For the best experience, open
on your mobile browser or Download our App.

Amanda Van Annan tells us nine life lessons she learnt from her uncle Koffi Annan

When Amanda and I met, it was for a short interview about her visit to India and her upcoming movie project. We started the interview, and when we got to the topic about her famous uncle, her face lit up, and she talked about what an amazing man he was. She also told me about the life lessons she has learned from him and the way he conducts himself, and how these lessons have helped her navigate life's course.

"I would spend summers in NYC with him, and my cousins and the life lessons I learned from him have become a part of my life." I was intrigued and asked her if she would mind sharing these with our readers. She said, "of course, I think they can be helpful to everyone."

Always call a spade a spade. But be diplomatic about it!

My uncle always said things just exactly as they are. He would let you know what he thought or how he felt about a situation. He, however, was also very aware of the person he was speaking to and would never use an accusatory tone. In life, we should be honest to one another. But that said we should be diplomatic about it and try not to be driven by our emotions; this allows us to be upfront without necessarily ruining the relationship.

Stay Positive and keep moving forward:

Everyone thinks this is obvious but can be tough to do. Staying positive can sometimes be so hard, and finding the motivation to keep moving forward may sometimes seem impossible. He believed in staying positive and in continuing to look forward always. Sometimes things may not work out as you planned them, but as long as you are alive and you are positive, there is hope.

Create opportunities for yourself even when they don't exist:

Throughout my life, I had sometimes had to create opportunities for myself, though the road ahead looked bleak. It's a powerful life lesson I learned from him. If you want something, go out and get it. If it does not exist, then create it.

Be Kind:

Not only should you be kind to others, but you should also be kind to yourself. Don't beat yourself down or sell yourself short. Be gentle with yourself even when you want to hit your head on a wall or wallow in your sadness. Also, it is imperative to be kind to others. Kindness is a trait that is never forgotten.

You are never too old to start over:

Up till when my uncle passed away, he was a very active man. Always seeking new challenges and continuously trying to make the world a better place. He attended several youth conferences, focus groups, and governmental think tanks. You are never too old to start over again, don't let someone else's narrative decide yours.

Allow time for family and those you love:

Create your tribe. It is vital in today's world for us to have those we can always look up to and rely on. Even if we do not have family, we should build a network of good friends that act as if! These are people we can trust. We all need a shoulder cry on sometimes. Life can be full of challenges. Make time for those that count in your life. Life is short; you never know when you may need them. Keep your relationship symbiotic. Life is about giving and taking.

Be Humble:

Always to be humble. My uncle never tried to use his power or connections to gain favor. It was somewhat the opposite. He will stay in line, wait his turn, and was never snobbish or rude. This served him very well in his later years. People loved the man he was not who he was.

Be Patient:

Patience is a virtue. Life sometimes has lots of hills and valleys. We have to learn patience. Always try to be patient. My uncle hardly ever raised his voice. He was firm but never brash. Patience is a virtue that we all need. Things do come to those who wait. Stay focused, and be patient.