Last Saturday, I spent the evening listening to Teju babyface, a successful Nigerian comedian on his show, “the Teju babyface show”. He was speaking on the secret of success. Now, while this may sound like a cliche among many motivational speakers as himself, I did pick a thing or two amongst what he said that sounded totally new to me and I hope you also find it new and if you don’t, well, there’s no harm in earning what has been learnt again, is there? I’ll begin with an example.
Now if you ask 10 average Nigerian successful business men or women what the secret of his or her success is or are, I can guarantee that 7 out of the ten will give you a response that goes thus “oh boy! Na God oh”. That I am so certain of. Even if they tell you any other thing, that is the most common phrase they begin with. Two could tell you the usual, “work hard”, “pray hard”, “don’t lose focus”…bla bla bla. The last one? If he/she doesn’t say any of these, then I could question the Nationality of such a person. I’ll doubt the person is a Nigerian.
Growing up, between the ages of five and ten or so, I had this terrible ringworm. It was terrible! It was embarrassing! For the benefit of those that do not know what ringworm is, it’s a hair infection that causes bald patches on different parts of the head. It’s commonly called “lapalapa”. Crazy stuff I promise. Because of the bald patches, I always had to scrape my head clean on a fortnight basis. It or I was an ugly sight to behold when I had hair on my head. My mom ran from here to there, helter skelter looking for a probable solution to this menace of an infection. We met with doctors, dermatologists, you name it! People offered solutions – both the stupid ones and the ones that seemed smart – all to no avail. Shaving clean every two weeks was one of them, it didn’t stop there, I had to shave with a blade. So you can imagine the amount of pain I went through every time I made a visit to the salon. What’s more? I had to use all sorts of creams after I had a shave. I detested damatol so much because it was so pepperish and I’ld cry every time my mom applied it.
Another time, I was asked to use aloe vera on the bald patches. The result? Nothing! There was a time when, after a clean shave, my mom would boil water, poor an antiseptic into it, maybe add a little bit of damatol and ask me to put my head over the steam for about an hour! Did I forget to mention that at another time I was on antibiotics. The stench of my urine alone could awaken a dead rat. Oh well, not a dead human, it wasn’t that bad, let’s just keep it at rat level. Of course there were also the herbs my grandma kept bringing. Ugh! Those terrible tasting herbs. Why aren’t those herbs ever sweet? Oh good gracious!
Oh well, good news is, it left. It just left. I have no idea how, when or what made it to go. All I know is that by the time I started secondary school, I didn’t have to barb my hair on a fortnightly basis. What a relief, wasn’t it? And honestly, I can’t pin point the exact drug or procedure that made the ringworm disappear. It just did. I was glad it did.
Oh well, I could make a case for the 7 Nigerians that said “na God oh”. Some success stories don’t just have that particular and defining turning point. These business men have probably encountered a lot of setbacks and failures that they can’t even tell what did it for them hence the answer “Na God oh” when asked what the secret of their success is.
Maybe the rules are slightly bent when it comes to success. Maybe two, three, four wrongs could make a right. Do not get me wrong, I am not encouraging you to fail, most certainly not. I am just saying that failing over and over again after one has put in a reasonable and considerable effort indicates that success is around the corner. Maybe we should start taking delight in failures (again, when significant efforts have been put into a task). If anything, failure teaches us how not to go about a thing, hence we learn and never make that mistake again and take a different approach. Do not be downcast when you fail. It’s only an indication you might have to put a little tiny effort and never relent.