I have heard stories of Ghanaians who have sold all their property only to give the proceeds to a ‘connection man’ to secure them a visa abroad. I have read heart-wrenching tales of what stowaways subject themselves to all in a bid to travel abroad. Indeed, if there is anyone who has told the god of death “Not today” severally, it should be the one who has gone through the Mediterranean Sea and deserts to travel to Europe. When a man’s mind is made up to travel abroad, not even the smell of death scares him!
Well, abroad is heaven― to many. They would do anything to go there. A lot of people have sacrificed their dreams just to find themselves in Europe. To them, abroad is like a changing room where you enter poor and leave rich. To such, going abroad sits at the top of their priorities― even if it means giving away everything they ever had.
There is never a day in church that blessings are made mention of without the mention of abroad. Parents who say their children can’t marry someone from the north (because of distance) will gleefully agree to have them marry another from abroad (despite distance). We have been raised up to assume that one is more advantaged living abroad than here― however they look at it.
My mother once told me a story of how a friend of hers who lives abroad had to literally sneak out of their hometown anytime he visited Ghana because each morning, there was a tall queue of people who had come to take their gifts. As long as he had come from abroad, it was assumed he had a lot of money. In his absence, he was even made the chairman of his church’s harvest obviously because it was thought that he could afford to give more than the entire congregation could. Maybe, money grows on trees abroad!
Our mindset has so much influence on what we do. How we were brought up to perceive abroad has had so much influence on our adult lives. Little wonder many don’t mind selling their kidneys to get there.
Of a truth, there are a lot of opportunities abroad. We have seen many who have had their lives turned around after having the opportunity to travel. We can’t overlook the many success stories of Ghanaians whose dreams became a reality just because they found themselves abroad. However, take note that location matters but what matters most is one’s MINDSET.
I find it extremely disturbing when I meet young people who have fashioned their minds that they will only make it in life when they travel abroad. It is a sickening mindset to have if you think your life will amount to nothing if you spend it here. Always remember that your location plays a role in your dreams but all of such is useless with a poor mindset.
If a person has a poor mindset, they may sit on a goldmine where they were born yet will be looking for stones abroad. If a man has conditioned his mind that he will be fruitless if he lives in Ghana, give him all the opportunities there may ever be in this country, they will appear to him as useless.
Those who are in haste to travel abroad to make it in life assume that the principles there are different. You see, the systems may differ but the principles are same. Life’s principles don’t change wherever you find yourself. If it will take you time to build a dream here in Ghana, it will still take you time to do same out there. You can’t beat time. You can’t skip it. Principles are same everywhere. They are only facilitated by systems!
Travelling abroad doesn’t change one’s destiny. It only changes their location. Change in destiny begins with change in mindset. The secret to being who you dream of is first your mindset and then, your location. If you are the “give me abroad or I die” type but with a poor mindset, you will still find yourself in Number 10 Downing Street and die like a pauper on the streets of Accra.
It is sad that many complain of the African problem being a leadership one but when given the nod to lead in their own small way, they do worse than those they criticize. Isn’t it amazing that almost all our leaders today were part of the crop of generation that lambasted those who had gone ahead of them yesterday? As if that is not enough, many young people today are only prepping to be more corrupt when given the baton. In effect, our mediocrity becomes an unending cycle while we covet another’s excellence abroad.
A new Ghana begins with a new mindset; a new way of perceiving leadership; a new perception of everything around us. The bane of the Ghanaian society is our toxic mindset. When we are not leaders, for instance, we will waste our little on weddings and funerals. When we become leaders, this same character reflects in how we waste our little on state functions that have little or no impact on our productivity. It is all a mindset thing!
Change in mindset becomes evident in how we perceive work ethics. It begins with how we perceive morality. Change in mindset should be obvious in all areas of our lives. If you want to travel with a mindset of littering indiscriminately, abroad will be hell for you. If you are assuming that when one travels abroad, they don’t need to work hard but will still be rewarded anyway, then you must really be joking!
Change your mindset and consistently put the same efforts into your work wherever you find yourself and see how tremendously your life will turn around. You would come to the realization that every soil [location] is somewhat viable but what matters most is the seed [mindset]. Imagine investing the same tenacity one goes through the deserts to Europe into one’s business here. Imagine going all out to pursue a dream here like we pursue our visas.
Never get to the point where travelling abroad becomes your only route to success. If you have the opportunity to travel abroad to be a better version of yourself, take the chance. However, never assume that you can never be a better version of yourself ever until you travel abroad.
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing firm.