The Helping Hands
"Learning from experince; discovering your potentials"
What is the value of your autobiography?
The very first time I wrote my autobiography, I was about to finish my high school. I remember, writing autobiographies was one of the writing projects we were to submit for English class. Nevertheless, it was a simple narrative story about my life. Of course at that early stage of my life, I had nothing worth documenting, or any experience significant enough to talk about. Interestingly, I have been updating my story since then. I realized that this is a process that will continue as long as my life's journey continues. I have had a chance to read numerous autobiographies. One thing I noticed, most autobiographies only present detailed chronological events of someone’s life but do not in most instances, outline a comprehensive rationale of such life events. Whether we document our life stories or not, every individual has a life story. I say this because we all walk different paths and face different challenges. Let’s stop for a moment and ask ourselves these questions:
- Isn’t the fruit more important than the tree that bears it?
- Isn’t the certificate more important than the course?
- Isn’t the destination more important than the journey?
- Isn’t the trophy more important than the game?
- Isn’t the harvest more important than sowing?
The rationale of these questions resides on the significance of the end product, and not the process that leads to it. Similarly, a person’s life story may paint a mental imagery depicting the nature of struggles amid challenges, or in some cases, a very structured and organized life experience. Without clear-cut guiding survival tips resulting from such experiences to encourage the audience, an autobiography will be nothing more than just another personal life story. Regardless of how we frame and narrate our stories, autobiographies remain composites of narrative life events that in many cases talk about a person’s story devoid of fundamental key tips for success. I would like to take a different approach by presenting what each experience helped me discover. I walked the path of numerous challenges; I discovered some important survival techniques.
My story is still continuing although at a moment when I feel I’m well equipped with adequate skills I’ve acquired based on the challenges I faced in the past. I’m taking matters in my hands to help others deal with challenging situations by using what my experience helped me learn to inspire, encourage, educate, and advise others, keeping in mind that individual challenges may come in varying magnitudes, both in nature and severity. There is a one-size-fit-all remedy called hope. Never ever lose it. Hope is a priceless commodity that plays a key role in keeping a person’s esteem live. Throughout my life's journey, I have been faced with different challenges that at times threatened and curtailed every effort I made to pursue my goals. I’m glad the challenges I faced lead to the discovery of these important tips. I’m confident someone will find these tips helpful and applicable whenever faced with challenges.
1. Life is a journey; a journey that begins at birth. When time comes, choose the direction you want to head. Remember, your life’s journey continues even if you remain put as long as your are alive. It’s better to move with your life every step of the way than watching it go on empty. First and foremost, for those who believe in some higher powers, especially God, seek His Devine guidance as you plan your life-long journey.
2. Discover your personality to avoid living under the shadows of others. Every moment you spend aping others, is a moment you spend denying yourself the opportunity to discover who you are. It’s easy to get attracted to other people’s lifestyles and behaviors, spending your limited resources trying to be them when in essence, you have valuable untapped potentials within you. The sad thing is that, what attracts you is like a beautiful skyscraper you see above the ground. What you don’t see is the foundation or no foundation underground supporting the skyscraper. Get to know first what it takes to achieve the things that attract you and see if you are up to the challenge before you happily indulge yourself oblivious of the risks.
3. Every life’s journey has its unique challenges; know those challenges to help you gather the right tools that will aid your quest for what you’ve set forth as your goal. Before you begin your quest for the things you desire, seek and find yourself first. That will help you get to know who you are. Most failures result from lack of self awareness and adequate planning. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses before you challenge yourself. Most importantly, know the source of your strength before you challenge ‘Goliath’. Likewise, know your weaknesses to help you focus on the things that can help build you up.
4. Your life’s journey may lead you into a roadblock, dead end, or a very steep incline. If it’s a roadblock, find out why to decide what next you need to do. If it’s a steep incline, decide if it’s possible and worth trying to climb, and what it would take to get to the top. As for the dead end, that’s not the right road you took for your life’s journey. Just reroute even if it means tracing your way back to the starting point. It’s better you waste time trying to find the right route by going back than doing nothing at all.
5. Your life’s journey may not be straight, smooth, or comfortable. It may lead you on a path full of twists and turns. Worst yet, it may take you in circles, making you end up where you began. Bitterness, anger, hatred, and grudge are burdens that will drag you down, preventing you from making any progress. Your reciprocal response is to try and turn them into the energy that propels you forward.
6. In your life's journey, there may come a time when the only way forward is to leap. Setbacks are like the steps you need to take backward to help you build momentum that will propel you forward when you leap. This is the time you need to prepare by making proper calculations, judgement, and decision.
If for some reasons things don’t seem to go as per your plans despite a well-laid down plan, reevaluate your dream. Perhaps there could be something else within your reach to help you continue your life’s journey. Do not doubt your ability. Above all, whatever you decide, never ever depend on handouts. Handouts are like a cool shade under a passing cloud in a hot day.
7. In life, try and find if there are people who inspire you, not by what they own or how they live their lives, but how they achieved what they own. Learn and understand their story, paying attention to these traits: self-discipline, determination, commitment, resilience, resolve, etc. These traits are valuable recipes for whatever you set forth as your goal.
8. In your life’s journey, know who your true friends are; whether they play a role in supporting your quest for your destiny, or if they are impediments to every little effort you try to make as you go along. Very few people can help you fight your battle. Whatever the case, remember that your position is always on the frontline.
9. Be careful and aware of the people you allow at your table. Observe them keenly to understand their role at your table. Keep in mind that each and everyone you allow at your table has one of these three roles to play: – (a) bringing something (b) taking something (c) destroying everything.
10. Discover your worth to avoid becoming expendable; or else some people may use you for the things that benefit them before disposing you off when your use is no longer needed. What benefit does your engagement bring?
11. The day opportunity comes knocking, you will always be there to open the door. Whatever is meant for you belongs to you no matter where you are. Never waste too much time on the things you have no control of, and do not benefit you. Patience only pays if what you are struggling with is worth pursuing to realize your goal. Above all, refrain from asking too many “whys”. If your “whys” are more than “hows”, you are doing poorly. “Whys” are only good if they can translate into reasons to make you focus on “hows”.
12. Never shelve your dreams despite series of setbacks. Above all, always keep your head up and never give up. Sometimes, your dream may wait for the right time even if you feel pressured to pursue it every little chance you find. When your dream comes true, enjoy every moment of it. Guard against all the things constantly trying to extinguish the flame that keeps it alive. Most importantly, always acknowledge and be grateful for everything including all the setbacks and negativities you have encountered in the course of your relentless pursuit of your dream. Nothing comes easy. If or when it comes, protect it; defend it, and give it your best.
13. Never forget where you come from. Sometimes the things you passionately hate about your past life could be the very things you will need to help you achieve the exact thing you desire so much. Do not associate opportunity with the things that only benefit you. 'Opportunity' is not always positive. Every challenge you face is an opportunity too; opportunity to make you seek the prospects of finding solutions to your challenges. It’s a moment in your life when you need to think, strategize, and execute plans that will turn all the negativities into substantive achievements.
14. When your dream comes true, do not become complacent thinking you’ve made it. Keeping your dream alive becomes your new challenge you have to contend with. Do not get carried away with any achievement you make. Humble yourself and continue striving for excellence. Remember, he who’s standing on top of a hill is at the summit; so is he who’s standing on top of Mount Everest.
15. Always, listen to yourself. Understand what your body tells you. Every moment spent denying reality, is a moment delaying new opportunities. Sometimes a dream inside your dream may be considered an overreach. It’s ok. There is nothing wrong with ambition to rise through the ranks to attain highest level of excellence.
16. Always reevaluate yourself to discover your purpose in life. As long as you still continue to draw breath, know that there is a purpose you need to fulfill. First, know what you have accomplished. Next, find out what needs to be accomplished, then seek to see what you can do to help accomplish them.
17. The mission is never over. When one mission ends, another one begins. Just take your time to find out what it is. Most importantly, keep in mind that every mission is a new challenge to contend with. In your life’s journey, you may have encountered different kinds of challenges. Never engage in battles you cannot win. Such battles require intelligence, reasoning, and good judgment. Always rise above and transcend all kinds of iniquities. The easiest way of getting rid of darkness is just a little shiny light. Battles like racism, bigotry, tribalism, ideological extremism, etc, are battles we can win with a simple shiny light called love. You may have come a long way. Do not let these battles drag you down, destroying all your lifetime’s effort. Arm yourself with love as you go along.
18. Your success depends on all the efforts you put to achieve it. Always take the lead if you know the direction you want to go. Any support you get as you go along is just an incentive. The road may be long, but you will get there sooner or later. Most importantly, never get distracted by what other people do or have. The things other people do or have may be like attractive billboards on the side of a highway. Just glance but keep your eyes on the road, lest you get distracted. What comes next is anybody’s guess.
19. Shortcuts are often very tempting. Avoid them at all cost because of potential risks they bring along. Always challenge yourself but be very careful every step of the way. If you happen to go swimming knowing very well you are not a good swimmer, find out where the shallow end is before you dive in. If you are a good swimmer, don’t waste time on the shallow end either. Inside the pool are people busy swimming their own styles. The point is, do not take unnecessary risks when challenging yourself thinking people will come for your aid that easily.
20. Anything someone gives you to support your effort as you struggle in your life’s journey is like a seed; a seed that if planted on a good soil, will grow and bear fruits to support others, including birds and animals. The point is, some of you may be fortunate to have supporting parents, relatives, or true friends. Make every support they give you count. That support is a head-start that puts you one step ahead.
21. Respect begins with you. If you respect yourself, you can respect others. If you love respect, give it to get it. Some of our differences such as race, gender, age, status, etc. are functions of natural bias, and in many circumstances play a role in generating conflicts but if and when humanity takes center stage, such conflicts will dramatically ebb.
22. Preserve and defend what you’ve tirelessly worked so hard to achieve. The only one who knows the pain of losing it is you. When or if time comes that you have to pass it on to your loved ones, remember to pass along the story behind your achievements too. They may know how to manage and make improvements. That's only possible if they also know the value and history as well. The value of modernity rests on the strong foundation of originality. Subscribing to modernity is futile without full knowledge of originality. He who understands where he's coming from can make a better decision on where he would want to go.
23. True beauty takes time to discover. In your life at some point, you may decide to settle down and start a family. Remember, physical beauty is the public image available at everyones' disposal like a billboard on the side of a highway. True beauty is a discovery you will need to make only if you commit and devote your life and time. If you devote time keeping your focus on what's inside, you will discover so much that naked eyes can't see. It's called the beauty of the heart and it's priceless!
24. There may come a time in life when you may face unique circumstances....., in other words, abnormal situations. Remember this term, "ABNORMAL NORMAL". The abnormal normal calls for: (i) careful assessment of the situation (ii) understanding the magnitude of the situation (iii) planing for appropriate response to the situation (iv) evaluating the result to ascertain whether the effectiveness of the response. Sometimes, the only way out is to embrace change then learn to adapt to the situation to help you cope and continue a normal life in an abnormal situation, i.e.,"learning to live with ......". This is the meaning of "abnormal normal" because some situations cannot just go away no matter how much you try to get rid of, or change them. In the same way, remember "Today" knows no "Yesterday" including what happened. It may bring its own challenges. Therefore be sure to leave "Yesterday's" behind or else, you are doomed to deal with double changes in one day.
25. At some point in life, just incase you encounter an unfortunate traumatizing situations, try your best not to remain a captive of that traumatizing situation. Everyday you walk with it in your life, is a repeat of that very situation. An examples may be situations involving violence. Brutal scars, emotional breakdowns, and constant fear are the burdens you carry with you everyday. Try and seek help so that you free yourself from that captivity. One traumatizing experince is one too many. Living with it is a daily repeat of the same evil act. Refuse to remain a captive and begin a new path that will not only promise better things to come, but does not relegate you to a life of constant reminder of your horrible past experience.
26. Think of ways you can impact the world around you. That’s the undefined role and responsibility for every individual. Just pay attention to everything that you come in contact with, whether physically or by learning. The world around you is always speaking. Look, listen, and learn what it's telling you then act. Personal achievements are the fruits of your hard work. How you impact the world around you, will be the legacy you leave behind for many generations to come.
Good luck to you all!