“I could write a book about what is wrong with Trinidad and Tobago, but I could fill a library about what is good about it”.
My friend and colleague Nigel Wall had this up recently as his Facebook status – inspired by Charlie ‘Tremendous’ Jones accomplished speaker and writer (with over 5000 seminars under his belt and over 1.5 million copies of Life Is Tremendous in print).
Most Trinbagonians feel they have a firm handle on what’s wrong with Trinidad and Tobago and how it could be fixed. Many talk day in day out about how bad Trinidad and Tobago is becoming and all the woes we can look forward to in the future.
At a recent business seminar, I heard one of the local speakers, with reference to their ISO9000 qualification, talk about taking his business operations from a level of “trini” to a global level. I don’t think he meant anything “bad” by saying that but is this how we think of ourselves – that raising our standards means escaping everything “trini” and becoming something else?
At that same seminar, the keynote speaker spoke about our national anthem being the most beautiful he’d heard in all his travels and life. I started to really think about the words in our anthem and to see and hear it with beginner’s mind – as if for the first time.
Forged from the love of liberty, In the fires of hope and prayer, With boundless faith in our destiny…
Hope today is usually used as a synonym for a wish. Yet hope is far more tangible and powerful. In his book, The Richest Man Who Ever Lived, Steven Scott describes hope as a well-founded and confident belief a specific vision (goal, desire or promise) will be achieved or fulfilled within a specified amount of time.
How can you have a “well founded confident belief that a specific vision will be achieved” if you don’t have a specific vision? If visions and desires are vague instead of well-defined you cannot gain or sustain any genuine hope of achieving them.
Yet our anthem clearly states the vision for Trinidad and Tobago. Filled with faith and looking towards the future with hope — we will work together side by side and commit our efforts to continue to grow in this beautiful twin island nation of ours.
Still we continue to magnify what’s wrong and sometimes distort facts to fit in with our story of what’s wrong forgetting our very clear vision. So a maxi taxi explodes in flames on the Priority bus route and before any clarification the news is sensationalised on Facebook with “a maxi taxi has been bombed on the Priority Bus Route,” causing every boy and his brother to put in their two cents about gangs and violence and warfare.
Now please don’t tell me how naïve I am to what’s really going on in TT and ask me if I doh read the papers. I am well aware having been held up in Chaguanas and had my car stolen in broad daylight at Nelson Street, Port-of-Spain. Does this make me want to migrate to safer parts of the world? No. Because there is going to be bad wherever I go. Other human beings make sure of this regardless of the destination.
What I know for sure is whatever we focus on gets magnified. So if we continue to see all that’s bad in Trinidad and Tobago then that’s what we will experience. Reminds me of the story of these two persons leaving one town onwards to the next and who met a wise person at the intersection. They both ask “wise person – what kind of people will I meet in this town?” To which the guru asks “what kind of people did you leave in the last town?” Perception is everything!
So my fellow Trinbagonians I implore we be the change we dream of seeing. If every one of us would sweep our own doorstep, the whole (of Trinidad and Tobago) would be clean to paraphrase Mother Teresa yet she was right. Make time every day to reconnect to your highest ideals and boldest dreams. Leave every person you meet better than you found them. Life’s too short to withhold encouragement and kindness. Stop the putting down and picong excusing it as “de trini way!” Words can easily become swords. Stop it!
And finally – do what is right rather than what is or appears easy. Being a great Trinbagonian isn’t about being popular and how many people know you. It is about strength of character and if we don’t all hope for a better Trinidad and Tobago then Trinidad and Tobago will surely perish.