Blatant Desire for Success Can Be Toxic, Beware!
The majority of us were born and raised from humble families and neighbourhoods. We have grown up with statements like, ‘everything will be alright, we shall be fine, tomorrow will be a better day, we shall get it soon,’ as our lullabies. More often than not, we have been in situations where our families have had to survive on a shoe-string budget. Our parents have lived on borrowed cash since time immemorial, we have found comfy in cribbing in houses dubbed, ‘Bank property up for sale.’ Hard life, tough life, the life of scarcity, the life of unavailability of necessities, that’s the everyday life the average African child has had to embrace. It becomes normal that after some time that we even fear to ask our parents for some of our needs at school or at home for fear of uncharismatic responses from them like, “what don’t you see? Are we as rich as our neighbours who have everything? Know your limits, know who you are.” So, whatever our needs are, we sweep them under the carpet and try to live and act normal. As a matter of fact, we distance ourselves from any pleasures whatsoever because we feel we don’t deserve them. We develop uncanny behavior towards anyone enjoying their life, we assume life will soon come crumbling down those who pride in living a happy life.
Time comes and we get exposed. School, travel, friends, social media, name it. These get us to see the world beyond our family settings, beyond our neighbourhoods, beyond our districts. We get into contact with stories from people like us. ‘From rags to riches’, these stories begin. We read them and get a new lease on life. We begin to realise that it is possible to change our lives and those of our loved ones. Motivational speakers, we listen to these people who sway us with their words. Their poises are sweet and their looks are great. Their stories persuade, their words cut like a blade. “Arise and shine!” so they say. And yes, we arise and try to shine as they say. And sooner or later we start to see light at the end of the tunnel. We start smelling success from afar. We begin to make things happen. We compare ourselves with our seniors. We start to get salaries that our parents could never have dreamt of at our age in their time. Before we know it, we start labeling them as failures, we start looking down on them. We start assuming their roles. The little success we attain blindfolds us, we get corrupted. We abandon family. We think we can do it on our own. We push for more success.
In the pursuit for more success, we give a deaf ear to signals that we could be rushing everything. For fear of losing our little success we do all things possible to make sure we succeed even when it is at the expense of our health, our spirituality, our families or friends. We sideline our health in favour of careers, we work our nails to the bone, we forget to rest or deliberately more our nights longer our mornings shorter, recipe for disaster. Our lives become shorter. We lose our social capital, friends become foes. We cut ourselves off from family. In the long-run, depression sets in, this is where we get near to our demise. We call upon friends who can no longer be there, thereafter. We try loving and trusting strangers who in turn do strange things to us. We hate on our friends who progress past us because they kept their social capital intact. We start living reckless out of despair. We soon find no reason to live. Before we know it, we are being lowered six feet under. A sad story, isn’t it?
What’s to be done?
In the pursuit for success, let’s remember that we needn’t rush things around. Let’s bear in mind that we can’t get to where we ought to if we are not sane, healthy and spiritually sane. For us who believe in God, we need him, he has our lives in control. We need family, we need friends, and we cannot do it all alone. And finally, the most important thing we ought to remember is that we are bound to fail somewhere! When this happens, it not the end, we ought to pick up and carry on.
Have a lovely week ahead.