"We are built to conquer environment, solve problems, achieve goals and we find no real satisfaction or happiness in life without obstacles to conquer and goals to achieve. " - Maxwell Maltz in Psycho-Cybernetics (1960)
I have always taken life head on because I had no choice. I got an early jolt in life when, barely eight, I lost my father. Since then, life has been a struggle. I was raised by my mother, a widow who had neither education nor financial means, but a big heart. My mother is a wonderful woman. She trained and protected me. I greatly benefited from the bottomless wealth of her wisdom. My mother instilled in me sound moral and spiritual values and the virtue of hard work. She made me believe that the keys to success are hard work and faith in God.
My mother is the single most enduring and profound influence on my life. She sold her properties to send my late brother and I to school. Her goals were simple; she wanted me to make something of myself, go places she did not dare dream of, so that her toil on me would not be in vain. Hence when I left secondary school I vowed to succeed in life. That promise has been my driving force.
Barely 10 years old, I had acquired the thirst to achieve greatness from selling iced water and biscuits on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria to support my mother. The best thing that happened to me was growing up ‘on the other side of the track, ’ without the privilege of wealthy parents. Anything I wanted, I had to hustle and scrape for. Far from a drawback, this was a definite advantage for me.
Today I thank God because those times have been confined to history. However, there were times when I believed the words of a Nigerian songwriter which says, ‘I've been down so long it looked like up to me’. At no point in my life did I think it was going to be easy.
When I followed my lovely wife to the labour room during the birth of our daughter few months ago, I realised that even bringing a child to life is not easy. I experienced a whole range of emotions; from relief, fear, anxiety, nostalgia, to excitement, but certainly not ease.
I suggest that instead of waiting for life to give you an easy path, you enter the flow of life and take it as it comes to you, understanding that there will be challenging times and also good times. During prosperous times you should expect adversity, because that is the nature of life.
You need to have faith to be able to face the challenges of life. Rather than raise the white flag of surrender, lash out in anger or take the path of least resistance, we can rise up to the challenge and meet it head on with faith in God.
Marcus Garvey once said, “Some of us seem to accept the fatalist position, the fatalist attitude, that the creator accorded to us a certain position and condition and therefore there is no need trying to be otherwise. "
Writers Dennis Kimbro and Napoleon Hill, who wrote about black men responding to challenges said in their: ‘Brotherman', that: ‘In everyone's life there comes a time of ultimate challenge - a time when all our resources are tested. A time life seems unfair. A time when our faith, our values, our patience, our compassion and our ability to persist are pushed to the limit and beyond. Some have used such tests as opportunities for growth; others have turned away and allowed these experiences to destroy their hopes. ’ If you are ever confronted by a situation that seems daunting, the only thing to do is to hold on to your faith and determination.
As a member of Jaycees International, a worldwide leadership development organisation between 1990 and 1995, I cherished the first creed of the club which says: “Faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life. " This is indeed true. Kris Akabusi, the former Commonwealth gold medallist, said in his biography: “Work hard to achieve all you can, but ultimately without God you won't find meaning and satisfaction in life. " Our faith in God sees us through many obstacles in life.
Life would throw so many things in our paths. They are the milestones that make the journey meaningful and the events that not only shape our lives but also help us in achieving our goals. Today that boy who hawked on the streets of Lagos, Nigeria when he was barely 10 years old, who gate-crashed into the launching of Tera Kota's first album in Nigeria - ‘Lamentation For Sodom’ in 1982, has become a man, feet firmly on the way to his dream, propelled by a mother's gruelling determination and his faith in God.
When the going gets tough and the situation looks uncertain, be not afraid; trudge along. Hold on to your faith with the buoyant and divine assurance that all will be well.
See you at the top soon!
Dayo Olomu is a UK-based Motivational Speaker, Writer, Business/Life Coach, Trainer, Media Entrepreneur and Competent Toastmaster. His core belief is that we are all endowed with seeds of greatness, and his mission is to help individuals and organisations achieve their full potentials. He is the author of best selling “4 Indispensable Strategies for Success" and the President of Croydon Communicators Toastmasters. Get his FREE monthly Rise to the Top ezine by sending a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at: www.dayoolomu.com