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If you’re happy and you know it

Are people in Africa happy? Are people in the North America happy? Of course, the answer in both cases is: some people are; and some people aren’t. Whatever our situation, how we act and think can increase our happiness.

Recently, a good friend of mine sent me a blog post entitled, “12 Things Happy People Do Differently.” Always on the lookout for inspiration to send to SIA partners at home and abroad, I printed out several copies and sent one of them to Canaan Gondwe, our fantastic Small Business Fund (SBF) Coordinator in Malawi. This sparked a great conversation between us, each sharing how we act to incorporate these “happy habits.”

Below is an except of Canaan’s response to five of the attributes.


Happy people! Ofonime Nkoko (SBF Coordinator, Nigeria) and Canaan Gondwe in Kenya.

Happy people! Ofonime Nkoko (SBF Coordinator, Nigeria) and Canaan Gondwe in Kenya.

Tanya, thank you very much for sharing this article with me. This will help me and the management and the whole MAVISALO to reflect on our conduct, character, and to move to things that happy people do in life. Sometimes we fail to increase our levels of happiness because we are harboring wrong views and attributes of ourselves.

1. Express gratitude

My college lecture once said and I quote “don’t despise your small beginnings but in them thank God in order to excel.” We usually tend to look down on our current state and think nothing is being done. As we do that, we lose a sense of gratitude and happiness.

2. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison

Very strong statement and advice. When one over-thinks and lives a life of social comparison, it has a negative impact in the way you look at things and this also cultivates poor social relations. When you embrace such values in life, you lose a sense of happiness. You easily burn out and lose balance. But it is good to have mentors in life. Make connections with people who have succeeded and employ good ideas from them and move. One mentor of mine said “walk your pace and vision, walk your talk and walk your level.” I saw this as avoiding social comparisons.

3. Practice acts of kindness

Kindness is one the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22). This is God’s own fruit in us as human beings. God’s kindness is shown in giving and helping the helpless human beings. I see this being emulated in SIA in rolling out SBF to our communities. Is this not God’s own kindness? Is this not kindness in its fullest form? Are the sponsors and board members of SIA not celebrating in a sense, for bailing out one person from poverty, elsewhere in Africa? If Canaan can spend hours helping a less privileged person in this rural community, is this not an act of kindness? Very important attribute indeed.

Tanya and Canaan in the MAVISALO poultry house.

Tanya and Canaan in the MAVISALO poultry house.

4. Nurture social relationships

One person said, “a problem shared is half solved.” Man is a social being from creation. We need to be connected to other people and this brings balance as we share views, successes and challenges. We are molded holistically as one said and I quote, there is beauty in diversity.” In nurturing social relationships, we are able to understand our people better. This is very true in even in providing the leadership to our organization. As leaders we need to come down and listen to the people we lead. I have personally succeeded as a coordinator by nurturing relationships. I respect each and every person and relate deeply with them because they are God’s own creation.

5. Learn to forgive

Keeping hatred makes one feel low. Hatred spoils facial expressions. Truly, when you harbor hatred, you walk a sick person. We need to forgive those who wrong us. God forgave us and this is wanted even for us. Forgiveness brings healing to the forgiver and the one forgiven. We enter a new life indeed if this is done.

Tanya, I once more thank you for the 12 tips. I will share this with my friends. Send us more of these when you bump on them. They are fruitful indeed.

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