I spent most of my childhood in a city that some people have called ‘particularly aggressive’ haha. Lagos is a very interesting city to be in. It brims with life and this undeniable sense of hustle which I already wrote about here.
Everywhere you go someone is fighting to stay alive. The young girl is hawking groundnuts and walking long distances on foot so she can get by TODAY. A loved one dies, we mourn and then we move on because we must still put food on the table and find a roof over our heads.
Riding home in the keke napep. I prefer it to motorcycles lol
We don’t make excuses- we improvise instead. One day it was raining and I had to run an errand and I and my brother took a tricycle (keke napep) home. The tricycle rider had this improvised curtain thing that he threw over the sides of the tricycle so that he could still keep his business going even in the rain.
Life is so unpredictable so you have to be prepared- you have wake up earlier just incase there is traffic, it is flooded, or the roads are bad or something.
People are up as early as 4 or 5 to get to work because they want to beat traffic which is crazy in Lagos.
You go to the market, bargain for food, go to the gas station, buy diesel for your generator, turn it on and deal with the noise pollution because there is no power supply. By the time you come to the end of the day you are exhausted and ready to sleep and even then you may have to fight off mosquitoes if you didn’t spray an insect repellent or if you kept your doors open too late.
Get the picture?
Life is a struggle and that struggle is normal- nothing to complain about or blame anyone for.
You feel alive. You feel something and everyday feels new, and pregnant and promising and troublesome but fulfilling.
Then we come to North America or maybe another ‘developed’ country and struggle is not really something that is normal. You go through life pretty okay. Where your Nigerian counterpart would have to save money for months to pay cash for a house or a car, you just get a mortgage. Where someone else might be homeless if they lost their job, you could at least put it on the credit card for a while.
We become zombies. We can’t really say we are thriving but we are okay that’s for sure. Okay is worse than suffering. When you suffer you feel, and you activate that fighter in you. But when you are okay, anything that demands a little more out of you starts to seem like a chore and slowly your warrior instinct starts to die.
The instinct in us all for greatness and for survival is primal. Its raw and its intense and it can overcome anything.
Even in ‘developed countries’ everyone I have met who is truly fulfilled with their lives had a lot of fighting to do. They had to fight all the limiting beliefs and the resistance within, then they had to fight without- and stand up for themselves, stand up for their dreams and discipline themselves to get there.
So you can choose to be fooled by the illusion of comfort and numb down that warrior instinct in you but it is a dangerous place to be.
When you come to the end of your life how will you convince yourself that living a complacent life was the best of use of your time?
There are too many zombies in the world- thinking what others want them to think, living their life how ‘normal’ people live it, letting people talk them out of the future they came into this world to create.
But the instinct for greatness is in all of us and we must resist the complacency in our culture that keeps us too comfortable to act.
Feel the warrior instinct in you- the desire for more, the desperation, the zeal. Stop trying to numb it down, instead feed it. Guard it jealously and instead of discarding it from fear- TRUST that it will find expression. I think that is one of the noblest things to do with our brief lives.
“You get in life what you have the courage to ask for- Oprah Winfrey”
On that note I leave with you the broadway version of Fela’s Zombie
Ps: Join the conversation by leaving a comment. Is your warrior instinct alive and well, dying, or on the way to coming alive again?