The reality of life is that it’s not “first come first served –“ it’s the one who desires it most that gets it. If you’re seated, waiting for your turn, the one who came after you, will get it first, and the sad news is that you may never get anything depending on your attitude – what makes you get anything out of this space called earth is your attitude. These days, rewards aren’t based on longevity – they’re based on drive, desire, and determination. If you think rewards are your entitlements, you’ll end up with nothing. There are lots of people born and raised in affluence, who end up as never-do-well, because they felt they were entitled to do well due to their backgrounds. They didn’t see their statuses as privileges, and as typical of privileges, you must be careful of it, otherwise, you’ll lose it – they lost it because they didn’t handle it with caution.
People lose to wrong attitudes. People are hungry because of wrong attitudes. People are unemployed because of wrong attitudes. There’s something you can do, in that very situation you consider to be worthless. If you open your eyes to see, you’ll find something around you, but the problem is if your attitude will let you start with what you see.
I remember many years ago, when I left the university. I was jobless, and because I left home, I was equally hungry. I didn’t deliberately leave home – my mum told me to leave, so I had to relocate from the city we lived to Lagos, Nigeria’s biggest city, where there were job opportunities. At first, I was upset that my mum asked me to leave, but in retrospect, it’s one of the best decisions she’s ever made. If I hadn’t left, I would have still been there till date. Yes, I may have probably gotten a civil service job, but I wouldn’t have known what I know today.
When I left, I settled in my aunt’s house, but a year after, she also asked me to leave. I was mad, and hated her for that. When I look back, and consider the journey I have been through, I’m glad she did, because I would have been so comfortable, but not finding my purpose on earth.
When I left, I didn’t just see hell – I was a complete resident of it – I burned in the hottest flames of life. Looking back, if I hadn’t been in those flames, every bad attitude I had would have remained with me – the flames burned off my mental laziness – the flames burned off my inability to think out of the box – the flames burned out my assumptions that life owes me for giving birth to me, and that I must be paid even if I’m indolent – it burned out the expectation that one day, I’ll be lucky, and become wealthy through luck. Those were terrible attitudes – until in recent years, I didn’t know they were.
The reality of life began to dawn on me, when the first night I was introduced to homelessness, I slept in a mosque. The mosquitoes were excited that night because they virtually drained the whole blood out of my veins. I was cursing and swearing. I was cursing my mum and dad. I cursed, especially my dad for being a nuisance and an absentee father – I felt I should just take a gun, go to Victoria Island where he lived and kill him. I called my mum a weakling, who allowed my father to get away with his nonsensical attitude. I was mad with life, and utterly frustrated, but until in recent years, I didn’t realise it was for my good.
When I saw no other way but to fight or die, I decided the only option was fight. Someone within my neighbourhood linked me up with one of the Ransome-Kuti’s family – Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s cousin. I lived with them for a couple of years. God bless that family.
Mama Kuti won’t give you food, even to her children – she’ll tell you to go and work (I miss her and her husband – the parents I never had – Chief and Mrs. J.B. Ransome-Kuti). If she had fed me, I wouldn’t have fought. There was something inside that needed me to fight. There was something inside me that needed to be killed, and if I had been comfortable, it would have remained alive, and would have destroyed me. So, not growing up in my father’s house where I would have been very comfortable was destined to bring out the best in me.
My fight didn’t stop in Nigeria. My first few years in Britain was cool, and what followed after, isn’t meant for this piece – it was hell. But that was the hell that made me find my purpose. I was born to be a leadership motivation writer and a speaker. I wanted to be a medical doctor, and had all the grades to be – I had As, but I went through hell to discover why I was born – to inspire someone. That’s why I don’t write for money. That’s why I don’t do public speaking for money. I don’t know how to charge for events – I just say, give me whatever you have. Not like I can’t, but something within doesn’t let me. I don’t care about profits – I’m just happy being what I was born to be. To those who take advantage of me, they get punished. By who? I don’t know, but all I know is that if you’re supposed to pay me a thousand dollars, and you pay me fifty, your business just crumbles.
To be who you were born to be, you’ll go through the long road. The road is meant to take away the excesses that came with you at birth – life will prune you to shape if you let it, but you must be determined to go through that road. If you aren’t willing, nothing will force you to – you’ll simply remain where you were born. I was born in Benin, Nigeria. To make life purposeful, I was pushed out of Benin.
Your attitude is what will determine if you’ll come first or last. When I remember the days I was hungry, I ask myself why I didn’t fetch water for people to make money – there were buckets to do it. Why on earth wasn’t I a bus conductor – there was nothing stopping me except me. So, no one starved me – it was me who starved me – it was my wrong attitude. Since I learned that lesson, I can do anything to take care of my family. If you see me sweep the streets in London, you can go ahead and mock – I’m a happy man – it pays the bills – it feeds my kids, and they’re doing so well in school – they’re healthy too.
Don’t die to a wrong attitude. Don’t jump life’s training academy. Put on your drive, desire, and determination. Be shameless. Do what you have to do, to get to where you were born to be. Don’t put money first – it’ll kill your purpose. Do what you can to survive, but don’t put a price on your destiny – it’s priceless. One day, it’ll pay you back, and you’ll be shocked how much it’ll give to you.
God bless you.