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Mfonobong Inyang: Building Legacies that Outlive Us

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Being a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the past decade has made me develop an uncanny ability to deconstruct their rich storylines and extrapolate very profound insights. One of such is the evolution of The Incredible Hulk’s character.

From his Origin movie, we see Smash Hulk, a brute beast, freak, erratic, incoherent, and impulsive Bruce Banner, morph into Smart Hulk – a refined, intelligent, tech-savvy, cloth-wearing, and selfie-taking human mutant. On one extreme, he is all brawn. On the other extreme, he is all brains. But in the Avengers Endgame, he combines the best of both worlds!

We’re in a ‘new world’ or a ‘new normal’ as we like to call it, and this pandemic caught us pants down – nobody saw this coming. Just like Bruce Banner, we have to develop hybrid solutions to navigate these times – a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

If your business is brick and mortar, you should also have digital footprints. Do the things can be done only on-site and delegate the rest to the virtual space to be managed remotely. As a business person, I know you’ve got a high Intelligence Quotient (IQ) but now, more than ever, you will be needing a proper grasp of Emotional Intelligence (EI).

I Never Freeze!

That the world is embracing tech more than ever doesn’t mean artificial intelligence will cause us to levitate or that we will start downloading cheeseburgers from the internet. Just like innovation is first a way of thinking before the creation of a product or service, and leadership is, first, influence before occupying a position, the etymology of the word ‘technology’ refers to a process, methodology, or skill-level of doing things – it doesn’t always mean an invention like a smartphone.

Avengers Assemble!

Perhaps your career or business has taken a crash and you’re left with the pieces of what used to be a masterpiece. Trust me, you can still put it back together. Whether you choose to reverse-engineer – meaning to run diagnostics on how you got here and how you can do better going forward, or you choose to pivot – delve into a new path altogether, you ultimately have to recalibrate.

Yes, these times do exact a great toll on us, but it’s also true that the strongest choices require the strongest wills. One of the ways to honour the fallen, especially if you’ve lost anyone to COVID-19, is to do things within the parameters of the prescribed precautionary protocols to stay safe and stay alive. Whatever it takes!

You’re Not Inevitable!

This pandemic isn’t a sprint, rather it’s a marathon. I know most people, just like me, are incurable optimists, but at some point, we must own up to the reality that this Coronavirus will be with us for a while and we just have to learn to live with it.

We can’t tweet this away because it’s not going to magically disappear. Churning out unintelligent conspiracy theories will not help either. Although there is a race to produce the vaccine, medical experts will, however, tell you that clinical trials mostly produce developmental panaceas. Remember that this is a novel virus and the experts are learning on the job. Your best bet against COVID-19 is not contracting it in the first place. Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) like physical distancing, wearing of face masks and washing of hands are small prices to pay for salvation.

Wakanda Forever!

I’ve watched every single movie in the Marvel Franchise since Iron Man debuted in 2008. However, when Black Panther hit the theatres, I saw a superhero I could relate to on a personal level and the late Chadwick Boseman rose up to the occasion with his stellar performance.

“Wakanda Forever” isn’t just a phrase that cries for black cultural representation, but one that captures succinctly the underlying philosophy of the fictional African nation – an enduring legacy. The intentionality of their corporate governance is revealed especially in their foreign policy, this is why the official title of the leader is the ‘King and Protector of Wakanda’. His mandate isn’t just to protect the people and property of their nation, but, more importantly, their philosophy. T’Challa towed this path when he said, “I am not king of all people, I am king of Wakanda!”

This metaphor shows the art of building enduring legacies. His Highness, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, shared in his book, My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence, how a desert was transformed into one of the leading tourism capitals of the world and their plans for the next century. The Rockefeller dynasty is also very influential in today’s world because they have and follow a family masterplan. Whether it’s a career, a family, a business, or a country, we must commit to building legacies that will outlive us. Chadwick’s life and career will certainly outlast him.

The Black Panther said, “in our culture, death is not the end”. Rest in power, Chadwick Boseman, you will always be our king. Wakanda forever!


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