Thursday, March 14, 2024
[email protected]
Harrisburg, PA, USA

was talking to a contemporary who retired a few years ago. I said, how are things? He said, “I am doing well, I have everything I need and no complaints”. I was jarred by the statement that he “has everything he needs”. In spite of all his money, Dangote or Bill Gates would not say they have everything they need, I thought. As I mulled the statement, it hit me. He said he has everything he “needs”. He never said he has everything he “wants”. It dawned on me that he was indeed a wise man and just made a very wise statement.

I took a running look at the world of today, at my country, my clime and began to distill a few important things that continue to bedevil our young folks. I remembered something I saw on Facebook where a young Nigerian was lamenting the fact that his contemporaries were about to give him heart attack. The reason? They are always talking about a new parcel of land they bought in Lekki or thereabout for N700 million naira or the like. He decreed that from this moment on, any time they say they just bought land for N700 million at Lekki, he would equally say he bought a parcel of land for trillions of naira somewhere. After all, he said, they had no way of knowing that he did not. There lies the problem! The young man is allowing his wants to keep him up at night thereby inviting opportunistic ailments that come with worry.

Many years ago, I chanced upon a book by the motivation writer and speaker called : How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” He proved beyond doubt that worry was one of the foremost reasons for sickness. He gave instances of people who were suffering from various ailments but became disease free when they banished worry from their lives. He then made a profound statement which according to him banishes worry, “ Let Us Live in Day tight Compartments and Shut the Iron Gates on the Past and Future”

Yes, I want a Lamborghini to be cruising around with in Monaco in Summer. But do I need it? Nope! I want a summer home in the foothills of Montego Bay Jamaica. But do I need it to live or survive? Nope, so I do not sweat about it. There are people who worry about stuff like that. When they hear that someone, especially their peers has done it, it becomes an obsession that keeps them awake at night. It gives them ulcers, headaches, stomach aches and more. In the process, they forget all the other blessings they have.

I see all the ostentatious displays of wealth in my clime back in Nigeria- a chain of exotic cars, multiple mansions, private jets and the likes. I say to myself, if you worked hard for it and acquired it, more power to you. I do not begrudge folks for enjoying legitimately acquired wealth. But I begrudge our young ones who see such life styles as a must live for them and hence pursue it to their own detriment

On social media we see posts from young men and women out there, who should ordinarily be satisfied with what they have and need, yearning for these esoteric displays and ostentatious lifestyles. They make rueful posts about being “left behind” because they do not measure up. So they basically turn wants into needs, start obsessing about it, giving themselves headaches, heartaches and the likes. They forget that a house is a need and if you have one, you have satisfied your need because it gives you shelter and protection. They also forget that a car is a need and if you have one, it will be taking you from point A to B and hence your transportation needs satisfied. Two cars become a want that if not satisfied, should not be giving someone sleepless nights unless you need it for something other than your transportation.

The tendency to turn wants into needs has created all manners of wahala in the society- kidnappers pick up innocent people for ransom. The same applies to armed or armless robbers. Some go to native doctors for rituals to make quick money. Even in the spiritual realm, you find folks living their lives seeking prophetic intervention even though they do not have any handiwork. They forget that you have to give God something to work with when you are seeking his intervention.

So, I say to our young folks, if you have the things you need to live and survive, go easy on “wants” so you do not inadvertently lose your life either through sickness or otherwise. Am I saying don’t hustle? Far from it. Work harder for the things you need and want. But do not let it be driven by the fact that the Jones’ already have it. Do not obsess about wants so much so that they become a threat to your life.

That is my unsolicited admonition.

Here I stand!