? Thinking about it now as I write this post sparks laughter in me. Anyway, the point I want to drive home is that even though canines may chase moving things such as balls and vehicles, they simply do this because they can, and not because they have any particular interest or purpose in those things. 

Unfortunately, there are people like this: people who wake up in the morning and go about the day without any particular goal or focus; People who go about life on a daily basis without any particular mission or vision in life. They have no particular purpose in life. It is sad that this has to happen because like I once said, I am a strong believer that every person who is alive today has a particular purpose to achieve in life, but unless you take the time to find out what your purpose in life is, then you are no different from the canines that was run after moving objects.

I guess Mark Twain had it all figured out when he said  "The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why." In other words, no human beingshould go through life without a purpose or a plan. For instance, do you haveS.M.A.R.T goals for this year? Goals that are specific, can be measured, can beattained, that are realistic and bound within a certain time-frame, assumingall relevant factors like your health remain constant? If not, then I guess youare “chasing your tail” too.

What you do not know is that your not fulfilling the purpose you were created for could mean that someone else is suffering because of you. No man or woman is an island. To exist just for you is meaningless. For instance, maybe you were meant to setup a certain manufacturing plant in the region that would offer employment opportunities to thousands of people but you are still chasing your tail. In the meantime as you do the chasing, there are thousands of people who are tarmacking within the corporate streets without jobs because you have denied them that opportunity. Are you really being fair to them, or to yourself for that matter? Besides, is doing nothing what God put you here on earth to do? 

To borrow some words from the famous author of the book “The Purpose Driven Life”, Rick Warren,  “If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what’s the point?” Thisis exactly what my dog was doing; being very active running after things he hasno use for.

As we start a new week my message is one: find the purpose for your life today and start working towards fulfilling it. I can guarantee you that you will achieve the most satisfaction when you feel related to some greater purpose in life, something far greater than yourself.

I conclude with the words of Thomas A. Edison who said this:

Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing. 

Wishing you all a purpose driven week.

 

PS: Article published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 20th of January, 2013, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words"

 

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