Imagine Africa – only better. Imagine the realisation of oceans of potential, culminating in an explosion of development. Imagine what would happen if more people, Africans and non-Africans, believed in Africa. Countless people have testified to the power of positive thinking and its effects on their lives. Based on the principle that positive energy attracts more positive energy, also known as the ‘Law of Attraction’, this article calls on everyone (yes, this includes you) to wholeheartedly believe in Africa. One person can make a difference, but if millions of people make collective short- and long-term efforts to embrace hope and faith for Africa, the combined mass of positive energy will help to produce exponential growth and progress for the African continent.
Thinking and feeling cost you nothing. Truly believing that our continent’s people hold a bright future in their hands, and that we, Africans, can optimise our potential, supported by effort and with some assistance (but importantly also independently), this bright future can and will be realised.
Positive thinking is power
The power of positive thinking is a centuries-old concept and well-known today, thanks to the now famous book and DVD, ‘The Secret.’ The ideas revealed in ‘The Secret’ are no secret really, and are free and available for everyone to utilise. This ‘Law of Attraction’ states that thought equals creation, because our thoughts emit frequencies. It may be this resonance with natural sciences that renders the idea more acceptable to many and lifts it out of the cliché mould. Like attracts like – the ill think and speak about illness a lot, the rich think and speak about riches. Thinking about the things you don’t want attracts those things into your life. In other words, the hen-and-chicken cycle can only be broken by changing our focus. More importantly, we need to understand that thoughts emanate from feelings – something a bit less favoured by realists and rationalists. The connection between how you feel and what you think is undeniable, however, and ultimately positions your feelings about Africa as the main determinant of your power to bring about change in Africa. Hope and faith are the things you need to cultivate, if you don’t feel them burning in your chest already. “Whatever it is that you are feeling is a perfect reflection of what is in the process of becoming.”(2)
It is true that negative feelings, thoughts and writing about the state of Africa reflect the current state of some things to some extent. Yet, it is also true that continuously negative focus on things we don’t want for Africa simply produces more of the same – famine, violence, corruption and so on. Some call their negativity ‘realism’ and say we cannot improve anything unless we identify the problems and shortcomings that cause that problem, all the while ignorant that their ‘realism’ in fact creates reality, acting as a dangerous self-fulfilling prophecy. In fact, ‘realism’ about Africa is often permeated with negative undertones of blame: let us blame colonialists, imperialism, apartheid, corruption, patriarchy, capitalism, governments and traitors for Africa’s problems. It is easier to blame than to focus on solutions, right?
There is a fine line between realism and optimism. I am not proposing that we forget about the continent’s challenges – of course we need to acknowledge, analyse and act on addressing them. The state of mind that we employ to do this, however, is the locus of the dynamics of our mind’s power. How many positive articles do you read in African news? How many positive thoughts do you have about the African continent? Is it easier to accept that Africa will always lag behind? Is it much more challenging to believe that it is a strong, vibrant continent with much potential for peace and all the other ingredients of general happiness? When reading and hearing positive things about Africa, one is encouraged to think positively about Africa. Hence the birth of Consultancy Africa Intelligence’s Optimistic Africa series and collaboration with Africa – The Good News (ATGN).(3) The more optimism we cultivate and support, the more great things will come Africa’s way.
All together now!
There are several organisations that believe in and practice solution-based approaches. See, for example, the work of Hope Africa(4) and CP Africa,(5) amongst many others. Countless non-governmental organisations (NGOs) work hard to protect human rights and provide food and education to African people. All this work could mean much more, however, if everyone believed in it and did their best to contribute to the realisation of the continent’s potential. Recognise problems, but conceptualise them as challenges to be overcome, not immovable mountains! Sometimes it is hard to believe – images of poverty and famine break my heart. How will Africa ever overcome these things?
Recognise that the power to create something better, something wonderful, despite these challenges, lives within each of us. Encouragement is positive. Hope is positive. Solutions are productive. Instead of running campaigns against gender-based violence (GBV), run campaigns that focus on gender equality and happy families. Instead of research and journalism that focus solely on problems, incorporate as a rule recommendations for possible solutions to the issues at hand.
Sure, everything costs money, but it doesn’t have to cost a lot and corporate social responsibility is becoming increasingly popular. Well-off people often don’t care to understand why they should be overly concerned about those who struggle, because they don’t understand that development and increased general ‘happiness’ inevitably ripple outwards through communities and eventually, through whole countries. The communal spirit I envision will not be to the benefit of sole individuals, but to every African citizen.
Yes, we can practice positive thinking and hopefulness, despite large structural forces like the economy. The international economy has been more favourable and isn’t exactly as we wish it to be at the moment, but that shouldn’t stop us, or anyone, from living our best lives. Debates about the benefits of foreign aid to Africa still permeate development discourse. These matters need to be approached with the best interest of African people at heart. Governments shouldn’t let their pride stand in the way of aid, and neither become dependent on it. Non-African institutions need to encourage and believe in African people’s power to optimise their circumstances and opportunities. These matters are complicated, but let’s focus on what we want for Africa and how to achieve that. Be grateful, believe, visualise the outcome and feel the emotions that accompany those outcomes. You can do it.
Admittedly, change takes time. If you are committed to Africa, be in it for the long run and bring as many believers with you as you can. Every step forward counts. Even if you can’t make a physical or financial contribution, your positive thoughts will help to attract more good things to Africa. “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions,” said Albert Einstein. Who believes in a bright future for Africa? I do!
Image via newthoughtgeneration
(1) Contact Charlotte Sutherland at Consultancy Africa Intelligence (firstname.lastname@example.org)
(2) Quotes from The Secret, http://www.lightparty.com.
(3) See http://www.africagoodnews.com.
(4) See http://www.hopeafrica.org.za.
(5) See http://www.cp-africa.com.