“They say that the broom is not important, but in the morning they look for it.” – Nigeria proverb
The greater number among us have a tendency to credit ourselves for the achievements of our lives. We are quick to point out how what we do is a function of our personal discipline and hard work, and not what some external circumstances have bestowed upon us. We conveniently forget how our birth in particular environments, our heredity, our presence at particular events, our interactions with certain individuals and the winds of times bestow privileges upon us. Maybe it is because we often use ‘privileged’ to mean some people have not had to suffer much for what they do and what they have. We forget that if we had been born in another place or time, we would probably be worse-off or better – depending on the fantasies we have about life.
There is no ‘I’ without the blessings of others. It takes others chiselling your rough edges to get you to that attractive symbol we call ‘I’. All your life, you have been tossed about by different forces wholly external to who you are; and these forces have heaped opportunities and challenges upon you, nudging you in places to get you to where you are now. If the set of external forces had been different, you would probably not be doing what you are doing. Can we be sure about this? No, we cannot. At best, it is a guess. But when you think about the forces that inspired your reading of this article, then you begin to appreciate how external forces grab and crush us into the ‘I’s that we are.
Very often, we forget that our lives have been shaped by others; and many others are presently helping in our journeys and in our spaces. Sadly, we are so focused on thinking about the ‘I’ concept we only remember others when we have a need. Is it thus strange that convenience has become the order of the day? Beyond this, we live our lives as if we can thrive on our own. We fail to live compassionately, and we fail to observe the natural laws of neighbourliness that are meant to help us live as a common humanity so that our synergy will minimise the challenges of diseases, poverty, crime and wars.
When we are dichotomised from others, life is reduced to a mere set of acquisitions and consumptions. This leads us to be unappreciative, competitive, unforgiving, destructive, unscrupulous and self-serving. We hardly speak well of others – unless they do something for us. Everything we do is tied to some expectant behaviour. Thus, the hypocrisy that has enveloped the world. We will never have the opportunity to understand everything we desire to know about life, but within us we can always think through what we do and its impact on the wider society. In fact, if you embark on the search for who you are, the questions and answers that evolve will inspire a greater sense of appreciation for the externalities which impact lives. It will awaken a consciousness about how love rules the universe. And if you deepen your thinking, you realise the need for you to also pour love onto the universe – for that is the only way for you to become a responsible citizen.
The struggle to live well does not start with the acquisition of materialism. It starts with an appreciation of our existence and a recognition of the contributions of others, which fuels a willingness to make the world a better place for everybody in a manner similar to creating a safe haven for your family. It is a call to lend a hand to others, just as your hand has been held throughout the years. You ‘are’ because of others. Thus, to live only for yourself is tantamount to suffocating the process, and ultimately taking the life out of Life.
For our humanity to thrive, all of us need you to consciously create opportunities for others. We need you to minimise those words and actions which do not build others.
In fact, we need you to become an ‘others-centred’ individual; and we too need to do the same, so that together we can create the externalities we call synergy to enable and empower every individual to make the most out of our time in this life. This is a call for all of us to live justly, so we can structure society with the right energies to enable us concretely address the challenges which keep rearing their heads.
Kodwo Brumpon is an author, a life coach and a philanthropist who inspires individuals, groups and organisations to think and feel that which is true by helping them positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions.
Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]