Saturday, 19 November 2011

You Can Be Who You Want To Be

There were these two guys who were my mates in the University-Lanre and Yemi. Yemi was my course mate while Lanre was in the English department though in the same Faculty of Arts. Lanre and Yemi shared something in common. They were both blind. But this was where it ends. While, Lanre was very out going and very friendly, Yemi sort of kept to himself. Lanre was often seen in the company of the most beautiful girls on campus. Girls and boys alike were easily drawn to him and often offered to assist him in getting around on campus but Lanre would not hear of it. He would politely turn down anybody who offered such assistance. Lanre was gregarious and so almost everybody who came in contact with him, liked him. He could also not forget a voice and would recollect your name even if he only spoke with you once. He would often call everyone by their names and crack jokes as he used his cane as his guide refusing anybody to help him. What struck me about Lanre back then was his positive attitude. He often laughed at himself.

Yemi on the other hand, was often withdrawn and he kept to himself a lot. He often cut classes and I remember him complaining about his inability to get his Braille or the inability to transcribe what we were taught in class into Braille language. After a while, he stopped coming to class and his excuse was that he had nobody to lead him to class which I felt it was absurd.

I was not close to either of them but I had friends who were quiet friendly with Lanre and so I was able to observe him closely. Actually, both of them made impressions on me. Lanre, was always seen around the faculty. I am sure he never missed a class but Yemi sadly so, dropped out of school after our first year and we never heard of him again.  Twenty-six years after, Lanre is now a lawyer. He graduated and went back to study Law.  

I am sure both Lanre and Yemi had their challenges back then. While Lanre forged ahead, Yemi decided to give up. Discussing about both men with a friend recently convinced me that we can be who we want to be. We can either face the challenges head on or give up without trying. I read a book once titled “Tough Time Don’t last but Tough People Last” by Robert Schuller, the book encouraged people to hang on no matter what a person maybe going through. He believes that it is only those that are tough that will last but every situation-no matter how tough would change. That book, I read a while ago but the content stuck with me.

As human beings, we are bound to face challenges that may appear in surmountable but our reactions and attitude to these challenges will determine where we will end. We can be who we want to be if we have the right or positive attitude to the situations. We may decide to have a pity party and invite hopelessness, worry, complains, anger, sadness and other vices as our companion to such a party because it is so easy to wallow in self pity. We may decide to become emotional and blame everybody and everyone for the challenges being faced. Blame the government, our parents, family, friends and even God for allowing this sort of calamity to befall us. Blame everybody except the person that is to get the blame. After all, nobody understands how it feels. Anyway, nobody loves me so how can they understand what I am going through.  Instead of looking for the way to confront the issues and think of other options or alternative way out, we sink deeply in self-pity enjoying the pity party while acting helpless

Being who we want to be require us to be focused and positive. We need to know that good things may not necessarily come easy. We need to be tough to confront the challenges of life because life does not get better by any chance but by the changes we make.   Too often, we focus on what is not instead of what could be. I believe we should live what we cannot control to God and concentrate on those things we have control over.


  1. Great article. Indeed 90/10 principle applies to life and Stephen Covey said that 10% of life is made up of what happens to you while 90% of life is decided by how you react to the 10%. This is very true in the case of Lanre and Yemi.

  2. Cool, Lanre is a lawyer. What you observed is true indeed; our lives are what we make of them.