by Jojo Amiegbe
We all have or will experience at least one defining moment; a point in our lives when we’re urged to make a pivotal decision, when we experience something that fundamentally changes us, for the better or for worse, and it is at this time we experience true tests of character.
Some say your character is defined not by the events that happen to you, but how you respond to it. Depending on which way you choose to go, your life could become a little more meaningful, or you could waste away bringing no substantial value to anyone you come across, including yourself, till the day that you die.
I will not pretend I have figured out the total meaning of life long before I am old. I do, however, believe peculiar experiences and the part I played in how my life was going, taught me that always blaming others for my problems, instead of taking responsibility for my part in creating those problems, wasn’t the best way to live.The moment I came to this realization, I felt a shift and I can honestly say it has been the best thing that’s ever happened so far.
“Every success story is a tale of constant adaption, revision, and change.” — Richard Branson
Now I don’t know what you may call it; an epiphany, a spiritual awakening… whatever label you want to use, it happened, and it wasn’t entirely pleasant. One of the best (and sometimes really painful) things a person can do is be brutally honest with oneself to admit their flaws, recklessness, selfishness and the irresponsibility they have shown themselves and others, then make the decision to committing to doing better, and being better. Is it easy? Of course not. I mean… Why do that when it’s so much easier to play the victim and pin the root of your problems somewhere else? Telling yourself things like: ‘I drink myself to sleep to numb the pain because life is hard’ Or ‘Last month I had sex with 10 random women because my girlfriend cheated on me’ Or ‘What’s the point of eating healthy and working out? We’re all going to die anyway’
Pretty sure we know a few people who talk like this, or maybe we even think this way. The truth is, life gets hard sometimes, being cheated on sucks, and yes, someday, we are all going to die. But deep down, we know that’s not an excuse for making bad decisions, especially at our own expense. When it came to being honest with myself, one of the things I had to confront was the issues I had when it came to being committed to getting certain personal projects done. It was tough to admit, but it was true. Imagine having the foundation of a grand plan all up in your head, you put up a few blocks, set the roof on top, have it furnished, the ‘idea castle’ is all set, but when it came time to bring everything to life, all of a sudden it seemed like ‘a lot of work’ and you would rather do something a little easier or ‘realistic’, until something else comes up and it goes on and on until time flies and you have nothing concrete (pun intended) to show from the ideas floating around your mind space.
It’s a terrible thing and a waste of potential.
Admission is the 1st step on the road to recovery. Doing that can set you straight and you may even need to promise yourself as well as your loved ones to make deliberate efforts to surge ahead, even when you ‘don’t feel like it’. Some changes might need to be made. From learning to deal with certain bad habits like procrastination, overthinking, getting carried away with unproductive behavior, to not drawing up an actual plan or reminder that exists outside of your head.
Procrastination offers you the option of ‘putting off what you can do right now, to deal with later’. Except that time may never come, you could find yourself struggling to cram up so much in so little time, that it ends up not being as great as it would have been if you had just done the work when you were supposed to.
Overthinking can be difficult to manage as well. Scenarios and situations that you spend too much time or too long thinking about, to the point you just give up even trying to put in the work that you could have because you are too worried about insignificant nonsense your mind has probably blown out of proportion.
Writing up a plan, an actual physical plan, is very important, I cannot stress this enough.
There’s this Bible verse that comes into my head every time I think about this:
“Then the Lord answered me and said: Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, That he may run who reads it” – Habakkuk 2:2 NKJV
I never understood why I should write anything down because I felt I had it ‘all in my head’. I was silly enough to trust that I would remember everything and follow through when needed. Safe to say, there’s a lot of things I could have accomplished if I had taken the time to write it out, have a physical journal, instead of believing my memory wouldn’t fail me.
Spoiler alert: it did fail me more often than I am willing to admit.
There is also the issue of self-doubt.
Lacking confidence in yourself and your abilities can and will hold you back in more ways than you can imagine, when you don’t learn to believe in yourself, or take that chance or leap of faith, regardless of how you feel.
A famous philosopher once said, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” Ok, that’s a quote from Ms. Frizzle, in the kid’s show ‘The Magic School Bus’, but you must admit it kind of makes sense.
To truly grow, we must be willing to take risks even when we have no guarantee on how or where it’s going to go, to learn from mistakes and maybe sometimes get our hands dirty. Now I don’t mean getting involved in crooked work but putting in the effort and hard work to make the reality of the detail.
One of the best advices I ever got in dealing with myself was to ‘take it a day at a time’, literally.
To do what I can for that day, on that day.
If all that means is making that phone call, sending that email, writing a reminder for something that is to be dealt with on a later date, I would do it, instead of dismissing it as negligible, or allow myself be overwhelmed by the ‘what ifs’ and ‘why bother’.
But the most important thing I have done, and am doing, is asking for help from the right people that God has put in my life.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, we know someone who asides the meeting up for an occasional social gathering, to share vices and gossip, doesn’t bring anything to the table for us, heck, it goes both ways, maybe we only have that much value to other people.
There comes a point in our lives when we must evaluate certain aspects of it; our relationships, friends, accomplishments, to see if we are becoming better people or going on a downward spiral.
The best we can do is love ourselves enough to not let our flaws deprive us of living our best lives, reaching our full potential and achieving success when we commit to putting in the work.
It will not always be fun, sometimes we won’t have the support we think we need, but if we keep on, it will all be worth it in the end.
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