On character (secundus)

Character. We can’t give what we don’t have. We’ve got to work within because we can’t give without. There is always a role for catalysts, but even catalysts have to stand for or ‘be’ something worthwhile to incite a reaction.

Let’s go go go, but let’s also be be be. Character and an ‘I’ is underrated enough that we only relate with people with whom we can see something that reminds us of ourselves, whether good or bad. As a result, we’re all trying to be like each other – sometimes losing the ‘I’ that makes us unique.

There’s something I love about cooking. Putting different textures and spices together to create a dish where each individual component would have been uninteresting without the other. Let’s work on being, while going. Only the being can live a purpose. Only the being can make an impact. We can play a role and bring immense value to the society around us when we cultivate an ‘I’. This is who ‘I am’, functioning under the guise of society. I’ll make my ‘I’ one of positive impact, but we all know contrast makes all the difference, even literally. Thus the word ‘bland’. Let’s give a lot of respect and appreciation to that contrast, that enables everyone around us be who they choose to be. Not everyone around us is going to fit into a box, but then let’s get comfortable with that. There’s the chicken in the dish, but there’s also the salt and pepper without whom the chicken would be bland.

At the end of the day, we’re all -going- to the same place, physically. The unique character we cultivate while we be is what makes all the difference, lest we eventually be yet another collection of atoms. Look around you, let yourself be, yet, enable the people around you be.

– Goke.

On success

Success does not come from having one’s work recognized by others. It is the fruit of the seed that you lovingly planted.

When harvest time arrives, you can say to yourself: ‘I succeeded.’

You succeeded in gaining respect for your work because you did not work only to survive, but to demonstrate your love for others.

You managed to finish what you began, even though you did not foresee all the traps along the way. And when your enthusiasm waned because of the difficulties you encountered, you reached for discipline. And when discipline seemed about to disappear because you were tired, you used your moments of repose to think about what steps you needed to take in the future.

You were not paralyzed by the defeats that are inevitable in the lives of those who take risks. You didn’t sit agonizing over what you lost when you had an idea that didn’t work.

You didn’t stop when you experienced moments of glory, because you had not yet reached your goal.

And when you had to ask for help, you did not feel humiliated. And when you learned that someone needed help, you showed them all that you had learned, without fearing that you might be revealing secrets or being used by others.

To him who knocks, the door will open.

He who asks will receive.

He who consoles knows that he will be consoled.

– Paulo Coelho; Manuscript found in Accra

On character

I have always believed that of all qualities available to a person the most important is integrity. This to me is the beginning of all wisdom; to be true to oneself, to set one’s own standard, to rely on one’s own conscience. In relation to others that means, of course, not to betray trust.

Next to this, and going hand in hand, I would place the quality of humility because, bearing in mind what I have said above, a person without humility to moderate their self-reliance must be prone to excesses; to bigotry, fanaticism or ruthlessness.

And to support these two, one must have courage, for without courage, all else can come to nought. To have standard and not the courage to uphold them is tantamount to having no standards at all. To have humility but no courage will bring a person into a state of mere passivity. But a person aspiring to integrity, humility and courage will surely not lack a fair sense of justice, loyalty, honor, generosity and compassion.

And finally indispensable to all else in a person is their abiding love for the universe – the larger organism we all exist in – the people, other living things, the nature around us and our existence in its entirety.

– Emeka