A Reflection: You and your words.

A Reflection: You and your words.

One day after attending a church service in London, I spent several hours going through bookshops looking for a bible translation called The Living Bible. There were no Amazon or Internet editions in those days, so I just had to go from shop to shop.

The reason I was looking so determinedly for this translation was because of something that had been preached that morning about the meaning of Matthew 12:35 (based on this translation):

“A good man’s speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it.”

Verse 36, shows us that “words” can be “good or evil treasure,” and they come out of the way you speak or express yourself on any issue.

“. . .The most important part of your life is actually the ability to use words. Words define your life; words define your values. Words define your personality. You are no better than your words; you are no greater than your words. The character of your words is the character of your personality: watch your words.

No man ever got better than his or her words. Your life is the expression, the manifestation, the reflection, of your words. It does not take long to know who you are. All you have to do is talk for a few minutes; this is because your words locate you; they tell where you are at. . .”

This is an extract from the church sermon that led me to search for that bible translation.

How do you speak?

Would others describe you as “evil-hearted” or “good-hearted” because of the choice of words that you use when you speak?

Ever since I read this amazing scripture, I’ve trained myself never to use bad language. I can say everything I ever need to say without piling on insults, and without denigrating the other person.

The Tentmaker saw a man’s heart like a vessel, containing words that are then poured out when the person speaks. That is why King Solomon warned, “Guard what comes out of your heart (through your mouth) because the heart contains the “issues of life” (my paraphrase).

Friends, it matters how you speak. It matters how you express yourself. And this has nothing to do with your religion. You will always get better results if you speak nicely to others, even when you disagree with them totally.

My prayer for you is that you may have a peaceful and prosperous 2016.

# It’s your time, seize it!


Author:Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet, a diversified global telecommunications group with operations and investments in over 15 countries. His business interests also include renewable energy, financial services, media and hospitality. Masiyiwa serves on a number of international boards, including Unilever, Rockefeller Foundation, the Council on Foreign Relations’ Global Advisory Board, the Africa Progress Panel, the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board for Sustainable Energy, Morehouse College, Hilton Foundation's Humanitarian Prize Jury and the Kenjin-Tatsujin International Advisory Council. He is one of the founders, with Sir Richard Branson, of the global think tank, the Carbon War Room, and a founding member of the Global Business Coalition on Education. Masiyiwa took over the Chairmanship of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) from Kofi Annan. He is also Chair of the Micronutrient Initiative, a global organization focused on ending child hunger and improving nutrition. In 2012, Masiyiwa was invited by President Obama to address leaders at the Camp David G-8 Summit on how to increase food production and end hunger in parts of Africa. In 2014, Masiyiwa was selected to Fortune Magazine’s list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”. As a philanthropist, he is a member of the Giving Pledge, and his contributions to education, health and development have been widely recognized. Masiyiwa and his wife finance the Higher Life Foundation, which provides scholarships to over 42,000 African orphans. In 2015, he was the recipient of the International Rescue Committee’s Freedom Award and was presented with a UN Foundation Global Leadership Award for the work of the Africa Against Ebola Solidarity Trust, which he chairs and helped establish to fund the deployment of African healthcare workers to combat the outbreak in West Africa.

25 Replies to “A Reflection: You and your words.”

  1. Afterthought 1.

    There is nothing I disapprove of more than supervisors and managers who shout and scream at their subordinates! I also disapprove of a management style filled with threats. As far as I’m concerned, people who shout and scream, as well as constantly make threats to dismiss or demote a subordinate, are “violent” and “incompetent.” I have no need for such people. These are bad habits passed on from colonial rule when grown men and women were treated as “boys” and “girls”! Let’s not perpetuate such behavior as management; it’s oppression. Always treat others with dignity, even if you are upset with them.

  2. Abubakar writes:

    Halo Mr Strive,am grateful you wrote about this,but I got a question,what if you deal with them kindly and nicely and so they decide to take advantage of it? am asking from experience.thank u sir

    My reply:
    This is a very good question, and one I grappled with for a long time. Remember in 2016, I celebrate 30 years in business, and believe me I have employed a lot of people during that time (directly more than 10,000). As I transitioned from a “command and control” type of management I often feared that people would misunderstand it for weakness and take advantage, and many did, but over time I realized that being effective as a leader had nothing to do with my style but my values. I had to train myself to manage on the basis of my values, which require that I uphold the dignity of the other person.
    For instance when I’m unhappy about something, I tell someone gently but firmly (no shouting, and no screaming, no insults, no denigrating, no threats), If I decide that the only way is for us to part ways (I tell the person; gently but firmly, no shouting, no screaming, no denigrating, no insults).

  3. Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that Guinea is now “Ebola Free”. This means that Ebola has ended in all three countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.
    Once again I would like to congratulate our brothers and sisters in those three nations for their brave fight against this terrible pandemic which killed almost 12,000 people.
    My colleagues and I from the #Africa Against Ebola Trust, which mobilized African support from the Continent and the Diaspora, were truly humbled by the overwhelming support we got from many of you. We estimate that over 150m people joined the campaign in one form or another, and millions made financial donations.
    Next month we will be traveling, as a group to the head quarters of the African Union to formally end our campaign, at a ceremony with the Chair of the African Union, Dr Nkosazana Zuma, who appointed us.
    Well done.
    God bless you all.

  4. Deliwe More, writes:

    This is so true and not only does it apply at corporate environments but everywhere in our lives. The people that work for or with us at home also need not be treated like insignificant beings. Thank you Dr Strive Masiyiwa.

    My reply:
    I totally agree with you as well. People who mistreat domestic help (such as maids) harshly are the worst type of oppressor. Quite often people use their domestic help almost as a punching bag, to deal with their own frustrations at work and in their marriages. This is not acceptable behavior. If you know a friend who does this you must counsel them to stop, because in so doing you also save them in the sight of God.

  5. Mr strive i have been following your posts reading them with all effectiveness but i kindly would like to ask.What if i work as a maid and im being mistreated myself .My employer speaks harsh words at me .What can i do to stop them from doing so because im afraid of loosing my job.Please help.

  6. …Sir i find your teachings rich in wisdom . Sum time last year but one i posted a sum thing i later regretted as i kept track of your teachings i have learnt allot specially “humility” and how to respond calmly thank you sow much

  7. Dear Sir, Happy New Year to you.
    I have tried severally to reach you via the phone numbers on the site both UK & SA.

    Sir, we are putting together the prestigious Nigeria ICT Excellence Awards. We believe that you have contributed immensely and still contributing to ICT development not only in Nigeria but Africa to the world.
    In the awards category this year is the Strive Masiyiwa Award dedicated to a youth innovator.
    We are also hoping you could honor us with a day to speak at a youth in ICT and governance forum we are organizing.

    Sir, kindly oblige me an email to send you a full document.

    Thank you.

    Chi Tola Roberts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Twitter Feed