Iyinoluwa Aboyeji: Free expression: The process to change (Y! FrontPage)


I could play the background
I could play the background
Cause I know sometimes I get in the way
So won’t you take the lead, lead, lead?
So won’t you take the lead, lead, lead?
And I could play the background, background
And you could take the lead
– Lecrae (Background)

For the last week and a bit I have had this song on repeat. It is an amazing song and it has given me a lot to think about with respect to where I really want to improve this year.

A lot of people who know me (and even those who don’t), have probably figured I can be very ‘loud’. I have a tendency to be extremely dramatic with respect to my thoughts and actions. Truth is, despite what people think, I don’t fake it. I am very transparent in my thoughts and actions – and being the radical thinker I am, it tends to extremes sometimes.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes public declarations of strongly held convictions are part of the process of bringing about change. A lot of the evil in this world is attributable to the irresponsible silence of good people. However, the problem with living in the public eye is that you don’t get a lot of room to fail.

When you have to change your mind or fail in the public eye, it damages your credibility. As a result, you unconsciously become very risk averse and inflexible overtime. At the end of the day, despite the public appearance of oversized influence, you usually don’t get a lot of important things done.

You see, despite popular misconceptions, history is rarely made in the public eye. History is actually made in inconspicuous private dark rooms with collaborators in the shadows. Indeed, what we call “history” is merely the public manifestation of the success (or failure) of a mess of ideas and action born in inconspicous places. Think Jesus in the manger.

In order to do meaningful work (especially work that may very well result in failure) one must step out of the public light and into the shadows. In the shadows, you can move fast provided you can see in the dark. Obstacles can’t make you out well enough to stop you. And falling on your face isn’t so embarassing.

However, the background sucks for showmanship. There are no pats on the back for exemplary courage (or loudmouthedness). There is rarely ever any recognition. No nice centre spreads in the Globe & Mail. When you fail, you don’t even get points for “trying”. No one will know what you did. When you succeed, other people get the credit, not you.

Then again, in the background, there are less distractions. You get important things done. You become a legend in the land of doers. Your name is reverently whispered in the land that matters; the land where history is actually made.

“No one knows his real name but around here we call him “E”.  Just the letter. Shady, weird black guy. He is really hard to reach but you really should talk to him if you are serious about this. He just makes shit happen..”

See you in the shadows.

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

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail