#3- A LITTLE TOO LATE…

Imagine this:

You have gone hiking alone. At the start of the journey, you had the company of other hikers so you thought to yourself, ‘this is pretty easy’. Someone is sharing funny stories and you are all laughing. You are not so focused on the trail you are to follow. Everything seems to be going smoothly.

Then

Halfway to the peak of the mountain, you begin to feel the toll of all the climbing and narrow escapes of falling. The other hikers continue. You are dog-tired. You don’t feel like finishing the journey. You begin to wonder if it is even necessary. If it will be worth it. You begin to come up with all manner of excuses just to make yourself feel justified for wanting to quit.

But

You are halfway done. You are almost there, almost at the peak. You have come this far-so far. After all the toil, the sweat and the bruises from all the times you tripped; giving up now means it was all for nothing. You are in a dilemma. To give up or to go on.

Giving up may seem like the better alternative when you are worn out and plain tired of all the obstacles that have come your way. Giving up after coming that far means you will have to go back the same route you came and will have nothing to show for it. You would have gained nothing but pain and bruises.

So…

Why not use that moment to rest and reflect? Regain some energy, reignite the fire that in the first place made you set out on the journey. Push forward with renewed strength and a fresh approach. What did you do wrong that made your journey so difficult and wore you out so badly, can it be avoided? Were you running where you should have walked? Did you finish all of your water before even starting the journey?

In that moment of wariness, train your mind to be calm and self-reflect. Evaluate the journey thus far; instead of choosing the ‘easy’ option of quitting alongside thoughts and blame sharing. Why didn’t any of the hikers wait behind with me? Why didn’t they try hard enough to convince me to continue? You need to remember that you came on this hike alone. You were lucky to have had people around in the beginning but each and every hiker was on their own journey with their own goals as to when and how to reach the top. You will not always be fortunate to have people with you.

Instead

Motivate yourself with these words: ‘I did not come this far just to quit. It is a little too late for that’

Because

The view is beautiful from the top. Believe me, you would be glad that you held on. That you persevered. Upon getting to the top, you will realize that you have been transformed into what you could only have wished for. You will be more resilient, open to change, and understanding.

Life’s Little Lessons by Ndidi.

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#2- Embrace the process to progress.

Only last year, I started playing a phone scrabble game ‘words with friends’ and I got very good at it. I am a quick learner and I like to believe I have an ease with the English language. Within a short time, I was a worthy opponent. After I had gotten a hang of the game, I used to lose honorably- if you get what I mean. However, I began to feel a tad bit disappointed when I lost. I felt I was good enough now. I had played solo games, challenges and with other more experienced people. My sole aim was to win come what may. I was so blinded by the desire to prove to my friend who introduced me to the game that I was the better player. This often left me creating more opportunities for my friend to win the game. I would focus on scoring high points and capturing the next available TW OR TL (triple word or triple letter) and in the process expose myself to more loss.

In a bid to prove myself as the better player, I made so many rookie mistakes. I did not consider the fact that my friend had more experience and it would take a lot of practice to have the upper hand in majority of our games. Instead of taking advantage of the opportunity of playing an experienced person, I had become blinded by a thirst to win. Needless to say I lost many of those matches. At a point, I wanted to give up and stop playing the game all together. I am glad, however, that I did not. With each game, I get better.

Often times, we put ourselves in such impossible positions. Ambition is great but humility should be preeminent. Willingness to go through the process must be the mindset. Set high targets for yourself but do not forget that it will take time. You will stumble at first and the top may seem a million miles away; but you need to keep going. Pay attention to the points where you stumbled, learn from your past errs, and keep on pushing. Most importantly, do not compete with anyone. What you see and are envious of is a result of so many underlying factors you may never know. There is no one size fits all formula for greatness.

#1- Same conditions, different results.

My mother planted some windbreak by our wall- ten of them all on the same day. We had all totally forgotten about them because they were outside and we hardly used that route. One evening while we were sitting in one of the porches, we realized that only six of them have sprung up past the height of the wall. Six out ten, planted on the same day in the same soil and subjected to the same conditions. Later in the week, I had the rare chance of using that route and I saw that one of the windbreaks was about half the height of the wall. It looked like it had great chances of surviving and making it past the wall.

Such is life. We may all have gone to the same schools, born of the same parents, or had the same opportunities. Logically, it may seem that we are all supposed to be at par in terms of achievements and success in life. Many, like the three trees, will fail despite the fantastic opportunities at their disposal due to sheer lack of determination or some other factors. Some will be like that one tree that never gave up. They may not be on the same level as their peers but slow progress is still progress. And then there is the six trees that made it past the wall. It is worthy of mention that all six are not of the same height. Despite having attained success, some will still be more successful than others.

If you do not make great use of the opportunities at your disposal, you will surely wither and die like those three trees. Your life will be an unfulfilling one and every plan, dream, goal of yours would not come to fruition. If you are at the stage where you feel you are neither here nor there, like that one tree. Remember that the view is lovely at the top and absolutely worth it. Continue growing and remember that everyone’s journey is different. You may be the last to pass the wall but may me the tallest standing tree when you get there, who knows? Giving up is not an option. To those who are past the wall, remember the toil it took to finally enjoy the view from up there. Do not get complacent, learn every day. Remain humble and let some of your leaves fall to serve as mulch for those to come after you. Make the journey a much bearable one because you more than anyone know how hectic the journey to the top is.

Life’s Little Lessons by Ndidi.