The main character in the novel -okonkwo made the book somewhat obsessive to me! He cut a picture of a die-hard, workaholic, being. He was a man that made up his mind to pursue success irrespective of the cost. He had worked his fingers to the bones in a bid to amass wealth.
Okonkwo was a man who had the 'humblest' of upbringings: His father was a complete nonentity- He was never able to provide for his household, reckless and nobody made any meaningful reference to him all through his lifetime. He died frustrated and deeply in debt.
Okonkwo had no heritage. According to the writer: He never inherited any farmland like other kids, nor damsel (as was the custom), nor any cowry to start with, yet he threw himself into the struggles like someone possessed. He worked tirelessly to amend the family's image that had been seriously dealt a fatal blow by his Dad's reckless life. At a point, it was like pouring water into a basket, but he was never discouraged. He pursued his vision tenaciously and became one of the strongest men not only in that village, but as well as the neighborhood.
Laying on the bed on this fateful day, I was deeply in thought. I have been reading this book many times over because it was evident that I and the principal character share a common goal. In fact, it was like the author wrote the book with the intention of passing me a copy at this point in time.
I had left Egbe, in Kogi State here in Nigeria a few years before to Ilorin another city in Nigeria with the hope of having a stronger opportunity to write my DESTINY. It hadn't been rosy at all, and day-in-day-out, the dream lifestyle appeared to be only a mirage.
My guardian was doing her best. She ensured I got as much as she could afford by way of feeding, clothing and other necessities. BUT, I needed more than that! I wanted to become the man we would stay up to watch in the movies; I would rather be that young author, Doctor and the likes. I felt it was never possible for me to become any of these by just sleeping, waking, reciting The Lord's prayer and merely 'staying out of trouble' that my guardian preached daily.
On that day, I felt the time has come for me to begin the sojourn. It was a day of decision.
As I shifted from one edge of the bed to the other, I thought of how possible it will be to replicate Okonkwo's lifestyle. I had less than nothing (atleast, so I thought)...
However, I found no happiness in my life. I knew there was something else that I needed to know and lots of others I needed to do. It was time for action!
What do I do?
Where do I go?
What steps do I take?These and many more questions came to my mind on that day. As much as I wanted to begin, there was clearly no idea of how to go about it. Each beautiful thought of success had been countered by an equal thought of poverty, humble background, et ce tera.
I once thought of writing a book but remembered I had no money, fame and other qualities required to make sales. I wanted to go into buying and selling of computer accessories but couldn't even dwell long on the thought as the 'inner voice' brought to bear my inadequacies.
So, what could the 'GREATS' of this world have gotten so right? What did the people I often read of their humble beginning, who later became wealthy actually did at this point in time?
While still seriously dwelling on that thought I remember what a friend told me after putting him through some topics in MATHEMATICS ' Segun, more than anything I can see you have a great passion for imparting knowledge, and you are a very, very good Teacher. Consider making something out of it, please.' I had laughed and joked of him always exaggerating his point. However, he looked very serious and repeated the same phrase over and over.
So, I could teach! Hmm... Well, It was time to consider as many things as are worth considering. But…but, how would I go about it? What am I possibly going to teach on?
If there was one problem I had at that time, it was my inability to sufficiently provide enough answers for all the questions that often came to my mind…that night inclusive. I came to realize later though, that this is one challenge every achiever in life would always be confronted with. I have however seen that those who amounted to anything of substance in life never really spent their time answering all the questions of life, but rather asking themselves relevant questions of life- questions like: what if I decide to start even if all I've got is only ideas? What joy would it be for me if I was able to meet my needs and that of my parents? What would it cost me to conquer my fear and disbelief?
"Proceed on that life changing journey, `even if you were eventually unable to totally subdue your fears. It is normal to fear taking risks but that should never be a stumbling block."
In CONCLUSION...That night...I sat up on the bed, and could hear myself speaking up:
'I AM GOING TO BEGIN!, I AM GOING TO BEGIN!!'
Immediately, I became joyous! It was like I had won a lottery. I ran downstairs (I lived in a duplex) beaming with smile. Everyone noticed my unusual change of mood and demanded why, but I only gave them a runaround
The very next day was to be a day I would never forget in my life. I woke very early, dressed up in my best and told everyone I was going for something very important.
Each step I took that day was a mixture of both fear and motivation…but, now I was prepared to go the whole length, even if I was still afraid.
I checked into the first office-CEETIE COMPUTER ACADEMY in Ilorin, but as expected was turned down for lack of enough qualifications (I haven't gained admission into college, then).
For every disappointments, discouragement sets in; likewise the fear of future disappointments. I managed to stay true to my motto: DO IT, AFRAID. I was always going back and reminding them what I could do and have done before…just the way David confessed of defeating bears before dealing with goliath.
DIFFERENT STRATEGY...Eventually, I decided to change tactics. I located another computer office on my way to a friend's place and decided to try again. This time around I told them never to pay for my work until they considered me satisfactory. Upon hearing this, the Owners of that organization were deeply touched. They saw that I came around, not just for the money, and decided to offer me a permanent employment! From then, I have always strived to improve my knowledge and God has been very, very faithful
CURRENTLY...Today, by the grace of God, people pay as much as N50, 000.00k per head, sometimes just to have me teach some aspects of ADVANCED COMPUTER NETWORKING for a week.
Aside teaching, I have had the opportunity to engage in other ICT jobs. Our online presence is at (www.unikconnects.com.ng) where we currently run an e-commerce business, and we presently have an incredible global and national ranking just within its two years of existence. We are doing our best, by the grace of God to improve the ranking.
Ladies and gentlemen, I encourage you to proceed with that dream, even if you are still afraid
Do It Afraid... David Olusegun
Trust you have enjoyed this: stay tuned...
David Olusegun lives and writes in from Nigeria, West Africa