SPRING BREAK 2020
Looks like the spring is right around the corner. So far so god, we could all agree that 2020 has been a disaster. I mean, it took Kobe from us, it failed to impeach the Trump, Australia was on fire and then this corona virus we all panicking about. Basically its not the best start one would wish for. Personally, It could have been better but who am I to complain? Over the past few months, I’ve had a number of topics to write about but I got quite occupied with my studies and stuff. Luckily, last night, the Belgian government finally decided to close all form of social gathering and that includes school. So here I am!
Let me take you back through the years. I am going to tell you about a number of notable figures in our history and what they did to change their lives and those around them.
- Benjamin Carson
My initial interest in biology as a child was mostly derived from Benjamin Carson. I had a friend whose parents owned a huge library and so I occasionally had access to these books. I remember reading the children’s version of ‘gifted hands’ and being blown away. Many of us are familiar with Dr Benjamin Carson. As a child, he grew up in a broken family. To make matters worse, they were not really doing well. Young Bens mother had to work two jobs to make ends meet. Academic wise, he wasn’t the smartest child there was. In his book, ‘Gifted hands’ he tells the story of how he fought his way through all these challenges and finally managed to become the respected neuro surgeon he is today. (I don’t want to dive into details so I recommend that you find time and read this book, if you haven’t)
- Christopher Gardner
Christopher Gardner suffered homelessness while raising his son. His wife left him due to his poverty and failure to provide for the family. He had to roam the streets in an effort to make ends meet. At one point, he worked a non-paying job to prove his worth and today, he owns his own stock brokerage firm. (For this one, you should watch the Will Smith movie, ‘The pursuit of happiness’)
- Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Now, I know this is an ancient one and many are not interested in very old referrals. However the Dante story is one I personally relate to. Dante was an Italian poet and writer. I came across Dante after reading Sylvian Reynard’s series ‘Gabriel’s Inferno, Gabriel’s Rapture and Gabriel’s Redemption’. Dante is most known for his poem, ‘the divine comedy’ and other popular texts such as ‘La Vita Nuova’. Legend has it that when Dante was 9 years old, he attended a party with his father and met Beatrice Portinari. He immediately fell for her. However the two grew up to take different paths. Dante himself ended up marrying someone else and so did Beatrice. After her death however, Dante relapsed into a depressive phase of his life and it is during this time that he composed some of the most revolutionary poems in the history of literature, ‘The Divine Comedy’
There are many other examples of notable figures I could talk about. The above three however are just enough to introduce the issue I want to talk about today. The importance of emotional turmoil in driving creativity and growth. The above three characters have one thing in common, A certain kind of suffering. We see that at the end of the day, it is that pain that drives them to achieve what they archived. Now, in life we are faced with a number of challenges. Everyone fights a battle of their own and there is no one I know, that hasn’t gone through some kind of storm. The difference between achievers and the rest of us is that achievers use the fall as and a stepping stone to something greater. I’ll give you a few examples in my own life. I started playing for a local rugby team a few months ago. Now, when I told my boyhood friends, they were all shocked. This was due to the fact that as a boy, I wasn’t really the strongest/fastest person there was. I was a weakling, both physically and mentally. I loved science, studying and video games. Your typical geek!
In February, 2019, I slipped into my first depressive phase. This had never happened to me! I questioned my very own existence. I had been hurt, I wanted to die. A few weeks later, I started to work out. And just like that, I achieved a tremendous step in physical growth. I only started working because I thought that maybe that will make me a better version of myself as regards to the physical aspect. Today, I can bench press about 45kgs and squat about 60kgs( I only weigh 70). The point is, I could never have gotten to that point had I not been in that painful situation.
The story above may not be the best example there is or maybe its true on a small scale, but we could widen the scope and relate this to many other things. For me, I turned my own pain into something positive, something that could make me a better person than I was yesterday. In-fact, I started this blog at around the same time. I am no professional writer or poet, but had I not been through that time in my life, then I would still be the Solomon of Yesterday. Today, I play rugby, I write in my free time, I go to the gym and move on with my studies ( although this corona thing seems to be getting in the way of things).
Now, I mentioned earlier that the difference between archivers and losers is that achievers use their pain to drive themselves, to become better versions of themselves. It doesn’t really matter how hard you fall, how bad your situation is, what matters is how you deal with it. It’s the reaction that counts, not the action. Like for example, something that defeats my understanding is how two people start hating each other because they fell out of love! I find hate as a reaction really dumb, one reason being that personally, I have no hate in me. I find it impossible to hate someone, however bad they treated me. And to be honest, I’ve had my fair share in being treated like trash. I however choose to remain true to my principles. If I tell someone that I care about them, I never stop. Even when we don’t talk or see each other, deep down, I remain caring and paying attention to the small things. For example, I was talking to a friend of mine last week. I told him about this girl I met and liked. However, she didn’t feel the same way because she is with someone. And so this guy responded, “to hell with that bitch”. And I said no, look! It doesn’t make her a bad person. It doesn’t change who she is. You don’t have to be disrespectful and act like a jerk simply because someone doesn’t feel the same way about you as you do for them. The point here is, its how we react to situations that makes the difference. The action doesn’t really count. The reaction is the most important bit.
In life, you have to be hungry to grow. I’ve never blamed anyone for thinking low of me. I moved into a first world country from a third word country and as a result many people tend to judge me on those grounds. But I never blame anyone. Because that judgement drives me to want to become something worth fighting for. I could tell you stories of people who have denied me and still assure you that I don’t blame them. The truth is, as humans, its natural for us to want the best of the best. And that is why I personally want to become the best. So instead of sitting and sulking at the fact that people’s social attitude towards me is to a certain extent influenced by racial preferences, I simply choose to actually motivate myself using that racial prejudice. With the aim that at one point in my journey, despite me being the way I was born, you would still want to fight for me. That is the version of me I’m working towards.
I have lost my identity over the years in trying to make myself worth peoples time and attention. And one would argue that we don’t have to adjust ourselves for others. But maybe sometimes “yourself” is simply not enough. Now, I’m not saying I am right. I’m not saying that you should listen to me, this is only my opinion. But when “yourself” simply isn’t enough, you should want to grow into something better. Today, I am convinced that there is a big chance that something is wrong with my character or personality. I don’t know what it is but at least I’m trying to figure it out. And if anyone out there knows what it is, I would be glad to hear it Afterall, I’m no angel! I’m trying to grow, physically, mentally and emotionally. We make mistakes, we fall, we have regrets, we hurt but at the end of the day its our reaction to all this that really matters.