Sunday, 9 December 2018

Thought Picnic: Don't lose the honour of the opportunity to help

Regaining opportunity
“Opportunity once lost, can be regained, albeit, after a temporary setback.” This was a saying shared with me by an uncle figure when I was in secondary school. It became one of the most important pillars that stood for times when everything else seemed to have crumbled around me.
My parents from what I know were high-flying successful people in their academic lives and into their careers that I am not aware for any failures in anything they were educated and trained to do, except when they appeared to dabble in areas where they had no expertise. What I learnt from them was more along the lines of the age-old saying, “Opportunity once lost, can never be regained.”
Confidence and nothing over
Invariably, apart from aspiration and confidence, I cannot say I learnt anything about facing failure, really failing and finding the resolve and wherewithal to rise from that scrapheap to find new achievement. My dad would have been top of his class in his accountancy examinations in 1969, whilst he won other prizes, I am told he fell short out of over-confidence.
That story was told me when I decided on a minimum of 6 subjects for my West African Examinations Council finals out of secondary school in 1981, my mother intervened citing that I was exercising the same over-confidence that plagued my dad and ensured I had 8 subjects to contend with.
On finding opportunity after failure, that honour and privilege goes to other uncles who faced failure head-on, understood what it meant to fail and fail again, yet never relented until they succeeded. It is to them that I owe that other story of my life’s achievements, successes, privileges and good fortune. To them, my gratitude must remain inexhaustible.
The honour of opportunity
Which brings me to another perspective of opportunity and the use of the situation for the benefit not of ourselves, but of others. In all walks of life, we are provided to opportunity to open our hands and open our hearts, someone needing advice or help, a recommendation or reference, sometimes we are given the magnitude of influence to affect the future of someone else in ways that would put them on the trajectory of success well beyond what we could for ourselves achieve.
At some point in the life of another person, we are the sentinel, the gatekeeper, the possible force for good, that opportunity that has come in its time, yet, I am privy to information and circumstances where the myopia of some has beclouded their ability to see that for them to be in that position, it is an honour and a privilege, for that time alone, everything depends on them, and what do they do, they close the door.
You are not omnipotent
They have the power, the influence, the authority and maybe even the audacity and for their small-mindedness, they refuse others the allowance to progress. To them, there will never be gratitude, no praise shall be sung of them by others because they have sown bitterness and the curmudgeonly in the hope that all opportunity is destroyed.
Opportunity once lost, because of what you have done or refused to do, can be regained without you eventually, albeit, after a temporary setback that you put in place, but power and influence in transient.
The opportunity you once had to help can be lost forever, that does not mean opportunities are closed to the person providence honoured you to do something about at a particular time. The help you give is just a bonus, it makes you part of a better story, people would succeed with or without you.
Prepare yourself for gratitude
Yet, I must come back to the need for thankfulness and gratitude, honour those who see the honour of helping you as a privilege they would never let go of until they have contributed their utmost to the very best to see you get along. We have good people in this world amongst the fair-weather friends who are hollowed-out dregs of humanity, who pretend to smile with you only to find ways to be your detractors.
You know yourselves, you have betrayed the sacred trust of friendships and relationships, when you had the means to make a difference for the better. Your time will pass into ignominy. I am saddened to have lost respect for those of whom much more was expected.
Gratitude is an amazing uplifting spirit like I had my contract extended without prompting last week, on getting the news, I wrote to my managers thanking them for their confidence in me and the contract extension. In response, my manager wrote, “You’re welcome Akin, you deserve it!”


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