Money is a store of value. When you see money in that light then you know you must have something to offer. Our forefathers knew nothing about currency in their time. They were engaged in trade by barter. If a man has yam for example and he needs cocoyam, he goes to look for who has cocoyam with the hope for an exchange. For the exchange to occur a man would have something of value to offer. Today many people want money without wanting to offer value in exchange.
One should not be in a rush just to make money. The money may come quickly and you lose it quickly. Mango is best enjoyed if it is ripe. Sell yourself after reasonably developing yourself and being great at what you do. You do not need to be perfect. Sell yourself “ripe”. You are going to be so valuable that people will pay gladly for what you offer, be it a product or a service. However, I appreciate that before this happens, one may pass through difficult or trying times. Discouragement may set in. It is your passion that will sustain you this period knowing that you are working towards your vision. If you can answer these questions positively then you ought not give up: “What am I doing? How am I doing it? Why am I doing it?” The “why” especially is what would serve as a motivator to persevere when the going gets tough. Occasionally, assess yourself. See if you are making progress, if you are getting closer to your dream. Sometimes a different approach to what you do will become necessary. Think it out; ask the right people the right questions. Keep updating your knowledge. So long as you sincerely love what you do, persevere until you breakthrough. Do not forget or belittle the fact that in this process you grow. So do not run away from challenges. Everyone who has realized his dream did so not because they did not encounter challenges but in spite of the challenges. They persevered.
Victory begins with the decision to conquer where commitment is crucial. The role of commitment in a marriage is invaluable. Without a real “for better or worse” commitment to marriage ab initio, the marriage is likely to fail. A man and a woman in marriage experience ups and downs. They face real issues. The marriage will go on working only if they are committed to make it work. This sort of commitment that make marriages work is what you need to realize your vision. Commitment to your vision keeps you going. It drives you during challenging times. Perseverance proceeds from commitment. So consider it a sign of victory when you find yourself still pursuing your vision when the tough time arrives.
In the Far East, people plant a tree called the Chinese bamboo. During the first four years, they water and fertilize the plant with seemingly little or no results. Then, in the fifth year, they again apply water and fertilizer – and in five weeks’ time the tree grows ninety feet in height! The obvious question is, ‘Did the Chinese bamboo tree grow ninety feet in five weeks or five years?’ The answer is five years. If at any time during those five years the people had stopped watering and fertilizing the tree, it would have died.
Many times our dreams and plans appear not to be succeeding. We are tempted to give up and quit trying. Instead, we need to continue to water and fertilize those dreams, nurturing the seeds of the vision God has placed within us. If we do not quit, if we display perseverance and endurance, we will also reap a harvest.1
With happenings and surrounding situations, the Nigerian youth seems to be besieged by hopelessness. It really can be scary sometimes – lack of power, unemployment, insecurity. The dream was to get a degree and after that a job with which you kick off your good life. Even our parents had that dream for us. Now it is not just that the dream is fading away but circumstances appear that seem to make it look ridiculous. He gained admission into tertiary institution; he burnt midnight candles in giving his best to his education; he graduates and he meets a reality he was not prepared for. Two, three, four years after graduation, there is no job. He thought by now he would be the one supporting his parents but to his disappointment he still depends on his parents for upkeep. He tries to be a man about the situation but he gradually feels the ground giving way under him. He resorts to escapism – alcohol, drugs and the likes. A dissipating life ensues.
She gains admission into tertiary institution and shortly after that her family encounters a financial setback. The thought of dropping out of school not due to academic incompetence but due to finance does not go down well with her. She decides to get what she wants with what she has. A change of lifestyle takes place. She graduates and wishes to stop knowing that such a lifestyle is empty but she meets unemployment. Unemployment gives her an excuse to continue. Home videos keep her mind off the present circumstance but power outage forces her mind back to it.
I cannot write about every challenge confronting the youths. That may not help now. But a good question an unemployed youth may ask is, “What can I do?” I think every youth should accept the fact that times have changed. Nigeria’s economy few decades ago was quite different from that of today. A job is likely not waiting for you after graduation. Our fathers saw employers coming to their schools to offer them jobs. Today that hardly happens. The first thing you ought to do if you are unemployed is to accept that today is not yesterday. This is not about who is to blame. Acceptance of this fact can align your thoughts in such a way that you are motivated to act.
With fewer jobs available and a teeming unemployed population, competition for available jobs is fierce. Expertise is more often demanded. That you are a fresh graduate does not concern many employers. I once saw a vacancy advert seeking “fresh graduate with two years’ experience”. You have the task of seeing to it that you grow your skills. If you have spent one or more years unemployed and in that period you did not grow your skills then you have not helped yourself. If you do not grow your skills, you diminish your chances of getting a job or even becoming self-employed.
- John Mason, The Impossible is Possible, 2009, Orient Paperbacks, New Delhi, 70
This write-up continues in the next post.
Godwin Nwaokike is the author of Growing Through Life: The Pursuit of Fulfilment. Click the image below to find out more about the book.