There’s a saying that there are two important days in a man’s life; the day he is born and the day he finds out why. Whether you believe this to be true or not, one thing which is clear is that every thinking man makes an effort, at some point in his life, to live with a purpose; to achieve something significant; to better himself or his situation. But we usually end up getting derailed on this emprise, either as a result of wrongly placed interests or our not being able to differentiate between attractions and distractions. I am a victim of this misfortune. I will not claim to have experienced these two days that have been suggested as being important, but with some shame, I’d confess to the fact that I have not been steadfast in my pursuit of those things I have identified as being important to me. I have let attractions take the place of my focus and enjoyed the masqueraded allure of distractions. So, what is it that caused me to go astray?
I have been away for so long because I have not been managing my time properly. Not like I have been wasting it (at least I don’t think I have), but in my quest for self empowerment, I failed to re-arrange my priorities to allow time for other things which are important and beneficial to me. I started a project that requires me to do a lot of writing for success; I expend my writing energy on this project and usually have no mental energy left for leisure writing. In my opinion, I have let myself down and failed in my pursuit of excellence. But, I have repented, pulled myself together, and given this same self a swift kick up my behind and placed my priorities squarely in front of me.
From experience, personal and from others, I know that there are four things that man/woman has to do: eat, sleep, go to the little boys room, and procreate; but because of the complex nature of our brains (and also, perhaps, due to our belief in a purpose that is higher than ourselves), we have added one more item to this list of necessities; we feel compelled to live with purpose. We therefore define grand schemes for our lives and work towards achieving them. And in most cases, we don’t. We get distracted. It’s these distractions I’d like to talk about. Just like every other person, I get distracted. So, the first thing I did was to identify the things that I do which add zero value to me and to understand why I do them. I came up with two things: TV, and Social media. I would also talk about a third phenomenon, sleep, which really is not a personal affliction for me.
So, what’s wrong with Social Media? Nothing. What’s right with Social Media? Nothing too; it depends on what you use it for or how you use it. There are three types of people who ‘use’ Social Media: content creators, content users, and content consumers. Content creators can be further divided into two: those who create content and get rewarded by it and those who create content just because they have discovered a space where they can express themselves. Content users are those who use Social Media to seek for information that could add value to them e.g. you may need a personal trainer, and searching for a reputable one via Instagram could help. Content consumers are just what the name implies, consumers. Usually, the time they spend on social media adds little or zero lasting value to them, except to make them feel good in that moment. For a while, and I say this shamefacedly, I was a content consumer, until recently, as I have discovered that just consuming content was a significant source of distraction for me.
And what’s wrong with TV? I’m sure you know the answer; nothing. I won’t bother asking what’s right with TV; it depends on what you use it for and how you use it. Modern day television can be a good source of information. But I don’t think that’s why most of us watch TV today. Let me ask, what would happen if we don’t Keep Up With you know who? Or what would happen if we don’t watch the Chelsea versus Liverpool game? Okay, maybe our social interaction would be limited, but then maybe it also means that we are relating with people who actually don’t add any real value to us. What we miss out on when we stay away from the TV would really not matter in a few hours but the benefits we’d miss, from the lost opportunity to create value, may matter for the rest of life.
You’ll ask me, so Kayode, are you saying we should not sleep? I’m saying you should actually only be sleeping so that your body can get some rest and replenish itself, versus sleeping just because it’s a sweet and easy thing to do. There are times when I tell myself “today’s a good day to do nothing”, but that’s just me taking the path of least resistance which the body is naturally wired to do. We revel in the euphoria that comes with existing in a prolonged latent semi-conscious state (otherwise called chilling); we achieve nothing in that period, when we could have used that time to do something worthwhile. We get bored and choose the path of least resistance. I still don’t understand how people get bored! There’s so much to do, twenty four hours aren’t enough anymore.
I’ll digress and philosophise for a bit here. When you look at life in it’s totality (outside the context of spirituality and organised religion), everything seems futile. We are born, we live, and we die. There is a time period between birth and death, life, and the question is what do we do with that period? What are we meant to do with it? Are we meant to do anything with it? Do we discover our purpose or do we create/define a purpose? As social beings, we are compelled to strive towards ‘growth’ in every aspect/sense of our awareness of life. Failure to do this would result in a feeling of being unaccomplished especially when one’s life is juxtaposed with his/her peers. We are thereby obliged to identify those things which, when attained, will give us a sense of fulfilment and value.
To achieve these things, we have but one resource to use judiciously, and that resource is time. I’m slowly becoming a social crusader on the issue of time and how best to use it or manage it as I have discovered that it’s use is what makes the difference. Anyone can have access to the internet. Anyone can have access to a library. Anyone can have money, but not everyone devotes/spends his/her time combining these resources to achieve those things that have been tagged as important. We get distracted. Someone said that there are no difficult challenges; only easier options. In order words, the enormity of what we wish to achieve tends to discourage us but what is actually happening is that our minds are disposed to doing things which are normal and routine to us; to follow the path of least resistance (TV, Sleep, Social Media). Yes, life should be fun. TV and Social Media entertain us. I’m not saying I don’t watch TV (actually in front of the TV right now), and I’m not saying I don’t do Social Media (tagged a beloved on Instagram a few hours ago), but I avail myself of these attractions when I need to destress; and I would have worked enough to have a cogent reason to destress.
I have identified what has led me astray (and I hope that’s all). What’s holding you back from staying focused on your goals and getting stuff done? Whatever it is, it’s important that you identify it, figure out why you do it, and develop a plan to expunge it (or just remove it) from you. We need to live lives that create value and add value to ourselves and to those with whom we interact. Everyday should be lived such that we take one step closer, at least, towards our goals.
I wonder why Trump wants to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem ….