FROM JAYPINAN TO HARVARD

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Jaypinan is a little village located in southeastern Liberia, Grand Gedeh County. The meaning of the name in my local dialect is I have found a place to sleep. Looks like a name of comfort and complacency, isn’t it? Jaypinan is the village of my ancestors. This little settlement was established by Grandfather and his siblings as a family home. My Grandpa, Mr. Willie Zeon, was a gifted hunter and a robust farmer. He was a member of the Liberian Frontier Force now the Arm Forces of Liberia that went on peacekeeping mission in the then Congo Kinshasa in the 1960s. He later retired and became a fearless hunter. In fact, I am told the name Zeon means a dominant character. So Grandpa prefers to dominate the forest with his hunting skills and talents. He likes to be in Jaypinan which is about an hour walk from Zlehtown to explore his gifts and talents. He had 6 wives and several children.  He always took his family and grandchildren to the village with him. On many occasions, he and our dad quarreled for taking us to the village instead of staying in town for school. My uncles, aunts and many of my cousins today still live in Jaypinan.  My father Mr. John William Zeon (late) on the other hand, was regarded amongst his peers as one of the brightest academically. However, those brilliant potentials only landed him the role of an agriculture extension officer in Zlehtown. Almost like ‘father-like-son situation’. Though he was not a hunter, he wasn’t far away from the bush and the soil either. He has 11 siblings with men in dominance who were either astute hunters or military personnel. So, I and my siblings (5) were born with strong external family links. My eyes were opened to see my uncles either in military uniforms or with hunting masks. This is why I personally believe that despite the environment, you can still define who you deserve to be. I would’ve been a military personnel or hunter because that’s how greatness was defined by my immediate environment at the time. But I gracefully headed to a new path altogether.  Now, let me show you how it happened or how to do it.

First, KEEP YOUR GOD in the equation. How can you walk through life in solo; who can you be without God? He’s the only person capable of turning a peasant to a president; a blow to boom and a disaster to destination. Yes, He’s able to turn your test into a testimony. God is the only one capable of turning your mess into a clear message. Let me put it the other way around. Your incapacity is God’s capacity. Don’t get me wrong. This does not mean you should fold your hands and expect God to fill your tank miraculously! In other words, let your amen corresponds with your efforts. You can’t do one and leave the other. God rewards sincere efforts without hesitation, my dear.

Second, AUDIT your federations, friends, and fellowships. Friends or fellowships are either channels to progress or retrogress. Yes, a friend can be your path to go up or come down. This essentially depends on who that friend is. Of course, there’s virtually nothing you can do on earth without people. In other words, anything you want to do in life is people related. Let me ask you a question to further buttress this point. Can you make a call without network on your phone? Equally, you can’t make that significant step towards your destination with a poor network of people around you.

Third, treat your TIME with care. Though given equally to you and the rest of the folks, time is a critical and essential technique in moving efforts (TIME). Nothing happens outside or without time! Interestingly, it can easily be abused with you noticing. So be awake with your time!

Fourth, LEARN TO LIVE. You are a complete summary of the things you have learnt and refused to learn so far. God naturally made you a learning person.  LIFE in itself is learning implements for everyone. So learn from your mistakes, environment, people, and concepts around you.

Watch out for the second part of this article. I will clearly show you how the boy from Jaypinan who spent over 18 years camped on a piece of land as a refugee blended all these to be one of the distinguished management and finance professional, an inspirational speaker and writer as well an alumni of the Harvard Division of Continuing Education.

You can truly live your essence!

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