99FM – Your Inspiration Station

Self Awareness – Fannes Namhunya on why we shouldn’t take it personally


MYD: What is your take on taking things personally?

FN: We are brought up in a culture where we don’t go into children’s minds, to where critical thinking occurs.

I teach children to think rationally, to understand that they are citizens of the world, and that every individual has got his or her own space in the world. Don’t take what other people say personally – that is just their opinion and should not become your inner boundaries.

MYD: It always comes back to self-awareness. For children, how does it affect their development?

FN: You find specific individuals that you are attracted to because they are cultured. They demonstrate that they come from homes where there is discipline, where there is teaching. They tend to be very resistant to influence. They end up being role models to others in class and leaders when they are in the senior grades.

I can tell you from my experience as a teacher that life skills are very powerful in shaping the minds of children and for teaching them self-awareness. 

Those children that take things personally, especially criticism that makes them feel unwanted or rejected, do not know themselves. They don’t know that their destiny is their own.

MYD: How did you become the inspirational man that you are?

FN: My father always taught me that one day I could become a leader. I realized that leadership does not mean that you have to become a politician; you don’t have to be a football player. Leadership depends on your passion. Growing up, I like challenging questions that brought up aspects of critical thinking. 

MYD: How do you avoid taking criticism personally?

FN: When you start excelling as an ordinary teacher, it becomes a problem for your colleagues because they think you are taking the shine. This attitude is something that is breaking down the education system because young people will find teachers who are negative, even though they are mandated by the state to make a difference in those young people’s lives. 

But I never took anything personally, and this is a lesson that I share. I teach people to be confident, and that they are individuals in their own right.

I take criticism positively, I take it as it comes. I teach people to filter information by asking if these are just people’s personal opinions or if they are actually true.

Learn from what they are saying. Is it true? And if it’s true, does it bother me? Will it change my life in any way? Remember that without criticism, it’s very difficult to grow.