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Opinions of Sunday, 9 March 2003

Columnist: Folson, Ako

"Give it all to God" vs. A Healthy Competitive Attitude

In our Ghanaian society where we “... Give everything to God”, we are almost setting up our kids and younger generations to be less competitive in a global world.

Being competitive is a basic ideal in the modern world order, and to accept ones situation as fate, almost defeats the critical analysis and thinking, which should come with each performance in life.

I use the word “performance”, as every act on the part of any individual in competitive world is a performance. Acts are aimed at an outcome, and as such when the outcome is fulfilled we feel successful. When that perceived outcome is not derived, we have failed.

To understand that every act has a dual outcome, being success or failure, allows us to measure the effect of our actions. So, if we “Give everything to God”, what is the point of critically analyzing why an act was successful or failed. How do we take responsibility for our actions and results, and how do we duplicate or modify our actions based on past outcomes?

The “Give all to God.” syndrome has very serious implications to our society, and it must be noted that following up on things does not inspire vindictiveness, vengeance or the negative.

The “Give all to God “ syndrome also makes us quite passive, which is not an asset in this modern day world, where one’s position, or ideas carry weight based on their conviction, and quality of presentation, and most importantly the outcome of actions.

Our kids must be taught to understand that for every action there is an outcome, and that chance has a small hand in things, but the greater part of the outcome of our actions is within our control. This will allow our kids to think and see beyond just the obvious, when making decisions or taking actions. It will make them more analytical and challenge them to overcome hurdles that they will face in their daily lives.

Why “Give it to God”? Rather, ask God, in addition to your capabilities, preparation, and will, to help you achieve a target, that one has identified to be the desired outcome of a specific action.

The overall implication of this “ Give it to God” attitude is sometimes worrisome, when one sees young people, already feeling defeated before embarking on tasks. It comes through in the level of personal effort given to actions taken. If people felt and believed that they control their destiny, in a sense, they would be more involved in things that affect them personally, and be more detailed in their approach. I think the competitive mood in the country would change very much. Competition is good and healthy if managed under clear guiding principles, so let’s start working on getting our kids to be competitive. It is not enough to try, it is best to try, and win, and be the best at all you do. It also must be associated with accountability, where one understands the circumstances that led to an undesirable outcome.

It is only with attitudes of this nature, that we can develop our leaders of tomorrow, who will understand that all actions in their life can be subject to some measure in terms of success and failure. It is up to an individual to take ownership of outcomes,resulting from their actions, but most importantly, understand the contributing factors that lead to the desired or undesired outcome. Sports is one way to do so but there are many more ways we can embody this spririt in our youth.

If adopted, it is a sign of leadership and a sign of maturity, which needs to become part of our guiding principles as a nation, and especially our youth.

Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of Ghanaweb.

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