Resilience, Lifelong Learning, and the Power of Visualization: Lessons From Global Leadership Forum 2021

“You are too ambitious”. Has anyone ever told you that? This is a phrase heard by far too many children from adults that are meant to inspire them. Adults that failed at achieving their own ambitions and now project their dream-crushing pessimism on the next generation, thinking big goals and grand plans are but a figment of naïve imagination. Needless to say, this attitude towards the still-growing minds of the youth is a force of destruction, with casualties the likes of future innovations and inventions that will never come into existence, simply because a child believed that they were “too ambitious”.

When it comes to success, all that matters is the limits of your imagination, and as the famed computer scientist Alan Turing once said, “those who can imagine anything, can create the impossible.” The Global Leadership Forum 2021 has shown me the truth in this statement and taught me that success is a grand oak door, and your mindset is the only key that can unlock it. Your mindset includes attitude and your philosophy about life. Each session of the forum I attended has grown, enhanced, and matured my attitude towards opportunities, especially towards the understanding that they must be sought after in every corner of life if one is to be successful.

The most important trait I’ve learned is resilience. The ability to bounce back from a negative experience is an astronomically important trait to have in the pursuit of success, and it is a value that’s importance is underappreciated. Life is not a straight line. The expectation to have a succession of ups and achievements is a fictional delusion at best. In reality, life is a mangled cocktail of ups and downs, often more downs than we would like, and it’s only with resilience that you can plough through the dips and bounce back higher than ever before. Having grown up in Africa’s ninth poorest country, I’ve witnessed firsthand how unfair life can be to some people, and how this results in tossing their goals out the window. Listening to the speakers of this forum has granted me the motivation to continue believing in my goals and dreams. Witnessing the successful speaker’s firsthand has sparked a raging fire within me, and achieving my ambitions is the only way to fuel it.

The next understanding I’ve drawn from the forums is lifelong learning, as it is an essential feature for a leader to be ever-evolving, and keep up with the rapidly changing world. As change occurs at an exponential rate, the only way to keep up is to learn new skills whenever the opportunity, and develop an open mind, hungry for advice and experience.

The final lesson I’ve learned from the GFL speakers is the power of visualization. This was immaculately embodied by the closing speaker, with the word “yet”, a tiny word with gargantuan signification. This word is used to imply that, though it had not been done now, it will be done in the future. It’s a promise, a contract of sorts, to the future self, that the task will be done, however long it takes. With it comes the confidence that you will achieve whatever you’ve set out to achieve. While adding this word to a sentence shows that you have not yet managed today, it also implies that you will never stop trying, and of course, each try will be easier than the last.

These lessons were useful to me because they’ve equipped me with the tools of mindset needed to achieve a dream as ambitious as my own, which is to develop the African continent and help drive the poorest countries out of poverty, starting from my home. Bringing change requires a lot of effort and a mindset for strong decision-making, without room for giving up. This is the reason why I chose to share these lessons with you, and if you have a dream as ambitious as mine, remember these three concepts when you are struggling. It’s not that you are not successful, it’s that you are not successful “yet”.

Arish Madataly (BI Computer Science, Int’l Student, Madagascar)

Arish Madataly (BI Computer Science, Int’l Student, Madagascar)

BI, Computer Science, Int’l Student, Madagascar