I still remember vividly when a young man, an SHS graduate, approached me to write an application letter for him to seek a new job. I told him to start working on a draft then together we could create his blueprint. I just wanted him to put his ideas on paper, then I help him by polishing his ideas. Away he went… to never return. I learnt ‘fishing ‘ the hard way, and in the process I caught whales. The young man was not ready to try anything himself. If he had stayed with me, he would have learnt how to catch sharks. Perhaps he loves anchovies; he should continue fishing in the creeks!
This is my take-home message: NOBODY owes you a favour, not even God Almighty. You are the foremost beneficiary of your success, my dear reader. Let that sink in…. Even regarding your parents, upon all the investments they make in you, when you get to the top, it is you and your immediate family that benefit largely. Your parents’ pure joy stems from the simple fact that they played a role in getting you to the top. That’s their pride!
Don’t be afraid of failure because you are certainly not going to be the first to have failed, better still, you are not better than all those who had tried and failed.
Having this in mind means you must make these two words ‘responsibility ‘ and ‘hardwork ‘ your companion. You must take the bull by the horns, as most people will put it. You must work your socks off. Take that bold step to try to change your narrative. Try something…. Don’t be afraid of failure because you are certainly not going to be the first to have failed, better still, you are not better than all those who had tried and failed.
I know my words may paint a simplistic picture, but I am encouraging you to take that bold step. You see, if you have a support system, take advantage of it. But if no support system, like in my case, exists for you, then you have to start from the scratch. And starting from the scratch is the daunting task for most of us, including the young man who wanted me to write the application for him.
I must admit: it is tough, it is a long and tortuous meandering road to success. It is a journey full of disappointments. Disappointment will keep knocking on your door in this journey. People would promise you heaven, but would deliver you hell. Even those who wanted to help you, most of them would invariably want something in return. Isn’t this what is termed as “strings attached ?”
If you are a lady, may God grant you more grace. This is when you can’t afford to take God out of the equation because God’s recommendation is greater than anything else. I was fortunate to have met a handful of God-fearing individuals who gave me lift in diverse ways. I pray God lead you to the right people to help you, if you need help.
Nobody owes you a favour, not even God. I learnt this bitter truth very early in life. Having lost my mother at age 5, then losing my dad 4 years later, I had to accept the reality that a pesewa from any family member was a favour. This is the beginning of my journey. The earlier you come to terms with the realities in your life, the more time you buy for yourself to change your narrative. Stop living pretentious life!
For 15 years since I completed secondary school, no family member gave me a pesewa. I had excellent grades to enter medical school despite all the challenges I went through. Like I said at a point, disappointment would keep knocking on your door. Use your disappointment as a springboard, use it as an opportunity to prove a point, use as it an opportunity to have a story to tell. Your story must be real and poignant enough to motivate that poor little girl in Walewale or Tatale in the Northern part of Ghana to tell herself, “yes I can.” If you give up, then you will have no story to tell, let alone an audience. Remember : failure has no audience but success has it in multitude.
Seven years later, after having a first degree, I got admission to medical school. Seven years of hard work to look for money to take care of myself in medical school. I sold iced water on the street of Aflao, carried loads for travellers as a porter on Aflao border, hustled on the streets of Koforidua, Akim Oda, Kumasi (Oseikrom), Ahafo Kenyase, the list goes on.
How can I forget Seme border, Cotonou, and Badagry?!!!. These places became my home in search of opportunities. I was determined to change my narrative. I met people of varied tribes and of diverse backgrounds. This is my cultural experience and exposure.
Today, I am confident, very assertive, open-minded, daring, never afraid of failure, and business-minded. My love for business started when I met an Igbo man during my short stint in Cotonou. He holds a PhD in Economics from one of the reputable universities in Nigeria. He runs one of the biggest boutiques in Benin’s capital. He told me,“Young man, the amount of money I make in this boutique every month, no Nigerian university can pay me that money at the end of the month as a lecturer or researcher. ” He travels to Dubai and China to buy goods while the wife plus 4 sales girls man the boutique. Then he brought to an end my encounter with him by telling me titbits of Aliko Dangote’s journey to becoming the richest man on the African continent. I would forever relish my experience in Benin’s capital Cotonou, a city historically christened Dahomey – home of snake. In fact, it is only in Benin where gods have national holiday. Human parts, skeletons of such dreadful animal as owls, snakes, and some I don’t know their names have markets. I shall forever be grateful to the one who coined the phrase, “Travel and see.”
In fact, I have a panoramic view of things of this life, thanks to what I have gone through in life. I have gone through the mill. I am still young though….
Minus God, I am in charge of my life because you know what, the greatest freedom anyone can ever aspire to gain is economic freedom.
I am touched to share just a chapter of my life with you.
Keep in mind: nobody owes you a favour, not even God.
Have a good day.
About the Writer
Felix Mawulorm Apaloo is a medical student and a former Snr. Biomedical Scientist at the Ghana Health Service/International SOS. He aspires to change the women narrative and has started right from his campus at UHAS by creating a group to inspire young women to excel above the odds.