A few weeks ago I was really having trouble in Ghana. I didn’t have many friends, I was frustrated by the frequent power outages, and my job wasn’t exciting enough to balance out all the negatives I was feeling. So what did I do? I did what anyone would do… I called my mom! Her words inspired me to look at things a different way. Instead of thinking about everything I don’t like as unfair or annoying, I now think of these events as learning potential, opportunities for growth, and chances to use my positive attitude. I sum this all up as “Building Character”.
I know it sounds a bit silly, but it really works. It reminds me to complain less, take things as they come, and approach life with a little bit of laughter. Every time something happens that I would normally hate (or at least get frustrated over) – like the power being out, trotros taking to long to fill up, or a restaurant not having any food – I just think “Wow, I’m building so much character right now. Think about how much I’ll have by the time I get home!” It’s a bit funny and a bit motivating, and it really works for me!
For example, this weekend, Yazan (a fellow ProF who lives in Tamale) and I went on a trip to the Volta Region of Ghana. We had a whole schedule made up of places we would stay, things we would do, and how we would get around. Of course, none of it ended up going according to plan. But we didn’t panic and we didn’t complain. We just said “This is Ghana, it happens. Think about all of that character!” It became our inside joke and motto for the next two days as all sorts of unexpected things happened. I’m also not a big hiker, but I climbed the waterfall by reminding myself to be resilient, that if I could do this I could do anything. We made it to the top of the mountain that day, and we made it back to Accra in one piece too – albeit with a few more stories to tell and ton more character under our belt!