By Gbenga Adebambo
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done”- Ecclesiastes 11:4
Dalai Lama once said, “Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.” God will never give you what is ready-made! Wesley Snipes once wrote on his twitter handle: Some people pray for cake but when the Almighty gives them eggs, oil, butter, batter, a pan and an oven, they get frustrated and leave the kitchen!
I remember when I wanted to celebrate my birthday at ten, my mother took me out to a boutique to get one of the most memorable outfit that I still keep as a souvenir. One thing that amazes me so much was that the outfit was perfectly fit to my size specifications. I grew up with this unreal mentality that life will always be like this: I long for a ready-made wife, a ready-made career, a ready-made everything! It took me many years to realize that life wasn’t a boutique where you can find ready-made outfits. An experience that cost me a lot in friendship, relationships and career path!
All that you need has been given, the challenge is just that they might not be in the form that you need it. There are many nations of the world that are going through water scarcity not because they lack water, but because the water is in a form that they’ve not converted-as icebergs! Ice is a solid form of water that is not accessible for domestic use. The reason why there is scarcity in your life is not because you don’t have what you need, it is simply because what you need is in a form that you are too lazy to work upon! The liberating truth against scarcity is to believe that you already have what you need but not necessarily in the form that you needed it. You need to work on what you have presently in order to get what you need out of life. Nobody gets the best out of life automatically, the best comes as we work on the good that we have presently.
Sam Keen said, “We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly”. Some people are still unmarried today simply because they are looking for a ready-made man or woman. They long for the perfect relationship and totally oblivious of the truth that it doesn’t exist! Truth is, no relationship is perfect. We can, however, make our relationship more fulfilling and exciting. A good relationship requires effort, hard work and dedication from both partners. The wife or husband that you want does not exist; you may need to work on the lady or man in your life presently in order to get what you want. All that you need has already been given, you only need to work hard on them to bring out their latent and hidden beauty.
There is no perfect marriage, no perfect career, no perfect friendship and no perfect situations. Everything only gets better as we begin to work on them. Perfect doesn’t exist; it is what we all strive towards. The Bible says that when God created everything, he saw that it was very good, not that it was perfect! The reason why the first family (Adam and Eve) fell into deceit was because Adam presumed that the woman God gave him was perfect and flawless and needed not to be worked upon. It was this costly assumption that made him not to nurture or question his wife. The result was the fall of the first family that God created!
There are many hidden blocks and mentalities that prevent us from enjoying what God has given us. It is pitiable to see people having right beside them what they need for a fulfilling and happy life but never recognizing it! There are many enlightened ways of enjoying the abundance in our lives (and others) and shifting away from a scarcity mindset. These are:
ABANDON UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Bill Lemley once said, “When nobody around you seems to measure up, it’s time to check your yardstick”. In order to live a productive and fulfilling life, we must progressively abandon unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations are potentially damaging because they set us and others up for failure. When we relinquish our unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of others, we begin to see and appreciate their worth. Expectations are meant to stretch and not break us. It is good to have high expectation of others, but it must be complementarily healthy or else it becomes toxic. Unhealthy expectation strains relationships and makes others look as if they are incapable. We must allow people to grow at their own pace. Don’t allow unrealistic expectations to hold you back from enjoying what you have presently. The height of expectation determines the depth of disappointment.
PRACTICE GRATITUDE: It is not happy people who are thankful; it is thankful people who are happy. A man that is mentally healthy believes strongly that there is always something to be thankful for. Gratitude is an essential component in living a fulfilling and abundant life, and aligning yourself to receive all the good the universe has to offer. Gratitude shifts your focus from what your life lacks to the abundance that is already present. Charles Spurgeon said, “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness”. It is only a great fool that will not be grateful!
DON’T COMPARE: For you to enjoy a rich and fulfilling life, your desire to get better must be greater than your desire to beat others! John C. Maxwell once said, ‘’There is nothing noble in being superior to someone else, progress is becoming superior to your previous self.’’ The easiest way to stop yourself from enjoying what you have is comparing yourself with others. If you try to hold your relationship up to the standards of others, you are always going to find yourself lacking. Usain Bolt once said, “I can’t, I won’t compare myself with Michael Phelps, I’m on the track; he’s in the water. We can’t compare too much. He’s best in what he does”. Life is not a competition with anyone, but a competition within yourself to be better than the person you were yesterday. Washington Allston said, ‘’The only competition worthy of a wise mind is within him.’’ Our business in life is not to get ahead of others but to get ahead of ourselves, to break our own records, to outstrip our yesterday by today, to do our work with more force than ever before. Theodore Roosevelt was correct in asserting that “Comparison is the thief of joy.” It creates a deep dissatisfaction within ourselves. Our own achievements and celebrations will never suffice when we compare them to others.
PRACTICE CONTENTMENT: It is always good to pause and reflect on a critical truth that most of us normally overlook in life: “Someone else is happy with less than what you have”. Be content with what you have but never be content with where you are. Contentment is learning to enjoy what you have presently on the journey to where you are going.
APPRECIATE WHAT YOU HAVE AND NEVER TAKE THINGS FOR GRANTED: There is a common saying that says, “What you appreciate, appreciates”. So many times, we don’t know what we have until we lose it, until it is being found by another person who count it more precious! I have often seen people who lost the diamond while picking up rocks. When you take things for granted, the things you are granted, get taken. Hal Elrod said, “Love the life you have while you create the life of your dreams”. The most elusive truth that people normally miss out is the fact that there are so many things in their life of which they lightly esteem but others are craving for. When you truly appreciate what you have, it will magnify.
FOCUS ON THE GOOD AND NOT THE FAULT IN OTHERS: Some people find faults in others as if there is a reward for it! Henry Ford once said, “Don’t find fault, find a remedy.” Toxic people are always looking out for faults in others. They have a keen eye for faults and are psychologically blinded to the ‘goods’ in others. There is no man that is flawless, and when we embark on a diligent search for faults in others, we will ultimately find it. It is ironic to know that most times, fault-finders are actually part of the problem, or even worse-they are the problem. We must cultivate the golden habit of looking beyond the fault in others in order to value them. We must take practical steps to see beyond the fault in others and start seeing the possibilities in them.
WORK ON YOUR PESPECTIVE: Anaïs Nin once said, “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are”. Most times, the needed shift from a scarcity to an abundance mindset is just a change of perspective. The Holy Bible says, “Seek and ye shall find”. It is what we seek and look out for in people that we will ultimately find. What we see in people most of the times is simply a reflection of who we are or the perspective we carry. When we change how we look at a situation, the situation changes. Don’t call the world dirty because you have forgotten to clean your glasses!
GIVE ROOM FOR PEOPLE’S MISTAKE: Mahatma Gandi said, “Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes”. Mistakes are integral part of the learning system. When people make mistakes which they will always do, we must encourage them to learn from it. In his book, “Failing Forward”, John C. Maxwell said, “God uses people who fail—’cause there aren’t any other kind around.” Mistakes though can be costly but can also be used as a spring board for evolving a better self. As long as it is not an old mistake, give people the room to make new mistakes. In the end, making mistakes is better than faking perfections. Mistakes are the only infallible evidence that we are human!
STOP COMPLAINING: Personally, I never knew a man who was good at complaining and making excuses who was good at anything else! Someone once said, “When I lost all my complaints, I found my results”. In life, when you refuse to make complain, you make something incredible happen in your life. Always complaining is a recipe for recurring frustration and failure. Nobody must be the reason why you fail in life. Stop attaching your frustration and failures to other people’s actions or inactions; rise beyond your complaints and excuses. In order to get the best out of people, we must stop making complaints and start making changes.
GIVE PEOPLE THE PLATFORMS TO BE THEMSELVES: The greatest gift you can ever give to others is to provide them with a platform to be themselves. Never manipulate people to live a life that you’ve designed for them. We must not force people to fit into our designs but rather provide them with a platform to stand out with their uniqueness. When we manipulate people to live out our design, they will ultimately come out living an inferior form of themselves. The greatest relationship sin and abuse is to manipulate others to live a life that is not theirs. In my years of mentoring the youths, I have discovered that when expression is hindered, the result is absolute depression and rebellion. To get the best out of people, we must help to nurture their uniqueness.
EXPECT THE BEST FROM PEOPLE: Erickson’s Law of Expectation simply states that 85% of what you expect do happen. It is what you believe about others that will manifest. In order to see the best in others, you will have to expect the best from them.
Facebook didn’t come out fully made. It started as a platform for connecting Harvard’s students-Facemash. Known today as the greatest social platform ever, the founder, Mark Zuckerberg chronicled the evolution of this wonderful social media platform in his commencement speech at Harvard when he said, “Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them. You just have to get started.” It is not a sin to start small, but it is a sin to remain small. Stop waiting for ready-mades, start from somewhere. Hp (Hewlett-Packard) started from someone’s garage and Adidas started from a woman’s kitchen!
I also want to reach out to those still keeping themselves in wrong relationships: If you’re giving your all to someone and it’s not enough, you’re giving it to the wrong person! Stop being emotional with people that can’t see your worth, your life is never attached to someone that doesn’t value you.
Instead of waiting all the times for ready-mades, we should be thinking of that extra effort, attention, patience, care and love to put into that something or someone so that they could be anything and everything we’ve always wanted! There is always an extra effort to put into that “IMPERFECT” and make it “I’M PERFECT”. It is unfair to apply zero effort and expect perfect output! There is nothing that is ready-made. Perfection Doesn’t Exist. Give it up!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “If you think deep enough, you will realize that what you have is enough”-Gbenga Adebambo