I am a patient person. I do my best to keep cool, I don’t get into arguments, and I keep my word. But nothing pushes my buttons more than when someone disrespects my time. Let me explain:
Today, I wasted almost 8 hours waiting for one person to give me one thing. What this person was supposed to give me was very important for my career and I have a deadline so I really had no choice but to wait. The waiting would not have been a problem if he had just told me the right time. You see, he told me 2:00 PM (14h00). He kept saying “just 30 more minutes. . .” In my mind, he’s talking about normal time, but no! He’s was talking “Senegalese time.”
Confused yet?. . .
I’ve heard of “African time” but I can’t say exactly what it means because it’s different in each country. For us Senegalese, we have something called “Senegalese time” which I know all too well.
In most places around the world, when you tell someone “I’ll meet you at 1:00 AM (13h00)”, you really mean 1:00 AM. But in Senegal, when someone says 1 o’clock, they mean 2 o’clock. Heck, even 3! When they say that they’ll meet you in 30 minutes, they really mean in an hour or an hour and a half. When someone says “I’m leaving my house right now,” they are probably still in their pajamas.
The whole “time is money” mantra hasn’t really set into the Senegalese way of thinking yet. Here, time is something that you have and you do whatever you want with it. No stress! That’s the Senegalese way. This is why someone who is supposed to start working at 8 in the morning, will show up to work at 8:30, eat breakfast, and then start at 9. And they wonder why they get fired?. . .humm, I wonder why?
Time is a gift and with every gift comes a responsibility. Time is precious and every minute that I wait for someone is a minute of my life that I will never get back. Every minute wasted is a part of my existence thrown out the window. If you are doing your own things, that’s cool. Take your time because it’s yours. But when someone else is depending on you, it becomes your duty to try and respect that person’s time.
Take a look at the more developed countries around the world and you will find a pattern: time is crucial and respected. Trains and buses are scheduled and, for the most part, on time. People rush to get to work on time and coming to work five minutes late is unacceptable. If you are 30 minutes late to a meeting, that meeting is probably over (or cancelled).
In order to develop ourselves and our country, we need to respect each other and each other’s time. Things take too long to fix here. We are wasting precious time with unnecessary protocols. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the Senegalese mindset. I love that life here is less stressful and that people have a joie de vivre.That’s what makes this country so charming and lovable. Like I said, if you are flying solo, then do you boo. But sometimes, it’s better to just throw “Senegalese time” out the window.
Tonight is the first night of 2015. I’m sitting in front of my computer thinking that I’m going to write a post about how the holidays were in Dakar, show some pictures, etc. However, my mind keeps telling to write about something else. Something that may be a little “different” to begin 2015.
I don’t like “New Year’s Resolutions.” I never make them because to me, they seem kind of pointless. Now, don’t get me wrong. Having goals in your life and working to achieve them is an absolute must if you want to succeed. But making goals just to jump on the bandwagon (only to forget completely about them two weeks afterwards) doesn’t make any sense to me.
So here is my concept for 2015: get the right attitude! This is essentially the only idea that I need, not only for the New Year, but for the rest of my life. The way you perceive yourself and your life affects the way you live your life. It’s all a mind game. You can change yourself for the better simply by changing how you think. Stop saying “I’m not good enough” or “there’s no way I can achieve this” or “I’m not meant to have that much success.” Believe in yourself! Wake up in the morning, look in the mirror, and tell yourself “hey, I am an awesome human being, loved by God, and I am meant for greatness.” You will see yourself change in ways that you can’t even imagine. You’ll start to have more willpower to better yourself, to go to the gym, to eat healthier, to be a better you!
I was reading an article one day and the author wrote a phrase that is so simple and yet it hit me so deep that I haven’t forgotten it since. He wrote “You need to be very patient and realize that this is not going to happen overnight.” I literally had to pause for a few minutes and re-read the phrase a few times because I couldn’t believe how simple it is. However, we forget so easily that it takes time and that’s why we sometimes fail at our goals. Like I always say, “Anything worth working for is worth having and anything that’s hard to get is worth keeping.” You’re not just going to wake up tomorrow and discover a new-and-improved version of yourself. This will take time and it will be hard. Don’t be afraid of success and happiness and never give up on yourself. The grass is only greener where you water it. If you don’t believe in yourself then . . . who will?
**Feature photo courtesy of playbuzz.com