Friday 8 August 2008


While taking stock of my life during the week, I had reasons to compare myself with some of my childhood friends. Presently, some are doing better than me while I’m also doing better than some. A probe into the cause of the variance led to a discovery and I can’t agree more with the Yoruba adage that says “Bi aba ri eni fehin ti, bi ole laari.” (which literally means “Without backing, it‘ll be as if one is lazy.”) I reasoned that some of my childhood friends would have been better than me if only they had the backing I got while growing up and I also reasoned that I would have been better than some too if only I have the backing they’re still enjoying. If truth be told, it’s not easy to strive all by oneself without receiving any support; it’s a lot easier with backing. But, the good news is that anyone can attain a lofty height even without any backing, just that it might take more effort and time. So strivers, don’t give up yet! Hold on! Keep pushing, you can achieve it!

I reiterate that “Bi aba ri eni fehin ti, bi ole laari.” Let me share an experience I had some years back that confronted me with this reality with you. I had the privilege of covering (as a photographer) the 2005 Glo-CAF Awards in International Conference Centre, Abuja, Nigeria where Samuel Eto'o Fils was awarded the African Player of the Year. At some point during the event, the erstwhile President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, was summoned to the stage to receive a Platinum Award. Also, the Executive Director of Globacom (a fast growing telecommunication firm in Africa) was summoned to the stage to present the Platinum Award to the President. As the young Executive Director of Globacom (who happens to be the son of the founder of the company) mounted the stage, the whole of my body began to shake to the extent that I couldn’t even snap him when he eventually presented the Platinum Award to the President. It suddenly dawned on me that I had a long way to go. Though we are age mates, I knew there was a big difference between the young Executive Director and I: he had already joined the caucus of successful people whereas I was just a wannabe trying to secure bread through photography. I wasn’t lazy and I bet he’s not smarter than me, yet he was ahead of me in all ramifications because of his father’s backing. To be honest, I coveted his position that night. I envied him. I felt so bad, but I didn’t allow the incident to weigh me down. Instead, the incident stirred the giant within me and it marked the beginning of another era in my life. There and then, I swore to be at par with the young Executive Director someday. I not only swore to be at par with him, I also resolved to overtake him someday. And to achieve that, I mapped out a 25 years development plan. I’m still on it and I’ll share the success story someday, just give me time.

So dear striver, you are not alone. I know your pains. I know your struggles. I feel you. I know how discouraging it can be when you have great dreams and plans but without any backing to pull them through. I know how difficult it is to survive with a meager salary, not to even mention saving to fund your plans. I know how demoralizing it can be when you can’t seem to pinpoint something tangible you’ve achieved over a period of time, especially when some of your friends are doing wonderfully well. I know how painful it is to be crawling when you have the capacity to soar. I know all about it friend; believe me, I’ve been there. But, be not dismayed! Cheer up! You may have some limitations right now but you can overcome them with careful planning, hard work and persistence. The future is there as your consolation and you can still attain and retain that lofty height you covet eventually. So, don’t loose focus. Keep pushing!

The start of a race is not as important as the end; the end matters most. Experience has taught me that someone that started well can even end up not reaching the finishing line, not to even mention winning any prize while someone with poor starting can end up clinching gold. So, there’s hope! The fact that you didn’t have a leverage to build on from the start does not mean you cannot reach the very top. Since you’re still breathing and active, you have the opportunity to finish strong. So, critically assess your situation, and then realistically map out a development plan that will serve as your blueprint for achieving your set goals. And then, be committed enough to follow through. I must warn you that it won’t be easy though, but it can be achieved if you endure.

Keep pushing, your struggles will eventually pay off someday. Be strong!

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