Germany, like Brazil, is Liberia’s good friend, too. Indeed Deutschland is one of our country‘s oldest friends. For it was the Hanseatic States, mostly Germanic, that became in the 1850s and 60s, the second group, after Great Britain, to recognize Liberia’s sovereignty.Germany later became our leading trading partner, buying and exporting Liberian agricultural produce to Europe and elsewhere. By the 1940s there was a German Legation in Monrovia, situated on Capitol Hill, where the University of Liberia’s main campus is located. At that point, too, most of the medical doctors in the country were German. Unfortunately, Hitler, the Nazi German Chancellor, in the late 1930s started World War II, leading Liberia, following the United States, to declare war on Germany in 1945. The Germans had to leave Liberia, plunging the nation into great financial and medical difficulty.But following the end of the war, the two countries regained their friendship under President W.V.S. Tubman and German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer.And remember that soon, the smart, industrious, hardworking and highly disciplined Germans bounced back, before the end of the 1950s, as one of the world’s leading industrial powers. Of course, they did it with American aid. The Americans, magnanimous (high-minded, generous) in victory, initiated the Marshall Plan, making available to Europe and Japan, devastated in war, billions of US dollars to rebuild their cities and industries. The disciplined, hardworking, patriotic and smart Germans put the Marshall Plan money TO GOOD USE, and soon Germany was competing with the very United States in industrial might. Ever heard of the Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen and Audi vehicles? These German-made cars soon started outselling American automobiles. Ever heard of Siemens, the German industrial giant? They started competing with American industries in everything, including steel products and medical equipment.Let us quickly contrast all of this with Nimba County, and all the other Liberian counties which, for the first time in history, are receiving DIRECT FINANCIAL REWARDS from mining and other concessions operating on their land. Nimba receives from ArcelorMittal US$1.5 million annually, Grand Bassa, US$1 million and Bong US$500,000 in Social Development Funds (SDF). The SDF money was made possible by President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf’s government which made it a provision in each concession agreement. And what are these counties doing with this money? In the case of Nimba and so many other counties receiving their share of the SDF, the money is being squandered by these counties’ very legislators and other officials. Remember how just last week one Nimba legislator—the name is Samuel Kogar—threatened that Nimba County would secede (break away) from Liberia if President Sirleaf touched ONE CENT OF THE SDF to fix the damages inflicted by violent Nimba youth upon ArcelorMittal’s facilities?What have these Nimba people done with their SDF? There is currently a big quarrel among Nimba politicians over these funds, with the legislators up in arms against the Superintendent, who is determined to use the money for the good of the people, and NOT leave it in the hands of the greedy politicians.We confess it’s a long shot to compare the Marshall Plan money and what it did for Germany, etc., and the SDF and what it is doing for Nimba County, etc. But Jesus tells us in the story of the Ten Talents that he or she who makes good use of little will be given much more.On Sunday night, Germany emerged as the victor in the World Cup. Why did they win and how? We have already given the answer. We learned in international politics that Germany, like every other country, has something known as national character—those traits (qualities) by which a country is best known. In the case of Germany, it is DISCIPLINE, HARD WORK, SMARTNESS, THOROUGHNESS, AND PATRIOTISM.In the case of Liberia, what is our national character? Is it discipline? Hard work? Thoroughness? Patriotism? Selflessness? Honesty? Commitment? A strong work ethic? What are the critical characteristics by which Liberians are known?For starts, this is what we learn from Germany’s winning of the World Cup.Had the Nimba youth been disciplined, smart and patriotic, they would never have done what they did to ArcelorMittal. Had Mr. Kogar and those who think like him been disciplined, smart and patriotic, they would not have backed their youth in their violence.Will we Liberians learn anything from Germany’s victory? We are a people hitherto known to be quicker at copying from others bad, rather than good things. May God grant that this time, every Liberian will reflect soberly on the reasons for Germany’s victory and start emulating their great example.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
When you get into a groove at work, it’s tempting to want it to stay that way. It makes sense — feeling like you understand your role and have mastered your responsibilities bolsters confidence. Why wouldn’t you want to ride that wave for as long as possible? But if you truly want to grow in your career (think: raise, promotion, new job), it’s important to resist complacency. There comes a point at which you’ve got take on the next challenge.Rather than stepping up to tackle more, though, people often make excuses so they don’t have to learn a new skill, take a mentee under their wing or expand their professional horizons. If you’ve found yourself getting too comfortable at work, take note.Here are 5 excuses you may be telling yourself to avoid taking risks at work:1. I’m too busy.You might think it’s not the right time to step outside of your comfort zone, but let’s get real: Is there ever really a good time? At any given moment, there are a dozen different things on your plate, and it becomes all too easy to use these tasks as justification for why you shouldn’t take on something new. Brush your inner procrastinator aside and commit to making a concrete plan that will help you accomplish your objective.In a select few cases (such as if you’re in the middle of a two-week sprint to meet a deadline), it is actually a good idea to hold off for a little bit. But don’t simply say you’ll get around to it when you have time — set up a reminder for yourself to get down to business as soon as things start to slow down.[Related: 9 Work Habits That Could Be Killing Your Chances For A Promotion]2. I don’t want to step on anyone else’s toes.The office politics struggle is real, so it makes sense to try to avoid drama when you can. But if this is one of your excuses to not try something new at work, it holds no water. Unless your goal involves actually vying for somebody else’s job, you’re unlikely to offend any coworkers. In fact, you’ll probably only flatter them if you reach out to express your curiosity about their job and ask to pick their brain. Having a well-rounded background can only benefit you and your company, so don’t be shy.3. I should wait until my boss brings it up.While good managers always have your career development on their radar, they’re not mind readers. You’re the only one who knows where your true passions lie and where you want to go. Therefore, it’s on you to speak up. And hey, bringing up a new idea to your manager is a great way to impress them with your proactivity (maybe even enough for them to offer you that raise you’ve been eyeing!).[Related: Bosses Reveal: 7 Things That Will Get You Promoted This Year]4. I don’t know how.In an age of unprecedented access to information, claiming that you can’t do something because you don’t know how doesn’t really cut it anymore. Beyond reaching out to your current coworkers, you can look up thousands of articles, videos and courses on any given topic you’d want to learn about, from coding to SEO to leadership skills and more. You’re just a Google search away from becoming more marketable — don’t hold back![Related: 6 Skills That Will Get You the Job]5. I’m scared of messing up.When it comes down to it, this is usually at the heart of why people avoid trying something new at work. It’s important to keep in mind, though, that mistakes are a natural part of growth. Everyone has made a mistake at some point in their career and lived to tell the tale. And if you find yourself needing extra support/advice as you navigate a transition into a previously unexplored role, you can always turn to HR, your boss or your mentor.Being scared of trying something new is natural, but, as a cheesy motivational poster might say, “life begins where your comfort zone ends.” Any real progress is made by taking a risk, so drop the excuses and try to accept that those feelings of nervousness as just a sign of greater things to come. Before you know it, your new initiative will become second nature — and you’ll be that much better off because of it.DISCOVER: See Open Jobs Hiring In Your Area Today!
10 Amazing Companies You Can Apply to in Less Than Two Minutes If there’s one thing I could take back with me from the Harry Potter universe, it wouldn’t be a magic wand, or a flying broomstick, or even those delicious-sounding chocolate frogs. It would, without a doubt, be Hermione Granger’s time-turner. (For those of you who aren’t as big of geeks as I am, a time-turner is an hourglass-shaped device that lets you turn back time.) Just think of all of the applications it could have in the workplace: you could prep for meetings at a moment’s notice, re-do that presentation you flubbed, and actually head home at a reasonable hour every day. Alas, this is the real world — and as wonderful as they sound, time-turners are just a work of fiction.But while magical time-travel may not exist (at least not yet — get on it, scientists!), there are still a number of strategies you can use to get more time back in your day. We chatted with personal productivity expert Peggy Duncan to get some of her best tips. Try some of these on for size, and the results might just be magical.1) Analyze“The biggest time management mistake people make is not realizing how much time they waste,” Duncan says. So before you go making radical changes to your day-to-day routine, make sure you take a look at how you’re actually spending your time. Duncan recommends that you “keep a time log and track every minute for a few days.” Even if you catch yourself goofing off, “be honest with yourself about how you’re spending your time,” Duncan says. You might feel a twinge of guilt after seeing how much of your time is spent on non-essential items, but accurately recording that will only help you see where you can make improvements moving forward.The One Productivity Hack Intuit’s Sherry Whiteley Swears By2) SystematizeAfter you’ve conducted an internal audit of your time management, it’s time to see where you can shake thing up to streamline things moving forward. You can “get back weeks by not working the same way you always have,” Duncan says. “Spend time figuring out better ways to get everything done,” she recommends. “What steps are unnecessary? Is someone else doing it a different way and finishing faster and with fewer errors? Examine everything you’re doing, write it down, move steps around, and eliminate all wastage.” 3) OrganizeSearching through your drive for a document when you need it, or thumbing through the files on your desk for a handout you need to bring to your next meeting may only take a few minutes at a time, but those small increments definitely add up. And together, they can be a major time suck out of your day.“Save hours a day by creating paper, computer, inbox, etc., filing systems so you can find anything you need the instant you need it,” Duncan says. “Purge what you don’t need, and create a system for the things you keep that puts like items together.”Believe it or not, Duncan recommends that you start with your clothes closet. While that may not be directly related to work, it does have the potential to help you arrive at the office earlier and ready to tackle the day. Some notable entrepreneurs even go so far as to wear the same thing every day to reduce the chaos of getting ready in the morning — although for the average office-goer, you probably don’t need to go to such extreme measures: a tidy closet should suffice.7 Ways To Deal With Too Many Emails4) PrioritizeOn any given day, you probably have a dozen plus tasks that you want to get done — but remember, not all tasks are created equal. While it might be nice to cross off all of the items on your to-do list, the reality is that there are probably some that you can hold off on until later. On the other hand, there are almost certainly some that are urgent or time-sensitive. Because of that, one of the most important things you can do to make the most of your time is prioritizing your tasks. “You have to determine what your goals are so you’ll know how you should spend your time. The things you value and need (not want) will take priority,” Duncan says.There are different ways you can figure out how to make this work for you, but I’ll offer my own little tip. On my to-do list, I list items from top to bottom in order of their priority. Bold means I need to work on them today, and an asterisk means they need to be done today. While I’m by no means a productivity expert myself, this has really helped me figure out where my time is best spent.5) ComputerizeMost of us use a variety of software programs each day — but can you really say you’ve mastered the ones you use most frequently? While software is designed to make our lives easier, it may just be adding an additional hurdle if you haven’t learned how to truly use yours effectively. But “if you learn how to use the software you touch every day, you’ll finish everything at least six times quicker,” Duncan says. No matter what software you’re using, there’s almost always some sort of resource to help you get the most out of it, whether that’s a series of blog posts, videos, webinars, etc. If you really want to go the extra mile, you may even want to reach out to your customer service rep to see if they can offer any hands-on training.“You might have to give up a weekend or three to get this done, but you’ll get all that time back and feel better every day going forward,” Duncan says. “And unlike dieting or exercising, the results from all these things are immediate!”