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Opinions of Wednesday, 1 April 2020

Columnist: Terry Mante

Following instructions

Terry Mante, author Terry Mante, author

Avoid public gatherings, maintain social distance, wash your hands with soap under running water, use alcohol-based sanitizers and cover your mouth and nose with bent elbow when sneezing or coughing.

Those are instructions we have received from public health experts since the onslaught of the novel covid-19 virus globally. They tell us, “If you stick to these recommendations, you will be fine.”

In other words, anybody who fails to abide by these simple hygiene protocols stands the risk of getting infected or infecting others with the virus.

For me this gives a signal about the power of instruction. If we want to succeed in any area of life, we must know and comply with instructions. Instructions contain the knowledge, methods and practices that we must embrace to take us to the destination we desire.

Link up with a credible source

When the blind lead the blind, they fall into a ditch. Many people authoritatively proffer ideas on subject matters they have no business commenting about. Many times, because of the confidence with which they churn out their chaff, they are able to catch the attention of people. Obviously, following instructions of people like that will only lead to disaster.

Before you follow a path, make sure you verify the authenticity of the path maker. Following instructions is good but not every instruction is good for you. Follow instruction but only when it’s from the right source.

Look before you leap

To err is human. Even the most intelligent people make mistakes. The fact that a source is credible does not mean everything they churn out is accurate. No human person or institution gets it right all the time. Therefore, constantly following ideas that emanate from a person or organization you consider credible could be dangerous. Endeavor to subject the information you follow to checks and balances. Always cross check before you wholly accept, even if it is from a source you deem trustworthy.

No matter how good your pastor is, they are human and may get it wrong. Doctors make mistakes all the time. What about journalists? Teachers? Parents? Even consultants? Everybody. So check, cross-check and re-check.

How do we cross-check? At least think about it critically. Also, you may check from another authoritative source. Sometimes, the best way to cross-check an idea is to allow some time to pass. Time may reveal the veracity of an idea. Always find a way to investigate before you implement.

Launch out

The person who knows something and does not apply it is not different from the one who does not know it at all. When you know and verify that a particular approach works well in your field, make the effort to act accordingly. The only way a good instruction can work to your advantage is to apply it.

There is a formidable instruction for every area and endeavor of life. If we diligently seek out these instructions and apply ourselves to them relentlessly, our propensity to succeed will be high.