Only a fool learns from his own mistakes. The wise man learns from the mistakes of others.Otto von Bismarck
I love to read Zambian books. This one was extraordinary because it’s jam-packed with practical stories and anecdotes about how to unlock your potential and access the opportunities life presents you with. In this masterpiece, Yangeni Chendela shares 50 lessons across numerous themes, including creating a great career, financial management, and relationships. I especially like how each lesson ends with reflective questions or a call to action for how you implement the learning in your life.
Although it was hard to narrow down, my biggest takeaways from the book can be condensed into these five themes.
1. Own the game and teach people the rules
This is unequivocally my favourite lesson. Using numerous stories from his exciting life (I will let you be astonished when you read the book), Yangeni reminds us that life is analogous to a game, and if we dare to make our own game, others will have to play in it!
This deeply resonated with me because I thought about all the times I tried to play other people’s games and wondered why I was constantly losing. Of course, I didn’t win! I wasn’t playing to my strengths, I didn’t create the rules, and the wins did not align with my dreams. Since then, I have tried to slay from my own lane. I still take losses, but they carry lessons I can use to propel me forward, and the WINs are epic because they align with my entire being.
2. Expand your own potential
The only person you can guarantee to change is yourselfYangeni Chendela
Yangeni shares how over his illustrious career in HR, he has noticed that most people wait for an organisation or a leader to upskill or champion them. However, you have to personally invest in becoming the person of your dreams. Ironically, this inspires others to want to invest in you as well.
3. You become what you work for
Yangeni reminds us that excellence, passion and enthusiasm are not just buzzwords but things we should live and show. Additionally, excellence precedes recognition. We live in a culture that values reactions, glory and fame. And you’ll find most people trying to chase these things. However, you need to invest in yourself by growing your skills and knowledge. After that, recognition will surely follow you!
“The grind brings rewards, not the other way round” – Yangeni Chendela
4. Invest in a growth-mindset
You cannot grow if all you look up to is yourselfYangeni Chendela
Becoming unstoppable reminds us to practice progress over perfection. You must learn to identify and understand your own weaknesses and mistakes. Where possible, circumnavigate those mistakes by learning from others. Where that isn’t possible, find out how others have traversed the challenges you are going through. It may not be easy, but nothing grows from comfort. Your dreams are worth the effort.
5. Save! Save! Save!
Yangeni dedicates an entire chapter of the book to financial management, and one thing that stuck with me was the need to save. This is a lesson espoused by all financial gurus, including George Clason in his legendary book “The Richest Man in Babylon”.
However, the profoundly consumerist culture we live in makes saving hard. You want to live in an exclusive neighbourhood with the latest phone, car, and hair. But saving gives you things your fancy amenities won’t. It gives you peace of mind, a fallback plan for when things get hard, and allows you to quickly grasp opportunities when they appear. So I am not exactly sure where you are on your financial journey, but invest in saving x% of your income for future you. You will thank yourself later!
To conclude, “life is a do-it-yourself project” – Yangeni Chendela. The only person who can get you to your dream life is yourself. Get a copy of this book and learn how to get there with these 50 unstoppable lessons.
About Yangeni Chendela
Yangeni Chendela is a leadership expert with a solid Human Resources Management background. Highly passionate and enthusiastic about creating strategic synergies between management and staff to enhance higher and better results. He believes that organisations should be deliberate about building high-performing teams. For more about him, check out his LinkedIn profile here.