Guest Blog post by Calvern Kusiyamisa
Di Smith the author of You’re Awesome- Living A Fulfilled Life recently had to visit the printers again. She had to get a thousand hard copies of her book re-printed after it was sold out. This book has been well received and the demand for it has been overwhelming.
With 52 Chapters to indulge yourself once every week, this self -help book will take you through an inspiring journey throughout the year.
You’re Awesome is about overcoming adversity and embracing life. It is about love, compassion and friendship. It is about communities standing together and how through the African philosophy of Ubuntu, which defines the core of what it is to be human, we can all lead happier and more fulfilling lives. It is a book for people who want to transform their own lives and influence the lives of others around them.
This is a book that I one can read over and over. Should you want to get a copy for yourself, or for a friend as a gift, You’re Awesome- Living A Fulfilled Life is available in all the leading books stores or orders can be made on our website, or contact Di by phone on 033 347 2247. All deliveries in and around South Africa are free of charge.
By Guest Blogger - Calvern Kuziyamisa
Many a time we look beyond our borders for extraordinary people, inspiring stories & phenomenal individuals making a difference and positively influencing the lives of those around them and thus enriching their own lives. Governments and Corporates alike are willing to spend millions travelling across the globe searching for models that they can copy and use to better their performances. More often than not, such amazing people are close to us. We live with them. It’s just that we do not bother to turn an inquisitive lens towards these exceptional South Africans.
On Tuesday, Di Smith asked me to accompany her to a meeting at a farm in the Mooi River area. We met Judy Stuart from Future Farmers and the Director of Milk SA, Godfrey Rathwogwa. We traveled together to Vrystaat Farm to meet with Cliffie Egberink. Cliffie has bettered the lives of the farming community in the area and has developed a successful business model where business, labourers and the government are working together.
Successful Model of Farming
When we arrived at Vrystaat Farm, Cliffie warmly received us and over a cup of tea Godfrey was able to ask Cliffie about his successful model of farming. Godrey is looking to implement Cliffie’s business model into the dairy industry.
Cliffie said he had been touched by the plight of the local people, who worked hard and yet earned meagre wages and end up battling to put food on their tables. He knew that he had to get government support. Echoing the words of Clem Sunter that, ‘one doesn’t need to own a farm to become a successful farmer” Cliffie told us that he had sold his farm to the government and establish a business called Agrivest.
The farm workers hold 70% of the shares and Cliffie holds 30% of Agrivest. Cliffe’s approach encompasses being open hearted, having integrity, being honest, non-racial and his love of farming. Cliffie has the vision of creating a better future for all South Africans.
Cliffe was convinced that if had to achieve anything significant in farming he had to hold hands with the labourers with whom he works. As Judy Stuart from Future Farmers so rightly said “He had to gain their trust through dissolving racial barriers and working together with one another.
The hatred and mistrust between white South African farmers and their employees runs deep. It’s based on generations of ill feelings and a complete lack of communication and empathy with each other.”
Developed a Perfect Model Called Agrivest
Cliffie was finding problems in bringing the government on board. With the assistance of Di Smith from Awesome SA he was able to get a hearing at the highest level of Government in KwaZulu-Natal and thus developed the perfect model called Agrivest, where community, business and government are working together.
Cliffie with his business called Agrivest, Judy as a civilian who founded Future Farmers and Godfrey, a government representative from Milk SA are a great example of business, civil society and government working together for a better future for South Africa.
“Our differences are our strength as a species and as a world community.” – Nelson Mandela upon receiving the Franklin D.Roosevelt four freedoms award, 8 June 2002.
There is a question that has been going over and over in my mind since my return from launching my book in Cape Town and the Eastern Cape. I was honoured to have Archbishop Desmond Tutu as my guest speaker at the Cape Town launch. It was here that I was asked the question – “What are you trying to achieve with having produced your book You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life?”
Bhutan is the Happiest Place on Earth
I keep asking myself – “How do I answer this question in a few simple words?” An email sent to me by my daughter answered the question for me. Bhutan (a tiny Himalayan country) is described as the Happiest Place on Earth.
The article went on to describe why Bhutan is the Happiest Place on Earth.
“Bhutan measures its wealth in terms of Gross National Happiness (or GNH) rather than Gross Domestic Product (or GDP). This means that the Government makes all its decisions relative to the impact on the happiness of their people. Bhutan offers its people free healthcare and free education and over 95% of the population is happy. It is also the world’s only carbon negative country and is purported to have some of the most breathtaking scenery of anywhere in the world.”
So the question, “What are you trying to achieve with having produced your book You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life?” has now been answered for me. In a few simple words I can genuinely say that my book has been written to awaken people to the possibility of creating Gross National Happiness (or GNH). I believe that by applying the philosophy of Ubuntu in our day to day lives, it will play a huge role towards establishing GNH.
Gross National Happiness is explained below in a 3 min video clip – Inspired by GNHFund.com – Created by MortenSondergaard.com
By Di Smith
We are often anxious to improve our circumstances, but if we are unwilling to improve ourselves we cannot move forward to living to our highest ideals. If you wish to get the most out of life there is one essential requirement – a deep, driving desire to learn and the determination and discipline to apply certain principles daily.
The only way to learn and improve is by doing. Genuine change does not happen overnight. Good behaviour patterns and the art of choosing them come step by step with gradual familiarisation. By self-analysing and applying the following principles at every opportunity in your daily life, you will be on the path to discovering your true self.
Until you make peace with yourself, you cannot be content with who you are. It was Neale Donald Walsh who said: “So long as you’re still worried about what others think of you, you are owned by them. Only when you require no approval from outside yourself can you own yourself”.
I have outlined below some of the principles which will take you down the path of self-discovery. Should you require a more comprehensive study of these principles they can be found in my book You’re Awesome – Living a Fulfilled Life. Go to the online shop at www.awesomesa.co.za or purchase the book from any of the South African book stores.
Principles in Living your Life with the Correct Choices
1. Take time to be still and silent
This is the path to discovering your true self.
2. Accept Yourself
You are unique with your own unique looks and talents. There has never been anyone on this earth who is exactly like you and there never will be again.
3. Develop Self-discipline
Dignity is closely connected with self-discipline. Self-discipline gives you freedom from the temptations of greed, passion and prejudice.
4. Let go of Your Ego
“If you want to reach a state of bliss, then go beyond your ego and the internal dialogue. Make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved, and the need to judge. These are the three things the ego is doing all the time. It’s very important to be aware of them every time they come up” – Deepak Chopra
5. Conquer Your Fear
Desmond Tutu explains: “All of us experience fear but when we confront and acknowledge it we are able to turn it into courage. Being courageous does not mean never being scared; it means acting as you know you must even though you are undeniably afraid”.
6. Honour Your Family
The foundation of community is the family. Your family and your community give you the emotional stability and support that empower you to go out into the world with confidence and become all that you can be.
7. Live in the Moment
“For yesterday is but a dream and to-morrow is only a vision; but today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness, and every tomorrow a vision of hope” – Kalidasa
8. Learn to be Humble
Nelson Mandela says: “If you are humble, you are no threat to anybody. Some behave in a way that dominates others. That’s a mistake. If you want the co-operation of humans around you, you must make them feel they are important – and you do that by being genuine and humble. You know that other people have qualities that may be better than your own. Let them express then”.
9. Count Your Blessings
In a world driven by self-gratification we live with feelings of not being good enough, not having enough and with the endless treadmill of striving for more, bigger and better. By counting your blessings, you will open the pathway to the feelings of comfort and joy. You will feel complete and at peace.
10. Embrace Ubuntu
By harnessing the concept of Ubuntu, you will step up to the true measure of your greatness and will receive the most rewarding blessings of all – a life filled with family, friends, laughter, joy, love, peace and spiritual success.
Do we want to see change? We protest, sing, weep, and march for it; we Tweet and ‘like’ by the millions. We seem to want change, badly.
Is it possible that the missing link isn’t a change in government, or commerce, or sports coaches – in ‘them’ and their behaviour – but a change in you and me and the way we live our lives?
Power to Change the Country
In You’re Awesome: Living a fulfilled life, writer Di Smith answers these fundamental questions. With unparalleled clarity, she shows that South Africans do have the power to change the country and lead the world to a more meaningful future by practicing Ubuntu.
Her logic is irresistibly simple; the sequence of its implementation almost foolproof. The wistful insight with which she paints the history of Africa reveals passion for this continent as well as a tremendous, almost palpable desire for change. Near the end of the book, Smith reiterates her dream that Africa could lead the world to an awesome future.
But we cannot achieve so great a destiny unless we allow ourselves to be taught how.
Smith draws upon the oldest wisdom, as well as examples of our latest achievements, to show how a peaceful blend of that wisdom and our wacky originality could unleash an Africa that the world cannot imagine – and cannot do without. In doing so she gives us reason to seriously consider her as one such teacher. Her passion is legitimate; her sincerity, undeniable.
Photography by Terrence Mtola
The foreword of You’re Awesome is by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu. The photography is by Eastern Cape photographer Terrence Mtola. Both, at the risk of using a trite term, are breathtaking.
Throughout the book, the rhythm is engaging without being aggressive. Visually and textually, this is one of the highest-quality products that South Africa has produced in recent times.
How urgent is it that we begin to absorb wisdom as is in You’re Awesome? That depends on one thing. How badly do we want to see change?
24-year-old aspiring writer Siya Khumalo hails from a microscopic “S”-section in the township of Umlazi, right on the edge of Durban and possibly of obscurity. But he has big dreams – of writing commentaries that rock boats, question the status quo and unnerve the powers-that-be. He considers himself fortunate to have an opportunity to write in the 21st century.
If he’d written 1000 years ago, he’d been burned at the stake as a heretic; 100 years ago, institutionalized as a madman; 10 years ago, banned from so much as holding a pen in his hand. Watch this space.