Life in Sudan is very monotonous; you work all day to get through to the weekend completely shattered with no energy to socialize. Sometimes, you come across obstacles during your week that absolutely annihilate your weekend! No joke. Sudan is one of these countries where things stay the same for years and years without a single change. I have been working as a presenter at Capital Radio 91.6FM since 2013, which was the same year I decided to move back to Sudan from the Middle East. I have walked around city streets and I took the bus and went everywhere. I was taken by the city and still am, but 5 years after being here I found that Sudan is on a stand-still in comparison to neighboring countries. As a community we know what changes we need around us but we would rather sit back and let someone else do the hard work. It is not surprising to find street names which exist from the times of the British colonization.
In a country that changes very slowly, sometimes you feel like you are trapped in time. Not only that, but you also feel like the odds are stacked against your improvement as you witness little progress and development in yourself and in your professional journey. In such circumstances, it is difficult to maintain a positive outlook of life, you will start becoming more negative as days pass-by and find yourself focusing on the things you haven’t achieved rather than the things that you did achieve that add positivity, skills or experiences to your life. Positivity is not something that is automatically gained in life; yet we are born positive, peaceful and neutral. However, we learn to cope with life by watching our parents and close relatives and learning from them how to react to life. Since attitude in general is a learnt process, it is important to understand that being an optimist or a pessimist is learnt.
There was a time when I thought I have come to an absolute dead-end in my life here in Sudan. I was working 24/7 to be able to provide my basic needs and I was moving nowhere. Moreover, I got to a point where I can hardly find anything that will make me truly happy as years passed by. Since I was stuck in a rut and nothing seemed to be moving anywhere, I decided to change my routine by getting into reading again. The first book that fell into my hands was a complete coincidence; it was a book that was given to me by my brother who in my eyes lived a better life in the United Arab Emirates. My brother praised the book Kiss That Frog! by Brian Tracey, I was extremely skeptical, but I thought to myself why not try these positive self-motivating books. Funny enough I was gob smacked by the end of it. I am still in the process of kissing my frogs away, but the book provided me with insights that are helping me deal with my issues and challenges. It helped me see things from a new prospective and allowed me to broaden my understanding about what is happening around me.
I came across a story in the book that made me think twice about my true existence, I have read it before but it didn’t resonate with me as much as it did the second time. The story begins by how Michelangelo made this magnificent sculpture, David. It states that there was a massive piece of marble that was brought up from the mountains to be used but no one knew what to do with it. Michelangelo passed by this piece of marble every day until one day it crossed his mind. He said that he only saw the David in it; his main job was to remove all the excess unneeded parts until he ended up with the perfect piece of sculpture that is admired by many until today.
We are just like The David; our duty in life is to learn how to be able to remove all the imperfections and negative thoughts in our minds to unleash our inner greatness. I am not a professional psychologist nor have I reached the point of self-satisfaction that would allow me to tell you about the journey. It is a learning process which needs a lot of practice and extreme consistency.
We are consumed by our own negativity; not only within ourselves but around us too. Our society is very judgmental and negative, where everyone has the right to critique each other bluntly and harshly. We have no respect for each-other’s uniqueness and strengths. We always want everything to be labeled within tight restrictions. The idea is that even within a community like ours we should be able to overcome our obstacles to reach our true capacities so we can achieve our goals. We are not put on this earth to suffer, be undermined and feel regret for everything we have done or haven’t done. We are put on this earth to be able to prosper with happiness, positivity and love. We are one of the only creatures who have the beautiful blessing of a mindful brain; a complicated machine that we control rather than it controlling us.
The beautiful thing about the book is that it symbolizes all the negative thoughts as frogs and that’s why you end up kissing that frog by forcing yourself to face your own negativity and kiss it goodbye. And that’s our job; to kiss our frogs away and be able to face our challenges and turn them into gifts that would help us grow and become the better version of ourselves filled with positivity and peace of mind.
I will take you through my journey and show you how I will try to turn all the negativity that surrounds me into positivity so as to be able to make myself and people around me more positive. This is not a manual nor is it set in stone; it is more of a learning process for us to control our thoughts a lot better to become more productive. It is not a one man’s journey; it is more of a community journey towards greater success.