Hakuna matata

Courtesy of the Bee Media Solution, I addressed a group of students along with other speakers on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at the University of Ilorin under the “Impact Makers” programme  tagged “Getting It Right”. Given the situation of the country, which makes recession to become depression for many people, including the youths who worry about their seemingly forlorn future, I chose to speak on the topic, “Hakuna Matata: On Your Own To The Top”.

The message is relevant now that the year is coming to an end this weekend and there is need to start a new year ahead afresh. The intervention was informed by a quote that has managed to stick to my mind for many years: "worry does not give you anything in return; it rather deprives you of many things."

By the way, “Hakuna matata” is a Swahili phrase that means “don’t worry”, if you have not watched the popular cartoon, “The Lion King” or seen the advert of a Nigerian bank some time ago which exploits the phrase.

Getting worried is counter-productive and the right attitude to life and its vicissitudes is to just try to be happy anyway. So, if there is an issue that bothers you, you analyse it. It is either you can do something about it or you can’t. If it is something you can do something about, then, why worry? And if it is something you cannot do something about, the question still remains: why worry?

The rationale for worry on many occasions is actually non-existent. More than 500 years ago, Michel de Montaigne said, “My life has been filled with terrible misfortunes; most of which never happened.” Researchers have been able to arrive at the same conclusion.

As reported by Don Joseph Goewey, a study required subjects to write down their worries over an extended period of time and then identify which of their worries or imagined misfortunes never happened. It turned out that 85% of what the subjects worried about never happened while only 15% happened. Besides, 79% of the subjects discovered that they could handle the difficult situations better than they actually imagined.

I like the poster that reads: “As you waste your breath complaining about life, someone out there is breathing their last. Appreciate what you have. Be thankful and stop complaining. Live more, complain less. Have more smiles, less stress. Less hate, become more blessed.” The profundity of the words is just remarkable.

It is time to assess your situation and come to terms with life. If you have or develop what Napoleon Hill and W. Clement Stone refer to as “positive mental attitude”, you would realise that you are the most important living person in the wide world and you appreciate, like William Earnest Henley, that you are the master of your fate and the captain of your soul.

In the past 30 years, Nigerians have found it easy to play blame like ping pong. We blamed Babangida and lampooned Sonekan; we loathed Abacha and deplored Abdussalam. We flayed Obasanjo, criticised Yar’Ardua, excoriated Jonathan and now we are attacking Buhari. Those who wish can continue to quack like a duck and those who desire can soar like an eagle in spite of the challenges.

You better make a good choice. The worries of 2016 should be buried. Another year offers another opportunity of recalibrating. If you failed or missed something important, you are not alone. Besides, you can always fail forward and move ahead.

Always do your best in all situations and leave the rest. And when any disappointment comes your way, just believe that every disappointment is a blessing just as every cloud has a silver lining.

It is a festive season: hakuna matata. Don’t worry. Be happy. Be healthy. Remain awesome.

Re: The Gambia’s gamble

  • Your write-up in the New Telegraph on “The Gambia’s gamble” is very true and factual, emphasising reciprocal gestures to enhance democracy and build confidence. West African leaders need to extract a commitment from Barrow not to intimidate or harass Jammeh when he takes over before speaking to Jammeh. Obasanjo would have handled it best. African politics is full of bitterness and revenge. - Peter
  • The Gambians were happy to celebrate victory in such a way because they are tired of Jammeh’s rule. Jammeh’s style of using state apparatus to kill some journalists, imprison political dissidents and threaten to wipe out the Madinka tribe, the largest group, should not go unnoticed. The international has told him in straight terms that he must relinquish power. There is no need to cajole Jammeh; sovereignty lies with the people. – Aina Akindele Oyebanji

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