One of the most annoying things about living in Lagos is really the infamous Lagos traffic. It’s sheer frustration.
No one really abides by rules..
And when I say no one, I really mean absolutely totally no one but a handful of individuals who have consciously chosen to apply some sense even when on the streets.
We are all trying to get somewhere – moving from A to B – that’s why we got in the car after-all, right?
We are all trying to leave a current, and make it to a desired destination, right? That’s why we are moving consciously, in a specific direction.
Just as when playing cards, chess, a board game or any other game that involved more than one player.. you need to play fair!
There are certain Dos and Don’ts; certain things you simply cannot do because it would put your own life or that of another at risk; or simply cause unnecessary disruptions.
Just as with life and pursuing your goals, you need to remember that whatever you do will ultimately in/directly affect another.
I know I’ve been encouraging RADICALISM and stepping out to do you own thing.
I’ve highlighted the fact that – in the process of that- you will eventually have to fight to tear down barriers and shield yourself against criticism (while being open to advice) and believe and trust in Him who sent you on that new journey.
However, there is also a need to make sure you do not cause unnecessary offence while doing that.
Just as with driving, there are certain laws you need to abide by, certain Rules of Engagement:
1. Have a Specific Destination
It is of utmost importance that you know where you’re going! You might not be very clear on what route will get you there- and that is okay, as there are usually multiple anyway- but you cannot do without a blueprint. Most of us live our lives by trial and error. If this doesn’t work, let me try this.. or that, and then go back to the very beginning. Endlessly walking and driving and dancing in circles that lead to.. well, nowhere!
I think now that we Lagosians/Nigerians are once again faced with a fuel scarcity, we understand the need for securing petrol (no such thing as spare), we prefer staying indoors unless we really have to go out there. Right now we really do make sure we use our resources wisely, lest they run out. How many of us will continue being this mindful next week though? How many of us live our lives calculated; how many of us really only react rather than act; walk around aimlessly until we hit something that appears to somehow make sense?
Today, however, I’m encouraging you to not just walk out of the blue and around in the dark with nothing to fall back/hold on to. I am not talking about financial security here, but a conviction that you are ready to walk this thing out, come what may. It is the only thing that will eventually keep you going. The only thing that will lead to true fulfilment and satisfaction: the assurance that you are doing what you have been called to do. Only then will you weather the storms of life.
2. Don’t Drink & Drive
We all know of distractions when driving. Immediate needs such as eating and drinking have caused many a car-bashing. I know so because I have been found (almost) guilty a number of times.
When pursuing dreams, we often get so immersed by our immediate (carnal) needs, that we break some rules (even those set by ourselves). We are eager for fame, hungry for appraisal and so thirsty for fame, that we get carried away. Do not succumb to internal pressure, but give yourself time. Time to work, breathe, relax, eat. Time to – even while on the journey- take a break, attend to your needs, your family, your friends. Don’t put life on hold but manage it wisely. There is time for everything. Just figure out when to do what; and do whatever it is you do, well!
3. Wait for Your Turn/Time
Please, and I repeat: please do not take rash turnings or attempt to over-take another. Your time will come!
isn’t it just so annoying when someone chances you? When everyone obeys the rule, but one person decides to be sharper than everyone else, and simply do what pleases him?
We all know the fury that follows.. and the copy-cats that follow even closer behind.
I don’t fully get the maths behind it, but did it ever occur to you that it is so much easier to copy what is wrong, that it is to copy what is right?
Doing the right thing takes strength of character, while doing the wrong thing takes nothing at all.
Imagine how smoothly and peacefully traffic went by if everyone just waited for the turn?
Imagine how nice it would be if you could enjoy the process and progress of another, knowing fully well that- even while waiting- that would soon be you.
Imagine how nice it would be if the person going before you did not have to rush (thus causing a risk ahead) because he did not feel threatened about you taking his place/spot? How nice it would be for you to know the person behind you was just as understanding and considerate as you, and would await his time too?
Well, this really does not have to be an imagine. Let’s all just get used to waiting for our time!
4. Don’t Get Distracted
The pings and the buzzes can be so distracting. We know we really shouldn’t, but we pick up that phone anyway. People’s opinions; what they think and say.
Let’s not lie: Nigeria is a country filled with the overflow of extremely fine human beings (especially men). At times it’s really difficult to focus.
And then the dirty streets, the environment, the social norms, attitudes and behavioural patterns: it really is easy to get pulled and so totally soaked in.
But there are no excuses! Do not get distracted; especially not by the popular opinion.
Often we are forced to stop along the way: a flat tire, an accident, a family emergency, an unexpected tragedy; life makes allowances for these; but be sure not to pause for too long. Times and season happen to us all; but usually they are time-sensitive/specific too.
Blessed is the man who is ready for his time when it comes!
5. Stay in Your Lane
Most of us really just jump between lanes (from one business to the other, one relationship to another) because we have no clue of what we should be doing but – preferring to do anything else- we start embarking on other options and possibilities. We are quick to copy, slow to create. We see others succeed at something and are all too quick to jump into the same business venture; taking the same course; joining the same circles. Whatever happened to creativity? Truth is, most of us really do not believe enough creativity lies within ourselves to get us to where we are meant to be. You can never successfully be someone else, so you’d better figure out who you are and stay there. The best you will always have been the original!
There is only so much space in one lane. We all know the kind of traffic caused by smarties creating fourth and fifth lanes, when by nature there were only two. It will lead to a slow-down, a congestion, a disrupted flow! What usually happens in the hight of selfishness and carelessness: a car-bash(ing)!
Though progress might be slow, stay there, stick at it! Continue doing, working, believing. It will eventually yield a surprising result. Be persistent and don’t give/rush out. The flow will eventually come. Truth is, there is only so much room in any given lane, so find your own (niche) and rest there.