I thought to myself that I sounded bogus when I read the heading again. However, I don’t think it is out of place. And it isn’t bogus.
What I intend to talk about today is what I tell myself daily and I have practiced it and it works. A lot of young people are too vain to care. They mock everything. And they are quick to run to you when you have some flashy jewellery around your neck or you when you drive a posh car.
In this age, you may not need to own such cars. Borrow one. Take a photo in it. Tell them that the good lord has blessed you and you’d receive dozens of mails requesting for your attention. But when someone starts small, he is ignored, insulted and neglected. Sad.
Work remotely but with a global mind, for me, this means ‘having an attitude that is beyond your current social status or work place’, as the case may be. You can be a teacher in a village but you don’t just see yourself as a directionless teacher in an obscure village. You see yourself as part of a global force with aim to eradicate illiteracy, so that when you wake up everyday and look into the mirror, you don’t feel less of yourself, less of the man in a small village in Germany who is doing same or the one with a fine piece of suit in Harvard who laughs through his discussion classes with students. You have to understand that in aim, you are united with everyone in the world who shares your ideals.
This also means, that when you have an opportunity to do menial jobs to survive, it should not be for the sole purpose of buying new sets of clothes or shoes. You must live beyond that. It should not be just to feed either. It should be for a project, a small project that would propel you from your immediate predicament. It means that if you are a mason, you should be aiming at doing it more professionally with some diplomas and to do that, you must save and work towards that goal. If all you work for is just for food and the clothes, you just may remain ignorant for the rest of your life or you may also get stuck.
To advance, you must want it. You must see every opportunity as a window to walk a step closer to that dream. People will only laugh at you and forget about you and your torn clothes whenever you show up in a very enviable car. Your current state of affluence blinds people of your past, especially in Nigeria. When you have made some progress, no one talks about how you never had shoes or clothes or even food to eat. What you have become mutes your detractors. And imagine if you had stayed in the dark because you felt that someone would mock you. Mocks don’t hurt forever. When the right moment comes, those who mocked would apologise and languish in their arrogance.
No one remembers how many miles Steve Jobs walked to get decent meals from relations. We see the Apple products and its efficiency and appreciate the brain behind it. No one cares if Aliko Dangote was thrown of out the house when he was a teenager because he could not afford rents. If such a story exists, we do not care about it. We care about the man who has changed the face of business in Africa. And so should you be. Do not care so much for what would fade. Invest in what would bring forth profit. This could mean an advanced education, learning a skill, traveling and taking parts in humanitarian projects. You must understand that whoever speaks demoralizing words to you must be shamed only through the act of succeeding. You must not trade words. You could succeed and let your achievements speak volumes.
PS: Have you ever been mocked? Share your story.
Bura-Bari Nwilo writes from Port Harcourt, Nigeria.