I’ve been dying to write this post for 3 months now but other topics tend to make me postpone it. No wonder they say procrastination is the thief of time. Anyway, as the saying goes “Better late than never”. So let’s get started.
I was privileged to attend the 2017 edition of the Springboard Road Show National Convocation which took place in Accra on 18th February 2017. I attended the 2016 edition and it left an indelible mark in my memory so I couldn’t afford to miss this one. To those of you who don’t know what Springboard Roadshow is, it is an annual convocation organized by Springboard Road Show Foundation (SRSF) under the auspices of Albert and Comfort Ocran. Their mission is to continually empower generations of young Africans committed to professional excellence and the holistic development of their God-given potential. Their modus operandi is through integrated entrepreneurial programs, media education, mentoring clubs and diverse empowerment interventions across Ghana and beyond.
The theme for this year’s edition is AGENDA 2027. You can click here for more info about what it entails. Four speakers delivered inspiring talks but I’d base my post on the talks delivered by Dr. Mensa Otabil and Dr. Joyce Aryee.
Dr. Joyce Aryee spoke on the importance of planning. She spoke about how she didn’t plan her life during the initial stages of her youthful days and just accepted any situation that came her way. In 1986, it dawned on her that, she couldn’t be effective unless she planned her life. She revealed that since taking this major decision, she has been able to achieve more than she could ever imagine and this makes her feel fulfilled in life.
This thought-provoking sermon reminded me of the popular cliché “IF YOU FAIL TO PLAN, YOU PLAN TO FAIL”. For the first time, I questioned the efficacy of this assertion because I’ve had encounters where I planned adequately for something but strangely, I didn’t get the desired results. I believe you also share my sentiments. I was about asking Dr. Joyce Aryee why some people fail even after careful planning but couldn’t get the chance.
Just when I thought my question would go unanswered, Dr. Mensa Otabil came to my rescue. He began his talk by saying; “Many times when we try to work out our lives into the future, we set goals and start taking steps towards the attainment of those goals. Sometimes in life, people make comments such as I’ve done everything I was told to do but I’m not getting the required results”. Dr. Otabil then dropped the first punch. “Taking steps is important but knowing where you’re taking the steps to is probably more important”.
There are 3 important things to every game that we play. There is the objective, obstacle, and strategy. Dr. Otabil revealed that, there are obstacles to every objective and the obstacles are there to make sure one doesn’t achieve his/her objective.
He went further to explain “when it comes to obstacles, there are those that are seen and those that are unseen. There are obstacles that one plans for and there are others that cannot be premeditated”.
He compared the unpredictability of life to a phrase used in the U.S. army called VUCA which means Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous. This phrase is used to describe a situation no one planned for. Dr. Otabil revealed that in as much as one lays out clear-cut goals in life, there comes a time when something unprecedented happens and destroys one’s plan thus making the plan worthless.
“Life is not going to say because the rules have changed, it is going to be very nice to you. The people who succeed in life are not only those who are able to follow the steps keenly but the people who really succeed are those who are able to adapt quickly to the new changes happening around them” he said.
“You must be very quick to understand when changes happen around you. Don’t complain about a change you cannot unchange but learn to adapt. If there is any skill I’m going to encourage you to develop in the next 10 years as you plan your life, it is the ability to think quickly when change happens and the ability to re-strategize when change happens” he continued.
Dr. Otabil touched on how disappointments in life can make one abandon his/her ideas but added; “opportunity always presents itself in every disappointment”.
“No matter how the game changes, God will always give you opportunities. The opportunity may not be where you want it because it’s a VUCA world. Sometimes the opportunity will come from an angle you never thought of but one of the things we can be sure of is, no matter how the game changes, God will always give you opportunity” he concluded.
Dr. Mensa Otabil couldn’t have said it any much better. As young people full of youthful exuberance, and zest towards life, we map out our goals with optimism but oblivious of the tendency of encountering obstacles. We see the journey of life like a rollercoaster ride without any bumps, delays or detours. As a result, we crumble to our feet when challenges raise their ugly heads, quickly throw in the towel and chicken out of life.
I remember finishing Senior High School with enthusiasm and mapping out my life for the next four years. It was a well-planned life akin to the blueprint of a building. I was fully confident of going to the University that same year. In fact, I knew the year I’d even get employed. Unknown to me, life was patiently warming up in the boxing ring ready to knock me out. It really knocked me out hard. Due to some circumstances beyond my control, I had to wait for two years before I could go back to school. I quickly threw in the towel and chickened out.
After persistent encouragement, I decided to get back into the game. One thing I noticed was, just when I thought the whole world would come to a standstill and mourn with me, the opposite was rather happening. Life was moving at a faster rate. I had to quickly embrace my situation and map out my comeback strategy. It wasn’t an ordinary comeback strategy but a quick, assertive and strong one because, by the time I find myself back in the game, I’d be far behind. I developed a reverse strategy which seemed like I was stalling on the outside but within, I was making progress.
When I got back into the game, I made significant and mind-blowing progress. I’ve been able to chalk feats that people use two years to attain in less than a year and still making progress. The obstacle knocking me down made me rewire my thoughts. That obstacle has transformed me from a narrow-minded person to an open-minded person. It made me metamorphose from the chicken that I thought I was to an eagle. It has made me develop the eyes of an eagle where I’m able to see beyond my immediate surrounding and aim far.
Encountering obstacles isn’t a bad thing. Some obstacles are there to reroute your journey to where you’re destined to go. Some obstacles are there to build your tenacity. Some obstacles are there to show you how much it costs to achieve the goal you want. Some obstacles are there to make you rediscover and reinvent yourself for the better. Some obstacles are just there to question your qualification for that dream or goal.
No matter the obstacles confronting you, always remember “Life doesn’t give you what you deserve but what you fight for”. Life has, is and will always be a battleground where the strong survive and win. So what is it gonna be? Are you willing to fight? Or you’d stay down and allow that obstacle to shove its middle finger in your face and say YOU GOT SERVED!!.