“It is a crime to remain stagnant in a constantly evolving world.” – Ololade Ajekigbe
In less than 48 hours, the year 2015 will be history, and we will be ushering in a brand new year. As usual, there is plenty of euphoria and optimism about the new year…and rightly too. What better time to start afresh, and anticipate a better fortune than the dawn of a new season. However, it’s always important to look back and take stock of the last 365 days or thereabout in order to avoid the mistakes of the past and chart a better course for the future.
I started the year without really having a specific resolution (I have found that having a specific resolution doesn’t really work for me), but rather chose to have a generic one. This was basically ensuring I worked harder at getting better at my craft and generally being a better person. To a large extent, I’d like to believe I was able to achieve my goal. In the last 52 weeks, I have learned a lot and would like to share some of them with you. Here are some of the lessons that 2015 taught me;
The universe makes way for the one who’s doing what he’s called to do: When you walk in purpose, the macrocosm makes way for you. It has no choice. This doesn’t mean the journey will be easy, but as you forge ahead, step by step, you begin to see the bigger picture, and every single obstacle will be worth it at the end of the day. I have found myself in places where I never really imagined myself to be at this time, all because of my writing. My articles have transcended national boundaries within a short space of time. I can only attribute it to God and doing what I have been called to do. So, once you’re certain you are doing what you have been called to do, put your hands to the plough and never look back.
Strangers can be your greatest cheerleaders: Many times, when we think of getting love and support, friends and family automatically come to mind. Even though I am blessed with the best family and a few good friends, this year has taught me that sometimes, the people we least expect are the ones who will show up for us. In 2015, I have enjoyed a lot of goodwill from total strangers and acquaintances. I have been absolutely humbled by the response I have gotten from certain people who met me just once and some who haven’t even met me in real time, but are always ready to offer a kind word and support my writing in any way they can. I have been trusted with very personal information by people that hardly know me. I do not take all these for granted. But, it has made me realize that sometimes, long term friendship is overrated. Sometimes, strangers will do what your best friend won’t do for you.
It’s really okay to outgrow people: As I gained one or two new friends this year, my friendship with a few relatively close friends became strained. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t deliberate. Sometimes, the mask just falls off. Other times, you just grow apart. Friendship is one of those things that shouldn’t be forced, and if you find that there always seems to be friction between you and a supposed close friend, then it may be time to review your friendship.
Try your best not to judge others: This is hard for many of us, as it’s one of the easiest thing to do… pass judgement on someone else based on what we can see on the surface. Never judge, especially when a person’s action does not directly affect you. Whether someone is gay or straight, chose to become a third wife or has been out of school for ten years and is yet to find his feet, it is not in our place to judge them. I have been privileged to interact with different categories of people, and I have found that there is always more to a person to than meets the eye. This has produced a major shift in the way I think. I may not agree with a person’s way of life or decisions, but I will respect their right to their way of life, while also realizing that our differences does not make me better than them.
Originality works: Be yourself. Do you. Those who will love you will do so unconditionally. And those who don’t will not. The good thing about this is that you will find your own type of people. Trying to please the crowd will only leave you frustrated and displeased yourself. I am inspired by many writers and people generally, but I have never sought to write like anyone. I am finding my own voice, and it has worked for me so far. I don’t do cliques. I don’t follow fashion trends blindly. My close friends are less than 5 in number. I need alone time regularly to collect myself in a crazy world. I would rather do the listening than the talking. My friends know this and have no problem with it. Originality works for me all the time. I wouldn’t tweak myself for the world.
Self-development is everything: This is perhaps the biggest lesson I have learned this year. I have always had a voracious appetite for knowledge and self-development, and this has helped me tremendously in every aspect of my life. I try to take a course every year, so my hunger for knowledge doesn’t fizzle out. I try to learn something new every chance I get. Many of us have access to the internet, but the question is – what do we do with it? Most people would rather spend precious time criticizing others instead of using the web to develop themselves. A couple of people who have read my articles often ask me if I studied abroad. And I always answer in the negative. No, I didn’t study abroad. As a matter of fact, I didn’t finish with a First class or even a Second Class Upper. What I did was to make sure that there is a huge difference between the Lolade that left school ten years ago, and Lolade now. I am constantly and consistently developing myself and it is paying off. I have been invited to cerebral and diplomatic events by people who aren’t close to me, I have been awarded a honorary certificate all because of what I do here. If you don’t take anything away from all I have written so far, please don’t do away with this – Keep developing yourself. It is a crime to remain stagnant in a constantly evolving world.
I have learned so many other things in 2015 too; like trusting my creator more, loving and letting go, apologizing for the sake of peace even when I did no wrong and countless other lessons, but time and space will not permit me to go into details. However, the most important ones have been discussed above.
P.S: I would like to thank you all for the love and support for my work throughout this year. Here’s wishing you a fantastic and fulfilling 2016 ahead. Cheers!