My life may be described as before and after 2015. That is the year I started Solutions Barbados in response to then PM Freundel J. Stuart’s instruction. Everyone has a right to speak, but he explained that getting into the political trench was the way to be heard by the Government on economic matters.
I was later informed that I had committed Barbados’ unpardonable sin. I should have joined one of the two established parties instead of starting a new one. PM Stuart did not specify that critical point.
I was informed that my penalty would be to be blacklisted by all organisations controlled by the two established parties in Barbados, including: business and professional organisations, schools, churches, clubs, and the media. I did not believe then that they had such control. Eight years later, despite being out of elective politics since 2020, I am no longer an unbeliever.
Organisations found creative ways to cancel me. For example, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry blocked me from speaking to their members by passing a new regulation that only Members of Parliament could speak to their members about the national economy. Since then, many persons who were never MPs spoke to their members on the national economy, but to my knowledge, I am the only person whom they have enforced this rule against – to this day.
Since I chose this path, I must accept the consequences. However, being cancelled by all secondary schools in Barbados did hurt. In 2015 I received my prize for winning the National Innovation Competition. To my knowledge, I am the only winner who has not been allowed to speak to students at any school in Barbados. The Government never held another National Innovation Competition – so I remain the current winner, albeit blacklisted.
ADVICE FOR STUDENTS.
In the past 8 years, a cohort of students has entered secondary school and graduated. If you were one of them, then allow me to share four important concepts as you transition into adulthood.
First, many people will want to give you advice. You should give them the time to do so, politely listen, and sincerely thank them. However, be careful from whom you accept advice.
Be careful accepting: (i) financial advice from someone still paying a mortgage on their first home or paying rent, (ii) relationship advice from promiscuous persons, and (iii) health advice from unhealthy persons. If their advice is not good enough for them, why should it be good enough for you?
LEARN BY FAILURE.
Second, you are not perfect. However, the more you practise something, the better you will become at doing it. Therefore, you will always fail to meet the measure of perfection, but the magnitude of those failures should reduce with practise. Do not allow your failures to lead to hopelessness. Instead, be encouraged that you will do better at the next opportunity.
In secondary school, I had much difficulty learning – my brain leaked knowledge like a sieve, especially during exams. My parents had to be disappointed with my academic performance during most of my time at Combermere, but they did not show it to me. They allowed me to fail but would not allow me to give up.
My parents encouraged me. When they read my embarrassing end-of-term reports, they would celebrate the rare high marks and always said that I would do better in next term – and I believed them. They are the best. In following their example, let me encourage you to never give up no matter how much difficulty you may have in learning something, or how much you have consistently failed in doing it.
MISERY LOVES COMPANY.
Third, misery loves company. Most people become discouraged by the magnitude of their failures and convince themselves to stop trying to be better. They then tend to envy others who keep trying and discourage them by being rude insulting bullies. Ignore them and remain on the narrow path of improvement.
Fourth, you will get older. There will be changes to your geometry and appearance. You may reduce the risk of unfavourable changes by investing in your future-self. You may do this by: (i) eating healthy food and doing a daily exercise routine to achieve and maintain your ideal weight, and (ii) trusting God and forgiving others.
Healthy food may be purchased and prepared for around $2.50 a plate (eg, one pack of Camellia lentil peas with brown rice, sweet peppers, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, corn and seasoning – using a 1 rice to 2 peas ratio to increase protein). Effective exercise may be done efficiently for one minute each day (eg, men should aim to do 20 deep squats plus 10 chin-ups/pull-ups alternating daily – women should aim for 3 pull-ups).
You trust God by asking Him to forgive you for your failings, and consistently making Him your first priority. You forgive others in the same manner and to the same extent that you want God to forgive you. Despite the admitted challenge, consider forgiving to a standard of entirely – as if it never happened.
- Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at NextParty246@gmail.com