Take Five! High Five! Give Me Five! These are words that have been carried through airwaves through the centuries. Popularized by young people, these words have been a symbol of celebration. A celebration of victory! When young people win in sport, you will see them giving each other’s palm and say “Take Five!” The sound of their voices and hand clap is magical. The sound comes with enthusiasm. I have drawn from the symbolism of this slogan and the act associated with it, some meaning for victorious living.

I have asked myself, what are these five things they are taking or giving? Of course they must be referring to the five fingers in the hand. The meaning I have drawn though from this slogan is that there are five high things we must continually “take” for us to celebrate victory in our lives. I submit that we must Take Stock, Take a Stand, Take a Step, Take Shape and Take a Seat. From these ‘Takes’ I have derived some principles we can live by.

[1] Take Stock: Gaps unrecognized cannot be evaluated, and gaps unevaluated cannot be eliminated! When one takes stock in a grocery store, one identifies the gaps that exist in the store. Similarly, when you take stock of yourself you recognize the gaps that exist in your life, so you can evaluate them. Evaluated gaps can be eliminated. An evaluated life is worth living. We all have gaps, be they emotional gaps, skills gaps, spiritual gaps, financial gaps, and more. These gaps cannot be eliminated unless they are evaluated. They cannot be evaluated until they are recognized. We recognize them only when we are courageous enough to take stock of our lives. Taking stock does not only show you what you do not have (weaknesses), but also what you do have (strengths). Stock taking also provides insight into potential dangers (threats) and potential advantages (opportunities). Stock taking is the basis of SWOT analysis.

[2] Take a Stand: He who stands for nothing will fall for anything! A 14 year old boy who stands for nothing will fall for anything, including cocaine that gets offered to him. A 16 year old girl who stands for nothing will fall for anything including, a credit card waved in the air by a man. So is a 50 year old who stands for nothing who falls for corruption. If you don’t stand for excellence, you will fall for mediocrity. If you don’t stand for prosperity, you will fall for poverty. Standing for something means having values.

Values are our guiding principles. The principles we live by shape the world we live in. Determine for yourself what you stand for. The things you stand for become your solid foundation for living. When you are rooted in a firm foundation, you will not be tossed around by any wind of doctrine like a double-minded person. As you live your values, you develop a strong backbone for your conviction.

[3] Take a Step: A parking metre is a reminder that it costs money to stand still! It is also a noble saying that, you may be on the right track but you will be run over if you just sit there. You see if you oversleep, your dreams will never come true. To leave foot prints on the sands of history you must take a step towards the future. Those who sit and do nothing only leave bum prints. So take a step towards your destiny. Start with the first step, and the next step will be easy to take. Do not be frightened by the distance to your promised land, just take the first step and watch your confidence grow. If you can’t feed a thousand, feed one.

Every step you take brings you closer to your destiny. Take a step, and say wow! I may not be where I want to be but I’m also where I used to be. Taking a step guarantees progress. There’s a race you must run, there are victories to be won. So take a step!

[4] Take Shape: Shape Up or Ship Out! The world is changing constantly. To stay relevant, we need to manage change. If you don’t manage change, change will mismanage you. The 21st century has not come with promises only, but with challenges as well. We need to develop the ability to modify our behaviour in order to meet the varying changing circumstances. We need to be fast, fluid and flexible. We must also be willing to step out of our comfort zones.

[5] Take a Seat: Get onto the driver’s sit, it’s your life! Don’t leave your happiness and your success in the hands of others. Take charge and be in control. Be responsible and accountable. If you make a mistake, don’t make an excuse because if you do you shall have made another mistake. Moreover, making an excuse may be a way out but never a way forward. Don’t blame others for your failures, because if you do you give up the power to grow. Take Five!



Dr. Tibane is a Human and Organizational Coach, Author and Speaker/Facilitator on Leadership, Change, Strategy & Relationships. He has contributed many writings on self-improvement and business development. He is a regular contributor of Kasibiz Mahala.


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