By Ekpunobi Paulinus
Have you ever sat to ponder what makes celebrities? Why some people seem better off, nay preferred more than others? Money, wealth and opportunities? Hell no! That’s a terrible answer.
Celebrities are people who stand out. They were able to navigate through and transcend that ravaging and personality-eroding status quo that hunt each one of us. Therefore refuse to belong. Surely, they will hate you. We can be traditionalist but not rigid ones. Fail to see and acknowledge that tempting static ideology of this-is-how-we-do-it. Things have got to be twisted a bit. What happened to that famous William Cowper’s quote that ‘variety is the spice of life’? Despise all demeaning status quo. Over-familiarity, they say, breeds contempt. We don’t want to sound like abolitionist. We simply want to sound human. Quite right! We need to have a set of rules and order on how-to-do-things-right. But let it just stop there. Do not tell me that there is a limit to how-to-do-things-right; a limit to achievement. Take your time to read the many biographies of world’s famous people and one obvious thing stands out: they all dared.
Do not sit there and wait when things will turn to your favour, dare to move. Dare to break the status quo. We experience a deluge of tremendous changes in our world, in fact, the nature of our world is such that change is its core defining feature. So change shouldn’t be a heck of a thing to you. Our life should transform the face of this inherently corroding universe. We advocate change but not with the connotation of the political mantra of our ruling party. Dare! Booker T. Washington will say that success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome. Success is measured by the amount of mountains you climbed. The road to success is one that is tenaciously difficult. Once again, I harangue, dare to dare. Even when daring seems to be the last option, dare!
Remove yourself from that all-inclusive system that inhibits the actualisation of your full potential. Acceding to that Sartrean dictum “man is condemned to be free”, I say to all youths, be brave and know that the greatest gift you have is the gift of your freedom.
Refuse to belong. Stand out and write the lyrics of your history. Do not just write your name on the sands of time, of course, the natural consequence is that it will surely wash away; embed it into history, on people’s lives. You don’t want to pass the earth just like a passing shadow, like every other human person that existed. According to discover magazine, an estimated number of 108 billion people have lived on the surface of this earth. Wow, that’s tremendously huge! But to your wonder, if a research is carried to ascertain the number of people that actually ‘lived’, that is, who made impact in life, we can barely get 10% from the total number. Your presence in this world should not just be a matter of existence, it needs essence. Like Michael Jackson will say, ‘stop existing and start living’. The world needs you to live, don’t just sit there existing like rocks and other inanimate creatures. You are animated with a soul- a great faculty for reasoning and creativity.
Be warned, however, that the world is not a bed of roses, it will beat you to your very knee and keep you there if you don’t challenge it. Let me tell you the very plan of this world. It just wants you to remain on the ground in which case, you will simply be perpetually subservient to it. Have you ever imagined why it is often the dull students that bully the bright ones in school? Mediocrity abhors excellence and achievement. What we call status quo today, most of them are made by the greater number of people in the society. Looking at the history of our world, mediocres always soar in great number over the few brave ones. What do you expect in a society where many people are doing the wrong thing over and over? It becomes the norm, the massive, recurrent and repetitive nature of ills tend to blind and cloud even the brightest scrutinizing mind. That is why we have a lot of junks and jargons that make its bleakness a work to actually sieve what ought to be from what ought not to be. Eschew all depressive status quo. Be inventive in you thinking. Don’t just think, reason. Subject that organic engine into action. Pump fuel into it and fire it on. In those days when we were quite younger, we use to convince ourselves that most deranged guys got their psychosis from excessive reading and studies. We don’t want to go into this debate but it is supposed that being aware of one’s madness is better off than being ignorant of it. Ignorance is the greatest madness on earth. And as long as we continue to stuff our minds with things that don’t matter, our world will be filled with insanities. Fill that brain of yours with stuff. Stuff that matter.
Look inward and bracket off every possible means to mediocrity. Do not give in to their call to laxity. Latin will say Duc in Altum (aim at the highest). Aim at nothing but the zenith. Set your priority above your affectivity. Your dreams should transcend mere phantasmagoria. That is one problem we have in life, we dream a lot and yet we achieve very little. That comes from the fact that you are just trying to be like another person whom you think has achieved it. You have to make a clear-cut distinction between passion and aspiration. You may have passion for soccer but that doesn’t mean you must become a footballer. Then your dream should be distinguished from your admiration. Do not confuse the two. You can admire lots of people from diverse disciplines of life but that does not mean you want to be them. They are there to minister as incentives to success, to ignite the glowing splint of our passions. That’s all. They are not our gods and we have no intention of deifying them. In other words, you can have mentors but you must not be them. That will be absurd. Your mentor may be well established but you trying to be him/her will simply place you in the second class. A photocopy of someone else. Of course, you don’t want to be that. Imitation is not envy, so let’s imitate with the intention of reaching our acme.
The clarion still calls… refuse to be inhibited. Sit up and raise your face in pride, you’re an awesome handiwork of a great craftsman- God. Refuse to be intimidated. Be goal-driven. You are a genius in the incubator. Nature doesn’t make geniuses, we make ourselves geniuses. Remember; refuse all stereotypical demeaning status quo.