The Fallacy of Success.
Success is something that we all want. I have never met a man who was not interested in being successful. The difference in what type of success they want is always about the scale of it. Some like it small. Some like it big. Some like it hot. Some like it cold. Well, most times, others describe success as having a recognisable name or not having to lift a finger to have their needs met. Holidaying as many times in a year as feasibly possible is another way some view success. What is success? My article today will not be able to answer that question. But I want to question whatsoever answers arise from here. Come with me.
Whenever the ingredients of success are mentioned, these two forms the core — determination and focus. And rightly so. However, I do ask the question, “how about the wheelbarrow pusher in our local markets?”. “Are they not determined or focused?”. These days, I have learned to question answers to get deeper insights, especially to easy solutions to complex problems. Anyway, that question usually generates myriads of shades of what a successful life can be defined as.
For context, especially for those who may not understand my reality, I will explain what a wheelbarrow pusher does and who he is. You can call the person a cart pusher, truck pusher; whatsoever suits your fancy. I will use those terms interchangeably. The person, as shown in the pictures, below, pushes a cart in local markers filled with good that patronisers of the local market have purchased. The wheelbarrow pusher is as important to you in the local market as what the trolley does for you in a supermarket. The person conveys your goods from the point of purchase to where your vehicle is.
The wheelbarrow pusher is determined. He goes to the market early and waits for customers who may need his services. As you enter the market, they approach you and start a spiel. They are always on the lookout because competition between them is stiff. It is an easy trade to start, with a low barrier of entry into the market — the cost of the wheelbarrow and some muscles. Good people’s skills can help you secure some repeat customers, but nothing is guaranteed in the trade. But you must show up; every day to compete and hope for the best.
Determination enables the cart pusher to take all that the customer has procured. No matter the weight and size, they will find a way to put it on the cart and push it to the desired destination. “Overload no dey kill agbero” is their unwritten mantra. That determination enables them to follow a patroniser around the market to act both as a store and a means of transportation for the goods. Most times the price of the service delivered is settled after the service has been rendered and as such, you must be determined to haggle prices and deal with all sort of homo sapiens. With homo sapiens, you do not know which one you will get.
Focus is another thing the cart pusher possesses. He has to be focused enough to push through his physical and mental barriers. He practically needs to push through and wade through people. Effort and strength is a big deal. He knows he can only be paid at the end of delivering the materials to the desired destination. As you may have known, the local markets have no defined walk path and hence, they have to push through a herd of oncoming traffic made up of homo sapiens, going in both directions. They must direct traffic; shout and scream at times to get attention. They have to weave through obstacles in the market to get the goods to the destination. Ladies and Gentlemen, they are focused.
In most markets, they have to organise themselves into a union to set their minimum prices and most importantly negotiate with the local council or market authorities on fees that they must pay to operate. Call it “license to operate”. Being self-organised is very important because the fees collectors, usually not the nicest of folks, sometimes have to use brute force to get what they want. Both the legitimate ones and the not so legitimate ones.
From what I have written, you can see that the wheelbarrow pusher is very focused and determined. They are self-organising and both serve as leaders and followers in their local unions. They are astute negotiators and possesses an abundance of human relationship skills. They are collaborators, traffic warden, mind their business, stay on their lane, and adept in execution. they have what it takes to be successful.
Are they successful? I don’t know.
Are they passionate about their job? You should ask the next one you meet.
Did anyone grow up with the hope of doing that job? I can’t tell.
However, this is what I know. These guys know that “they’ve got to do, what they’ve got to do”. They have bills to pay. Rent, food, utilities, entertainment etc — have to be paid for. They know that the school does not ask them for their occupation; they just want the kids’ fees paid. No story. The landlord does not want to know if they are successful or not — his rent money is what binds them together.
And since stealing is not an option, the cart pusher must go out there and do what they have to do. Whatsoever their hands findeth to do to take care of the issues of life is what they need to do. For today, they have to push a wheelbarrow to sustain their dreams. Tomorrow is another story. Sufficient unto this day are the bills thereof and since these bills need to be paid to fund their dreams, they will push that truck, endure some bad-mouthing and being looked down on by some. The drama of life continues. It never stops. But that drama does not stop the truck pusher to do what he has to do to fend for himself & family, fund his dreams and that of his wife and children.
I doubt if anyone grew up with the hope of being a truck pusher, but life happens. The race is not to the swift neither is success guaranteed to the strong. The things that make for success are as ephemeral as they come. Unfortunately, they cannot be bottled and sold. Just in case you doubt it, you can direct me to where that stuff is sold. I have been looking for it all my life. For success, sometimes it is timing. Sometimes it is hard work that meets an opportunity. Sometimes it is a one-off event. Sometimes it is pure luck.
If I may ask, what is success?
Gabriel E. Omin
I have other articles here: Possibilities & The Law Of Recognition, Possibility II: The Curious Case of Bassey & Word Problems, Possibilities III: “I Have A Dream”, Possibilities IV: Driving and Possibilities 5: Life In Reverse. 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 and That First Job. I also reviewed The Lion King and wrote about Movies That Shaped.
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