Just before leaving Lagos on a 3-nation working trip (Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia) on Thursday, I had the opportunity of sharing thoughts with students of Awori College on how their lives can be the source of positive change that the world badly needs. Discussions started with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which helped explain what the United Nations-led discussions just before the turn of the millennium identified as the worlds eight most urgent needs. I continued with a quick description of Nigeria’s National Economic Empowerment and Development (NEEDS) strategy, focusing on wealth creation and value reorientation.
The discussion then focused on what role individuals can play in translating these strategies and goals into action, and the opportunity that arises for individuals who are able to meet existing needs. Noting the age bracket (14-19), I discussed the need for progressive preparation to avoid future disappointments and also used their forthcoming final examinations as a descriptive scenario for success that arises from planning and goal-setting. I spoke about the need for personal development to help with an enviable career choice, nation building and the role of light in darkness, and global participation that goes beyond just being a local champion.
The incident that trigerred my conclusion involved a lady who spoke (in response to my question) about where she would be in 15 years only to enjoy the mocking laughter of her colleagues. I insisted that it was okay to have people laugh at you (for various reasons) now, but that would change only if you’re diligent enough to ensure that your future story changes to one that makes those who laughed at you green with envy. 🙂 I told the story of 20 friends who had various attitudes towards planning for the future and how the focused few ended up as the envied ones.
In conclusion, I shared (in a language they very well understood) a formula that explains how to arrive at the enviable furture we all dream of:
Future = Present + Opportunitiesn
There may be nothing you can do about the present situation (background, status, etc) but you can change the future by identifying opportunities. I however emphasized the fact that opportunities abound for all, but the n factor (the variable that amplifies opportunities in the formula) refers to the extent to which we are able to identify and utilize these opportunities.