We have been taught to be in a perpetual state of hunger for attainment. We want to be more, achieve more, get better, be wealthy, attain a higher level of influence. I can aver that this is true in my case. I plan to die empty, therefore, I am always looking to be better than I was yesterday. I also realise that life is short, there are no guarantees, and so everyone is essentially in a race against time to do what they have to do before they check out of this realm. There’s nothing wrong with ambition. To be driven is to be eager to self-actualise and contribute value. It’s not a bad thing.
On the flip side, however, the quest for more can close our eyes to how far we have come. We forget there was a time in the recent past when we hoped and prayed for what we have now. That period, it felt like we would be fulfiled if we achieved the things we are now bored of.
But now, we yearn for something different—a new level of accomplishment— that would eclipse whatever we have done in the past.
A society that never ceases to pressure is a major factor in our quest for greater heights
For some, it’s not even that they are ambitious. No. It’s the palpitations they feel when they look at Obinna who was their classmate and now lives in his own house only five years after they graduated while they are still struggling to maintain one Tokunbo car. It’s the feeling of inadequacy that grips when Nike looks at Bisi who isn’t half as beautiful as she is, yet, is married with kids while she can’t seem to get lucky in matters of the heart.
Tony who envies Obinna forgets there was a time when he couldn’t even boast of a job and was thrown out of his single room apartment because he was indebted to his landlord. Now he has a decent job, lives in a three-bedroom flat and has a car, but struggles to extricate himself from the inferiority complex that plagues him.
Nike suffers the same ailment. She has banished memories of the past struggles into the recesses of her brain. In the not-too-distant past, she was ill nigh unto death. Her gaunt frame and inability to speak was a source of grave worry for friends and family alike. Her family had given up hope, as had she. Marriage was the last thing on her mind during that challenging period.
Somehow, Nike survived.
She not only survived, but she also made a full recovery. One accompanied by even more beauty. Her weight normalised. She could speak without any impediment. A young lady whose situation had called for a resignation to fate and early prayers for the repose of her soul when her anticipated demise eventually happened beat the odds and lived.
But Nike suffers self-induced amnesia. Instead of being in a perpetual state of gratitude for being alive, she now moans about her single status, leaving associates to wonder if she would even get the opportunity to worry if she had died.
The analogy of Tony and Nike is the story of most of us.
Over the past week, I pondered over how I would achieve all the goals I set for myself. I was a tad overwhelmed by the enormity of work I had to do. Concerns like finance, time management, career progression, and work-life balance came to the fore.
Then it dawned on me: there was a time I was nowhere near this space
For years, my career stagnated and I hated my job. I was in a state of dissatisfaction and confusion. I didn’t even have a concrete plan of what I wanted to do with my life.
Until I gained a modicum of clarity and things began to change. I began to do what I loved and found my little corner in the world. My finances aren’t also what they used to be. I am a much better financial manager now. In every aspect of my life, I have experienced positive growth.
Of course, there’s still a long way to go. There are numerous things I would love to accomplish, and I am not anywhere close.
But I realise I have come a long way already. Far from that disgruntled young lady who only showed up at work because she needed to survive. For that I am grateful.
I choose to focus on gratitude because I know there’ll always be more to do
Human wants are insatiable. and knowing the kind of person I am, I am not certain there’ll come a time when I’ll stop yearning for more.
This means I must make a conscious effort to reflect and be thankful for how far I have come; my little and big wins.
Today, I urge you to do the same. I am almost certain you aren’t where you were five years ago. And even if somehow, your reality is different and you have retrogressed, you should be grateful for life. That you are healthy and still going on in spite of the circumstances.
As you press on and strive for more, keep in memory how far you have come, and be proud. Be grateful, be hopeful.
Pat yourself on the back; you’re doing well.