IS YOUR LIFE COLORFUL, MATERIALISTIC OR EFFECTIVE?
Victoria was the coordinator for the final year journal for her graduating class, and this meant she had to interview her classmates to get their contact information, dreams and aspirations, and where they hope to be in 10 years’ time, among other things. As with all things that involve a large group of people, she expected to hear different things as people generally have different views and perspectives on life, however, she wasn’t ready for the surprise she felt on hearing many of the things her classmates were hoping to have achieved in the nearest future.
Kenny, her female classmate said, “I hope to have gotten a lucrative job, a job that pays enough for me to enjoy my life.” “What do you mean by enjoy your life?” Victoria asked, “Well,” Kenny replied, “after all the suffering on this campus, I want to be able to afford all the things I lacked in school, I want the latest BlackBerry Passport, the latest iPhone and one of those mint Android phones.”
“Wow, that sounds cool,” Victoria parroted. Kenny continued, “That’s not all, I want the longest Brazilian hair money can get, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes and Christian Louboutin pumps, Chanel perfumes and Louis Vuitton bags, I want to be able to afford those chic BMW cars while I live on Chevron Road in Lekki” By this time, the enthusiasm Kenny was talking with had Victoria transfixed, her tongue was tied and she had no words, Kenny went on, “I want to have so much money that I will only shop in Dubai, and vacation at the Caribbean ocean fronts, I also want to visit all the biggest cities in the world; Paris, New York, London and so on.” When Kenny had exhausted her daydream, she asked Victoria, “what about you, where do you want to be in 10 years’ time?” Victoria replied, “I don’t think I have it down with as much detail as you do.” Kenny chuckled and replied, “Well, that’s because I’ve been planning it for quite a long time.”
Victoria was surprised with how vain Kenny’s aspirations were but she was reluctant to judge her; “Imagine the kind of life she claims to have been planning for a long time; is she planning or is she just wishing?” she thought to herself. At the end of her interviews, Victoria could hardly hide her frustration anymore, more than half of her classmates had dreams very similar to Kenny’s. She couldn’t believe how much vanity they all had in their hearts; she heard things that day that she didn’t even know were possible. A particular classmate wanted to live in a house built entirely out of priceless gemstones, “where does he hope to make that much money?
Even if he makes the money, he is only thinking about himself; he is not thinking of how to use his wealth to help people”, Victoria wondered quietly. She felt sad for the future of the country, here are the supposed future leaders and not one person mentioned a future that involved improving their immediate environment or enhance the failing systems in the modern society; everybody only cared about themselves; virtually nobody was thinking of living a life that will turn the destiny or their country around.
After much thought, she realized that what she heard that day was as a result of how decayed our society has become, the society has been corrupt by what we see all around us. On Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, young people flaunt expensive drinks and jewellery, cars that they could never afford legally, and designer wears that cost as much as other people’s cars. Gone are the days when people hoped to graduate and work as doctors because they are so passionate about caring for the health of the people around; these days most people want to become doctors, even at the expense of their real passion and calling, just so they can earn fat salaries. Nobody wants to be a teacher anymore – to help invest in and impact the lives of the youths, there is shortage of qualified teachers in our schools because everyone is running after the so-called lucrative professions in order not to look inferior to others. Most people are claiming that they want to enjoy their lives; they claim they do not want to live a boring life. But even if your life is not boring, does that mean it is effective? If your life is interesting but not adding value to any other life, it is simply ineffective.
Fewer people even want to do honest work, many just want to defraud people and live off others’ sweat. This has permeated into the minds of young people and the result is that most young people are running after a colourful lifestyle at the expense of an effective life. Have you been fooled by the flamboyant displays around you and you are now busy hoping and wishing for a day when you own all these flashy things without thinking about how you can be the change that your country and your society needs? It is high time you begin to walk in wisdom and realize that a colourful life is not the sole aim of your existence, the best thing you can do to yourself on this earth is to make sure that you fulfil destiny. Do not pursue colours; let the effectiveness of your life bring the colour you desire to it.
Dr. Dora Akunyili is a good example of someone who lived an effective life. Let me tell you about how she became the head of National Food and Drug Administration Control, NAFDAC: While working for one of the top petroleum companies in Nigeria, she got sick and her company decided to send her abroad for treatment. She was given £25 000 and sent to a London hospital. On getting there; medical check-ups revealed that the issue was minor; the doctor that treated her then offered that since she had already been given the cash, they could manufacture an ailment and split the money with nobody else knowing about it. Dora refused to accept this offer and the money was promptly returned to her employer (ask yourself – would you have done the same?). Thereafter, President Olusegun Obasanjo heard this story, and he appointed her as the head of NAFDAC, where she was given the mandate to rid Nigeria of fake drugs.
When she took the job, she set to work in reducing the amount of fake drugs in circulation—about 65% of the drugs in Nigeria at that time were fake—and almost immediately, she became a target. She was offered bribes on numerous instances but when she refused, her family’s lives and her life was put in danger. Despite the fact that her family had to be flown abroad for safety, Dora didn’t relent; her aim was to rid the country of fake drugs, and ensure the number of people dying from the harmful effects of fake drugs reduce drastically. No matter how hard they tried to win her to the side of corruption, nobody could derail her, she was resolute about living a life of impact.
Dora Akunyili died in the year 2014, and even though she didn’t have nearly as much money as most Hollywood stars like Marylyn Munroe who lived flashy and colourful lives, she touched many more lives than they did. She did not live a life that was only for herself and her family, she lived a life that saved and rescued many Nigerians from the danger of fake drugs.
How many people today would be offered millions of Naira as bribes and out rightly refuse the opportunity to live the so-called colorful life? How many people would risk putting their lives in danger just because they want to save countless millions who are victims of fake drugs? No one can compute exactly how many lives she saved but it is common knowledge that the reduced quantity of fake drugs in the country today was as a result of the effort of Dr. Dora. She had many opportunities to compromise her morals because of money and material things but she didn’t, and in the end, there is no doubt she lived an extremely effective life. As at the time of her death, there was a room in her house filled with awards she hadn’t even opened. She won both national and international accolades; she was nominated as one of the eighteen recipients of Times Magazine ‘Heroes of our Time’ award, she received the ‘International Service Human Rights Award’ at the British House of Commons in London, Integrity Award 2003—Transparency International, among many others.
No doubt Dora achieved a lot in her lifetime, what if she had compromised herself along the way in exchange for a colourful and materialistic lifestyle from the huge offers of bribes that were given to her on many occasion? How would she have been remembered today? How you will be remembered depends on how effectively you live and not how much money or material things you flaunt.
To be continued Tomorrow, don’t miss it!
Excerpts from the Book “HOW TO LIVE AN EFFECTIVE LIFE”. #DSABOOKS
This book can be found on dsabooksplanet.com and Amazon.com
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
BY DR. SUNDAY ADELAJA