Letters to Myself: The Beginning

Dear Akintunde,

We recently finished school. The rehearsal is over. Now our life begins. In the midst of the noise around us that threatens to tear our bond, we must find new ways to communicate, and this will be one of those ways. Letters from myself to myself.

Life in this country will constantly be a struggle. Everything about this country is designed to crush you underfoot. There are no support systems. There is no free lunch. There is no smooth path. This country owes you nothing.

But you owe it to yourself to fight back every day. Fight to ensure that you don’t bite the dust. You will eat dirt several times, but you must get back up every time. There are numerous examples of people who have given up the fight. Those who sit at the market square with tattered clothes and genitals exposed; those who decide to take their lives to run away from the pressure; those who use drugs, alcohol, or sex to escape reality for a few moments. There are many of them are around you.

Every day, the sum of your choices will tilt in different ways; the way of those who have tapped out, or those who live to see the next round, and the next round, and the round after that, with swollen eyes, busted lips, bleeding gums, haemorrhaging organs, aching joints.

Hold on to your life with everything you’ve got. Use everything you’ve got to deflect its blows. At the end of the day, the victory goes usually to the person who lasts the longest, not the heaviest punches.

You will fail many times, you will succeed fewer times. But at all times, treat successes and failure like men and women in a perfect feminist world; equally.

When you fail, allow yourself to grieve. Throw a tantrum if you have to. Block everyone. Do everything you need to do within the boundaries of law, morality, and ethical behaviour to get over the pain of failure. But do all this for only for a day. The next day, start all over or move to a new project like you never failed a day in your life.

When you succeed, enjoy the attention and benefits it brings. Don’t let thoughts of what others might think deny you the joy of your success. This is your harvest time, enjoy the fruits of your silent, private labour. Let everyone and anyone know you just achieved something that means a lot to you. It doesn’t matter if these people have achieved greater than you. It’s your success, not theirs. Enjoy your success to the fullest, but only for a day. Tomorrow, start all over chasing success, like someone haunted by the ghosts of past failures; like someone with no history of success; like a final year student with good grades and an empty CV, who gets over involved in everything to fill up the blank spaces.

Success is a marathon, not a sprint. The world is full of people who hit it big one time, and dimmed out as quickly as they shone bright. No where is this more prevalent than in the entertainment and creative industry. Once success is achieved, it must be maintained by a series of successes. There will be failures along the path, but men of ambition should be made of sterner stuff. Ambition is expensive.

Until we talk again, Akintunde, Apostle Paul’s words are the best closing for this letter:

‘Run straight for the finish line,

Waste no punches,

Steel yourself,

Mind over matter,

You are being watched,

And followed,

Whatever you do,

Stay in the race’

Your Flipside,

Ifeanyi Boniface

To read the next “Letter to Myself”, follow this link.

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Analyst/Emerging Tech Lead, Tech Hive Advisory | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher

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Akin Ifeanyi Agunbiade

Akin Ifeanyi Agunbiade

Analyst/Emerging Tech Lead, Tech Hive Advisory | AI Ethics & Governance Researcher

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