It appears there are people who have no other interests besides making this world a better place. Such people seem to give their best purposefully regardless of where they find themselves. They do it so effortlessly it is almost as if they do not think about it. Dr. Jonathan Adjamini of the Department of Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology, Faculty of science —University of Ghana is one of such personalities.
We showed up in his office unexpectedly to present him with the recognition award. It was surprise visit of a sort. Nobody had mentioned it to him of course. From the moment we walked into his office it was evident that he was a high impact individual. He was in the middle of a private tutorial with a student. We will soon learn that he keeps a list of non-performing students for special attention. Now that must sound like a simple thing to do until you see the size of the biochemistry class and the host of other things clamoring for his at attention. If you know anything about Ghanaian lecturers, you know he is not the norm.
He gives meaning to high performance. The interesting thing is that he has a whole philosophy to what he does and you know that interests me a great deal. He has decided that in spite of the myriad of challenges he still has an opportunity to brighten his little corner. If you think that sounds like something you hear every day, rest assured; the majority of people who profess this idea do not even come near practice. This man lives the idea.
He pointed out; “I do not need a huge platform or fame to make impact. I can do that here. I believe that if I can come this far, these children can go even further because they have more opportunities than I did. Besides, many of them are actually very intelligent without knowing it. I do what I can to bring it out of them and the result is exciting”. We were told in confidence by some students that it is not unusual for Dr. Adjimani to go out of his way to do things that sometimes puts his hard-earned reputation on the line. He doesn’t just teach, he builds lives.
In the middle of our conversation he dashed to his desk, spent 5 or so minutes looking for a document which he eventually printed out. “Let me show you something” — he handed me what looked like an article from a website. The heading read; Prof. Ada Yonath Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009; for the studies of the Structure and Function of the Ribosome. I do not know what ribosomes are and I frankly have no plans of googling it—these science things give me headaches. But this one was exciting; apparently the good Prof. Yamoth and his team made 25,000 attempts just to make this discovery. You might have heard about Edison and his famously worn-out 999 light bulb attempts. You have my permission to laugh at the difference. These people are on a whole other level; 24 steps up. You have to be out of your mind to want to attempt something 25, 000 times. Prof. Yanoth is clearly not a normal person and they do say like attracts like. I am especially fascinated that Dr. Adjimani was excited about this enough to take time and print out the article for me. It is a demonstration of his performance consciousness. High performance things excite him. I learnt something new—if it excites you, share it.
I still have the article and it is going into a frame that will sit on my desk. Not because I plan to google the ribosome thing but more because I want to see it every time I sit down to work. To say I am inspired will be an understatement. There are those just want to do their best; they are different from those who do it because they want fame and money. Dr. Adjamani of the biochemistry department of the University of Ghana is of the former breed and I was honored to have met him. I rejoice in the fact that there are still men of his kind working in our institutions. Such men and women give me hope by keeping the dream of a better continent alive.
I had to do my very best not to take too much of his time as there were students waiting outside. I really wanted to stay and talk for a while. Dr. Adjamini was nominated into the SPiD-UP® Performance Recognition Program by a former student who is now a practicing dietitian. She thought it was a good way to express her heartfelt gratitude to this seemingly ordinary man doing extra ordinary things in the lives of young people. She told us, “at a point it didn’t look like I was going to make the grades until Dr. Adjimani stepped in to do a little more than he is paid for”. Our conversation with other past and current students revealed that they have all been impacted positively by him and are in fact very fond of him. No one had mentioned this to him until the surprise visit of team SPiD-UP®. Among his many achievements is the authoring of three books in his field that are used in universities across the country. With another book under construction, I could not think of a better way to extend one’s impact.
He epitomizes high performance. For that we celebrate him and his work as well as the institution that thought it was a good idea to hire him. There are people out there doing wonderful work and not getting recognized. At SPiD-UP® we consider this an injustice. Like Dr. Adjimani, they may not be chasing fame and as such, will not indulge in the lobbying and the bribery that many do to gain recognition. This is because such people are selfless—they give without expecting anything in return. Performance theorists have taught us, that such persons are often high performers and Dr. Adjimani exudes the traits. In fact you will find such traits with the likes of Einstein and Tesla.
It is imperative to recognize and celebrate such persons—it is our way of brightening our little corner and making our continent more performance conscious. Look around you; they are everywhere; working, pushing, fixing, growing, impacting and doing above-average things. You can brighten your little corner too by simply nominating them into the SPiD-UP® Performance Recognition Program to show your appreciation. Just like the person who nominated him. Most importantly, let Dr. Adjimani inspire you to give your best wherever you find yourself. He will be speaking at our workshops in the very near future. Be sure to join us then. #SPiD-UP®