Why try too hard to impress?

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I like to make references to football because it was my first real education. As a kid playing in different teams, I was made to understand football teaches one so much about life – the essence of hard work, team work, dedication, determination and zeal to achieve one’s goal.

My coaches helped me understand that football, as a sport, allows me make use of my three brains (the right, the left and subconscious). As a consequence, I was equipped with indelible capabilities such as attention to detail and maintaining focus on my goal.

If a player, whether amateur or professional, can maintain his focus, he has attained a certain level of maturity. This seems easy on paper but it is very hard to maintain focus with fans/girls screaming your name. Personally, I learnt this the hard way.

I invited a beautiful girl (I was interested in at the time) to a football match. During the first half of the game, I couldn’t concentrate on the team’s goal – to win the game. I was keen to impress the young lady with my dribbling skills and by halftime we were one goal down. I got an earful from my teammates for my below-par performance and that was my wake-up call. I was apologetic, remorseful and went into the second half more focused. We ended up winning the game 3-1 with yours faithfully grabbing a brace.

This made me ask myself, why do we even do things to impress others and put unnecessary pressure on ourselves? I believe it is human nature to want to impress others. However, when one consciously tries to do so, it becomes a burden to oneself.

Even though we are reluctant to admit, the desire to impress others motivates our lives. There are many things we do because they seem cool and thence lead to societal acceptance. The clothes we wear, the way we speak, the genre of music we listen to, the movies we watch, the religious beliefs we embrace, the technology devices we use, the beard we keep, the places we hang out, the friends we keep and the careers we choose are heavily influenced by the desire to impress others.

Unfortunately, sustainability of these behaviours is often elusive. In a digital world, things are constantly evolving and changing. And things that impress people today will probably not impress them tomorrow. As a result, we put on a show and run ourselves into debt, get stuck with people and jobs we hate, and envy those who seem to have it all.

Vernon Howard succinctly explained this when he said “The need to impress others causes half the world’s woes.”  The funniest thing about being an ‘impresario’ is that most of the things we do are for those that don’t give a fuck about us. Pardon my French.

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Many mistakenly assume that they have to do big things to impress others however it is the little things that leave the biggest impact on us. According to Zinga Theory, if one has to try so hard to impress another person then the ‘impressee’ is probably not worth it and can’t be bothered.

I sincerely believe the worst person to date/marry is an ‘impressario/wannabe’. It is hard for such people to be satisfied and happy because of the pressure they put on themselves to meet up to expectations. Expectations they created in the first place.

Everybody can’t like you so instead of living your life to impress people who don’t really like you, you should channel that energy into being yourself.

Is There Hope For This Generation?

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Everyday I see and hear people talk about embracing positive vibes and dropping people that exude negativity. I’d like to say that I belong to this school of optimism but that’s entirely not true.

I believe in reality and can’t fight it. From a realistic point of view, positivity is certainly not a bad thing. Realists pay heed to the words of Dalai Lama “See the positive side, the potential, and make an effort.”

Positivity helps keep one motivated to continue doing the things s/he needs to do instead of wallowing in self-pity, despair or negativity. However, dwelling on just the positives is a problem. Focusing on just the positives ALL the time can/will deter one from experiencing life in the present and assimilating the lessons embedded in these experiences.

I try to look at things from both sides; there are positive and negative aspects to most situations. In other words, everything that has an advantage has disadvantages and vice versa. It is left for one to weigh and study these consequences before taking action.

This approach helped me understand and process my emotions. And in the process, I became in charge of my life. I still make mistakes regardless – lots of them. Nothing is a given but hey, it is called being human.

Consequently, realism paves way for us to be liberal; willing to accept whatever life throws at us by accepting ourselves and allowing others to be themselves. So I implore you to be liberal about some shit I’m about to say because you may not like it. Excuse my french.

In the past one month, I’ve argued atleast on three different occasions why I am negative about my generation’s ability to change the course of this nation. Despite the overflow of educated, talented, smart, innovative and intelligent youths in Nigeria, I still believe that my generation will be a lot worse than our parents, who are believed to be the reason why our nation is deep in corruption.

I know it sounds harsh considering we are more educated and exposed than our parents but the fact remains there is no platform for the genuises among us to thrive so they scamper to leave the country for good. Meritocracy is abhored and mediocrity is celebrated; it is all about who you know.

Go to social media and complain how mediocre Naija music artistes sound and wait for the ensuing reply. I bet you someone will tell you how the artistes have enough money to feed you and your family. Money and titles are everything. No matter how you get them, just have them.

This is why many parents steal anything that looks like money they come in contact with just to make their children comfortable. Parents also try to sort their kids’ way through school – from primary to tertiary – thereby contributing to the depressing number of educated illiterates in our society. As a result, the kids become relaxed and a tad lazy. After all daddy & mummy will come to their rescue with money/connections and get them that job/contract etc.

A leopard cannot change its spots and a lion cannot give birth to a goat. It is the same blood that flows from the father to the son hence these kids will grow to continue this trend and do the same for their own children.

Our generation love to have fun – hang out, party, smoke weed and get drunk. Possibly, take after the Kardashians; ball all day and still rake in money. That’s how it is supposed to be, isn’t it? Living young, wild and free.

The worst of all, we compare ourselves – what we have or have achieved. With social media, comparison is easier. There’s pressure on many to have vacation in an exotic location with bae, own exotic cars, wear designer clothes, jewelleries and shoes so we can show off.

There’s also enormous pressure on the men to give their spouses the kind of wedding worthy to feature on Instagram & BellaNaija. All these encourage stealing because money is a prerequisite for these things. In the end, we become wannabes who are ready to do anything to fit into certain groups.

Those living abroad are not better; a lot will surprise you with their reasoning and mentality. They complain about Nigeria on social media and wish for things to get better. However, I have seen many in diaspora come back to loot more than the leaders they used to complain about.

Nevertheless I like surprises and I would love it if my generation could spring a surprise on me and prove me wrong.