Weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Don’t worry, you can forge one… ~ Welcome to Obinna Onyenali's Blog Welcome to Obinna Onyenali's Blog: Weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Don’t worry, you can forge one…

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weren’t born with a silver spoon in your mouth? Don’t worry, you can forge one…

How to tackle challenges of life
Photo-courtesy: Leopardantiques
Great works are performed not by strength but by perseverance.

Samuel Johnson

We came into the world in different sizes, shapes and destinies. This is the reason why each person’s experience is quite peculiar to him. The Creator had destined that we would be brought out from the wombs that gave birth to us. Left for some people, they would have prayed to be borne by a family that has the wherewithal to provide for all the necessities of life, while others would say, “Oh! I wish I was born in America” and some have gone to the length of cursing their fate as Nigerians, forgetting that there are beggars even on the streets of America. Continue...

To survive in this country, a lot of us have done some odd jobs. Yes, some of us hawked akara (bean cake), moving into nooks and crannies of their local communities shouting ‘Akara di oku!’ (meaning hot akara) to alert their prospective buyers of their presence. As for me, I hawked banana as a little boy to support my family and must admit that I gained my money-making sense and resolute attitude from hawking banana for my nurse-mum, who switched to trading.

Some of us then developed ‘bald head’ from trekking long distances with commodity-filled trays on our heads in the chase of customers. Those days in the East, in the early ‘90s, there were afternoon sessions in primary schools; so in the morning we supported our parents in their businesses and once it got to 11.45am we would start preparing for school. Yes, that was how the situation was. I remember vividly I had a friend then called Cheta. He hawked ukazi (a special leaf for cooking soup) for his mum. We roamed the markets together and once it was time for school we looked out for each other. We were 5 and 6 :)

No matter the hopelessness of your situation in life today, everything is subject to change if you know the principles that govern life. Who would have believed many years ago that a man that had no shoes as a student could become the president of our dear country, Nigeria? That should serve as an inspiration to every youth or adult in this country passing through one challenge or the other.

Life indeed is in phases. I will not think of going to the streets now to hawk banana again because that phase had passed, if you like call it ‘Phase 1’, just as you can’t tell a university graduate to go back to Primary 1. We should learn to manage our current status knowing fully well that it is only a stage and will be exited when the time comes. The beauty of life is that when your ship comes, you will ‘forget’ quickly the hard times.

You have no business trying to impress anybody with your outlandish apparel and personal effects. People are too busy thinking of how to solve their own problems than taking note of your costly wear. In the market place, everybody has his own level. If your level hasn’t gotten to entering a boutique, don’t be ashamed to look for a ‘bend-down-select’ corner across the road. After all shirt na shirt. Buy it, wash it, iron it, and go about your daily business, giving glory to God. Who would arrest you on the road for wearing a fairly used shirt? They won’t even notice it.

One of the major roots of corruption in our society today is people trying to acquire possessions they can’t afford to impress others who don’t care if they exist. You should learn how to live for the moment. ‘Enjoy’ your current status. Many have left such hasty acquisitions in the midst of their years, because their means was dubious. King Solomon called it vanity upon vanity.

There is joy in climbing the ladder of success gradually that a ‘Get-rich-or-die-trying’ demeanour cannot give you. I will be more fulfilled looking back at the days of my patient struggle to make it in life than a conscience haunted daily by the guilt of trying to make it by hook or crook. Thank God for those who had the privilege to be brought up in well-to-do families, but there is no better inspirational story you can tell your children and grand children than telling them how you rose from your lowliness to a dignified status in society. And history is replete with the stories of men and women who rose from obscurity to greatness.

For the student struggling to meet up with his/her financial responsibilities, don’t worry; countless people have passed through that path before and today have a beautiful tale to tell. Perseverance, thriftiness, and faith in God are some of the veritable keys to see you through. The habit of saving even little dimes should be cultivated, if don’t want to run around begging people for money.

I also want to mention briefly about acquiring a basic skill even as a student to augment whatever provision you were given from home. The skill might end up becoming a major source of your income in the future. A good number of students have single-handedly trained themselves in school from the proceeds of their small-scale businesses. Talking on this alone can fill a whole article on its own, but let me leave it here.

I will end with this; the writer of Ecclesiastics says there is time for everything in life. There is a time to begin small and manage yourself until you grow big enough to become an inspiration to others. But the question is, “Can you be patient enough to work hard and smart, looking forward to the day you'll harvest the very fruits of your labour?” 
See you at the top…

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