“If you can’t fly, then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”- Martin Luther King Jnr
If like me you live in Lagos, or any other city in the world that is characterized by the kind of fast paced life and madness that is synonymous with metropolitan cities, then I can hardly blame you if all you desire to do at times is crawl into bed and do absolutely nothing. One of my best moments is time spent in the solace of my room and on the comfort of my bed, away from all the commotion and pressures of our crazy world. Sometimes, one really wonders what all the hustle is all about since life is short and we aren’t going to take anything out of it anyway. All the degrees, material acquisitions, relationships and achievements will end one day, so why don’t we just pack it all up and go to sleep? It is a valid argument I suppose. Even the good book says everything is vanity. But then again, the same good book warns that a love for sleep guarantees poverty.
In a rapidly changing world where it is hard to keep up with the almost supersonic rate of happenings and events, not to talk of technological advancements, it is dangerous to be caught sleeping. Now, sleep in this context can be literal or figurative. You may be one who literally loves to spend a good amount of time sleeping on one hand. On the other hand, you may be “sleeping” in terms of being complacent. It doesn’t matter which of the two is your Achilles heel, you really should snap out of it. Sleep can be the devil. Complacency is a thief of progress.
You see, the thing is that while you get comfortable in that cosy spot of yours, the world is moving. The world doesn’t wait. Often times, we see someone who seems to have suddenly hit the jack pot. We say they made it out of the blue without having an idea of how many years they spent burning the midnight oil while their contemporaries were partying. We are oblivious of the amount of pain, sweat and blood that got them to the enviable place they currently occupy. We are ignorant of the amount of hard work and drudgery they had to endure to get to that point. Because we live in a society where many have assumed influential positions that they do not deserve or amassed questionable wealth within a short space of time, sometimes there’s the tendency to always attribute any success to some dubious means. No, it is not always that way. There are people who are where they are today through good old hard work and determination.
I know quite a number of people who started their businesses way back during University days. Those days when many were still utterly clueless about what they wanted to do with their lives. These people got an early start no doubt, but it is only because they were forward thinking and knew what they wanted out of life early enough. But those who don’t know their story, and now see them growing in leaps and bounds assume that they must have had things easy or were even born with a silver spoon. I also know people who didn’t have that early head start, who had to get into the labour market before deciding on what exactly they wanted to do. But you know what? When they found that thing, they never looked back. They worked over time to make up for the lost years. While you got comfortable on that nine to five job that you absolutely detest, but have found yourself trapped in because you need the money and cannot dare to quit, they pursued their passion relentlessly even while doing the same dissatisfying job as you.
The makeup of the world today does not permit anyone to be idle or complacent. It is extremely risky to be caught napping in these times. Maybe the very few who are born into stupendous wealth can afford to be a little laid back, but for most of us who are from barely average families or even poor ones, there is absolutely no excuse or reason to be found sleeping.
The reality is that while you sleep, your contemporaries are busy thinking of the next frontier to push. While you sleep people are strategizing on the next barrier to break. While you sleep, your mates are in the process of obtaining that masters degree that will give their career the much needed boost. While you daydream about having Dangote’s type of wealth, someone else is taking practical steps towards making it their reality. While you have become smug because you can now afford a Tokunbo car and pay your rent, someone else knows that those who buy brand new cars and live in their own houses do not have two heads.
While you sleep, the world is moving.