Possibilities 5: Life In Reverse
It is easy to tell the story of success and personal achievement but hard to tell when we failed and did stuff that we are not proud of. Who will tell the story of the hunted? Never will the hunter do that. Lions do not acknowledge brave antelopes.
One of the things I was taught as a driver-in-learning is that the ability to reverse is as good as the ability to move forward. When I thought about the analogy and mimicry, I see that to be successful in life, at times you need to live in reverse. You need to reflect (reverse) and make amends with the hope to do better. There is an untainted future ahead of you and you hold the tabula rasa. What will you write on it? It is a new canvas, what will you paint?
I know I am sounding like a philosopher. Never mind. The beautiful thing about philosophy is to reverse everything you have ever been told…and have a sense of humour doing it. This is what being a genius feels like. The other part of philosophy is to listen t a broken-hearted man. He always sounds very very wise. Being brought back to earth, after a romantic affair, makes you wise…by force🤣
I will share an experience that shaped me. It happened in my secondary school days. It was in 1995. I had just gotten great in reading the logbook, interpret sine and cosines and do some magic with mathematics. Feeling very pumped and on top of the world, my past time became solving past questions and I was getting good at it. “Dissolving” science and mathematical questions was my new high. Follow me.
One day my physics teacher was teaching this topic (I’ve forgotten which topic it was). Albeit, we had to get the corresponding figures from the log tables and the “smart Alec” in me came to play. I got the figure and then I was waiting for 2 eternities (in my opinion as a young Einstein) for the teacher to decode the figures. I watched him struggle. I kept waiting.
I did not know when I said “why is it taking him so much time to get it?”. My quiet whisper was heard by the teacher. To this day, I don’t know how. Maybe I said it aloud. Maybe he had some telepathy with me. Maybe it was not so quiet.
I remember the scene that played out so vividly. The teacher looked up. I saw the pains in his eyes. He wanted to say something but he couldn’t. It was obvious I had embarrassed him. That moment of the stare he gave me lasted forever. I wanted it to stop but I could feel the uneasy tension that was building up. He sighed and then moved on.
I was reported to a teacher I had great respect for and I was schooled in the wisdom of the aged. It was one of those sit-down moments that made me realise how ephemeral whatsoever you thought gave you an edge over others meant nothing in the bigger picture of life.
Now I know better. What I did was uncalled for. It was totally unnecessary. But how else do you know that I was a teenager that has just “discovered” how to read a logbook. I acted my age with the excitement of the prowess of my cognitive abilities. But now I know better.
I know better because I have also learnt by experience. A young mathematical wizard like me then only had to contend with sums and equations. But here was a man dealing with diapers, in-laws, rent, transportation etc.
Now I know better because success to me, then, was to pass my exams but for him; it was to ensure his life was intact and those that depend on him are not disappointed.
Now I know better because balance for me was the ability to attend all my classes but balance for him was juggling the many puzzles of adult life — faith, love, neighbours, shelter, clothes, food etc.
Now I know better because entertainment for me was to watch WWF (now WWE), and play football until night falls. But for him, he had to provide entertainment for his dependants. And there is a cost to that entertainment. And while his kids go to play, duty-of-care demands that he hopes they come back without injury.
Today, in reverse, I wish I never did that. I wish I never embarrassed an adult. I wish. But I cannot undo that moment. But what I can do is what I did going forward. Never to allow it to happen again. I vowed to my young self to always help the weak and cloth the nakedness of others in thoughts, words, action and speech.
In reverse, that moment showed me I was getting ahead of myself. The young enjoy the thrill of fulfilment that comes with conquest. Conquest of territories — real or imagined, small or minute — makes their souls come alive. But unknown to them. Nothing happened. The earth did not stop spinning on its axis. It is still Day One. And Day One it will be until life lessons are instilled in your soul and when next you see a wo/man falter — you don’t’ laugh — but learn. Because the best and brightest of us fall from time to time. But what they do after they have fallen is what matters most. #Selah.
In reverse, I wish it did not happen. But I am happy that I came out a better person. For pride was lurking in my soul and I was ignorant of it. Thankfully it was exposed and dealt with. I wish I had learnt this lesson in a better way. But in reverse, events cannot be changed but gems can be milked from them. Amen.
In reverse, don’t be like me. Learn from instructions and not from experience. For thou shall not experience everything in life in order to be wise. When wo/men fall, dont’ laugh…learn.
The initial parts of this write up is here Possibilities & The Law Of Recognition, Possibility II: The Curious Case of Bassey & Word Problems, Possibilities III: “I Have A Dream” and Possibilities IV: Driving. You can check out my other works on personal development Asking, Managing Access In Relationships How To Ask, Authenticity, Life Skill: The Power of Saying “No”, Start Off; Look Up & Pedal Hard, 12 Unforgettable Leadership Lessons From The Lion King, InBuilt, Now I Arise, Life Hack: Accountability, Life Hack: Simplicity, Life Hack: Making Impact. I also reviewed The Lion King and wrote about Movies That Shaped.
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