Ifeanyichukwu Igbokwe: The other side of success

by Ifeanyi Igbokwe


Success has a twin-brother called failure. Have you every paused to ask yourself why pensioners are so miserable? Could it be that they were so drenched in the rain of comfort that they forgot that a day will come when they will not receive salary anymore?

Sometime ago something happened that touched me so much. I have a friend that graduated from university the same year.  We lived in the same city. It was about four years after we left school that he came to me. He had called me requesting that we see so eventually we met and discussed.

He told me he needed a loan and wanted me to use my contacts to make things easier for him. I obliged but when I asked what he needed the money for, he gave an answer that got me thinking for days. The money was for business. He had no job yet, that was why the bank did not want to give him a loan quickly. But he said ‘Marvin, let me tell you something, I have been unable to meet my personal target for last year and this year I’ll need capital to start early’ My spirit stirred me unto reality.

Here is a young man who inherited properties in Abuja and Lagos valued at hundreds of millions of Naira, collects millions of Naira in rent and he still has targets that he would struggle and abandon comfort to achieve. Here was I, I had landed a job as a customer service professional, working with one of the telecom firms. The previous year I had dreams, I HAD TARGETS but almost did not meet any one. I was supposed to start my consulting firm but I didn’t, I was supposed to have finished and published a book I started writing a year earlier but I didn’t, I didn’t register my consulting firm not because I didn’t have money but because somehow, I had become carried away by this job that I have, so much so that I somehow had lost touch with focus. My father had not left me any property to inherit but I still managed to live just for the moment.

So is the life of a million and one people out there. They are on auto mode. They take life as it comes forgetting that there will be a tomorrow. It is so easy to go with the flow of comfort and be easily carried away by its luxury only to wake up to the painful sting of reality, should the supply be cut off.

I want to ask you what your dreams are. When was the last time you did something about them? Of the goals you set in the previous year, how many did of them did you achieve? Time is stealing March away from us, have you sat down for a minute to examine how you spent January? and February? What has happened to your goals for 2013?

I met a man recently who by my estimation is in his sixties. He had dreams just like every other young person and had his fair share of comfort and luxury. He said something I would never forget in a hurry, some things haunted him. It was his regret. He had gone to school in the UK and had always wanted to start a business but even in his sixties, his dreams were still as far from as the skies. I wondered how he will feels each time the still small voice of his conscience begins to tell him, ‘You should have done something. You have all the opportunity. Now you are old and poor while others are old, rich and comfortable’ I tried to imagine how he will feel when he comes across his  mates, who were in the same circumstances with him but made the best out of it. Will he be able to show his kids people he grew up with but had managed their time well? It was only a few yesterdays ago that he was as young as I am now, full of goals taller than the heavens, but here he is barely managing to survive.

Success has a twin-brother called failure. Have you every paused to ask yourself why pensioners are so miserable? Could it be that they were so drenched in the rain of comfort that they forgot that a day will come when they will not receive salary anymore? Could it be that the mind is easily carried away by luxury far away from focus?

Why is it that about seventy percent of American retirees commit suicide? Why do they have a remarkably high rate of heart and blood pressure related diseases?

Have you wondered if you will survive if you lost your present job? Have you ever paused for a second to wonder how your life, your kids’ lives will be in six months’ time had you lost your job? Some people have been motivated over and over again until motivation doesn’t move them no more, but the only thing they have successfully done is nothing. I have seen a bank manager whose life nosedived to near street life after losing his very high paying job.

So once again I ask you: What is your goal? What have you done this far to achieve it? Have you been altogether sidetracked? What is it that’s stopping you? Let me end with this story.

Cobbett was one man whose obstacle to success was almost existence itself. He was a an illiterate private soldier who had not a table to read with, not even a seat to study in but this man had a goal to self-educate himself and succeed. So poor was this soldier whose pay was six pence a day that he could not afford to buy a pen except he would have to do without some part of his meal, or even afford candle with which to study and so had to resort to the red glow of the fire for light when by any chance he is free. Cobbett eventually learnt to read among his fellow solders while laughing and talking.

But Cobbett successfully transformed his poverty and difficulties into an all-absorbing desire for knowledge and success. During an interview he asked a very troubling question: “If I under such circumstances could encounter and overcome this task, is there, can there be in the whole world, a youth to find any excuse for its non-performance?’

Do you still think that what is stopping you from presently achieving your goals would hold sway when placed side by side with the stories of people like Cobbett?

Once again, what is stopping you?


Ifeanyichukwu Igbokwe is a consultant, action coach, motivational speaker and writer.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail