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When I was younger, I wanted to be a recording artist, and so wrote numerous songs – I even did a demo in a musical studio. A refrain in one of my songs was, “life itself is a teacher. Your experiences will be your guide.” In my youthfulness, I wrote certain lyrics, not knowing the very depth of what I said, but today, I am beginning to understand better. In the past 12 weeks or so, I have learned twists and shifts, breaks and brakes, and parallels and inexplicable true life dramas. I have also learned to be more accommodating in terms of taking the heats and hits, without daring an eye for an eye. One massive strength I have added to my little pouch is to laugh when I should be crying. It has dawn on me that the laughter of a hurt man is crazy – you wouldn’t know until you’re there.

When those who command the very conspicuous presence in a status quo tell you that you’re heading nowhere, believe me, in all honesty, except you aren’t made of clay, you are almost 100% heading nowhere. When those whose only agenda is to make life miserable for you, tell you that the definition of white will be turned to black, take it or leave it, their intent can become an unbelievable possibility if you stupidly call them bluff. Intelligence is misfit when before truth, deception gets enthroned and endowed with emperor’s new clothes. I have seen that there’ll be a war, there’ll be a fight – there would even be vacuum in a tightly packed space, because when the flame is inspired, only those with truth in their hearts and the determination to insist on it will emerge. You’ll be stabbed, you’ll be denied, you’ll be led mid-sea and abandoned by your very own; life will become far more mysterious than Bermuda triangle, but until you go with your inner conviction and stand by it, you’ll effervesce like a gas in a fizzy drink.

Life begins on a gold street. With open arms, new births are celebrated, until the scorching sun begins to rise. What makes an adult isn’t the expansion of the cells or their multiplication as they divide, but the ability to withstand a change in environment, circumstances and perceptions. Hell will break loose. Heavens will fall and sometimes crash on you. The earth, out of rage, will pump floods from beneath, but your resolve to stand your ground and refusal to be swept away by riotous situations will steady your feet on the pedals as you cycle to your place of destiny.

As you walk through the entrance, make no hasty conclusion that what lies within is a bed of roses – roses only grow after a fight. The earth wrestles the seeds of roses; it kills them and makes them decay. As they decay, the ones without vision die, while those who see beyond the immediate predicament dream, and as they do, they turn their wastes into scents. To them, what people call stink become their unique selling points. So, when people say you can only smell foul, do you believe them, or do you get up from decadence and prove that within your stench lies a sweet aroma; a high value perfume only purchasable by those who recognize and admire treasures?

In 12 weeks, I was battered, while some chose to barter me. In 12 weeks, I was given names I never imagined. In 12 weeks, many threw the gauntlet. Also, in 12 weeks, my mother and late father’s antecedents were rewritten by mischievous ghost writers. In 12 weeks, from a genuine child, I was considered an impostor. It was my longest 12 weeks ever. But also in 12 weeks, I proved that I can take whatever is thrown at me and make a hero out of it because whatever they threw made me stronger, but made them weaker. Today, they portray every symptom of weakness – they swear, they curse, they abuse, they become more and more childish…

I have learned the difference between responsibility and opportunity. I have tested my faith to see if it really works. My motives have also been taken through the fiery furnace. With my naked eyes, I saw the hit man, but never got scared. I walked through the valley of the shadow of death. I am not naive, I am vigilant. Today, I know the true meaning of unusual silence; it does not amount to capitulation – the dragon only gives up when it is compulsorily made to visit hell. Until then, my eyes become larger and the light they shine can be seen.

Great customs stand for truth, and for this, I am grateful. I am a beneficiary of great men who were unbending in their convictions in spite of plethora of abuses. I have redefined greatness – it isn’t popularity, it isn’t the amount of money in the bank account, it isn’t being a super orator or speaking with subtle rhetoric; it is simply standing where justice and truth make their home.

When people say you can’t, say you can by being who you are. Bernard M. Baruch says, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”   As you journey through this hemisphere called earth, you’ll encounter countless number of people who mind and just a handful who don’t. Many who mind, do mind, not because it is their business, and not because they have anything specific to benefit, but simply as a result of not wanting you to be. If you cower because someone doesn’t want you to be who you were born to be, you’ll never be. To be, you must be in the right direction – no cheating, no faking, no waywardness, and no stupidity. Besides being in the right direction, you mustn’t allow yourself to be manipulated. Manipulators want to take charge of your destiny, control you, and steer your own ship. The day you say no, that same day, you become evil to them, but insist on no if there’s a need to. Heads will roll when you say no to manipulators; they’ll bully you, threaten you, and call you all sorts, but never give access to manipulators. When you stand your ground, they’ll eventually find their levels.

Again, do your sound check. It means, mind whose voice you listen to. Some people are Jacob speaking with the voice of Esau. These people are worse foes than those you think are your worst enemies. They say you can, but behind you, they say you can’t. When you end up a can, they show up as envious monsters. So, be watchful.

Take control of your destiny, have your own trusted team, and demand accountability. Be also ready to make some concessions because you can’t win all battles, otherwise, you’ll lose the war. Above all, watch your back. Not all followers are with you – some have all forms of weapons behind you. Be wise. Be alert. Be optimistic. They say you can’t, but you can, and you will!

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Ken is a leadership Motivation, Strategy and Personal Development Writer, Blogger and Speaker. He writes for a number of magazines and blogs. He is also a mentor and published author of several books.

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