Average Life – Making the Choice
Life is precious. You only live once; so live it to its fullest and to its best!
An average life can practically be described in the following ways: waiting on fate; mediocrity, laziness, cutting corners, following the crowd or bandwagon, lack of creativity and innovation, stealing from others, lack of good behavior, character and moral standards, not challenging one’s self towards personal development and growth, neglecting one’s duties and responsibilities and not encouraging others (especially younger ones) to be their best.
Settling for an average life may seem easier to do – so I don’t have to challenge myself. Not so! The potential of every human person is huge and must be explored in its depth. This is first done by parents who see to it that they carefully cultivate their children’s moral and character development and also provide their children with as much opportunities/positive exposures as possible so as to expand their horizon as to the greatness they can achieve in life.
After parents have done their bit, what if the adult decides to settle for an average life? Who is responsible for this choice? Parents may do well to set good standards of character, morals and right attitudes in their children, but then the young man or woman, in the process of integrating into the society may find an environment which does not support high standards of character and moral conduct. Here, society means how you and I influence the person right next to us.
Each new day is bright, fresh, and brings new opportunities. This in itself testifies to the huge potential a person has because with each new day, you have the power to be creative, achieve something new or something more, learn from the past and improve one’s self and one’s work, business and relations. This means that each new day, I can be a better me; a better father/mother, brother/sister, wife/husband, friend/mentor, relative, a better businessman/woman, boss/leader, a better worker and a better citizen of my country and of the world.
All these are about exploring the great potential that you are; hence, settling for an average life is worthless. In the mind of a person driven by creativity, excellence, and desire for continuous growth, ‘beyond the sky’ is the limit. Such a person knows and believes that s/he can achieve greatness in life, work, studies, ministry, business and family, through hard work, commitment, right knowledge, and through employing his/her talents and giftedness – gradually moving from where s/he is today to building a better tomorrow.
A person may settle for an average life in their career. Christian users of the ODM devotional booklet may remember this story in the January-March 2014 edition in which Rev. Dr Chris E. Kwakpovwe (CEK) narrates a story he read of a “frustrated young man who missed a promotion he strongly believed he deserved! He was by-passed and the promotion was given to a newer and younger staff in the corporation! So, this apparently angry man went to his boss and screamed: ‘I can’t see how you can give that man the job despite all I have been faithfully doing for the company for years! Don’t forget sir, that I have 20 years’ experience’. Barely had he finished when his boss looked him straight in the face and fired back: ‘Young man, no. You don’t have 20 years’ experience. You have had one year experience which you have repeated 20 times’. …The young man bowed his head in shame and left his boss’ office quickly to ‘lick and bandage his wounds’”. Here we see that it is not how long, how far, but how well.
Exploring one’s potential is opposed to pursuing money (by all means). For a corrupt and selfish person, not settling for an average life can be defined as using any illegal and/or dubious means possible to acquire wealth, status, power and authority. So in this case, s/he does not want to remain an average earner, does not want to be a mere middle class but rather wants to be counted among the rich and famous, whatever it takes.
A person who tries to escape from ‘an average life’ in this manner has questions to answer before God and before man. Money, power, wealth acquisition and social status cannot be the all-important things in life. In fact, no 10 kobo goes with a person to the grave. More often than not, such wealth accumulated over the years by several dubious means only bring division and disharmony after the person has left, or at best, the wealth quickly disappears.
Besides a person’s potentials for greatness, the human life is so precious that no amount of money can be worth in place of life. However, unfortunately, in our society there are persons who are more than willing to kill for money, power, wealth, reputation, for an ideology, a cause and to cover up their crimes, thereby giving no room to the sacredness of life. No human person can “create” life from nothing as the Maker did and so no one has any right to take another’s life.
Settling for an average life is also common among leaders and politicians. Many politicians and civil leaders in Nigeria have the attitude and behavior that: so long as they are alright and their cronies are happy with them, then all is well. They are satisfied. Concerning anyone or anything else, they may just pretend, look and sound concerned and give lots of rhetoric. The only threat to them is whatever touches on their remuneration, allowances, wants, status, power and position.
They may not feel as much threatened even when human life is at stake; not when people, properties and villages are wiped out by terrorist group or by a disease, not when the less privileged in their constituencies cannot feed themselves because the agricultural support and incentives from government are diverted, not when parents cannot afford to send their children to school, not when those who manage to go to school have to sit on the ground to take lessons from half-baked tutors, or when parents send their kids to school at their own risk; with no security for their children.
Attitudes and behaviors that may make a person decide to settle for an average life can be put aside and rewarding attitudes and behaviors embraced. The former can vary from pride, to arrogance, pessimism, ignorance, low self-esteem, inattention, lack of self-confidence, and lack of knowledge and exposure. Rather, one can strive to live beyond average and mediocrity by being focused, hardworking, optimistic, self-confident, wise but not deceptive, creative, innovative, committed to service, and with high moral standards and ethics. No one is perfect, but daily efforts and determination to become a better person gradually does the magic.
Whatever one is doing in life, it is possible to activate and re-activate on a daily basis the inert potential for greatness present in every person. We must challenge ourselves each new day to become better persons; improving one’s self continuously. This means learning from everyone and from everything towards becoming a better me.
Thus, one can face life each day with a positive spirit and with the belief that today’s opportunity to be alive will be rewarded by making good use of one’s time, resources, energy and knowledge to bring out the best in one’s self and in others; so that the life lived can truly be lived to its fullest and to its best.
- Linda Ellah