The cutting edge

The road to success is not smooth because there are many potholes. While on the road, you will encounter thistles and thorns, briers and brimstone by the road side in form of difficulties, challenges and what have you. They are part of our existence and we cannot shy away from them. It is not even an option to leave our problems unattended to. If life had given us an option as to whether our problems and challenges are part of our success or not, many a people will have a huge backlog of problems in their archives unresolved especially the unadventurous folks. The only option in life is our decision to either become successful or not. To be success isn’t a crime or an obligation, it’s a decision. To be unsuccessful is neither a crime as well. It’s a choice, a choice everyone has to live with. But I know many people want to become successful. Some did succeed, some did not and not because they didn’t want to but because of the challenges they couldn’t surmount and the lack of an enabling environment and also because they didn’t have what it takes to be successful.

Many of us wish we don’t have to work assiduously to make two ends meet. We also wish success can just be bequeathed to us so that we don’t have to work again. It’s implicit in human nature to have this thought pattern. It’s a healthy thought as far as I’m concerned especially in the face of a glaring hopelessness.

We all wake up everyday to realize that all is a fantasy and a mirage. We need to work hard and work smart. One of the differences between the rich and the poor is that while the rich work smart, the poor is always concerned about working hard thinking that it is only hard work that is rewarded. The rich work hard also but they added smartness as a cutting edge. If how hard we work is a measure of our success, my mum should be one of the richest women in the world contesting with the likes of Folorunsho Alakija and Oprah Winfrey. But unfortunately, it’s not a measure.

What do we need to do to be successful? There’s a stiff competition going on in the world. Healthy competition at that. If care is not taken, many a people will be left by the roadside. We have seen our peers achieve more than we’ve achieved and we begin to wonder how they did it. Many people with whom we started the journey together but we seem to be lagging behind. Don’t be surprised, that thought of great innovation and enterprise that you’re taking your time to sort out, some people are already actualizing it and you actually think no one is thinking what you’re thinking. Many people, millions of people are having the same thought content in a different pattern but whoever comes out with it first owns it. We would have heard someone groan about his/her idea being hijacked. It is a testament. No one is isolated in a particular chosen field. There are competitors and contenders there. We have many medical doctors in the world because health need is abounding. Only you as a doctor cannot cater for all the patients. We have many engineers in the world in all the engineering branches because there are needs there. We have innumerable artisans that litter the length and breadth of the world because human needs are insatiable. No ill-feelings should be harbored against anyone because only you cannot meet the ever-growing needs of everyone. But you need to stand out among them. The services you render to your customers must be excellent, outstanding, empathetic and well-thought out. It is the service you render that will determine whether your business will grow by making customers come back again and again or not. Your service must be your cutting edge.

As someone who is just starting out in life, I have an insatiable hunger for success. I have it in me to be great in life. I want to be the pacesetter of great achievements of unprecedented proportions and a trailblazer of breakthroughs despite the daunting challenges that confront me academically. I had no access to the full education that my peers and colleagues were bequeathed with. And I didn’t want that to determine how successful I am on the success index. There’s a jinx and a notion that it’s only your certificate that will guarantee you good and lucrative jobs and a bright future. While I subscribe to the former, I’m not on the same page with the latter. A good job or lucrative deal isn’t automatically a bright future. I determined within me that I will go against all odds to be successful even if I didn’t have full access to academic education. Those who have it, it’s a plus and don’t waste it. It comes once in a lifetime.

I’ve attended church services. I’ve attended seminars. I’ve read books that bother on success and I’ve discussed success in my brain. I’ve read books on successful people. I’ve seen people who are successful. And I’ve seen success in differing dimensions. I’ve seen success from Bill Gates’, Aliko Dangote’s, Femi Otedola’s,  Barak Obama’s, Richard Branson’s etc, perspective. I’ve seen success from Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s, Temitope Joshua’s, Bishop David Oyedepo’s, Pastor Oyakhilome’s, Pastor Sam Adeyemi’s, Mike Okonkwo’s, Pastor Tunde Amosun’s etc, angle. And I’ve seen success from some people around me who were able to send their children to school to acquire good education that will last a test of time, who were able to provide for the immediate needs of their family while saving for the future at the same time and also maintain one or two cars. They are not poor, they are not extravagantly rich, they fall in the category of the middle class. This is success in three distinct categories if you check the indices used. One, success on the global scene spearheaded in the world of computer software, cement, oil and gas business, cement and the number one Presidency in the world occupied by a black descent. Two, success in the task of winning souls for God which had skyrocketed and extended to the whole world and thirdly, success which maintains a low status. It depends on our preference to work towards anyone. What is the cutting edge of all these people to attain such an enviable height? With the exception of the business of evangelism, let’s take a cursory look at some obvious qualities.

RESOURCES

To start out on anything in life, we need resources. That is what we arm ourselves with. Without resources, we cannot do anything. To start a business, we need financial resources. When the business starts thriving, we need human resources to keep it going. To become employable, we need education or academic resources. At the bottom of all these, one major resources that speaks for people is their TALENTS and GIFTS. We’ve heard a lot and read a lot about talents and gifts. In this world and age, education alone cannot guarantee success especially in the developed world.  Your gifts and talents is your mouthpiece that will speak for you in the marketplace where untold competition abounds. It is a good thing one has a white-collar job where you always expect a salary package at the end of the month. I always refer to salary as a stipend. Many people will not agree with me that I call their salary a stipend or a peanut because they brag about earning a handsome salary with which they could afford to buy a car, live in a luxury apartment and buy a choice land in a choice place. But why will someone, in spite of all these that I just rolled out, still abandon such jobs in search of something better?  As far as I know, many of such people never got into the payroll of another company but decided to be their own boss and pay people instead. No matter how handsomely you are remunerated weekly, monthly or annually, the pay cannot be commensurate with your output. No one can fully pay for your service and gifts and talents. The only way you can reward yourself is to make your natural endowments active, not redundant or dormant. Those who took such golden step eventually stood out among their peers. And they became employers of labor in the long run. As someone who is just starting out in life, put your talent into use. As a young man and woman, explore life fully with your gift. And mind you, gift and talent are not limited to singing because this is what some folk talent is. Singing is one, dancing is another. Writing is there. Analytical skill is there. You can write and sell yourself out through your write-up. If you are not afforded the platform some were afforded that eventually brought them out of obscurity to limelight, you can still start somewhere. Studios are many in town where you can go and record your tracks. Are you good at playing keyboard or good at beating the drums? Is yours to gather people and have a chat with them? Go ahead and commercialize it.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Aside your natural talents, you can go for an acquired talent called technical skills. The developed countries achieved their current status because of their huge investment on their teeming young people to acquire technical skills. China is a case study. China boasts of, arguably, the largest population of young people. While a country like Nigeria sees this as a liability, China saw opportunity to advance their economy and reduce unemployment. A larger chunk of Chinese populace is not as educated as those in Nigeria, yet they are technologically savvy. Their young people are the ones who couple some of the phones we use and even the bicycles and the tricycles we ride in this part of the world. They didn’t place so many premiums on certificate like we do here. They rather went all out to acquire technical skills. They are rather referred to as artisans here. We even belittle some by calling a mechanical engineer a mechanic because he didn’t acquire a formal education. Yet he’s so adept at handling a fault in a car more than the one who adorns a three-piece suit everyday. No ill-feelings. It’s a dissect of our anomaly. If our so-called mechanics, our electricians instead of electrical engineers, our bricklayers instead of construction engineers (the construction contractors and project managers hijacked their pay and dole our wages to them), our painters, our carpenters etc can be invested into and taken through some formalities, our country will be a better place. But in the absence of this, let’s acquire the skills we can while there’s still time. Our tailors instead of fashion designers are numerous. We need the technical skills so much as a backup to what we do.

COMMUNICATION SKILL

This is an excellent skill. It is touted that if you can communicate well, you have all skills. Communication skill is unrivaled in all aspects. This is the skill that sells your services. You can’t deny this. You acquire the technical skills and you have your talents and gifts, you have all the education obtainable but you are deficient in your manner of communication, then you’re miles behind. Though your business plan is plain, decipherable and self-explanatory on paper before some business analysts, you still need to sharpen your communication skill better. But unfortunately, it is not a skill many young people possess and it is affecting a whole lot of us negatively. This deficiency is divided into two distinct categories; lack of mastery of the means of communication. It is a bit difficult for our teeming young men and women to address a situation in a simple sentence. One begins to wonder what they spent some two decades learning in school. If they can’t put simple sentence into effect, how will they remember what they studied? At interviews, some were dropped because the employers felt they were unemployable, not because they didn’t possess the requisite credentials but because their tenses were embarrassing and disheartening. And if you’re incoherent, how can you make an in-road?  Even if you’re self-employed and you want to promote your business as a brand, how will you go about it since you’re the brain behind it?

The second category is the lack of the culture of courtesy and respect in our sentences. Some young people refer to others and even the elderly ones as ‘you people’. How can someone like that make progress bearing it in mind that no success is single-handedly attained. You cannot refer to the people whose help you need as ‘you people’. Someone once told me that if one has an excellent communication skill and integrity, the person will go places. Don’t be surprised that communication is a success factor.

PERFECTION INSTINCT

Perfection is flawlessness. Flawlessness is a near state of no fault. Whatever thing we do for people, we must always have perfection instinct in our minds. We must do it in such a way that it will attract words of commendation and most importantly, or ultimately, recommendations. We must not do things haphazardly or shambolically. I once told someone that I don’t do, I won’t do and I have never done anything to please people. I do things to please myself because I do things to satisfy myself. Whatever I do that satisfies me will automatically satisfy others. This is because I pay a meticulous attention to it and also invest a great deal of energy and time getting it done so that it will stand the test of time. And I have testimonies aplenty and a big recommendation as a result. You may not have a full formal education, you may not acquire technical skills but if you can approach any assignment dropped on your laps with the mindset of perfection, trust me, recommendations will pour in that will command more money for you. This makes me feel sorry for our artisans. When you asked them to do something for you, they become dubious at the outset with a cheat instinct and end up doing what you asked them to do below expectation and the pay incurred. As a young man and woman, do things right and do the right thing also. As a result, the sky will just be the starting point for your success.

Author: Olajide Oluwafemi

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