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maje kodunmi oh
I cannot remember the last time the meaning of a name sent shivers down my spine, it was such a big deal I decided to name this Pillow in honour of the name. There’s a popular Yoruba name that has gone out of vogue, you’d mostly only see old people bearing that name. Side note, I like how the popular and dominant names of a generation can tell you what that generation experienced. Yoruba names from the mid-20th century always sound so weighty and fearful of pain and death and that explains the name “Majekodunmi”. The name loosely translates as “do not let me grieve it (or be of pain)”. Wow, imagine the trepidations of a parent having to name their child that, must tell you that they have gone through too many periods of pain and just need a break. Sometimes, life can lead to you to a majekodunmi moment.
Nigeria is definitely going through a majekodunmi moment. My country just cannot catch a break. A huge portion of its population have just gone through eight years of their life and cannot seem to see any semblance of growth. The zest and vigour of their youth has been replaced with the trepidation of tomorrow because there’s just no safety net for them. Well, we must remember that the generation that named their babies “majekodunmi” did eventually give way to the generation that named their babies “ayomide” (my joy has come). Good things will always come to those who believe and most importantly wait.
Representation is so important in life. I don’t think we’d see a Coco Gauff or Naomi Osaka if there was no Serena and Venus Williams. It’s not just about the success you achieve but it is the story you tell. Coco just became a US Open winner at 19, the youngest to win since…Serena. It’s no secret how much influence the Williams sisters had on many young black girls who play tennis today. This is what we call influence. Like someone else said; sometimes when you win, you do it for a generation
Succession planning is such a big deal and being able to ensure that the things you build outlive you is so important. This week, I started reading Jack Welch’s book “Jack” all over again. I particularly like the chapter where he talks about choosing Jeff Immelt to take over from him and how he flew him and his family over to his to break the news. You see, Jack is one of the best business leaders of modern times, up there with Herb Kelleher and Lee Iacocca in my books. But the biggest problem these men faced was finding the right people to take over from there. It’s something I am not sure most people have cracked, it’s why Buffet and Munger stay on till their 90s. Well, read this article about the drama at Disney between Bob Iger and Bob Chapek and the succession planning that went awry at Disney.
Robert Oppenheimer was just a Product Manager. One of the most important things in life is to be rewarded and recognized for the hard work you put in but this is not the way the world works. Matter of fact, the world is structured to recognize people who don’t put in most of the gruelling work and only to elevate people who can a story or sell. It is why finance guys always win, the man who can tell the story dictates the tune. Oppenheimer is called the father of the atomic bomb but he was hardly the brain behind the bomb. People like Enrico Fermi were more influential but Oppenheimer looked the part. My thoughts are that Oppenheimer was a very smart man but he did not limit himself to just physics, he knew how to galvanize a team, how to look the part and tell the story. That is how to win in life.
I have been spending some time this week reading about the origin story of some of the songs that serenade our lives. And I have since realized that creative success is mostly about being in the right place at the right time - kun faya kun. Kun faya kun is an Arabic term that translates; to be and it is. The idea is that God only just needs something to be and it will be. I think the same is true for creative force, A lot of it is not about the hard work artists put in, it is mostly about the forces all aligning at the right time to give you stardom. I’ve seen so many artists who had better songs than the one that took them to stardom. The key is to just keep creating and hope that your creations maje kodunmi.
Great leaders strive not to be seen but to be heard. It’s another lesson I have been learning from reading about great leaders. Something to leave you with for the new week.
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