Real wisdom is built on humility
"Let us not compete about the gravity of our problems," is the sobering line I use to bring order to the most desperate people who seek my inconsequential intervention.
I was once a victim of self-pity and a dire lack of self-esteem.
Most of us are often guilty of deliberately drowning ourselves in the challenges that life presents every day. It is imperative therefore that we draw the disciplinary line as early as possible in our interaction.
As I celebrated Nelson Mandela International Day last Sunday, this profound thought recurred in my battered mind for the whole day.
It is all very well for all of us to make a conscious attempt to change this corrupt, morally stricken and drugged world.
However, the truth of the matter is that the easiest way to change anything, any situation, is the desire and the commitment to changing oneself.
I am always embarrassed by people who have all these great ideas, visions and strategies about how things could be better, when that learned individual is not on speaking terms with his own sister, or uncle or neighbour.
You might find my thinking too simplistic.
Almost a decade ago I learnt two attributes from Madiba himself.
He had called me to an urgent meeting at his residence in Cape Town.
In concluding our discussion, in the presence of Professor Jakes Gerwel, Madiba said sternly and I quote: "Luckily I understand your issues and I will work extremely hard to resolve them but I must impress upon you, my son, that the absence of simplicity and humility in your approach concerns me."
Needless to say, I have since included more patience in most of the things I do.
The greatest lesson I learnt, one that might also be useful to you and to people living with HIV generally, is that the simplest solutions and adjustments to our individual lifestyles can have the biggest effect on anything that sounds and appears mountainous.
Moving forward, let us be encouraged, as I have been, to dedicate 67 minutes to ensuring that the backyard of our own souls is clean before we can make a difference elsewhere.