#peopleareawesome, Mental Health Check

WHY AM I HERE?

None of us is a cosmic accident.

We are all defined by a purpose…

A reason why each one of us exists…

A reason that might be hard to pinpoint in the midst of the myriad of challenges we see all around.

So how can we discover our sweetspot in the midst of all that’s not working around us?

THE PROBLEM

Problems are like concealed opportunities waiting for those ready to role up their sleeves to provide solutions.

We see problems all around us.

But we must go deeper than seeing them.

We must unearth the struggles they transfer to people…

The diseases people suffer from as a result of lack of sanitation…

The poor school performance of children with no access to electricity…

The hunger a community faces as the result of lack of rainfall…

Problems must be converted into a cost that people incur.

But the wide spectrum of problems around us might tempt us to ask ourselves what difference we could make with the limited abilities we possess…

THE PASSION

Interestingly, those limited abilities within us usually point us towards a specific direction.

There are those of us who are naturally tech-savvy…

And on the other hand…

There are those of us who are artistic by nature.

The things we do naturally, seem to point us towards what we need to focus on after all.

Consider what you do easily during your free time…

Find a problem around you that you can solve through that activity.

A technical mind might have it easy designing ways of training the community on good sanitation practices…

the dos and don’ts…

keeping hands clean and the whys that go with it…

An artistic mind might flow with creating sensitization dramas for that same community…

Different approaches to solving the same problem.

So what problems exist around you?

Pinpoint one or two…

Investigate to know whether the process of finding a solution resonates with what you are passionate about.

But at times complex problems might need more than just a simplistic approach to finding a solution.

THE POSSIBILITY

We’ve grown-up while fending for ourselves from an early age; we have developed entrepreneural skills…

We’ve suffered from misfortunes and learnt to rise up after the fall; we have nurtured resilience…

We’ve learnt the art of maneuvering through changing circumstances; we have cultivated agility.

Over time, life equips us with skills and abilities…

Assets that enrich our asset bank preparing us for future challenges.

Some of us are better equipped to face some problems compared to others…

We’ve grown-up while fending for ourselves from an early age; we have developed entrepreneural skills…

We’ve suffered from misfortunes and learnt to rise up after the fall; we have nurtured resilience…

We’ve learnt the art of maneuvering through changing circumstances; we have cultivated agility.

But there is room for more skills…

Skills that give you that cutting edge and set you above the rest…

Negotiation skills, technical skills, communication, emotional intelligence…

As I stare at the problem we wish to solve, do I have what it takes?

If not how could I upskill and be competent?

Are there apprenticeship opportunities?

Are there certifications I could pursue?

Is there mentorship I could seek?

Can I come up with ideas on possible solutions and possibly bounce them off people around?

Ideation is not necessarily about quality but quantity.

Jot down, sketch, illustrate as many ideas that come to mind with regard to finding the solution.

Brainstorm and get ready to prototype.

THE PROTOTYPE

A prototype is not necassarily a finished product.

Quite on the contrary.

It’s a rough mock up, a practical visualization of your ideas as you seek to solve a problem…

It can be as rough as rough can be…

But it must also be as practical as practical can be…

What do we do with ideas?

They don’t have to be great or out of the world…

They don’t need to spike a ‘Eureka’ moment.

All we need is plenty of them because they feed into each other…

They congregate into clusters enabling us to conceptualize prototypes…

A prototype is not necassarily a finished product.

Quite on the contrary.

It’s a rough mock up, a practical visualization of your ideas as you seek to solve a problem…

It can be as rough as rough can be…

But it must also be as practical as practical can be…

From a mobile solution enabling remote students access subjects at the comfort of their homes…

To a water filter enabling household sieve the dirty water they drink.

From a water conservation technique allowing farmers water their crops…

To an errand solution that helps a working parent settle those notorious utility bills without setting foot into an office.

Prototypes comes in all shapes and sizes.

They differentiate the ideator from the doer…

They allow us to cross the broundary from the theoretical to practical.

THE PROBE

As we expose the prototype to the people who face the problems we seek to solve (users), it provide us with two benefits:

Firstly, it allows us to communicate what our idea is all about…

But also…

It allows us to learn from the users on how we could improve on it.

A prototype allows us to probe the one’s we seek to help…

It allows us to test our idea in practice…on the ground.

It’s not a one size fits all remedy for all societal problems…

It’s a communication and learning tool.

We observe our users and get feedback.

We develop a keen ear for critiques and use them to our advantage…

We develop a learning attitude with a desire to improve.

We are armed with a positive attitude which disarms all negativity.

The information we receive is useful for iteration: the practice of amending our product to fit the demands of the users.

The best products in the market do not have an iteration expiry date. Why?

Because the market is always dynamic…

It always keeps on informing the innovator on what it needs.

It’s the responsibility of the innovator to listen, be agile enough and amend accordingly in order to remain relevant.

IN CONCLUSION

We all have opportunities we could take advantage of around us.

Fortunately or unfortunately, these opportunities are packaged in problems.

Let’s unearth them.

Let’s solve problems and recreate opportunities for others in the process.

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