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"The Nation Within You" - Modesta Lilian Mahiga

"Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number
of apples in a seed."” – Robert H. Schuller.

The Danger of Potential

One of the most disappointing things to experience is to watch how someone
gets smug and content to hear that they have “potential”. “Potential” my
friends, is deceiving; it can lull you into a slumber even as you walk in
wakefulness. “Potential” lures you into a false sense of confidence and
security as you say to yourself “ I’ve got it in me, it’s just waiting for
the right time to come before I use it.” Newsflash: settling for the fact
that there is latent “potential” in you is the most dangerous and
debilitating disease you could suffer from.

“Potential” is described in the Oxford dictionary as “having or showing
the capacity to develop into something in the future”, “latent [(of a
quality or state) existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden or
concealed – lying dormant or hidden until circumstances are suitable for
development or manifestation] qualities or abilities that may be developed
and lead to future success or usefulness”; “the possibility of something
happening or of someone doing something in the future.”

Potential says you have greatness in you and there is a possibility that
someday, somehow, you could become those things, maybe, there is a
possibility. Potential cripples you and makes you complacent because
potential tells you to wait for tomorrow and we all know that tomorrow
never comes.

They say that a graveyard is the wealthiest place in the world. This is
not because people are buried with great treasures in their caskets but
because people are the treasure buried in graves.

Because we continue to wait for our “potential” to be realised tomorrow,
many people die with “potential” to have changed their circumstances and
the very environment they lived. Because they did not pursue their
potential to its end, in the end it died with them forever remaining
“potential” unrealised.

So many unwritten books, untold stories, uninvented creations, unrealised
dreams, unsung heroes, go to the grave with a wealth of talent and
solutions to their and the world’s challenges. Solutions that the world
will never enjoy the benefit of because the one person they could have
come from settled for having the “potential” to make a difference instead
of unleashing what was only “potential” to what is “kinetic” energy –
“energy which a body possesses by virtue of being in motion”.

Potential in Motion

The difference between potential and kinetic energy is that whilst the
former is harnessed in a reservoir and could do great things once
released, until then it remains untapped, dormant, useless; the latter
however, is energy that is conquering fear, moving, doing, daring, now.
Kinetic energy is energy created because of movement, not lying dormant in
potential. Kinetic energy moves, flows in the present, continuously; being
used now, energy generated and applied now to build, strengthen, add

The upside of having potential however, is the fact that you have
something (as opposed to having nothing and we know that God gave every
single person something to start with); to have potential means there is
greatness in you that is dying to be unleashed, to be released, to be made
known to the world, to bring change, to make a difference.

Tanzanian Youth unlock Tanzania'’s Potential

Tanzania is like a 50-year old person with “potential”. Imagine living to
50 and people around you still speak of you as having “potential”. 50 and
you haven’t lived out your best life, when do you think you’ll start, at

Tanzania is the second most naturally endowed country in the world, has
the highest free-standing mountain in the world, has the largest fresh
water lake in the world, has the second largest lake in the world, the
second deepest lake in the world, the largest Game Reserve in the world,
national parks with the highest number and diversity of the Big Five
animals in the world, the second highest waterfall in Africa, the second
largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Africa, rich minerals and
gemstones, including Tanzanite which is only found in Tanzania, peace,
unity, a common language, large population, access to 20% of the world’s
water and the list goes on and on.

Like seeds in an apple, Tanzania’s known features give it great hidden
potential. How many apples will come out of the seeds we can count as
Tanzania’s assets, only God knows and only Tanzanian youth, in whose hands
Tanzania’s future lies, can actualise.

Tanzanian youth are the seeds in an apple called Tanzania. You can count
how many youth we have but, the potential of what could come out of us
only God knows.

Tanzania is blessed beyond measure, Tanzanian youth already have the
capital in the Country and themselves, to do great things; what we need to
do is shirk away the fallacy that we will realise our potential “when we
grow older”, “when we earn a lot of money”, “when we are in positions of
power”, “when the Country changes”, because “we are the people we have
been waiting for, we are the change that we seek” and the time is now.
Like apple seeds, we already have every single thing we need to become
great apple trees, bearing even more apples with even more seeds and even
more apples, etcetera.

Make a Difference Now

Like kinetic energy, let us move now, and not wait with our potential
until ‘circumstances are right’. It is only by making a move now and
starting with the gifts and talents that God has placed in our hands that
we will be given more to manage, and as we accomplish our assignment at a
lower level, that a greater challenge will be posed that we can solve at
the next, and so we grow and our Country develops.

I am sure we are all familiar with the famous story of Moses and the
Israelites. God asked Moses to lead and remove the Israelites from
captivity in Egypt but Moses was not willing to do this. He kept on making
excuses for what he did not have, for what he could not do; he had a
speech impediment, he had killed someone, he didn’t live like an
Israelite, he was away from his people for a very long time and so they
didn’t know him, etcetera, but God asked him: “what is that in your hand?”
– God was saying to Moses, you already have everything you need to live a
life of success and significance; start with what you have and I will
bring you the people and resources to support you on your journey but, by
all means Moses, start! When Moses finally realised that no one else was
going to come to improve his life and the life of his people, he was
willing to go and, as soon as he had made up his mind to stand in the gap,
God brought him people and resources and God Himself was with Moses as he
fought adversity, released his people from captivity and lead them to the
promised land.

It is only when we are “sick and tired of being sick and tired” and feel
“enough is enough” and say “here I am, I am ready to do something
constructive and ethical to change my life and that of our people” that we
will find that God will bring us the people and resources to realise our
dreams. I don’t know what “Egypt” is standing in your way, I don’t know
what your fears are, I don’t know what the “promised land” is to you and
the people you want to “lead out” but you already have in your hand, in
you, what it takes to take the first step to that desired destination and,
God will meet you in your readiness.

We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For

If we wait for an “enabling environment” or “favourable conditions” before
we make a move to improve our livelihood, our community’s welfare, our
Nation’s development, we may find that the “enabling environment” and
“favourable conditions” never come. As a matter of fact, it should come as
no surprise to us when we tell God that we were waiting for Him to
intervene in our favour in Tanzania, to hear Him say that He was waiting
for us to show willingness to stand in the gap for our families,
community, Nation; to take the first step to create our own “enabling
environment”, create our own “favourable conditions” before He revealed to
us the next stage of the journey and sent each of us the people and
resources we would need to make it through.

Reposition for Take Off

So what does it take to stand and be counted? To realise otherwise hidden
potential in us as Tanzanian youth in this great, fertile and rich apple
that is Tanzania?

Know, build a relationship with and trust God

You were created to fulfil a God-given purpose. Believe that and trust
God to lead you to its fulfilment. You came to the world not to look for
something to do, rather you came into the world because you have
something, specifically for you to do; a role that only you can fulfil.
Get to know God and ask Him to share His plans for your life and trust
what He reveals, in Jesus’ name.

Know who you are

When you recognise that you have been created for purpose, you begin to
realise that you are extremely special. There is only one of you, even if
you were born as a twin or triplet. Know that you are unique; the gifts
and talents lying as potential in you are customised for you and you only.
You’re a big deal; there is a challenge the world is facing that only you
can provide the solution to. Take time to think of all that you are and
write down natural gifts and talents, knowledge acquired, skills learned,
experience lived out, attitudes and behaviours that make for all that you

Value what you’'re worth

Now that you know who you are in the entirety of your God-given purpose
and assignment and all the potential in gifts, talents, knowledge, skills,
experiences and attitude, guard your heart and mind from “nay sayers” by
standing firm on the truth of your value. Know that you have more value
than all the money, all the gold and all the gemstones in the whole world
put together. You have such great worth that you were created unique, with
particular qualities and characteristics to solve a challenge in the world
today. You weren’t born before or after your time. You exist now because
all that you are is needed in the world at such a time as this. You are
the right person, born to the right family, in the right Country at the
right time. God doesn’t make mistakes. Who you are and what you have gone
through adds to your great value in the world. Do not let anyone look down
on you because of the way you look, the family you were born to, the
Country you come from (they would be very foolish to think little of
Tanzania) your economic or social status. What they see is hidden
potential, when you trust in God in faith and take a step to realising
your potential, your hidden value will shine bright for all to see.

Know Tanzania'’s great wealth

There isn’t a greater lie told about Tanzania than the lie that it is
poor. Tanzania is not a poor country just as you are not a poor person.
Just as you cannot really know your value without first taking stock of
all that you are and seeing what greatness can come out of you, you cannot
know the value of our Country without first getting to know all the things
that make up this beautiful, richly endowed land and seeing the value in
money, aesthetic beauty, peace and stability that is the potential hidden
in it (which is becoming increasingly evident to the rest of the world).
If we do not know Tanzania’s value, we will sell it short; we would
bargain and sell land and services at a lesser value, thinking we have
gotten a good deal, only to know that the world market would value it
higher; we would mistreat our people, only to lose them in brain drain to
other countries as they flee to build other economies; we would compromise
on keeping the environment and suffer the results of pollution and
degradation to health, heritage and sustainable use and enjoyment; we
would take peace and stability for granted at our own peril to plunge our
Country into civil unrest where no one looks after another, where people
die or are displaced, where Government cannot maintain law and order nor
provide social services and, business halts as the cost of doing business
becomes unpredictable and thus, unbearable.

Tanzanians, know the value of what you have so that you can see our
Country as God sees it – a richly endowed, strong Country capable of
lifting the entire African Continent out of poverty.

Take pride in being Tanzanian

In placing great value in all that Tanzania is and rightly so, comes
taking pride in being Tanzanian. You cannot take pride in being part of
something you do not value nor see its wealth hidden as potential. As you
seek information that tells you just how much of a privilege it is to be
born Tanzanian and at such a time as this when you can change the course
of history for the better, your love, hope, passion, pride and patriotism
for our beloved Country grows and you vow to do anything it takes to get
our Country to stand and to get all the good that is due it and to fight
off all the ill that plagues it. After all, let it not be forgotten that
even America started as an impoverished colony. A third of all immigrants
who emigrated to that land died of malaria, another third from starvation
as the crop they planted didn’t agree with the land. All of this supposed
“poverty” and “calamity” yet Americans didn’t jump ship to go live in
another Country, on the contrary, the fought hard, battling both weather
and enemy to develop America into what is now respected as the strongest
economy in the world. There were worse conditions in America at 50 years
of independence than there are in Tanzania. We have a lot to learn from
other countries; history, communication, technology show that we do not
have to re-invent the wheel, we need not start as if there has been no
development at all in the world; we can borrow what we see as beneficial
from others and add value to it to leap Tanzania into unprecedented levels
of development.

I am so proud of being Tanzanian. God did not make a mistake to bring me
into the world as a Tanzanian; to have me young at this time, calling me
to take part in building our Nation into one of the strongest economies in
the world. What a legacy to leave!

Decide where you’re going

Now that you’re beginning to get a clearer picture of who you are, the
great value that you and your Country hold and growing in love and
admiration for this Nation, burning with passion to make a difference, you
must now decide what you will do with all the gifts, talents, knowledge,
skills, experience and your renewed attitude. In earnest prayer, seek
God’s will for you; write down the personal vision you have for yourself,
your family, community, business, Nation and the world. Complete this
sentence, “I would only be ready to leave earth when I have
accomplished…..” The picture you see, that picture of success and
significance, after you have passed it through the test of God’s will for
your life, is your life’s purpose. Don’t lose heart if He only reveals it
in part. Thank God for this direction and move with what has been revealed
to you thus far.

Choose how you will get there

After you have decided what success and significance looks like to you, do
that which you feel in your heart is where you should start. Do not fear
big dreams nor shun humble beginnings, God has great plans for you and
only when you stand faithful to a little that you will be bestowed with
stewardship of more. There are so many options, so many paths to use, make
a conscious choice of how you want to get to where you want to go in life
and what you want to do for Tanzania. This choice will include choosing to
be more hardworking than anyone you know; choosing to be confident and
tenacious, never letting up, knowing that there is a job to be done and
you are the person to do it, even if it is new, believing that you already
have all the potential to do it the best it can be done and pursuing it
until your conviction becomes a reality; choosing to challenge status quo
and do things differently, more innovately, adding value to have your
work, product, service, stand out above the rest; choosing to be at all
times professional, making sure that you execute all that you do with the
highest level of excellence and time management; remaining ethical no
matter the cost, knowing that as you uphold principles of honesty,
integrity, fairness, transparency, you give opportunity for others to get
equitable access to services, to ensure that no one has unfair advantage
of another due to corruption and favouratism; choosing to be patriotic,
compassionate and selfless, putting service to others and Nation first so
that your wealth and influence can reach far and wide and be long lasting.

Investing in sustained, long-term benefits

Whilst it is exhilarating and satiating to get immediate returns on
investment, we often compromise sustainability and long-term gains for
short–term fixes. Having a long-term vision means you know that the
returns you get in the short-term are capital to re-invest in what you do.
Just as you wouldn’t eat one maize cob when it is the only produce you
harvest from a farm you want to reap 100 tonnes of maize, so you wouldn’t
spend Tsh. 50,000 made from a business you want to yield you Tsh.
50,000,000. You realise that the Tsh. 50,000 is capital to re-invest into
the business and continue to grow until you get to your Tsh. 50,000,000

The same principle applies to anything else that comes to distract you in
the short-term from staying focused on your long-term plan; whether it be
job offers, investments to get into, people to partner with, etcetera, be
wary of anything that you cannot see as a building block to what you want
to ultimately achieve.

Have patience

Being a person with long-term vision means you are a person that is
willing to do all it takes to make a difference and wait for the results
to become manifest. If you have a long-term vision and plan for your life,
that of others and our very Nation, you will appreciate that you need
patience, perseverance and sacrifice, holding yourself back from amassing
all material things now, starting small and living within or even better,
below your means so that you can reap greatly and sustainably, both
material things and wellbeing in the future.

Have no fear

Fear is a liar! And courage is feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Fear
says “what if you fail (again), what if they laugh, what if you shame your
family, what if I’m too young, what if I’m too inexperienced, what if the
language barrier is too great, what if, what if, what if?” I am sure many
people who died with their dreams wanted to do something about them but
they “feared” reproach. Let me tell you the truth “there is nothing to
fear but fear itself.” Why don’t you think like this instead: What if it
works out, what if you succeed, what if the second, fifth, twentieth time
it works? You see, success is available to everyone, but only a few pursue
it diligently, unceasingly. Many people dream but few have faith in
themselves to see them to fruition. Choose to have Hebrews 11:1 faith
which says “ now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of
what we do not see.”

You must think, speak, act like what you dream is a surety. “Speak those
things that are not (yet) as if they are." And stay focused on what you
are working hard at creating until it comes out plain for all to
see. These are all choices we will have to make, we choose to be the best we
can be, we choose to love our Country, we choose to focus on the future
instead of feeding our stomachs in the short-term, we choose to feel the
fear and do it anyway. It all rests in you choosing what is best for you,
your family, your community, your Country. It is in continuing to choose
what is best which will determine our ultimate success and significance,
improving the livelihood of our people, driving Tanzania’s economic
independence and its social development.

Repeat these steps over and over and over and over and over again at each
stage of your journey as you unleash your potential to drive your life,
that of your family and community, Nation and this very world to greater
heights; keeping your eyes focused on Christ, focused on fulfilling your
God-given purpose, playing the role that only you were born to play in
Tanzania’s emancipation, knowing that the potential lying dormant in you
has the power, when put into action, to transform not only you, your
family, your community, your Nation but this very world we live in.

You see, “anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count
the number of apples in a seed”; no one but God knows the great person you
can become, the great things you could do, the great relief you could
bring this troubled world but, you hold all power to decide whether you
will allow yourself, putting away all fear, all doubt, shutting out all
noise and negative advice to stand willing, ready and available to be used
as a channel to pass all the hidden wealth and potential in yourself and
this Nation, to meet a need that only you and Tanzania were created to
fulfil for this generation and the nation within you that is to come.


Modesta Lilian Mahiga
Group Managing Director
Professional Approach Group

Written for Nancy Lazaro's book "The Best is Found in You""