My simple definition for life is “have life-striking principles that stands you out above your fears”. It is a “front-up” quote that has kept me going since I realized that I could differentiate what is wrong from what is right. Believing that you can rise high above your fears beats any feeling that you can ever have but what makes it more exciting is having guiding principles that constantly reminds you that you can beat anything that threatens your greatness and success in life.
The reality of life is that when an individual allows his or her fears dictate what path to follow, it tends to take you away from the true events of life. If life really permits that fear should be a determining factor, then we would not have great personalities in the world like Ben Carson, Albert Einstein, Chimaamanda Ngozi Adiichie, Hilary Clinton, Aliko Dangote and a host of others. Imagine if someone like Ben Carson had allowed his fear of “I can’t do it, I am not smart like others” to weigh him down, he would never have written so many books and be known in the world as one of the best if not the best neurosurgeon in the world.
Let us take a look at Chimaamanda Ngozi Adiichie who is making Nigeria known on the global space through her illustrious pen down of Nigerian history and Africa as a whole. At a point in her life, she had a career crisis that she could not tell if she wanted to save lives with a stethoscope as a medical doctor or with a pen as a writer. When she was once interviewed, she spoke about her fear of disappointing her father who she looked up to and was the major reason she ventured into the line of medicine in the first place. Leaving the faculty of sciences for that of arts was a tough decision she had to make, she had to fight her fears of “disappointing her dad to make a niche for herself”. Fortunately for her, her dad was warm to the idea and today, you can attest to the fact that she is not just making her dad proud but the whole of the African continent. Let us try to imagine a life for Chimaamanda as a medical doctor that she never wanted to be, probably filled with depression, unsatisfaction, regrets, sadness and probably always screaming at patients like some doctors in our hospitals do.
Nobody likes the idea of being ignored neither does anyone love the idea of being relegated to the background. The mere thought of just being noticed for a deed, an action, a performance or a word spoken creates a feeling of something I love to refer to as the “stand-out” feeling.
Growing up was quite different for me as a girl-child. My father moved a lot due to the nature of his job, so that means if we were in Lagos today then tomorrow we might be in Enugu or some other state. In a way, it was quite fun having the privilege that most of my age mates did not have to travel round and boast of being to a state or two in all the geographical regions within the country. This means that I have been to Edo state in the south-south region, Lagos in the south-west region, Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi, Anambra in the south-east region, Nasarawa, Benue, Plateau in the North-central region and a host of others. Even though, I was enjoying the privilege of having to travel lots of places, I was missing out on what it felt like to have a social life and hang out with kids my own age. This was due to the fact that daddy’s job did not keep us in a place for more than a year sometimes less than a year and the rule was that if daddy moved then we have to move with him. Daddy is a family man to the core so he upholds the essence, value and features of having a family dearly, so it was difficult maintaining relationship with people I came across because after a year I will leave them. This means that for every year, there was new set of friends for me; I had to abandon friends who I have established memories with only to make new ones that I will abandon later on. It became a cycle that I soon got tired and bored of, I found myself resisting the urge to make new friends because I was scared I will lose them again.
With a resolute mind not to make new friends, I found myself being a loner in my new school not mingling with classmates and listening to that inner voice that keeps saying “don’t make new friends, you are going to lose them again”. So, it was difficult creating a relationship with anyone who was not part of my family; this translated to my relationship with teachers in school that I was secretly nicknamed “Miss Don’t-talk-to-me” in class. The awkwardness of the situation was really bad that I was hardly asked questions in class nor consulted by my peers for assistance in mathematical questions that were proving difficult and I really wanted to help out because I knew the answers but I had already started a war so I had to see it to the end, that is if it has an end.
I hungered for the desire to stand out and not belong to a circle that had me looking like the “Idi Amin” of the junior section of the school. I wanted to create a niche that stood for courage and boldness not timidity and fear, so I came up with an idea that has changed my life for the better. I made new “friends” that will stick by me no matter the circumstances or geographical location, friends that can stand the test of time and never judge me for my actions but comfort me in times of trouble and need. Friends with the power to break boundaries and see beyond one’s weaknesses. These friends gave me hope for a better social and academic life.
Let me introduce you to these friends, courage, boldness and high self-esteem. I decided to abandon “old friends” that had the “personality of fear” in the past and decided to live in my present with new friends who were willing to build my future with me and if we eventually moved, I will be grateful for the opportunity given to me to find my new self. This was evident as my classroom attitude changed as I started answering questions in class and even volunteered to help my classmates with mathematical problems. With time, the girls in class found me interesting to talk with and were comfortable with my presence and included me in their lunch hang out. By the next week, I got my seat changed, thanks to my form counselor who was ever ready to attend to my needs. This gave me a better opportunity to associate with virtually everyone in class and fortunately for me, that was the last time daddy was transferred so I got the chance to keep these new friends of mine and even make more.
Now, note that, you as an individual have to take up the decision to come out of a particular status quo that tends to paint you in the negative light and push people away from you especially those who could have imparted positive features into you. You should not miss out on the good things of life just because you are afraid of loosing a bit of other good things. Imagine how my social life would have been all through my days in secondary school if I had chosen to be relegated to the background by my fear of losing friends or moving to a new environment, I probably would have grown up not having friends, living a solitary life and having the mentality that I would lose anyone I come in contact with; my nickname, “Miss Don’t-talk-to-me” would have probably stuck till I got to the university, there would have never been a social life for me to refer to.
That girl of eleven years decided to “stand-out” and create a different status quo for herself that has seen her through life itself. She chose not to “belong to the circle” that she would have regretted all her life. She decided to be unique, mingle with life and the features of life and allow nature take its course in her life. Today, she is happy with her decisions of not just “standing-out” but being “outstanding”. You can also make that decision as a boy or girl or should I say as a man or woman? Take a stand on how you really want to live your life and reflect positivity wherever you find yourself.
So, will you be in a circle that constricts you or live outside that circle and become a force to reckon with amongst your peers and people around you?
BASED ON TRUE EVENTS DRAFTED