By: Kgabo Chuene
The other day my friend and I were discussing the idea that we feel there aren’t enough hours in a day for all that we’d like to do. I’m pretty sure we all feel this way at some point; it makes you wonder how some people do it. What is the key to maximising ones time? Lol! That sounds like a self help book title. Truth is there really are people who use time so efficiently in their lives it almost looks like they’re a special kind of human.
I then thought about Musa Mthombeni and how he does his life. Many of you will know him from his Yo-TV days. A lot more came after that but I’m really fascinated about the time he was doing other entertainment gigs while he was a full time medical student at Wits. I have no idea how he was still able to graduate in record time while he was still rocking other parts of his life especially as a public figure.
Just to put things into perspective: When Musa started varsity he was still a part of Yo-TV, while he was still doing that he had an active res life, participating in sport and later even becoming a member of the house committee. As he progressed through his degree he left the kiddies show behind and went on to became a part of the campus radio station, Voice of Wits and later went on to join Yfm where he had a graveyard slot. While this was happening he was also doing MC gigs and judging some competitions on the side. Did I mention that he was a full time medical student? This means that during all of that he had to make time to study and on top of that towards the end of the degree, he’d need to show up for hospital call times, wide awake enough to not stick needles in places they shouldn’t go.
I had an opportunity to chat to him just to shed some light on what a typical day in the life of Musa “Moousse” Mthombeni would look like. A typical day for him would start at 2am with the radio slot and it was go time from there. Doing all of that, I wondered if he ever got a chance to sleep.
I put together some questions to help some of us with what we can do differently to make room to do more in our lives.
- Tell us about yourself
“I absolutely love life!” he said enthusiastically. As if he wasn’t (as they say in medical terms ‘post call’). “I’m outgoing but not really; not wild; I enjoy being alone but I also enjoy people. What you see is what you get. I’m always happy” at this point I interrupt to enquire about how he could possibly always be happy, to which he responded: “I don’t have a bad day, unless I’m on hectic medication and I’m physically drained”
- Do you think you’ve been lucky?
I had to elaborate on this one. I explained that people like Oprah believe that opportunity has to be met by preparation and that I wanted to know if he believes that his life had been a result of some sort of luck. “I’ve never had a ‘no’ attitude. Growing up I’ve always had a ‘yes’ attitude. From when I was young if someone said lets go to auditions I said yes. I pretty much just accepted opportunities” He went on to explain that saying yes to opportunities doesn’t mean that things always work out though, “…sometimes you’re met with a no and you just try the next thing”.
- What kind of decisions do you find difficult to make?
“I find that I struggle with having to make future decisions. I mean one can plan the best way possible but it’s all based on too many unknown things” I couldn’t agree more, I find I struggle with committing to what feels like a permanent decision for an unknown future.
- What motivates you?
“The ideal life I want” He mentioned having a wife and kids and some dogs. “I find a reason to do the plans for the day; the idea of showing up. I feel my dreams aren’t that far off from me.”
- If you could go back 10 years, what would you do differently?
Musa started his entertainment career about 12 years ago. “I would take some opportunities I didn’t take because of fear, I would’ve said yes a lot more, opened my mind more, beyond what I knew as normal.” This particularly spoke to me, it’s so easy to get comfortable in our strengths and neglect pushing the unfamiliar boundaries.
- What did you have to forgo?
“The social stuff takes a blow, either by not showing up at all or having to leave early. We all have the same clock, I realised very quickly in my life that I had to prioritise because I started working young so I had responsibilities early on”. I then asked him if his friends stuck around, “I’m glad to have friends that aren’t naggy. They understood when I couldn’t show up or when I’d have to leave”
- How would you define success?
“Success to me is to be happy and everyone knows what happy is to them” He went on to express that he was not necessarily talking about the feeling. “I mean in all spheres of my life. Doing things that motivate you to get up and show up.”
I then asked him what quote or mantra he lives by and he said simply, “Do what makes you happy.”
There’s a lot to learn here. I for one have too many moments of having planned things and not stuck to them, I think a good place to start is developing a discipline to do what one knows they are meant to do at the time which it’s meant to be done. A kind of discipline that allows me to stop mid sentence and go do the things that I’ve scheduled for that time. Let’s develop a culture of “scheduling our priorities” vs. “prioritising our schedules.” So that every single thing that goes on our to-do list are important and are key contributors to where we want to eventually get to in life.