More than Motivation

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Tweet from Mubita C. Nawa (@MubitaNawa)

Mubita C. Nawa (@MubitaNawa) tweeted at 11:24 PM on Sun, Feb 22, 2015:
I am not perfect. I never said I was. The only thing perfect about me is that I am a perfect example of an imperfect human being. #Humanity

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Fwd: Mubita here are 11 Lessons from my life as a truck driver

11 Lessons from my life as a Truck Driver

By Mubita C. Nawa

Today I say goodbye to truck driving.

Exactly eight months ago, I became a truck driver. I had no license to drive trucks at the time, but when life gives you lemons you need to learn how to drink lemonade.

There comes a time in your life when you must throw away status, education or any external title and depend on inner values. That is what I did last year in July. I became a truck driver. Not for fun or fame, but for a living. Until today, I have been privately driving commercial trucks between Kasumbalesa borders to as far as Gaborone in Botswana. That is a total driving distance of over 3000 kilometers per trip both ways.

In just a few hours' time today, I will be driving the last truck in my fleet of three truck and trailers for the last time back to its owner as I was leasing all the three trucks. My lessons are listed down below.

Lesson 1: The Beginning is almost always hard. The very first load we made, was so complicated and heart breaking. If it was not for stubbornness I would have died. We loaded maize brand from a miller in Lusaka. It was headed for Francis town in Botswana. They never loaded it well. We had no experience what so ever. While driving the truck to Woodlands to park it overnight for the trip the next morning, the entire load of 1200 25kg bags fell off the trailer around 19:00hrs. It was hell on earth. We blocked four lanes of paved road. The police came. Trouble was brewing. We spent the next two days offloading and reloading the truck. We lacked experience but we made up for it with determination and zeal to learn.

Lesson 2: Hire a young driver. The first driver I hired was Ken (not real name). He was young (this would later haunt me), hardworking and energetic. I traveled with Ken everywhere. I helped him drive especially at night since I had no license at the time. His age and his positive outlook permitted me to control and manage him. Never employ people who forget who is the boss.

Lesson 3: Don't grow too fast. We were leasing our first truck a UK model 2006 Man Diesel automatic truck. We leased three trailers along the way. But we fell in love with the long flatbed American trailer. Whenever I drove that baby I was king of the road. Driving a truck is by far the most liberating automobile experience of my life. Each trip was fully paid for. People were begging to deposit money into our accounts before we could transport. This was not us chasing money. This was money chasing us. Then I decide to get truck number two. Not only did I get truck number two I got truck number three within a space of three weeks. Now I had two drivers and I was also behind the wheel of the third truck. It was difficult to supervise. Breakdowns set in and indiscipline too on the part of my drivers.

Lesson 4: Don't fear elephants. We were in a convoy going to Botswana one night. Truck drivers enjoy driving at night not for promiscuous reasons but because the roads are cooler therefore the tires on the truck last longer and the trucks just perform 40% better for that reason. We had just past six lions and about a dozen elephants in the national park between Kasani and Nata when one of our trucks blew a middle axle tire on the left side of the trailer. We all knew it was dangerous. But we had two choices; either to sleep and wait till morning or to change the tire and continue with the journey. We never slept. We braved the dark and the wild animals. We found courage to do what had to be done. It was not perfect. It just had to be done.

Lesson 5: Forget your degrees. I rarely talk about my education because I feel it is not that important. But when you start to drive a truck you remember where you did your masters. On one of the trips I drove to Hansy to deliver Maize Brand. On my way back I was empty. I decided to pack the truck along the road to freshen up. I was alone. And my truck got stuck in the shallow sands. I worked my rear so hard that day I only came out six hours later. I had sand everywhere on me. In my pants, my hair, my nose, everywhere air could reach on my body there was sand. When life gives you no options you don't mind the sand. That day I knew I was a man.

Lesson 6: Look cool. We had a policy. Look dirty at night but when it is day smell good, change clothes and look great. We knew we were truck drivers but we didn't have to broadcast it to anyone. We looked good.

Lesson 7: Everything has a purpose. Truck driving taught me so many things. Humility especially. Followed by patience. A truck only goes up to 80km/h legally. You can go up to 90km/h. I used to be a very fast driver before trucking. Not anymore. I am now the most patient driver in Zambia. Thanks to trucks.

Lesson 8: Plan Well. If you are going to buy food at every stop you will not only afford it but you may starve or fall sick. So we carried cooking utensils and pots and charcoal. If you forgot anything you would sleep hungry or waste money. It was up to you.

Lesson 9: Help others. Whenever we drove trucks and found another truck or even just a car parked we stopped to check on them. Trucks are complicated machines that can be notoriously mechanically nonsensical. Life is like that too. Every now and then stop to help someone.

Lesson 10: Call home every now and then. The greatest cost is loss of family time. You are ever gone. On the road. Sometimes I would leave Kazungula border at 6:00pm pass through Lusaka at 04:30am and continue to the Congo boarder so I am there by 17:00hrs. Trucks can have costly deadlines. In the process the cost on family can be very high.

Lesson 11: Stay focused. There are many temptations on the road. I always carried my laptop. Some of the newsletters I have written to you I wrote them while in my truck. I always carried a book to read and pen and paper. My desire to constantly remember that I was not a truck driver but a truck owner kept me going.

Today I return the final truck. It is a bitter sweet moment. I will miss this baby. She has climbed many a hill and carried many a load. I now know how to change truck tires (which is the toughest job on a truck). I know and enjoy driving them. Most of all trucks have taught me so much more about life than life would have ever taught me about trucks. If life gives you lemons, prepare to drink lemonade. I will soon purchase my own fleet and I can't wait to return to the road but on part time basis this time. Maybe once a month or so.

Pay for the Kitwe and Ndola events using MTN and AIRTEL money NOW and receive a 30% discount on your registration fee for the two conferences.
Your registration fee now K70 (save K30) your fee at the event K100
- MTN MONEY to 0963739100
- AIRTEL MONEY to 0971080053

Student Discount for Ndola and Kitwe EVENTS
If you are a student at a College or University or even Secondary school you will receive a 50% discount on the Ndola and Kitwe events this coming weekend. You will need to produce a valid Student ID or a letter of current student enrollment.
We want to encourage more students to attend as well.

Kitwe event is a Crossroads Lodge in Kitwe Parklands Area near Wimpy Sunday 1st March from 14-17:30
Ndola event is Saturday February 28th at Fatmols Lodge opposite Levy Mwanawasa Stadium from 14-17:30hrs

Leadership Materials and books will be available Mubita.

"No one can stop an idea whose time has come."

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Mubita C. Nawa
Author & Life Coach