Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lessons from the drum

The drum is one of the world's oldest instruments in the world and yet still found in many places, although sometimes in modernized form, even though the basic design has remained virtually unchanged for thousands of years. Drums may be played individually, with a single drum, or in a group with various drum sizes and sounds coming out in harmony. I had the privilege of attending an event where a drumming group called Drum Cafe led the opening of the session with some versatile drumming skills. I have been in this drumming session twice before but I still enjoyed this event as if it was the first time. The way they facilitate the whole experience and the way they use the drum to show how it can bring together people to achieve one goal and make a unified sound is intriguing. We were all given the Djembe drum and we would take instructions and play in a way that would make us one. With more than a hundred people in the room, a disjointed effort would be chaotic with no result achieved, but with Drum cafe in the lead, this was an experience which would be both unifying, refreshing and memorable. The drum is a very simple instrument which only requires one's two hands to beat in varying styles to make a sound to which people can dance. When there is one drum, it is easy for the drummer to play whichever way and possibly create musical art, however when there are more than a hundred people, there has to be some format to drumming or else it ends up being messy and noisy. And so we were led into making some beautiful rhythmic sounds where we ended up nodding our heads, smiling and even laughing with feet stamping and hips swaying as well. This is much the same as with anything in life. When one sets -out to achieve something on their own, they are almost certain to achieve whatever they want to as long as they are aware of it themselves, but when that same effort is a group effort then there has to be leadership and vision to achieve a desired result. Someone has to call the shots and say what happens now and next and how it happens. This gets things going in a way that achieves results. What part are you playing in the drumming session of life? Lead the greatest harmony of drumbeat or follow as the best team drummer and enjoy the results. Now beat your drum!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Half man half awesome

As I watched and listened to the tribute Top Billing television show last week in honour of now late presenter  Simba Mhere, I realised how people do not value all the things that many pursue in life. This death touches my heart as Simba was my home boy and his name means strength which he clearly had and not just in a physical way, while his surname, ironically now that he is dead, means a loud scream or cry. The many actors, musician DJs and celebrities interviewed and with whom he had contact with spoke about the same things about Simba. He was genuine, real, loving, caring, selfless, energetic, full of life, passionate, a real gentleman and he gave hugs most ladies reminisced of in their remembrance. One thing is clear, that none of these things relate to wealth or fame. It all relates to him as a human being who was reaching out to other human beings in a very real way. I did not follow the show much, but listening to everyone speaking these things about Simba brought to the fore a new perspective on life. Simba lived a full life only to die at 26 and leave a legacy of being consistent in being genuine about other people on and off TV. We live in a world where people act out to lead and succeed in life. Whatever people can do to get on top, they will do at all costs without worry about the other person. In many competitions and contests one cannot help but notice how cutthroat the fighting is for the honors, even in business, only to realise at the end that life matters more than these things. Simba had tributes from fellow contestants whom he beat to get this TV Presenter job he was doing until his death. It is rare for your competitor to speak kindly of you when you have lost to them, however they spoke about him with love and respect, as someone who had kept them close as friends after he was appointed to the job, even supporting them to move forward and still succeed in other areas of life. Let us cultivate these priceless humane things in life that are getting endangered. As we "compete" in this cold uncaring world, may we retain some of these attributes that humanity so craves. A genuine smile, laugh, question of care for someone, hug and being genuine whether with a crowd or with one person. May Simba Mhere rest in eternal peace and may we learn something from the way he lived his life.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

That small pushback tug

I have always been amazed at airports when I see a large aircraft being pulled back by a small little vehicle which is a fraction of the size of the plane. Many aircraft are capable of moving themselves backwards on the ground using reverse thrust (a procedure referred to as a powerback), but the resulting jet blast or prop wash may cause damage to terminal buildings or equipment. Aircraft engines when operated close to the ground may also blow sand and debris forward and then suck it into the engine and damage the engine. A pushback is therefore the preferred method to move the aircraft away from the gate or terminal building and this is done using a pushback tractor or tug. Pushback tractors have a low profile design that allows them to fit under the aircraft nose and they are heavy for traction weighing up to 54 tonnes (119,000 pounds) for large aircraft tractors. Often, the  driver's cabin can be raised for increased visibility when reversing, and lowered to fit under aircraft. A pushback tractor seems so small and powerless compared to the aircraft it pulls but it does so with ease because it has been carefully crafted to do this job well. It has the right design, weight and torque required to perform this function. Bringing this analogy into life, we all at some point need someone or something that may seem smaller than us or incapable to help us, but they do exactly that. The aircraft never boasts of its massive Rolls Royce engines which can lift it up to fly to distant places at great at great altitudes. At the time when its pulled by the little tug, it has to keep those engines quiet and submit to the small pull on the ground. It is not always that we need to be the "knight in shining amour" and save the world with our own power, strength, talent and ability. Sometimes we just need to let others shine in their own moment while yield, humble ourselves and submit to others and wait for our time to come. Those seemingly small may just be the ones that can do the required work in us at that time to get us going to greater heights and distant places. The tractor will never reach the heights that the aircraft can, but its job is done when it gets the aircraft out and ready to take off. There are those who can make you look good even though they themselves may never get the credit for it. Will you submit yourself to a small tug today and let it put you in the right space to enable you to take off?