This is the speech presented at the installation of Njoki Maingi as the President of the Rotary Club of Madaraka
20th July 2019
I believe that advancement is a natural human affair, if not for every living being on earth. I mean, what would we be doing on the planet if we were not making any progress? We started in the Garden of Eden and have come all the way to Silicon Valley in search of wealth, knowledge and power.
And when the birds and the bees come together the result is a suckling newborn that grows into the mad scientist who sends rockets to the moon to fulfil society’s endless search for legacy, providence and maybe God himself.
The extent of human endeavor is boundless, and we are only constrained by the limits of our imagination, and this is captured in the Tower of Babel story when God said of man “Soon he will be able to do anything that he sets out to do.” Does this mean that nothing is beyond reach, that together we can accomplish anything that we desire, and that the only reason we can’t achieve our aspirations is our penchant for thinking small?
Our thoughts control our feelings, which in turn control our actions. Actions repeated over and over create our habits, and those habits, when they become established in our routines define our behavior. And ultimately our behavior determines the outcomes in our lives. So, if you wish to create positive outcomes in your life, start with a strong foundation at the beginning of the process – and that foundation is built with the quality of your thoughts.
It reminds me of the analogy of a one-ton boulder rolling down a hill. While stationery at the top of the hill, the boulder represents your thoughts, and at that point it is relatively easy to point it in any direction. However, it will take a great amount of energy to push forward and set it into motion. You may have to use a lever and pivot to get it moving, and when it starts to roll it represents your habits, which take little effort to keep in motion, and more power to change direction.
As it accelerates down the slope, it represents your behavior which moves on its own momentum but now requires the strength of Hercules to alter its course. And by the time it hits top speed it represents the outcomes. You don’t have to lift a finger to keep it moving but trying to change its direction at this stage will kill you.
In the same vein, when taking important steps in life make sure that your mind is pointing in the right direction before you start. And it is critical that as you plan to elevate your game, that you are extremely prepared for success, so here are 3 thoughts to ponder.
In order to succeed you’ve got to bring your A-Game into the arena. That means that for every task you address you must apply yourself fully, using the intuition, intelligence, skills and abilities that have brought you to this point. You are a leader in every sphere of your life, and getting to the top took wits, hard work, faith and a little bit of luck; it wasn’t easy, and there is no challenge that is too great for you to conquer.
So why do you keep saying that you’ve got to start small? We will forgive the new Rotary clubs for saying that, but when your club is 5 or 10 years old, you can’t keep saying that you’ve got to start small. Leave the small thinking behind, grow your membership significantly so that you can jump into bigger projects that fulfil your potential, because there are many people in your community calling for your help. Bring your A-Game to the playing field, double your membership this year and ensure that every member is constantly engaged in driving lasting change.
You are leaving project money on the table; large amounts of it. The Rotary Foundation dished out $300 million in grants last year, and the largest grant in the district is $384,000. Yet, the Rotary Club of Madaraka isn’t running a single global grant project. There are huge amounts of money available to you, so why are you walking away from it as if the underprivileged communities around you don’t deserve to live better lives? To whom much is given, from him much is expected, and as a Rotarian you are the custodian of the communities that you serve, and it is thus your duty to make available the abundant opportunities to your constituency.
As an example, there are Rotary clubs in this country that are running 12 foundation grant programs simultaneously. Your club’s membership consists of Rotarians experienced in advertising, public relations and journalism, who have the ability to promote your causes around the world. You have members that attend Rotary International Conventions on a regular basis who make great connections, and you visit with the community every other weekend to understand their needs. You have all the right ingredients to change lives and have massive, sustainable impact in the society.
And finally, Kenyans needs you more than you think they do. We have high unemployment rates and a job market where 80 percent of the workers are in the informal segment which means that people are not earning what they would like to bring home in order to give quality education and sufficient healthcare to their families. There is also a low density of national hospitals and certainly not enough well-equipped medical clinics around the country, and therefore people are suffering from ailments that can easily be cured but unfortunately, they are unable to get any help. The list goes on and on, and so it is clear that our national administration needs our help, as Rotarians and most importantly as citizens, to fill the gaps that they are struggling to fill.
In the developing world this is the reality that we face, and it demands that we take up the responsibility to do something about it. When we put our minds to it, we provide clean water to villages, which keeps their children healthy and in school, instead of in the over-stretched medical facilities. We decrease the mortality rates during child birth when we supply equipment, resources and staff to maternity wards around the country. The evidence of our impact of our interventions is abound.
If you need a reason to elevate your game, you will find it in the eyes of the young men and women, who have great potential, but who are plagued by the vicious cycle of poverty and scarcity that keeps them down. Yet they have hope that someone will lend a helping hand and pull them out of their plight by offering the things that they need to live and thrive.
So elevate your game, recruit more members to support the change that you want to create, get as much project money as you can get from the Foundation and implement several programmes to benefit the underprivileged in society.
President Njoki, you have been elected to serve as the president of the Rotary Club of Madaraka which is evidence that the members have full confidence in your ability to take the game to a higher level. May God bless the vision on your mind, the love in your heart and the work of your hands, and may He bestow you, your family and your club members with good fortune, sound health and abundant love.