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The road to success: A guide for the young and the poor

By: Nehemie

I consider myself successful. Thank goodness, I can see and feel this at age 26. I had great training at school and paved the right path for myself when I was a student. That allowed me to get my first job right after graduation. Then I launched Greenny. I figured out my passions and ambitions that I’m already pursuing. I am healthy, alive and strong. I have traveled, lead, and learnt a lot, more than I could imagine. I have a loving society around me, and a vision that I’m proud of. Although all this was never on my mind 6 years ago, I am thankful for what I have achieved and thankful to all who contributed to this success.

I, however, recognize that not everyone in the world has set their foot on the road to their success. It was the same for me once. But it’s not anyone’s fault as most of the successful people say. When you’re poor, you’re just poor. You are trapped and can’t move until someone (or something) sets you free and gives you hope and confidence.  You can’t afford what you want when your purchasing power is low. You can’t raise a voice and claim your rights when you feel small. You can’t decide when choices are not yours to make. If everyone told an honest story of their life, we would either be inspired or traumatized. I hope I’ll inspire you!

Life is tough but manageable

As we all know, life is not fun at all times. We lose and gain, gain and lose. There is no single good thing that comes easy. However, this doesn’t mean that the happiest are those with good things. For you to be successful and happy, you have to work hard, invest money and time, and sacrifice some of your fun moments.  But because all who have been successful don’t want to frighten us, you’ll most likely hear them say that succeeding is simple. Ultimately, you might think it is simple as an open gate that you can enter freely today or the next day. Well, it’s not. Even when it’s planned for, success is tiresome. It’s exhaustive. It’s consuming. But it works after all because our mind has the power over all the challenges we face along our life journeys.

By working hard on smart solutions for the past decade, our planet has already become better and keeps getting better as we do more positive actions, mainly in development and tech sectors. More people like myself have jobs. They are blogging for free as I’m doing it right now.  We are enjoying some of the things that the previous generation didn’t have, such as the internet. We no longer need to move long distances looking for services because transport and delivery systems have been dramatically improved. Diseases have more cures. More problems are being solved for. Above all, we are free from slavery of any kind. However, for you to see that and celebrate it, you need to have an understanding of how the past and present shape the future. You need to have a high definition magnifier that views the world as a perfect place to live at. You need to reflect, remember where you came from and envision where you are going.

A bit about my story 

I started to read and write since I was in the 7th grade without knowing how that would be useful in future. I knew I loved geography, biology, and linguistics but didn’t really have an explanation as to why. But when I entered the 9th grade in 2009, I started reaping the fruits that I had sown. My parents, from a rural place in the South part of Rwanda, did not go to college as I did but were clever enough to push me to college in 2012. Throughout my college experience in the North, I jumped into small volunteering roles that turned into leadership positions in a short time. I led the English club and taught English, the same English I was learning from books 5 years earlier, to my colleagues. By teaching them, I learnt a whole lot more. I championed in 4 major competitions and proved my worth while still a student and earned some cash. By then, I didn’t know what those small actions could turn into after graduation.

On July 29, 2016, I didn’t have an honor to dress in a graduation gown. I gave it to my friend who couldn’t afford it and went for an interview for my first job. 6 pm in the evening, I was announced an intern of Frontiers Rwanda. What a great graduation day! For the next 6 months, I had a privilege to learn and earn more. As my internship role was about finding internships for high school students, I deepened my job search skills that ultimately picked me up from Rwanda and threw me to an Island int he Indian ocean. 3 months later, I came back to Rwanda with a package to create the next generation of African leaders at ALU. And now, I’m writing this post with a thrilled commitment to inspire those who are in the 7th grade as I was back in 2007. I’m preaching about sustainability, the world’s challenge and  that we have to tackle or die. I’m talking to you about the future; the future I was dreaming of when I was young.

You see how your life’s dots connect and how things actually get better, not worse? I hope you’re being inspired already! But if you’re not, let’s try something below.

Good for you, Nehemie! So how can I be successful? 

I know exactly how bad we all want to be successful and sustainable. None of us wants to remain below the poverty line or on the first row of the development ladder. We want to keep moving forward and lift our friends who are left behind. But we don’t have means to do that. We don’t have enough skills, money, or networks. It’s challenging. It’s tough.

But how did other people make it? I remember when I didn’t have a laptop, writing all my essays in a notebook. Editing was hard and a mess especially when I wanted to erase some words. My motivation was low. I could easily be distracted if someone interrupted me because I couldn’t feel myself doing something great in a great way. Sometimes, I thought I was just playing around. When you’re still down there, your hope and confidence are so low that anyone/anything can overtake your courage and mess up your destiny.

But time comes and humans are clever. You are clever. Successful people don’t have a different kind of brain or DNA that you don’t possess. They just use their brain at a higher lever, something you could also do. They have resources around them, something you can also search for and find. We all were blessed with the power and the resources  that are on earth. The use of both of those is what differentiate us. In other words, you can can be successful if you put your mind to it using what you already possess. Speaking of possession, I have found the following lessons truly  enlightening:

I loved and respected people and the environment from the beginning because I enjoyed exploring the beauty of all creatures and their geographies. I was curious to know how they operate and how they interact with each other. It is that curiosity that grew into Greenny and who I am today. You are curious about something too. Put your weaknesses and poverty behind and follow your curiosity today. You’ll end up in your paradise and you’ll celebrate your success with me there. Welcome to the new world! Welcome to success!