I have often found myself wishing someone had shared with me very early on the principles and instructions for life that I now share with my young friends who are just now having a go at life.
I had no father figure growing up. Though mum did her best in raising me and sending me to school, we never really talked much about preparing for life. Except, that I should be wary of 3 things: money, women, and food.
Having being raised alone by a single mum who had to spend a lot of time working to make ends meet, there was no particular mentor present in my life. Even my teachers weren’t that much interested in the little timid boy that I was growing up. I guess it was only Mr. Ogala, my primary school tutor, who cared, somewhat enthusiastically, about my prospects in the arts. Ironically, I didn’t like the fine arts that much.
My Niece and I…searching?
A very wise woman once expressed a universal truth in the most simple use of words: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Quite eloquent, yes, but that’s something deeply profound to say about our preconceptions. In fact, I think it is so deep in meaning and implications that I find it scary and deserving of our full attention.
I bet it was a critical observation of life that led Anaïs Nin to such a conclusive truth. And if we were to follow suit, am sure we will see the link between our constant transformation and how we see the world around us.
As an example, I once found being gay irritating and a design from the pit of hell. Now my views are hugely reversed. I am now accepting and respectful of my fellow human beings who are gay, even though I still grapple with matters of same-sex copulation.
I have been battered by a series of adverse conditions.
Part of the reason is that I live in a city with a chronically broken system situated in a country with an even more impressive cauldron of mangled governance and institutions.
Among an array of difficulties, my greatest bane was the power supply which was normally erratic, unstable and sometimes none existent on certain special days of the month.
My fellow mainland-Lagosians would know what am talking about, but if you are domiciled elsewhere on the planet, please don’t be alarmed. For us, it’s been like this from the beginning of time – a way of life, so to speak.
And since my business depended heavily on electricity I was increasingly frustrated as duly expected. Buying fuel to power the generator was costing me a lot thereby increasing my cost of production, which in turn ended up affecting my profit margin in the most excruciating way.
I have for long held to the belief that my emotions should be directly under my control. And as inspired by the letters of Paul the Apostle, I choose not to be mastered by my feelings.
Not because they are bad and disgusting. More than anything, they are in themselves natural and normal to have. But, as we all know, if left to run wild, unchecked, we become our worst selves.
Lately, I have been thinking about the idea of getting better and advancing oneself. I realized, again and again, the irrefutable fact that making good decisions and following through with them, sometimes, must require some kind of deliberate preparation. The type necessary to equip us for the attainment of the goals those decisions point to.
Some goals just need a little a bit more attention than just the opportunity of merely lightning up in our heads. From experience, it is quite easy to make decisions in a state of high ecstasy. But afterward, when the euphoria disappears, and we settle into our normal everyday routine, we often find ourselves challenged and unable to execute the determined objective.