Yes indeed, persistence and determination is commendable but wisdom is still the principal thing. When you have a goal, obstacles immediately form before you. Even as you break down wall after wall, more walls will spring up. First, be absolutely sure that it is the right wall, then do all you can to break it down. In all thy doing, do not loose yourself.
The day you despise your little achievements, the day you look at where you are and you do not see a reason to be thankful, that is the day you become your own wall. That being said, let me tell you my story, just a part of it.
My father told me many things when I was younger and it was often about my grades. He believed that I was a fast learner and many around me did too (me, I wasn’t feeling so smart😗. I never said so though, I was daddy’s girl and I wanted to push myself to make him happy).
I always thought that offending my father meant getting ‘low grades’. I put that low grades in quote because back then, I did not actually have low grades(that was then though. Time has passed and I have had grades that I am not proud of. But hey, let he who is without sin be the first to cast a stone, I promise to dodge😝), they were just not high enough to meet the standard that we both agreed on.
We had this unspoken rule that I always had to beat my old self or be at tally with it, going lower was unacceptable. So if yesterday was 70%, today must be either 70% or higher. Anything below 70% becomes failure. Do you catch my drift?
As time went on, it became a part of me. I wasn’t doing it for anyone this time, it was for me. There was no external pressure, i had my eyes on something and i pursued it with my everything. No one was to blame but me.
I saw things and took them to heart. I saw people pick up their children with cars, I saw children that never got sent home because of school fees, I saw children that weren’t walking around with worry and gloom hanging over their heads(children that had the luxury of being carefree as children should be), I saw children that never felt a pinch in their stomach, I saw siblings play happily like children should. I saw people living comfortably and I wanted that. I wanted it for me, my siblings and even our future children. I wanted to change my life and the life of those around me and I only knew one way to do that.
I often heard that one had to be born with a silver spoon, have a talent (like a really good voice, something in sports, etc.) or you are book smart for you to truly succeed. Since the first two did not fit who I was, I picked up the third and ran with it like a baton. A baton I kept passing to myself. I was always at every finish line, waiting to collect the baton and continue. Every me I met on the track was even more resolved than the last.
A little girl about to run
I bent the rules a bit and followed it strictly. The rule became that I either beat yesterday or beat yesterday. Being the same was not an option, it was failure in my eyes. Less was punishable by starving. Every time I broke the rule(unintentionally of course)I would feel like I’ve betrayed myself and what I stood for.
I have always believed that if you do not make the most of what you were given, you’re like the man that buried his talent simply because he only had one, unlike his peers that took time to grow theirs. I believed that I had the ability to beat my yesterday(academically). I felt I had what I needed to get what I wanted so every time I failed to do so, I was angry at myself. I do not remember being sad for failing, but i remember a lot of anger and disappointment, the true reason for my tears. That was when I was little so don’t start judging me yet😁. I was thinking like a child would and I thought everyone else thought that way. I truly had a stubborn resolve, one that would put a mule to shame.
A frustrated girl
If you attended a typical Nigerian primary or secondary school, then you’d be familiar with the ritual of everyone comparing test scripts whenever we got them from our teachers. Me, I hated it. I would hide it like my life depended on it😂, and no it’s not because I failed, I just wasn’t proud of any score. Even 100% couldn’t make me happy because I had to beat it later. For me it was an endless circle of competing with myself (for those that I had a sort of competition with in the past, just know that you were probably competing with yourself because I was completely lost in my head😝) that I probably did not even know I was on the road to becoming a thankless, obsessed robot.
Someone once asked me why I was not smiling during the annual speech and prize giving day. I said I was just thinking of how I would miss my classmates. I was about nine or ten then and I was such a good liar. She saw the tear drop on my smile and she probably thought “awww she’ll really miss her friends”. Meanwhile I was counting how many prizes less I got that year😂, i knew it was time to pass the baton to a more determined me. Talk about an unhealthy obsession! Somehow, i always saw my academic cup half empty instead of half full. To think I was the one doing myself and I was just a child(smh😁). Shame on you past self, big shame on you.
Truly I am not proud of my thoughts back then. I really did love God but I kept him as a spectator on the bench. He handed me water when I needed it, he was my medical team when I tumbled and bruised myself on the track, He held me when I cried, He smiled at me when I needed a friend. He understood my fight and cheered me on. Although i am grateful for Him agreeing to sit on the bench and be there for me. I only wonder what my life would have been now if I allowed Him run with me, side by side like He does now. I feel the difference, I see it. I just hope this speaks to someone.
What does failure mean to you as a person? A weak ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ or everything below that? Someone wants a shot at that position that you do not value, someone wants that life you have. This is because we have different measurements for failure. The general term is just that, a general term. What truly affects us is our individual definitions. What is hidden behind our smiles.
To all those that have a burning desire to achieve something. Whatever meaning you’ve carved for yourself, whatever baton you are holding with your life, whatever race you have decided to run, do not loose yourself. Do not run alone. Always remember this;
…it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth but of God that showeth mercyRomans 9:16
For reading this far, i say thank you❤. For showing this to someone that you believe would relate to it, i say you are gold💟. To everyone that was a part of this part of my life and you are still a part of my present, I say thank you💞. Watch out for Part 2 of The Thankless Robot written by a very Thankful human.