By William Praise
Jessica Umeh (fictional) was a girl that had been at the rock bottom since she started schooling. At the end of every session, she was promoted to the next stage of learning on trial. By the time she became a teenager, the awareness of her academic ineptitude had registered in her head and really made her uncomfortable being around other kids. In SS1, it seemed like her demonic attaché worked extra hours and she was asked to repeat. Her parents fumed but reluctantly complied with the decision. To them, that meant paying twice for the same thing but it was later known to be Jessica’s turning point. In the end, she became the best graduating student of her set.
Vicent Van Gogh was a fantastic artist who couldn’t make any head way with his amazing paintings. When he started out, he had high hopes like everyone does in a new venture. However, he was only able to sell one painting before his hopes spiralled downwards after countless criticisms. It resulted in the burning and destruction of most of his paintings and his eventual suicide. Shortly after his death, the few paintings he left behind steadily built a reputation of success. Today, four of his paintings have sold for more than 100 million dollars.
Do you even know that the great legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, spent years in the entertainment world before he finally found his footing? When he returned from the Uk, his music was purely jazzy. Of course, you would say it’s the influence of the Western culture and his exposure; maybe. He wobbled a little bit until he redefined his music and language to blend with African traditions. That idea birthed the Afro beat which in turn birthed ‘Jeun Ko Ku’ a commercial song that was such a smash hit (according to Fela’s first manager and producer in Nigeria, Benson Idonije). It gave his music the identity it has up to today.
In the high and low times, as figuratively used in this article to mean the presence or absence of hopes, the feelings felt are never the same. When you are in the high times, your feelings are positive, your hopes soar because you are making some significant progress at what you do. So, you have every good reason to continue and remain in that venture. What then characterizes the feelings and emotions of the low times that often appear unchanging or the unexpected turnaround of the high times? The chief of all is FEAR. The fear of what may never be as expected.
The mind of every individual performs three connective functions: thinking, feeling and wanting (westsidetoastmasters.com). In brief, it simply means that emotions and desires are built on the foundation of thoughts. One awesome quality God has equipped everyone with is the power to think and I believe that we all do this on different pedestals of mental strength and understanding. Regardless, it’s what you make of your thoughts that your feelings respond to.
Olivia (fictional), for instance, was jilted by a guy she loved deep down. Years after, she fell in love with another whom she loved just like the first one but his actions, words… everything was a constant trigger of her fear—the fear of losing him like she lost the first guy. That’s exactly what happens when a person fails in an area. Any opportunity of rewriting that history becomes a trigger and pop-up questions like ‘What if I fail again?’ ‘What if it’s not my calling?’ ‘What will people say when they hear about it, won’t they laugh at me or call me names? Soon, their feelings assert their thoughts tilting towards negativity and they become cold, sad, depressed, anxious, worried about that desire, that goal, that purpose, that value.
In the low times, the future is gloomy; your actions betray your guts. You try but can’t fathom why nothing has ever worked. You pray, fast and in the end, something tells you that life isn’t just fair. For real, fairness is relative. You can take me up on this some other time but the truth is that life isn’t fair. According to the analysis of the connective functions of the mind (Westside Toast Masters), you can’t change the way you feel about a thing or your desire/want but you can change the way you think about a thing. Once your thinking pattern is shaped in another way, your feelings and desires will naturally change. It’s very much natural to feel like throwing in the towel when you encounter a little difficulty; it’s your resilience—your undaunted, unshaken resolution— that helps you overcome. What do you feed your mind with? Do you feed it with malnourished meals in the form of opinions that weaken you on the inside or with the word of God and things that are motivating? In Philippians 4:8, the Bible says the mind should be fed with pure and positive things and be consciously purged of negativities (2 Corinthians 10:5). When you do, you stay strong. You keep your eyes on the prize.
With your thinking power, you can also visualize. History has it that Thomas Edison lived his entire life through visualization. Even though he failed so many times, the things he visualized came into existence. With creative visualization, you can attract certain events, situations and success into your life. Funnily, most people use this power without any conscious acknowledgement. The truth, however, is that every successful person daydreams. It’s a natural mental law that helps you visualize your goals as being achieved. The relationship between the power of thinking and visualization is such that ‘the subconscious mind accepts the thoughts that you often repeat. When it accepts them, it changes your mindset accordingly, as well as your habits and actions and brings you in contact with new people, situations and circumstances’ (Success Consciousness).
To scrape through the low times, you also need strength, power and determination. Talk to God, ask Him for a little something called GRACE like Francis J. Cosby says in his hymn ‘Never Give Up’. That would boost your faith—the confidence that’s built in hope and the assurance of what you wait for but do not see (Heb 13:8).
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