_A Paradox_

A had a defining experience when I was a sophomore some good years ago.

Though I was just in my second year in the university, I had some level of influence that accorded me a few privileges.

One of such, was playing some roles in determining who became “who,” in the Student’s Union Government (SUG).

I pioneered a campus christian fellowship for my denomination and our population strength was a furtherance to my authority and privileges.

That particular year, I was approached individually by two of the union’s strong Presidential contestants for advice and support.

I always made it clear that my advice was guaranteed, however, my support depended on what any fellow did with my advice.

When the election was over, one of the two who had met with me emerged as President elect. The other was also the first runner up and was defeated with less than 200 votes in a university with an estimated population of 10,000 students.

This time around I waited some days and invited the two to meet with me on separate dates. I have always desired to mentor political leaders on issues bothering leadership, economy and technology, so I hoped to use this infantile political experience I was presented with to learn some lessons.

I wanted to hear from them, but from the “winner” first. We scheduled, but he did not meet up with the appointment. So the next day, I met with the “looser.”

He not only was present, he was prompt. As we interacted, he brought out an exercise book and showed me “22 reasons why I lost the SUG election,” – that was exactly what he titled it.

He had taken time to think through the entire peri-election experience. His mistakes and his oversights. Also the actions and decisions that gave him the number of success he also had.

At a later date, I met with the “winner.” He explained how he was in a party and forgot about our meeting. He thanked me for my advice; those before and those throughout the election.

We talked further, but that was it. He was all excited and happy and nothing else. When we got done and he was about to go, I asked him to take time to think through how he achieved his success and endeavor to pen them down in a book. I also asked him to visit again, so we could go through them.

Years have passed and we have never had to sit together, over a table again. He never showed up, neither did we have any other interaction throughout his one year term in office.

Those years I told myself, I will never be the “winner” who never takes stock of what strategies and decisions that brought him to success, neither would I be the “looser,” who only takes stock after he had failed.

It was within the week I made this decision that I had another encounter. I met with a “poor” old man who ran a little kiosk. I had just made a few purchases and was about to leave when I was prompted to sit and interact with the old man on the issues of life.

During our talk, I asked him, “what is the single most important advice, you could give to any young person, from the mistakes you made while becoming the man you are today?”

He did not hesitate for a second but immediately spoke out, “There is really nothing you cannot become, impossible is nothing. Dare to do what they say you cannot. It is your life, so live it!”

Puzzled at his rapid response, I enquired further and he told me about a very wealthy man among the Igbo tribe in Southeast Nigeria. He started out life at the same time with this man, but, along the way, he gave in to lazy counsels whereas his friend made up his mind to prove everyone wrong, after all, ‘it was his life,’ and he did today.

Here is a rich man, no, a rich OLD man – he got to the top early and has continued to climb, even at a good old age, because, he always took stock of his actions, and as a science, has continuously re-applied only what works.
The End.

© OTUBO VICTOR