I just passed my US driving test. But that’s not the story. Something happened that took me way back to University of Ilorin, my Alma Mater.
When I got to the school, I was flatly told that it was normal for people to have carry-overs (failed courses from the previous session that must be retaken). Apparently, it was typical for Nigerian lecturers to be stingy with marks and so they would fail students, just to make things difficult. In particular, I was regaled with the legend of an eccentric math teacher, Chike Obi.
Something didn’t sit right with me.
Why was the default narrative failure? Those that passed; did they have 2 heads? Surely, there were humans who got through school without spillovers. I decided to be one of them.
Please note that this wasn’t due to any significant faith. I was just annoyed at the generalization and resented other people attempting to write my story. I didnt want a predetermined formula applied to me. In The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith’s character says to his son: “Don’t ever let somebody tell you you can’t do something, not even me. . . . You got a dream . . . you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they want to tell you you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it. Period.”
So, when I decided to take my driving test, I heard the same story: “Many fail oh. You might need to take the test 2 or 3 times. They don’t drive here like they drive in Lagos.” Hmmm… May people not discourage you from your goals.
I’m also reminded of why I took a break from active social media. And, why I don’t watch regular TV programming or commercials. I’m tired of hearing exagerrated pitches laced with FOMO and I finally decided that I’m done listening to versions of the world that are distressing. I want to focus on my own True North, purpose and program. I want to listen to God without noise and then shape the world.
Life must not happen to me. Instead, I will happen to life.
I once read, Loving What Is? It was gifted to me and I struggled to understand it. While I never finished it, one lesson stuck with me. Whenever you hear or think something negative, interrogate it by asking yourself, “Is it really true”?
I’ve been asking myself that a lot lately, as I ponder some questions:
“Is it true that when things don’t go well for me, God is angry with me?”
“Is it true that I’m going to fail?”
“Are vindictive people going to stand in my way?”
“Does God really love me? Can I trust him?”
“Is good fortune only meant for some people?”
“Is success reserved for a few?”
Interrogating things helps me to keep showing up despite my fears, doubts and anxieties. When I’m tired, I rest for a while and then somehow find the strength to keep going.
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