In 2015, I listened on CNN as a Military analyst explained why the United States will not help Nigeria fight terrorism. The interviewer mentioned that during a terror attack in Paris in the same year, world leaders gathered to stand in solidarity with France. Yet there was never such a global rally for the same kind of justice for Nigeria. What was the difference between Nigeria and Paris? Why is the level of outrage different?
The military analyst admitted that the United States has the capability to help Nigeria fight terrorism. But the problem was that Nigeria is not a priority. In his words, “black west Africa is not a priority”
As unfortunate as this may sound, it is the reality of the world we live in. You can get upset about it all you want. But the world only cares about what value you have to offer. And this goes beyond a national reality. It is equally a social, political, and relational reality. People only care about what value you can offer.
No matter how good of a person you think you are; no matter how many good intentions you have; what matters at the end of the day is how much value you can offer with the skills you possess. And this is one unpleasant and ugly truth that understanding and accepting can make a significant difference in how you approach life. For the rest of this video, I share with you 5 unpleasant truths about life that will make you smarter with how you approach life. Before we get to it, I’d like to invite you to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
1. The world only care about what you can offer
What do we call anyone that only wants to take from other people without giving back? We call them parasites; leeches; all those unpleasant names. There is nothing to admire about someone that doesn’t have something to offer. Even babies have something to offer in the form of the joy they ooze and the sense of responsibility they bring along with them.
But as you grow into an adult, you need a new set of values to relate favorably with other people including your parents. Many people won’t like to hear this. But it’s the simple unpleasant truth. You cannot rely on sentiments or mercy to get the thing you want out of life. You have to come to the negotiating table with something to offer.
As Africans, we need to stop the attitude of running to the international community to come to our aid at every slightest problem. The more we resort to this, the less attractive we become as a people. And the less respect we command.
What the world wants are people who can solve problems, build things, produce things, and create wealth that will benefit other people. You can spend your life trying to change the world or you can use this knowledge to intentionally shape your life.
2. Anything that’s worthwhile requires hard work
Abraham Lincoln was credited to saying that, “good things come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle”
“Take it easy” is a common phrase you hear when you are seen to be doing more than appears necessary. People will say to you ‘Just take it easy, everything will work out fine. Unfortunately, nothing of high value is ever achieved by taking it easy. I’ve seen old people who have lived their lives under the philosophy of taking it easy, and I don’t find the life they have at their old age admirable.
Often what people who want to take it easy get is the leftover after the hard and smart workers have taken it all. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it’s the hard truth.
If you want to stand out and get a promotion, for instance, you must work like never before and do so in such a way that you get noticed as a highly productive person. If you want to build a successful business, you have to work more than anyone you know. If not, you will get run over by competitors. It’s just the way it is. Being a nice easy working person will not get you anywhere.
3. People will let you down
As adults, we all grew up with diverse experiences, ideologies, and aspirations. It’s impossible for everyone you meet, even people from your family, to be on the same path with you or to share the same aspirations with you. People will disappoint you in many ways – even the people you trust and hold dear.
Knowing and accepting this truth will help guide your expectations of other people. You will learn to trust but not blindly. Your employer will not be perfect, your family will not be perfect. People are not perfect and they cannot do the right thing 100% of the time. So, get used to it.
4. There is nothing like Perfect happiness
I’ve heard people say that the purpose of life is to find happiness. Well, I don’t subscribe to that because happiness is not something you find. The same thing that brought you happiness today may bring you sorrow tomorrow. If you think a particular thing is all you need to be perfectly happy, you are wrong. There is nothing in the world that can make you happy to the point that you become immune to troubles and pain.
Happiness is fleeting; and is experienced moments by moments just as you’ll also have moments of sadness, pain, and confusion. These helps remind us that we are humans with limited control. In fact, I believe a life that knows nothing other than happiness is not worth living. The fact that we have things to be angry about and to try to change is an important part of life. Understanding that perfect happiness does not exist will help you to embrace your other emotions and channel that energy towards building the life you want.
5. You will die
Yes, between you and me, none of us is getting out of here alive. All your struggles, fears, and worries will come to an end one day. And life will go on. The sun will continue to shine by day; the moon by night. The world is not going to stop its roaring activities because you passed on. In fact, very few people will notice. And those few people will quickly move on. People will urge them to move on, even if they don’t want to.
This is an unpleasant truth that at first will make you depressed but accepting it will empower you more than you can imagine. Suddenly, you will begin to get better at setting your priorities and daring your fears. You will worry less about petty things. After all, you are a potential dead man, so what’s the worst that could happen.
When we ignore, deny, or just turn our face away from death, we get lazy, procrastinate and worry about the least insignificant things. Understanding the unpleasant truth about death is liberating because people that are not afraid of death are the ones who truly live; and people that are afraid of death never get to live. Unpleasant to hear, but it’s the truth that will set you free.
We are all in this together. No one has it all figured out. It’s even easy to forget these truths. But keeping them at heart can potentially transform our lives beyond what we had ever imagined. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!