If you are reading this and attending my funeral, can you remind them that I want my eulogy to only be a list of African proverbs?
100 articles and I wanted to share with you the circle of wisdom that guided me here.
I have always been attracted by proverbs in general and African proverbs in particular.
I would love to sit down with you and tell you more about it.
My love of proverbs, why and where has been described by Mulenga Kapwepwe in her TED talk:
What are the 10 African proverbs that I live by?
What do they mean to me?
Before I share my top 10 list with you, I want to quickly walk you through the selection process.
I could spend my whole life reading and learning from thousands of African proverbs.
I choose the easiest way: Youtube.
Here is a list of 100 African proverbs: 100 AFRICAN PROVERBS TO LIVE BY.
I watched the video multiple times and put a first selection.
How many did I pick knowing that my target is 10?
Can you guess?
25 proverbs in the first round, which is quite good for a first round.
Now I need a quick way to narrow it down to 10. It means keeping only 1 out of 2, almost.
I thought that I could make a survey and ask people to vote on that first pool.
I know that I have a lot of digital friends. But they will not go through a Google form to select 1 out of 2 proverbs.
Even if they did so, the ones they would pick might not be the ones that resonated the most with me.
So I decided to do it differently.
Clustering and sorting my list to narrow it down from 25 to create my top 10.
I have defined my 10 life values and wrote an article about it: Want to invite resilience in your life? Assemble your team of Avengers. This is not the Endgame. This is just the beginning.
I will recall them here:
- Love and Compassion
If you are interested in my top 25, send me a message to share them with you.
Then I tried to match each proverb with one of my values.
Yes, one could argue that it would have made more sense to do this exercise in the initial pool of 100 sayings.
But I did it my way, anyway!
I was able to find at least one quote for each of my values.
For the values matching multiple quotes, I did a ranking from 1 to 4 (max) for each cluster.
And below are my Top 10 African sayings that I live by as per my 10 values in life.
10. CREATIVITY — UNTIL THE LION LEARNS HOW TO WRITE, EVERY STORY WILL GLORIFY THE HUNTER.
Telling my own stories is the best way to share my intentions. I want to put my creativity at service for the world, helping others tell their stories.
09. LEARNING — TO GET LOST IS TO LEARN THE WAY.
Before, I was afraid to get on uncharted territories. Now I am a student of life, making every day, every action, every interaction an opportunity to learn.
08. FUN — THE CHEAPEST WAY TO IMPROVE YOUR LOOKS IS TO WEAR A SMILE.
YOLO — You Only Live Once. I do my best to have fun every day and put a smile on that face of mine. No day goes by without having fun, at home or work.
07. SIMPLICITY — TRUE TEACHING IS NOT THE ACCUMULATION OF KNOWLEDGE. IT IS THE AWAKENING OF CONSCIOUSNESS.
Less is more for me. I like having a simple life and being grounded. I am not in the accumulation of any sort (material or money). I am following the way of Nature.
06. CONTRIBUTION — IF YOU THINK YOU ARE TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE, THEN YOU HAVEN’T SPENT A NIGHT WITH A MOSQUITO.
I am a firm believer that we all have our unique shine hidden within us. And that shine is valuable to the world and to us. We all have a role to play right here, right now.
05. HUMILITY — KNOWLEDGE WITHOUT WISDOM IS LIKE WATER IN THE SAND.
Being humble means having my ego in check. It also means to pay respect forward from the lad to the king at the top of the ladder. I am just a drop in the ocean of time.
04. COURAGE — WHEN THERE IS NO ENEMY WITHIN, THE ENEMY OUTSIDE CAN DO YOU NO HARM.
We treat others as we treat ourselves. The first world to conquer is the one from within. Once we get it internally, we can always cope with the outside: change it or accept it.
03. FORGIVENESS — QUARRELS END, BUT WORDS ONCE SPOKEN NEVER DIE.
Forgiveness means letting things go, letting people go. It is a challenge sometimes. I struggle with this one. But, putting it on the podium is a potent reminder for me.
02. LOVE AND COMPASSION — YOU CANNOT LIVE A POSITIVE LIFE WITH A NEGATIVE MIND.
No good deed goes unpunished. I work on bringing love and compassion to myself, my loved ones, and those in the world who are ready to receive it. No strings attached!
01. HEALTH — IF YOU CUT YOUR CHAINS, YOU FREE YOURSELF. IF YOU CUT YOUR ROOTS, YOU DIE.
Being healthy is so underrated. I like to remind myself that I have one vessel. I like to make sure that my body is healthy. I ensure that my mind is rooted in a healthy soil of values and meaningful relationships.
It has been a long journey. I cannot wait to get to the 200 articles. I already have an idea of what will be the content of that 200th article.
If you asked me 2 years ago to write 100 articles for 100 straight weeks, no would have been my answer.
100 articles later, I enjoy the journey as much as I love the destination.
What destination? You may ask.
Well, the destination is a place where my future self is sitting down and asking me:
Did you make me a better version of yourself all along this journey?
What are your top 10 quotes in life that inspire you?
If you had only to keep one quote, which one would it be?
Are you improving yourself while enjoying the ride of life?
Leave a comment below.
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You can read my previous article on Embrace the 3 “S” to get the quintessence of your life and maximize your impact: five steps to focus and reflect on reclaiming your precious time. (Friendly link)