Just finished watching an hour-long interview with K’naan, the Somali-Canadian hip-hop artist made well known by the Waving Flag. I was touched by his story of survival – having been born in Somalia, which he calls “the land of poetry” and getting caught in the war while he was young. He was lucky to get into the last flight out of the war-torn Mogadishu to get to Canada as a refugee. But as a teenager torn between the culture of the Somali silo in Toronto and the Canadian way of life, he spent years in and out of prison and witnessed the death of his eight friends by gang wars and suicide. Asked how he survived and became successful with his music in spite of his violent and oppressive past, he said: “I had a dream.” He just felt that he had something in him that is meant to be good and successful at something. “I did not give up on myself.” What this story really tells me is the triumph of the human spirit and how it glimmers all the more brightly from situations of oppression, poverty, war and struggle.
This is much like our work and career. When you hate your job and you don’t like what you’re doing day in and day out, you feel your spirit is being oppressed. It feels like there is something in you that wants to come out and be free. You’d have to listen to that and find out what it is that you really want to do. Who do you want to become? K’naan said that when the Wavin Flag was being recorded by so many artists for the Haiti campaign, he just sat in one corner in awe. He could not believe that what he wrote in one of the quiet moments of his life is something that would come out this big and that the world would love to listen to. Well, I say you’d never know what would come out of something you do that you thought might be “small or insignificant”. Maybe it’s time to discover your little talents and let them come out and shine.