September 1, 2011. I’ll never forget that day in my life. Standing at the front door of my father’s house, fully dressed, the negative thoughts surged again.
Should I go? Or stay? The internal debate was intense.
Choosing to step out that fateful Thursday morning, inspite of my fears and hesitation is one of the best decisions I’ve made. It has opened doors and brought me into contact with incredible people I’d never have met. On that day, I had to make a decision to attend or stay away from a specialized course that I desperately needed but had NO dime to pay for. The course fee was fixed at ₦30,000 ‘only’ and being a professional course, there was no room for negotiations.
I knew I had no money to pay for it. But I also knew I needed that course. Cash flow was tight at home and with three younger siblings still in school, asking Dad for the money would have been heartless- the man was probably silently thanking God that I’d successfully completed my first degree program. Being someone with a very strong aversion to borrowing, soliciting funds from any other source was out of the question. Money or no money, I had to be in that course, somehow. I finally succeeded in psyching myself up to make a go for it, but on that Thursday morning, the day the professional training was to start, the doubts and fears I thought I’d buried, resurrected- and they came back with a vengeance!
Image after image of negativity played out in my head- the possible embarrassment, the humiliation of having no money to pay, so many negative thoughts. I actually started feeling sorry for myself right there and then. But somehow, from somewhere within me, I found the courage to make that move- and I’ve not regretted it one bit!
Only now as I look back do I realize that I was unconsciously applying one of the principles for a successful life, that is, the principle of putting, or as I prefer to say it, throwing yourself in the way of success.
I’m an avid lover of principles. Probably my engineering background has something to do with that. In engineering, once you understand the working principle behind a machine, law, or process, manipulating it to suit your purpose becomes easier. Life itself, also operates on principles.
One of the worst mistakes we can make as young people is to buy into the lie that there’s nothing we can do to improve our lot in life.
I strongly believe that within every person lies the ability to upgrade his/her life- if we dare to make a move. The challenge, I’ve observed, is in getting ourselves to dare.
Not too long ago, a friend expressed her desire to get married and her growing frustration with Mr. Right’s delayed arrival. Almost instantly, another friend (a lady also) challenged her with a few pointed questions- how many weddings have you attended lately? Where do you hang out? What groups in your church do you belong to? How many male friends do you have?
Now while I’m not suggesting that these would work, the principle is clear- when we take certain actions, we increase the probability of obtaining a desired result. Isn’t it amazing how we complain about things we lack without making ANY move to get closer to those things? You can’t hide in a corner and expect success to come to you- you have to put yourself in its path.
What do you desire? Think about it. Are you putting yourself in situations that will increase your chances of getting what you want? Success rarely comes to us- we go to it. And you know what I’ve found? In the process of going towards success, we are refined, better positioned, made more suitable to accommodate the kind of success we’re going after. We may not see EXACTLY how it’ll turn out but when we put ourselves in the situations, the places and environment that harbor our desires, we enlist as candidates for miracles.
When we take certain actions, we increase the probability of obtaining a desired result
That’s exactly what Joseph did when he freely interpreted Pharaoh’s cup bearer’s dream in the prison. It’s what those four lepers did when they risked their lives by heading for the enemy’s camp (2 Kings 7). That’s what one of my career mentors did and found himself on a free trip to the U.S with the American ambassador to Nigeria- his first ever visit to the U.S, though he was just a young man hustling in Lagos back then. That’s what the slave girl Esther did when she contested in the pageant to select a new queen in Shushan (Esther 2).
“Why sit we here until we die?” (2 Kings 7:3)
We may need to ask ourselves that question too. Why stay where I am when I desire a change? Why remain on the same spot when I know I’m not enjoying it? Why must I only complain and grumble when that doesn’t help improve my lot in life? What’s really r-e-a-l-l-y holding me back- am I blaming something else when it’s really my own fears? These are tough questions we must confront at life’s crossroads.
The results/effects/outcomes we desire thrive in a kind of environment, a kind of atmosphere. We must find that environment and hang around it. There’s an old saying- if you lie with dogs, you’ll rise with fleas. A German proverb says it beautifully- begin to weave and God will supply the thread. Too many times, we want to see HOW it will all play out before we make the first move. We want to know the EXACT sequence before we begin. But I’ve found life NEVER works that way. Life demands that we start first, that we make the first move where we are and it’ll reward our faith with the next move, and the next, and the next till we get to our desired result. Oh I love this inspired quote: sometimes, your only transportation is a leap of faith. Powerful, powerful thought I tell you.
I’d never have known that stepping out that Thursday in 2011 would eventually lead me to some of the best mentors and teachers in my career as an engineer today. I’m still amazed every time I think about it! I’m happy I threw myself in the way of success then. You bet I’m still doing it today. It’s not too late for you either- start TODAY.
Begin to weave, and God will supply the thread
Thank you for reading today. I look forward to reading your thoughts and questions on this subject.
Live by Design.