In the 21st century, mastery over the natural environment and human to human relation is strained and distorted owing to a number of reasons chief among them the inability to be good

A doctrine is a teaching, lesson, and a principle. Doctrine is important when one wants to straighten points of interest and it has practical applications in many affairs of nations and the conduct of people. In the 21st century, mastery over the natural environment and human to human relation is strained and distorted owing to a number of reasons, chief among them the inability to be good.

According to the Roget’s 21st Century Thesaurus in Dictionary Form (1992), as an adjective 1, “good” means pleasant, fine. The words that fit this description are: acceptable, admirable, agreeable, excellent, favourable, marvellous, precious, sound, satisfactory, etc. As an adjective 2, “good” also means something that is moral and virtuous. Here comes words such as; admirable, blameless, charitable, dutiful, ethical, honest, honourable, incorrupt, innocent, respectable, right, upright, well-behaved, etc. The main emphasis in this article is on the second definition of the word “good”.

1. First. Have a strong spiritual foundation. Taking from Ms. Paula Penn-Nabrit advice to young people wishing to follow her path as a successful woman, mother, business person, writer, and gardener featured on yourblackworld.com on Friday March 8th, 2013, she emphasized this point. If ever one should have “roots”, they should be in the Holy Book. Why is it necessary to have a strong spiritual foundation? Earthly life has its ups and downs. Stand firm in moral principles when the circumstances and individuals become complicated and unpredictable.

2. Second. Maintain a calm spirit, demeanour, and professional presence. This is what the Holy Book captures as “the ability to listen to the still small voice, of the LORD”. A calm demeanour saves individuals from trouble and hustles because this allows an individual to assess their environment and react in the best possible way.  Marcus Tullius Cicero, Roman philosopher, politician and lawyer summed this up: “The pursuit, even of the best things, ought to be calm and tranquil”.

3. Third. Develop the capacity to think and solve problems. The ability to think and solve problems is the most important asset of the 21st century [aside from the technological progress]. The science heretic Freeman Dyson said “With or without a PhD, there are big and important problems for you to solve”. Man should use his faculties and senses to make sense of the environment around him. This task should not be left to the state or to other persons but to be taken seriously as a right and duty to be exercised.

4. Fourth. Embrace setbacks and failure. Here, to even mention of failure is a bone of contention. In her May 30th, 2013 Commencement address at Harvard University, Ms. Oprah Winfrey, mentioned among other things that “…there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you have lost. Learn from every mistake because every encounter/experience is there to force you to be who you really are…” Ms. Winfrey further asserted that when you stumble that is the story that will get you out. So move on, set backs should not stop you.

5. Fifth. Keep your eyes on the prize.  In his June 12, 2005 Stanford Commencement address Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios referred to this phenomenon as “You’ve got to find what you love…Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish…” Nurture your ambition and dream. Above all else, craft concrete steps to get towards your prize. This is reinforced in a Ted Talk “John Wooden: The difference between winning and succeeding”, he said, “If you make effort to do the best you can regularly, the results will be about what they should be. Not necessary to what you would want them to be, but they will be about what they should, and only you will know whether you can do that”.

6. Sixth. Constantly evaluate your vision. Individuals and nations can become delusional if they don’t constantly revisit their vision. What is it that you set out to do initially? Are you on target? What is limiting you in achieving your vision? These are all important questions that if left unanswered might just make the vision a lofty goal. It might just never happen within your allocated time in this life.

7. Seventh. Live in the moment. An article featured on Harvard Business Review, “Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity” by Harvard psychologist Ellen Langer describes this point very well. She says, “Mindfulness is the process of actively noticing new things. When you do that, it puts you in the present. It makes you more sensitive to context and perspective. It’s the essence of engagement. And it’s energy-begetting, not energy-consuming. The mistake most people make is to assume that being mindful is stressful and exhausting—all this thinking”.  Live in the moment. Let your gift of humanity spring forth.

8. Eighth. Establish a strong familial relationship. This statement draws from takes from Ms. Paula Penn-Nabrit’s advice featured on yourblackworld.com on Friday March 8th, 2013 and Mandivamba Rukuni’s book “Afrikan Pathways to Success” (2013).  Mandivamba Rukuni, PhD, on education, brings a radical idea that the Afrikan has always been an educated and civilised being from time immemorial even before the advent of foreign and Western universities as we know them today. To be in sync with one’s roots is truly to be educated and fully equipped for intellectual challenges. Afrikan familial relationships are also captured in the word “Ubuntu” which means “a person is a person through others”. Lastly here, we can do with insights from “On the Origin of Species” by Charles Darwin.

9. Nineth. Take your time. In the pursuit to be good hurriedness should not compromise your primary mission. A lack of adequate preparation and circumstances are powerful triggers for sense of urgency in one’s occupation and vocation. Therefore, indecision is costly and can make you forfeit opportunities. In short, rationalise delay.

10. Tenth. Reach out to others. The Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, M.C. commonly known as Mother Teresa is a “good” example of high order living, free of conditions. She reached out to through “wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor”.

A summary of Ten Statements on The Doctrine of Good:
1. Have a strong spiritual foundation.
2. Maintain a calm spirit, demeanour, and professional presence.
3. Develop the capacity to think and solve problems.
4. Embrace setbacks and failure.
5. Keep your eyes on the prize.
6. Constantly evaluate your vision.
7. Live in the moment.
8. Establish a strong familial relationship.
9. Take your time.
10. Reach out to others.

——END—–

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