All people have the will to create encoded in their DNA. It should thus come as no surprise that human kind has always held a great fascination with shape. Early explorers and pioneers such as Ferdinand Magellan, Vasco Da Gama and Christopher Columbus first ventured around the globe, despite warnings that the earth was flat and that large areas of the ocean may contain dragons [Here Be Dragons (HBD) – ancient maps were marked in this way to indicate the potential of dragons being present in these uncharted areas]. For these individuals the benefits far outweighed the risk and through their courageous commitment, their names were forever cemented in history. Not only were they explorers and pioneers, they literally changed the shape of the earth and thereby changed the shape of the future as new trade routes were established. From a world that was initially thought to be flat, their collective efforts changed the nature of our understanding and opened up a whole, new, round world.
I recently wrote about the growth mindset as being a central question individuals should be asking themselves with regard to their entrepreneurial endeavours. From this premise we can learn that in order to shape anything of substance, one needs to first decide whether you have a growth mindset or not? Once you have decided that you do have a growth mindset, you can then decide on how you will Shape Your Future.
In modern times there have been a number of examples of individuals who shaped their own futures towards realising bigger dreams. Individuals such as Mark Shuttleworth who shaped his future from humble beginnings in his parent’s garage, through the founding of Thawte Consulting and then eventually being the first South African in space. While Mark’s surname may have been a predictor of his journey in life, one cannot deny that he imagined an alternative future, saw what was missing and then built and shaped his own journey to shape that future. Ironically, Mark also founded HBD Venture Capital. Whether as a throwback to those earlier pioneers who were not deterred by those maps from ancient times, or speaking towards his own determination to not be deterred by “dragons”.
Another example is that of South African businessman, Herman Mashaba, Founder of hair products company, Black Like Me, who faced his own set of “dragons” while shaping his future. Mashaba started his company in 1985 under apartheid in South Africa. His resilience was further tested by yet another “dragon” when his factory was raised to the ground in 1993. However, Herman’s recognition that his life and destiny are a result of your own decisions and actions rather than a series of external factors, slayed those very “dragons” to rebuild Black Like Me into the company that it is today.
It is apparent from these two examples that those who shape their future, live in that future, understand what’s missing and just like the pioneers of long before, are not deterred by those “dragons” or detractors, whether imagined or real, that could prevent them from fulfilling their purpose. Their purpose is central and their future is shaped towards the achievement of that purpose.
The Foundation has once again embarked on a journey to find those individuals who sense a bigger purpose for their lives and who want to help shape our collective futures. This year we are challenging Grade 12 and 1st year university students to take up the challenge and Shape Your Future. Shaping the future alongside the Foundation requires the following: Education, Ethics, Effort and Experience, all housed within the Allan Gray Fellowship opportunity.
So, do you have a growth mindset? Are you up for the challenge to change the future of Southern Africa through societal and economic transformation? Have you got what it takes to Shape Your Future? Visit our website to find out how you can Shape Your Future with an Allan Gray Fellowship .