It’s In Your Hands.
I love biographies. Reading about great people – their life stories and achievements always inspire me to push myself as far as possible. Observing how they faced numerous obstacles and overcame them, are some of the major life lessons I have imbibed to become the person I am today.
Martin Luther King Jr., Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Winston Churchill, Chinua Achebe, Mother Theresa, Wole Soyinka, Kwame Nkrumah, Ibukun Awosika, Lee Kuan Yu and Barack Obama – just to mention a few – are some of the individuals whose lives and achievements have shaped the world as we know it. They are a consistent reminder to me that the decisions we make daily all sum up to our individual life stories. All these individuals told or are still telling a story with their lives simply because they have lived or live value-adding lives.
The interesting fact is that we are all writing the story of our lives by the things we do daily. Regardless of your experiences, you are still the main determinant of how your life turns out.
I was told of the story of two brothers – let’s call them Tobi and Tolu (to conceal their identity). After losing their mother to a terminal illness, they were raised by their single father who was an alcoholic – dangerously abusive and a never-do-well. Years went by and the man died leaving the boys to face life by themselves. After about a decade, Tobi became a homeless drug addict. He was a nervous wreck and a public nuisance when some representatives of an NGO, which specializes in rehabilitating destitute picked him up. Inquiring about his life after he became sober, he told them his father was the root of his problem. “He refused to send me to school, I have no family and I could only take to the streets to survive,” He said. Asked about his brother, he had no idea because Tolu left just after their dad passed on. The group did some research and discovered that Tolu was in another part of the country. He has become a very successful professional, well respected in his industry. After contacting him, the NGO could not resist the urge to ask how he didn’t turn out like his brother, Tobi, even though they had the same childhood experience. He said, “I looked at the life my father lived and determined that I will not end up like him. His death was the opportunity I needed to go very far from home to rewrite my life’s story.” It turned out he had rewritten his story.
I often say; “You are 100% responsible for the outcomes of your life”. Though Tobi and Tolu had the same upbringing, their life story was different because of the decisions they made. This is true about all of us, though we cannot determine everything that life throws at us, we are consciously or otherwise developing the plot of our stories by the way we respond to life’s encounters.
Whether you want it or not, your story will be retold – your friends will share fond memories; your children and grandchildren will talk about you and if your story is worth telling, the world would not stop talking. So how can you live a life-story worth telling? Here are 3 tips that will help you;
- Strive to Be Better Every Day
o live a great life, we have to constantly seek ways to be the best version of ourselves. That means we must be lifelong learners who are open to new ideas and thinking. American Speaker and Author Jim Rohn once said: “Your life does not get better by chance; it gets better by change.” So it takes deliberateness to improve on yourself daily. It’s in your hands, make a commitment daily to be the better version of yourself always.
- Seek to Add Value
The importance of living a value-adding life cannot be overemphasized. People will not remember you simply because you exist. What people will recall is how they were affected by your life. At the end of the day, it’s not going to matter how much money or possession you amassed. The true value of our lives is measured by the impact we have on others. What value are you adding to people right now? The answer to that question already tells the narrative your life’s story will tell.
- Think Long-Term
It is commonly said that life is not a 100-metre sprint, it is more like a marathon. The more long-term we think – especially when making decisions, the more likely we can write a life story worth telling. We often get so engrossed by the here and now that we seem not to consider the long-term impact of our decisions. We would be wise to pay attention to the long-term consequences of the choices we make today because those choices eventually make us.
Have you seen any of those movies based on true-life stories? Movies like Ali, The Banker, Ray, or Pursuit of Happiness; I love to watch them. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your life story adapted into a movie or a book? If you take these three tips to heart and imbibe them, who knows, you might just be living the script of a blockbuster movie.
Remember, You Have Only One Live to Live. MAKE IT COUNT!