The foremost educationist Tai Solarin used to wish his friends and admirers a rough road ahead of them. According to him, a road with obstacles and disappointments is the road to success.
Well, faith believers might want to disagree with this unapologetic atheist, but I strongly believe there is a huge dose of philosophical wisdom loaded in his statement.
To understand his assertion objectively, one needs to first understand the everyday Nigerian cliché: Nobody wan die but we all wan go heaven.
I do not know how many Christians – especially young ones – who are willing to sacrifice their lives consciously so that they will be in heaven quickly. Personally, I doubt if I am ready for such a herculean sacrifice. However, this is the point I believe Solarin was making, for one to have or achieve whatever desire or goal, be it heaven or otherwise. One must be ready to quit the easy path, come to the battlefield to make some degree of sacrifice. I believe the point of making this sacrifice is the point of demarcation between the poor and the rich, those who succeed and those who fail, those who will remain wishful dreamers and those who will become practical achievers.
At the risk of appearing irreligious, I dare say that no amount of prayer will ever substitute for adequate hard work. No amount of prayer will translate one from the level of obscurity to the envied plane of celebrity if one does not diligently bend down to make some sacrificial commitments. No amount of tongue-speaking and fasting will promote a lackadaisical third class student to a first class student if he is not ready to sacrifice his sleeping time to burn the proverbial midnight candle. No amount of laying of hands, anointing oil, tithing and prophecies will turn a clueless man into a champion without practical pragmatic search of knowledge.
I am no motivational speaker neither am I aspiring to be one. However, I have enough common sense to know this truth to be self evident: Champions are made on the battlefields and not in dreamlands. Life is no fairytale; if you mistake it for a romantic comedy, you might be at the risk of ending up as a human tragedy. Life strictly operates on the principle of sowing and reaping. And, if we are not ready to pick up our tools and go out into the farm, then it will be foolish of us to expect a bumper harvest. If we are not ready to task our minds and bodies, and bring our A game on, then its needless to bother God with our prayers.
2014 is here, a new year to make a fresh start. My unsolicited advice to any soul who cares is this: Do not take the easy part this year. To do this, one must get ready to make new friendships and break some old ones. One must prepare to make objective plans and stick to the script, no mediocre improvisation and muddling of lines. One must get ready to leave his comfort zone and get into the battlefield because that’s where celebrities are made and not in front of the television. Nobody will ever be rewarded for knowing all the players in Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United etc. Nobody will ever be rewarded for knowing the names of all the musicians and being the first to download the latest song. Even if there is a reward, ask yourself this: is it what I want to be remembered for?
This year, let’s acquire the kind of knowledge that will be of a greater value to the society, a knowledge that will aid in making your family, your community, your society and the world a better place. Let’s go for the right knowledge that will lift our dear country from a consumer nation to a producing nation.
This kind of knowledge takes commitment, commitment takes time, time requires sacrifice and sacrifice is a costly virtue. But it is a virtue that will always wholesomely reward those who diligently stick to her- as they say, no pain no gain. As we stand up to be counted this year, I dare say this; may your year be rough!
May GOD open our eyes of understanding.
Written by Tobe Osigwe, @ikolondigbo.