Three years after my participation in the Peace Conference of Youth organised by JCI Osaka in November 2010, I got a notice of another program called The Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) which was being organised by the same JCI; but this time with the purpose of giving recognition to young persons who were working very hard and contributing to changes in society. I got this notice on the 27th June 2013 and this was just two days away from the deadline for me to tender in my application.
I initially hesitated when I did a quick background check on those who had previously won that award; top executives of revolutionary economic and social enterprises including the likes of Steve Wozniack (Apple Co-founder) etc. I knew I had contributed to society in my small way, but then the thought about past award winners and their statuses nearly got me reneging from tendering in my application. More so, I thought it was too close to the deadline for me to really put in strong application.
But I did apply after two major considerations. First, all these big personalities who were past recipients of the award, were not like this (in their present state) when they received the award. They probably were like me; making little efforts to cause significant change. Second, that the content of my application would come easily to me as long as I was writing about my passionate engagements in leadership development.
So I overcame the inertia to apply. And I quickly sent word to my boss (Ernest Gyimah-Danquah) to write me a recommendation. Meanwhile, I had to begin writing my application on a 2 hour journey by bus from Cape Coast to Accra (149km). Upon arrival, I continued my writing deep into the night because the next day I had a tall list of activities. Working deep into the night gave me a strong feeling of optimism, especially when a similar instance had happened just barely a year ago.
‘In 2012 I had worked overnight with Phanuel Wunu (a childhood friend with strong leadership and social skills himself) in his office to prepare a proposal towards a sponsored project with GIABA, a West-African agency against money laundering. Our team (on whose behalf we initiated the draft) won the gold award after 48 hours of non-stop, brief-sleep proposal drafting”.
So going through this process again seemed to me like a nostalgic recycle of events. My confidence was growing. I emailed my documents on 29th June 2013, after two days of work and hours to the deadline. Two weeks later, I received confirmation of my selection into the TOYP program.
This began another journey full of revelations that I intend to share in this series. The first has to do with cultural heritage and the second involves sacrificial service to humanity. Interspersed in these lessons are very interesting events during this journey. My motive is to use this written series of lessons and observations to motivate my compatriots to continued action and begin to instigate renewed thinking and social reforms borne out of pleasant (sometimes unpleasant) experiences in a foreign land. My next article would be on lessons from Japanese culture and I dedicate this series to Hiromi Yamaguchi and Alfred Godwin Adjabeng (two outstanding friends ) who suggested that I share these in writing. Make a date with me in part 2 of the series.