Is knowing your purpose enough?
We were going to discuss the risk of the Sugar Mummy business, but readers’ requests got us here. This subject is important. Knowing your purpose and you special gift from God, do not make you a successful person. Success here means full utilization of your natural gift in your gift zone.
Natural gifts have to be nurtured into maturity to yield harvests through “struggles, obstacles, challenges and problems.” First, the gift, like a footballer’s, has to be developed into a skill through training and practice.
In my favourite examples of Professor Wole Soyinka and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, both A-listed writers were born into books. And Cocharis’s Cosmas Maduka was an apprentice trader.
Appropriate gift development depends so much on the environment one was born and raised in. This is the basis of the heredity and environment argument. If Professor Soyinka was born in a remote area, and perhaps didn’t go to school, one wonders what he would have become. Soyinka was born in Abeokuta. His father, Samuel Ayodele Soyinka (whom he called S.A. or “Essay”), was an Anglican minister and the headmaster of St. Peters School in Abẹokuta. His mother, Grace Eniola Soyinka (whom he dubbed the “Wild Christian”), owned a shop in the nearby market. She was a political activist within the women’s movement in the local community.
Even if he wasn’t born into books, attending school would have unearthed his gift or perhaps been discovered by his teachers, and the school environment would have been a good one to develop the gift.
It may also be reasonable to say that the Nigerian environment, like wild grass, tends choke talent or gifts to death. However, although it is easier to make it in some other environments, people are known to have grown their talents to dizzying heights in this country. And many are still doing it.
The magic is perseverance and focus, with the eye on the big picture – eventual and not immediate rewards. No matter the number of times kids crash to the floor in their attempts to walk, they keep at it until they succeed. That is the point.
The challenges of gift development make a long list. They include lack of skill, self- belief and motivation; time, space, money, fear of failure, distractions and manipulation by other people who want you to be who they want rather than who you are gifted to be.
The solutions to most of these challenges are perseverance and focus. Take this example of Ali Baba, the Godfather of the Nigerian comedy business.
When a relation threw him out of their 1004 apartment in Lagos because of comedy and late nights, he made the Bar beach his home. But he tells the story in a way that makes you rather laugh. He told a magazine, “I got another apartment; it was very big. It was the Lagos Bar Beach, a beautiful place; there was no need for air-conditioner; you didn’t have to pay light bill…. Then, the Bar beach was still far from the dry land, so, you had huts made in an ‘E’ shape. You have these chairs that fold, which they give to you and that’s where you sleep. Before 6 a.m in the morning, you arranged for people that would give you warm water to take your bath. After you’ve had your bath and breakfast, then you resume work.”
Unbelievable! But in life, the more the affliction, the greater the growth for those who persevere. Perseverance is the ability to keep going in the face of continuous challenges. It is the ability to disregard pain and distractions and to stay focused – hanging on to your vision and training your brain for success.
A Norwegian fable first used by H. Besser in his book, Perseverance: How to Develop It, is about man who left his hometown to rejoin his fiancée, where they were to be married. On the way, he chose to take a different route because the direct route to his fiancée was boring and lacked fun. Eventually, the man forgot about his original objective of meeting his fiancée and spent years on a journey to “nowhere.” More years passed before he realized how far he had strayed off his original path.
As he retraced his steps to get back, his fiancée stopped waiting and married another. By the time the man reached his original destination, he was much older, alone and poor and had nothing to show for his long journey.
The other great challenge is when others want you to be what you are not born to be, and you are forced to live your life to please them. They call the victims people-pleasers. When people live to please others, and not God who plants the gift, it could lead to derailment of purpose.
People-pleasers are so invested in outside approval that they set their own wants and needs aside. They would rather do that which would earn them approval from others, even when it wreaks havoc on their own best-laid plans.
In conclusion, it is important to note that after discovering your purpose, the road to self development is usually lonely, stressful, and painful. Worse, there are always people to discourage you. Again, magic word is perseverance.