Sept 15, 2014 – Mender Of Soles, Mend Our Troubled Souls By Samuel Ufot Ekekere
Life Lesson From Nigerian Shoe Makers
I still find those men with boxes tinkling along from street to street. We used to call them “shoe makers” when we were little but time soon phased that knowledge after we observed that they never made shoes, they only mended shoes like they still do today. Growing up, I had believed that these men had nothing to offer especially as they could hardly speak the local Pidgin English and their trade seemed irrelevant. But I was wrong. I’ve grown up to discover that indeed they were applying succinct principles to success that is worth sharing.
The shoe mender or “Aboki” in the local parlance is the doctor of shoes. Like the doctors who have no capacity to create the humans that they have called to heal, the Aboki lacks the skill to produce shoes. He is unlike the shoemaker who is crafty at creating. The Aboki however finds a place for himself finding value only after shoes have found initial use on the legs of the user. We often tend to overlook the value we can make because we aren’t in the position to make the first impact. Whether, the impact is first or last, it all adds up to ensuring the success of the whole.
One would think these men only find this occupation worthwhile in the city but I find them in my village far away from the city still doing what has become a trademark occupation. What’s baffling about them is they do not obey any law of economics where location is considered priority. They believe that there are opportunities everywhere and so it is. Opportunities abound everywhere but we are blind to see them because we think our opportunities should be in blue chip cities. Well, right in my backyard is a money-spinning machine. That’s what the Abokis will tell you.
Little drops of water could make a mighty ocean, the little N10, N20, N50, N100 adds up to so much at the end of the day for the Aboki. He is not often opportune to make one thousand naira in one transaction but he finds contentment gathering the little drops that often adds up to much more than the average civil servant earns per day. We are often pursuing big opportunities that we overlook the small opportunities that could help us achieve even more than the big opportunities we assumed would provide.
You will hardly find an Aboki shoe mender on nice clothes. It’s not that he doesn’t derive pleasure in wearing fanciful clothes, he does wears them on celebrations and worship days. However, he does not dignify his clothes as priority as he has to walk on his foot a long distance from his home. It’s great to look good when you have to look good but when it comes to business, we must put business first before our looks. You can’t afford to sacrifice your great opportunity on the altar of looking nice.
Aboki Shoe menders look cheerful, simple, and down to earth exemplifying comeliness that often portrays them as weak, however they aren’t weak. They understand that business has to be considered in the light of business and they have to be cheerful to their customers. We cannot overemphasize the need for cheerfulness and simplicity in our lives. If one truly wants to be successful in business or anything else, he has to develop a cheerful welcoming mane towards others, putting others first even when they are wrong.
The dedication of aboki shoe menders to serving God the way they know best to is commendable. Their time keeping quality ensures they are always just in time for prayers wherever time catches with them. They are never late when God is involved. Dedicating our lives to the creator is a necessary act that puts us at a higher pedestal for success. Our cautiousness at being punctual is an added advantage. Punctuality is the soul of business
Shoe menders are never afraid to travel far. Opportunities abound everywhere and if it means traveling far to get it, they are ready to take the risk. Sometimes we are opportune to get opportunities from lands beyond our place of abode but we fail to seize on them because we are afraid of our new destination. Kill the fear and get going.
Those men, who mend our soles, could also mend our troubled souls. Learn from them
Samuel Ufot Ekekere is a writer from Uyo, Nigeria. As a teacher, motivator, and writer, he writes inspiring writs on personal development for all categories of persons. He believes everyone needs motivation. Connect on twitter @inyang21 and www.facebook.com/ekekere, +2347062809301