Please note that this letter is partially a sequel to “A letter to myself from the Future Year 204X” Though this letter can be read standalone, it might help to read the first letter, link is https://sundiatapost.com/a-letter-to-myself-from-the-future-year-204x-by-ngozi-bell/
Ahhhh, where do I begin? I read your letter over and over. I read it to friends and family. I posted it for many to read. I must confess, I scoffed at my boldness in sharing my private knowledge of the future with the public but, I quickly realised it was for one reason. That reason is hope.
Ngozi, I have struggled to define this hope, though I have been holding on to it and seeing others do the same, while simultaneously understanding the dejected stance of others. Approximately, a week ago, I was asked to give a keynote speech to some global technocrats from all fields of technology. My preparation was harried because I had somehow forgotten about it. I eventually made it, but a couple of days later, my dear friend Lina sent me a message, saying she was sorry to have missed the keynote because the posting showed up for her a day late. As we chatted back and forth I wondered if what I had or how I had said my speech mattered even a little. Would it be worth it to have Lina hear it?
I had deposited a message into the minds of a global audience, had I reached their hearts? Did what I say make a difference…will it eventually? Ngozi, every time, I am a provider of information, the same thoughts creep up.
As for your letter, it impacted me tremendously, the cascade of hope it brought, made me determined to make it to your future.
By the way partly because of you, I now have my definition for hope because, it is happening to me. This is it: “Hope is the anchor of the natural to the supernatural”. It is this spectacular phenomenon of anchoring, that allows hope to become the vehicle to new life and possibilities. To believe in and expect what your letter showed me.
Check this out NG, the earth’s distance from the sun is 149,600,000 km or 94,419,000 miles; a few degrees closer, we and all lifeforms disintegrate, a few degrees farther, we all freeze. The earth’s axis is tilted a perfect 23.5 degrees from the plane of its orbit around the sun, this allows for equal global distribution of the sun’s rays. This makes the food chain possible! There is a perfect mix of oxygen (20.95%) and nitrogen (78.09%) in the atmosphere that allows life flourish, no other planet has this combination. While with science, we can explain the what of all these phenomena, the why it is so in the first place, is the miracle, that anchors the natural to the supernatural. This is the demonstration of the outcome that belies true hope! This is what your letter has given me, Ngozi.
You mentioned Orogwe, I long to be there now, shutting my eyes to imagine you again, the saying, “Igbo e nwe eze”, floats across my mind, jolting me back to present day Nigeria. By the way, I was stoked to read your subtle reference to the Nigerian people of the future. I want to learn more; I need to know more. I was talking to Ambassador Mathis the other day on that phrase and by knee jerk response, spoke to him in Engiligbo saying, “but Ndigbo nwere otutu eze nau” like Eze Owere, Eze Arochukwu, Eze Onitsha, Eze Nsukka, Eze Ngwa, Eze Awka and numerous Obi’s na Nze, na Igwe…. Ngozi nwanem, Ambassador Mathis, e’mepe onu, mepe anya, lee m’anya…then wee juo m shi “are you speaking to me?”. I said to him almost stammering, “I apologise Ambassador, but Igbo people have kings, not one, many, they believe in the rule of kingship and chieftain and all the protocols that come with it…. but…but Igbo people have no stooges, no plebeians or agreeable, one mind mass of people, perhaps it should be “Igbo e nwe ohu” I replied. Ambassador Mathis looked at me and said …” I guess” …. then after what seemed like a long pause, he finished with “yes, yes. I agree”. I get it. People want to be their own person, not one dictated to them…it is a basic human right…isn’t it” …to that I said “yes!”
Ngozi, let me tell you about my speech, at least a part of it. It is titled “Relevant Leadership” I am paraphrasing; the title is much longer. I will be giving a version of it later tonight at the capitol! You see, ever since I grasped my definition for Hope, I have been on a spree to revamp my life around it, because if I don’t, I would be overwhelmed with what is happening in Nigeria, the US, or what persists in the middle East, as well as other corners of Africa, Europe, and Asia. What of Appalachia, or in the inner cities, suburbs and the rural areas, the desert lands and the everglades, there seems to be trouble everywhere. I could not imagine what your letter describes about Africa in your reality of the future, a place that time and activities have erected a chasm between us.
Today, once again, I heard the many narratives on world and local politics, the state of Nigeria, and all the unrest, the loss of life and hope. The partisan and the publicist, the half bake remedies including the undemocratic ideas. I have heard from those who want to rewrite history, or who listen without hearing. Those who snatch Hope from the hearts of many and so many in between. However, Ngozi, despite all that, I hear the whispers of possibilities, of solutions, of engagement without gimmicks, of truth and hope. Therefore, I know that Hope, the Hope I profess must anchor the natural state of today to the supernatural state of the future you describe. So that I with many can hold on long enough to be united to you.
Here is a small part of that speech given last week and to be given again later tonight.
Excerpts of the speech ‘…………Relevant Leadership”
Relevant leadership is the art and science of applying influences, to maximise converging efforts, that create a desired outcome or a series of desired outcomes!
The science of it – is systematic, observatory, empirical and experimental
The art of it – is anecdotal, experiential, expressive, visual, and emotional
Relevant leadership must demonstratively have perpetual capacity!
Relevant leadership must be sticky not leaky, not stale!
- Sticky leadership requires an unbridled ability to lead! – Meaning it must not be compromised
- Sticky leadership – must be relevant and fresh – it must apply to our now, your now, our collective NOW all at once! You see, once the conditions of leadership are stale, it is no longer relevant leadership!
Relevant leadership harnesses the power of uncertainty
A leader must understand uncertainty and how to harness its power. The power of uncertainty is its unfailing ability to create unanticipated change. This is where leadership can come to thrive (become relevant) or be disrobed (become obsolete)!
Uncertainty does three things:
- Uncertainty lays bare vulnerabilities, and vulnerabilities in turn produce resilience (power) or disintegration (failure or disrobement). How you respond to uncertainty can determine whether you lead strong or weak.
- Uncertainty enables new accommodations, new accommodations in turn, support growth/advancement (power) or a retreat (which is failure or disrobement) –
- Uncertainty breeds change, change that employs and deploys expertise and hope, or change that employs and deploys hopelessness and loss.
Phew!! I wish I could share more…what do you think….is it a at least a little good? There is so much more including illustrations. I must go, Ambassador Mathis and the crew are waiting.
The thought on my heart at this moment is that the invisible things of God are laid bare within His creation, so if there is a design, there is a designer, if there is a plan, there is a planner and if there is a miracle, there is a GOD! So Ngozi, I am confident that the Hope I’m experiencing in this moment, expresses itself with miracles!!!
NG, as we drive down the beltway, leaving the Chesapeake, the Potomac now in view, I imagine the tidal waves as the sun seems to duck away beneath hazy skies; almost simultaneously, I see the moon and the sun play “peek a boo”. How ironic it is, that the moon controls the tide I hear my mind telling me, the tide, that great maid that cleans the oceans, dragging impurities into the depths of the ocean, acting with fervency as nature’s perpetual recycling engine. I imagine stars dancing in the skies like celestial evangels and Venus announcing the impending dusk.
As we run up the stairs of the capitol building, an usual day in June, with the chill of a November fall day, I turned around and saw that Ambassador Mathis had stopped coming along and was about to start the descent down the same steps, but just as sharply, he turned to me and smiled widely and in his distinct drawl, he said “say it like Ngozi”, I guess a play on “bend it like Beckham”. I was not completely sure what to make of it, but I knew deep down inside that if I passed the test I would know.
I turned and ran the rest of the way up determined to “say it like Ngozi” …for whatever that means, as I approached the landing I begin to see in the distance, Asogu, Bonnie, Ursula, Youssef, Ngozi, Bill, Don, Lukman, Yami, Kamala, Huang, Shie-Ho, Angela, Megan, Nkanem, Robert, Sundar, Nancy, Bill, Kristalina, Christian, Alicia, Chi, Bassey, Muazu, Tony, Aliko, Patrice, Ajose, Tayo, Narendra, Yo-Yo, Jessica, Mark, Michelle, Itin, Shola, Zaneta, Kamchan, Abubakar, Ani, Charles, James, Dwane, Emeka, Adaora, Ariye, Nuri, Aliyu, Oprah, Naomi, Gbemi, Elon, Ayush, Michael, Kechi, Ari, Tunji, Musa, Judith, Okez, Opal, Alicia, Joe, Bilkisu, Chidi, Udo, Moses, IJ, Imina, Chi, Anthony, Edmund, Mackenzie, Ada, Tyler, Barak,….there are so many faces, the names come and just as quickly move on in my mind…I am overwhelmed at the participants, There are artists, scientists, influencers, leaders, captains of industries, civil society, advocates, the uber rich, the modestly rich and the not rich at all, here together….as I move further into the main atrium, up the Dias, a lone tear pushes past my lashes hitting my silk top with a thud. I open my mouth and start with “hello everyone, thank you for this opportunity, thank you for your ears and time”, I pause briefly, then continue with “my topic today is……”. First how do I begin…how do I speak to such an honorable, diverse, accomplished, and attentive group……, then I hear myself say “so, to be a Relevant Leader, ask yourself, who was I yesterday, who am I today, and who must I be tomorrow, then decide and act, for now you know!” I look up at the sea of eyes some live, many on screens, watching me in acknowledgement, and as they stand as though in orchestrated unison, I knew in that instance that I had done it like Mathis asked me to…. I said it like Ngozi…whatever that meant! Hopefully, they all got me…. What I know for sure though, is that I have made a deposit to the future you vividly shared!
About Ngozi Bell
Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C. Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, IoT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work
experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder and cofounder of several enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).