Today I look around, I interact; I speak with a lot of young people. I’m talking about the Nigerian working youth; age 25 to about 50 and most of the time I’m unhappy about the way most of them see life, the way they live their lives and the very many struggles they’re enduring.
Many of them are stressed out. They work so hard and have not so much to show for it. They work for very many hours to afford just the basic needs of life. To eat good food, live in a decent environment, drive the cheapest brand new car, or be entitled to an official car; to wear nice clothes, pay for further studies and pay all bills including their children’s school fees, they are working so very hard.
Many of them are psychologically traumatised by the difficulty in our environment and our social system to the end that they secure loans from financial institutions to go on vacations abroad. Not because it’s compulsory, but just to prove to friends they also can travel abroad, then they return and struggle to pay other bills and live decently; they start paying back vacation loan.
These young hardworking Nigerians are really working hard, in a place like Lagos, many are up as early as 4am and wouldn’t return till as late as 10pm every week day. They sacrifice intimacy with their spouses, and bonding with their children just to afford these basic needs in life.
Things that should come easy to them in life like good clothes, good homes, good cars and a comfortable account bank balance have become matters to brag about. These hardworking people brag about the designer of their clothes, the grade of their personal ‘tokunbo’ cars, a new piece of land acquired in a suburb; they quickly put together a two room apartment in these outskirts of town; sometimes un-plastered and un-painted apartments just to brag about being property owners and landlords. And they practically travel many hours in traffic to and from work every day to this so called personal houses outside the metropolis.
These are hardworking people who keep spending monies they do not have to associate with others during occasions and events. On weekends they go for parties, wedding and celebrations. They buy the aso ebi, the gele and the ladies pay a makeup artist Eight thousand to fifteen thousand naira or more, just to look very nice at these parties, they go there, laugh, joke, dance and celebrate, they take selfies and put it up on Instagram, blackberry and other social media platforms; not because it was easy to afford all these but because they don’t want it to appear as if they’re the only ones things are difficult for. Hmmm.
I look at all these wonderful, hardworking people and the way they’re living their lives and I’m worried. Many living a life of struggle, hardship, a life endured not enjoyed, a life putting a strain on their relationships, family life, health and personal esteem and fulfilment. A life that can easily be taken away by their employer’s decision to right size. A tough life they are not even in control of. Hmmm.
Why is this so, I hear too many excuses, accusations upon accusations, finger pointing, blame games and stories. They have come to accept this way of living, endure this life situation; comfortable in discomfort, believing God will do something one day.
These category of Nigerians are obviously asleep on their dreams.
Now I have also met some young Nigerians; very few I must confess. Within this same age profile of 25 to 50. Doing extremely well in life. They are living large as it were. Not criminals, not in politics, not ritualist, not drug dealers; smart young, hardworking and passionate thinkers who have become very, very rich and successful in this same Nigeria. I consult for some of them, believe me these are young ladies and gentlemen in their late twenties and early thirties running multi million naira enterprises. I have a few in their early thirties running multimillion dollar businesses. Very intelligent, very smart, they have a sound understanding of the times and know how to plug into opportunities when they see them.
These guys are passionate, resilient; tenacious and they never give up no matter the opposition, frustration and rejection. Humble and determined fellows, creative and positive thinkers. They blame no one and take responsibility for themselves and their lives. They are not emotional about life, they are fighters, survivors and courageous people. They are not waiting for anyone to help or bail them out, they help themselves and surmount every challenge. These guys are extremely few; they are the ones still alive on their dreams.
Dear friend, you can’t afford to sleep off on your dreams. Wake up from your slumber. When you keep saying ‘I don’t know what to do’ what you really mean is ‘I don’t want to stress myself’ because everyone knows what to do, we could just be lazy, laid back or fearful about it.
You may have failed before, suffered rejection, disappointment, betrayal and back to back loss. It is not enough an excuse to give up in life.
Yes I know how difficult it could be. Life my friend is not easy. Life is not a walk in a park or a smooth ride on an express way. Life anywhere in the world is rough and tough. We only think things are better in other countries because we focus on what they have and we lack but don’t consider what we have and they lack. Life is tough in the world over. I have too many friends who ran away overseas in search of better opportunities and today have regrets because subsequently, they are way behind their contemporaries who remained in Nigeria after 5 to 10 years.
Life is life and life can be tough irrespective of your location, don’t be fooled. Success is within; it’s who you are not where you’re at. There are very poor people in North America and Europe as well. Why can’t the environment make them automatically rich if it’s the environment that make rich?
Life is about a fight, a fight for success. You don’t give up or relent until you win. You must fight to take charge of your life. Pay the price for success. Live the life you want and desire, not a life of pretence, struggle and make believe.
You only live once my friend. Every age gone by is gone forever. You are aging every day. You’re older even now than when this talk show started. Ladies and gentlemen; stop the stories and excuses, wake up on your dreams, live the life you want, not the one forced on you by situations and circumstances. You are better than this.
Dear friend, please wake up, arise on your dreams.
Enjoy your day..
written by: Muyiwa Afolabi