by Joshua Areogun
“The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.” – A Bronx tale.
“Talent is cheaper than table salt, what separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.” – Stephen King.
As powerful as these quotes are, they have become rather trite in these modern times. We’ve heard it all before. From our parents, at school, from those who have gone on before us. Interestingly enough, we’ve heard it from both failures and successes alike. Yet we often ignore this VERY crucial advice. Why? Why do we then actively destroy ourselves by failing to utilise our talents and maximise our potential? Do we forget? If so, why is it so easy for us to forget the very ingredients for success? (This applies to almost all the principles we’ve been bombarded with by every motivational speaker alive). If these principles, tips and rules work, then why does our subconscious fail to help us retain it? The reason I think is that we spend too much time “drifting”.
Drifting in this sense is going through life at a convenient pace, in your comfort zone, not failing too badly nor succeeding either. It is mediocrity at it’s finest. To compound the matter, “Drifting” comes easy to us because so many people around us do it, our minds have tricked us into believing that there’s no real need to over-exert ourselves.
“Insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting a different result” – Albert Einstein.
“Drifting through life is insanity” There! I said it. I must also admit this is something I’m guilty of in many areas so you can rest assured that this isn’t some uninformed, self-righteous tirade.
One of the most crucial pieces of advice that my father ever gave me was, “Life is in phases, learn to recognise them and adapt properly.” How does this fit in to this discussion? Well let’s take a quick journey through time. I’d like to assume that most people who’d read this have either been through majority of their formal education or are fully aware of how formal education is conducted. Do you remember your first day of high school? When things got real academically? You might also remember getting this “template” of advice:
– Start your study as early as possible. Study after each class if you can. – Take your homework seriously as it would count towards your final score.
– Pay extreme attention in classes and ask as many questions as possible
The list goes on and on. Now, I want you to visualize your high school days. Chances are that only a few “nerds/geeks/over-zealous” students actually put those tips into practice. The rest just drifted through and crash read at exam time. Now as you moved on from high school into college/uni, you’ll notice that the natural nervousness that accompanies that sudden transition into being an adult and taking responsibility for your upkeep and such, subconsciously opens you up to a slightly different stream of advice. You tend to read a bit wider, you research productivity, career advice, money management and success tips. Eventually you end up with the exact same advice you got at the start of high school (pretty much hard work, most times inconvenient). Then you slowly start to ignore it again and “join the herd” You move from ” Chase your dreams” to ” Play it safe“, from ” Study from the first day” to ” Crash read at exam time“. Point is, 90% of graduates or “near graduates” are often so confused about what to actually do with their lives that they fail to realise that all the time they should’ve spent thinking, planning, ” obsessing” as it were, they spent it doing irrelevant stuff, and standing on false hopes (e.g Guy says”I plan on getting a 1st class or 2:1 “, immediately proceeds to spend the whole semester “having a blast” and “enjoying college”).
“Work now, play later or play now, work later”
I’m in no way advocating a mindless life of work, work work, I’m here to make a case for good ol’ due diligence on the road to becoming a success. We all make plans, we all dream… some of us dream big, Very big but for the average man, most of his dreams and goals become more ” reasonable” as he matures (age-wise) due to legitimate responsibilities catching up to him without sufficient groundwork in place to sustain any “far out” dreams/goals. FIGHT THIS! Don’t let this happen to you.
Learn to follow through. Work hard. I’m aware that the “in” thing with motivational speakers now is “Work Smart not Hard” Well, you need to work hard with a “smart” strategy backing it up. God only knows the number of geniuses and naturally gifted people who we’ll never hear of because they never worked hard at anything. You can’t keep waiting for “that right moment” chances are; it’ll never be the “right” time. Start working hard today. You can start with your current job/course/ project. You’ll discover that the confidence and satisfaction you get from the fruits of hard labor, foster an atmosphere where you can come up with even greater ideas.
For the sake of brevity, I want you all to carry out an experiment. Ask people around you who are above you in years, achievements etc. if they would’ve worked just a bit harder, held on to their dreams just a little longer, stepped out of their comfort zone and “drifted” a little less if they could do it all again.
You are likely to notice a high number of “YES”. Let this be a lesson to you. Stop drifting through life, thinking life will magically give you different results even though you’re being as average as everyone else. It won’t.
I want you to take these parting words to heart; I’ve seen many sad things/people/events and many happy ones too. But nothing is worse than a man who says “If only I…” when it’s too late. Nothing brings sorrow to a man like regret. For it is not those who had no prospects that are miserable, the truly miserable are those who could have reached the stars but never got off their beds.
Areogun Joshua is a devoted Christian, Software & Games Developer, Designer, Startup Co-Founder and Writer. He enjoys sharing his experiences and thoughts on various issues through his writing. He loves Aston martins and can be found either in front of a computer or having heated tech related debates with his co-Founder Reuben. Read more from Joshua at www.joshuaareogun.com #AnyBodyCanWrite
30 Days, 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians from across the world to share their stories and experiences – creating a meeting point where our common humanity is explored.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.