I don’t recall my days of growing up as a baby. For that matter it will be an almost impossible task to know how I took my baby steps while transforming from a little crawling baby to a child who could take little steps, and then walk. I have, however, seen many babies grow from infancy, when they were trained to sit, then they began to stand amidst falling, and then one at a time, they made conscious efforts to take steps that slowly translated into walking children.
While growing up around age 8 or 9, I fell so much in love with the art of planting seeds and watering them daily to see them grow. I was thrilled by the miraculous incidence of sowing a seed, and in the next few days, you would see no sign of the seed. After a few more days, just when I came to water the seed in the morning, I see a little sprout. The sign of that little sprout brings so much joy to me that I could admire it all day. From that little sprout, the seedling grows into a young plant and gradually begins to bear flowers and then fruits.
Nature has its own way of getting things done in a gradual and often consistent basis. There’s nothing in this world today that could ever spark out of the blue without going through a gradual, yet consistent process of formation and growth. That is what life is. You were first conceived when an egg from your mother’s ovary was fertilised by a sperm from your father. These two separate and very minute bodies fuse to produce a zygote, then a zygote grows into an embryo, then on and on into a baby. As a baby, you went through so many growth processes and here you are today.
Despite these gradual principles that we are assembled with, the speed of the world; speed cars, fast phones, smart TVs, microwave, etc. have created a false impression that life is meant to be lived in a fast mode. We believe we need to have the latest of cars, phones, appliances, etc. now and today without any delay. We believe all we make today must be spent today with an expectation of another tomorrow. Immediate gratification, unfortunately, has become the order of the day.
On the contrary, everything worth having or being in life is achieved through a gradual process. You can’t become a success overnight. Success, contrary to what many people are made to believe, is a gradual, often intertwined process, embedded with challenges and opportunities.
Whoever you see successful today went, and is still going through processes of challenges, that gradually unveil success along the journey. What do you want to reach out for? What do you want to achieve? What is that desire that burns so deep in your heart? It takes one step at a time. It takes steps of planning, working, facing challenges, re-adjusting your plan, and working and working and working until you begin to see success as the sprout of a seedling.
Jordin Brianna Sparks, the American singer-songwriter and actress said in her famous song titled, “One Step at a Time” that, “We live and we learn to take one step at a time. There’s no need to rush.” A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step, they say. Don’t be frustrated when things aren’t moving as fast and quick as you wish them. Be patient. When you commit to working gradually and consistently towards your vision and goals, they will begin to unravel layer by layer like an onion.
The fact that your friends are far ahead doesn’t make you a failure. Each one of us has a distinct race. While some have a 100m dash and therefore need tremendous speed, others have a marathon which does not need the kind of speed a 100m runner would need. If you will understand that life is not about competing or racing with someone, but yourself, many of the pressures we feel will be non-existent.
That your plans aren’t turning out as you expected doesn’t make you a failure. A process of delay only works patience in you; one of the most important ingredients we all need along the path of life. A failed plan is not a failed human. If your plans need adjustment, do! But just remember, that life is not a 100m dash. It is a marathon. And like a marathon, it is lived in phases, gradually, but consistently until you get to the finish line.
The writer, Jonathan Adzokpe, is the author of The Realities of Life After School. It’s a book written to empower students and graduates with information on how the real world feels like and how to better prepare and position themselves to live successfully after school.