17 Lessons I Learned in 2017: On Ambition


It’s the second day of my ‘2017 Lessons’. I am writing this on Tuesday night. It is 9.12PM and I’m listening to AKA ft Anatii 10 Fingers on repeat.It is a song that celebrates success. At least that is how I see it.

This year has been a year of discovering so many people doing so many great things. Some of the people I ‘discovered’ this year were:

Kiernan Forbes-AKA,Bonang Matheba,Dj Zinhle,Allegro Dinkwanyane,Superwoman Lilly Singh,Liza Koshy and David Dobrik,Somizi Mhlongo,Minnie Dlamini,Vukile Manzi,Pearl Thusi,Nomzamo Mbatha,Maps Maponyane,Nonhle Ndala,Nonhle Thema,Pearl Modiadie,Brian Chesky,Jeff Bezos,Elon Musk,Gary Vee and Evan Carmichael- He has the most amazing YouTube channel.


You can see  South Africans are dorminant. It was crazy! One person just lead me to the other and so forth.Here is a summary of how I ‘discover’ a person:

*See the name

*Google it (they probably have a Wikipedia page)

*Search them on YouTube

*Watch their old and current videos that often lead me to other new people

*By the time am done, I know them in and out (lol!)

*Follow them on instagram and check their stories regularly.

*Boom! Am a fan!

Can I point out that through this process I learned a lot about Mzansi. I even know the hotel I’ll stay in when I visit Jo’burg (another lol!). I also know that their equivalent of Karen is Bryanston.Let me stop now!I wish I knew some Zulu, wena!


Some of the most enjoyable videos and interviews of the people I have mentioned above involve their humble beginnings. Because some of their work is online, it was easy tracing their journeys. Some go as far back as 1994, when I was born! Somizi for instance was on Sarafina! Dj Zinhle’s facebook page dates as far back as 2007. Discovering each and every one of these people was mind blowing. So here is what I got to learn about dreams and ambition:

4.Do it for you

This is where I get real. I once heard Jennifer Lopez say this but I did not pay so much attention to it. Now I do.The truth is that as we grow up, everybody has an idea of what they think we will grow up to be. Maybe you are the brightest kid that everybody calls ‘ engineer‘. Maybe you are the artist. People already have pictured you as something, sometimes without ever asking what you want. I am only going to share this once so I’ll be truthful, just this once hoping nobody that is close to me gets to read this.


All my life, I have been the bright kid with good grades that was supposed to be a ‘ doctor‘. I studied Biomedical Sciences in campus and could go further to Ph.D level so I could fulfill the expectations of those around me. That is absolutely not what my heart wants. I could go ahead and live for the ‘hype’ of people calling me ‘Daktari‘ or be true to myself and pursue projects that are close to my heart, however humble. My parents still do not get it. The truth is, if I dropped dead today, I’ll be so glad that I tried to chase what I love. I heard this saying ‘Some people die at 25 and are buried at 70’

I get it 100%


I do not think I am a rebel. I am not taking drugs. I do not even club or take alcohol. I am ambitious and if anyone thinks that is a problem, they probably have the problem. I am staying true to my dreams. For myself. I do not want to wait until my folks are gone to get the ‘freedom’ I so much crave. I know there are factors to be considered like all the money spent on tuition fee and all that but If they truly love you, they will respect your choice. After all, they are likely to benefit in the end.Those videos of people buying their parents a new house or car just get me. Here is what I’ll tell you if you decide to take the unconventional path: Grind with all you got. The first few years may be hard but hang in there and be wise. Some Arab prince once said, ‘You do not get rich by being stupid about money.’ He was right.

Nobody knows what you want except for you. If you get to a point where you realise that and choose to pursue your passion, never look back.The question however is, are you living for you?

5.Pursue relentlessly

Now that you have analyzed yourself, discovered your weaknesses and embraced them, are you ready to truly pursue your dreams.You are going to encounter bumps, several hurdles but will you stick and stay true to the calling? This year I got to discover Allegro , a young South African PR guru who started her company Orgella Media at 21. One of her biggest obstacles was finances when starting her business. She had to sacrifice and stay true to the course despite the shortcomings. She is now on Forbes List. I also watched the movie ‘The Founder‘ which is based on Ray Croc, of Mc Donald’s chain. I would suggest you watch it and see for yourself just how far people are willing to go. Persistence is key. Steve jobs said it.

It gets so hard that the only way you will endure is if you do something you love. You might fail on something you are not passionate about so take a chance on something you love.If you haven’t found it, keep looking!

I think Brian Chesky of Air BnB takes the cup. One year in and they were still in debt, they had to launch almost three times. The stories of people sleeping on the friends’ couch is cliché. Only the ones who endure get to have the last laugh.

6.Enjoy the journey

This was my biggest lesson this year. Sometimes we focus so much on the ‘final’ outcome that we forget to enjoy what is happening. Living in the moment. Being present and just allowing yourself to absorb the current task. I tried to do that and sometimes, even when I was in a bad mood, making that conscious choice to focus on the meeting or whatever task it was made me feel so much better because it went so well!Try and do that,forget about everything and focus on the one thing that is ahead of you. Tackle it.Give it all you have and you will see just how great it feels to have been in the moment.


See you tomorrow for some more lessons!

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