IF YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT, DON’T ATTEMPT IT

Some years ago, I was invited to a youth program as a resource person. I was running late to the event because I had to come from another event I had attended! I boarded a public bus, fought through the traffic and finally stopped at a junction where I had two options; to either get a bike or trek to the venue. I chose the latter because I had nothing much left on me and the sun was much. I was perspiring profusely as I hiked towards the street and all of a sudden, a car drove past me! I noticed that car, it belonged to a very young gentleman who would be lecturing at the same event just before me. He also had some people with him and here I am, walking alone!

I interrupted my steps, watched the car vanish into the distance, I looked at myself, I was full of sweat! Initially, I felt like life wasn’t fair at all, I had a transient feeling of low self-esteem and I thought “I am going to save more and buy a car… Just any car! I can’t continue like this.” I was still letting these thoughts form a strong image in my mind when another thought came in!

This young man was a graduate who did his degree course in Nigeria and did his Masters in London and me? I was still striving to pull through a degree program in the National Open University of Nigeria which I had to put on pause for financial reasons. His parents were very wealthy and me? I was born in a family where my dad suffered a severe financial crisis while his five children were still in the Secondary School, a private school at that! His father bought him the car he was driving and his background aided his influence while I came out from a very quiet family that appreciated staying alone most of the times. Then I heard it so clearly in my heart

“Why try comparing yourself with someone else? Why try deciding a lifestyle based on the lifestyle of another who has enough capacity for it while you don’t? He didn’t struggle to buy a car, he didn’t see himself through schools, he didn’t do so much hard work that you are doing right now because someone probably did all this on his behalf! Whatever he is today is simply because he leveraged on the advantage he has. Instead of imitating his lifestyle which you can’t afford, why not work towards giving your children the best things of life that you never had? Instead of wanting to dress like Joseph Prince, why not at least allow yourself to get to that stage? Relax, this isn’t your problem! Love your sweats, you will appreciate the sweets when they come.”

“Instead of imitating his lifestyle which you can’t afford, why not work towards giving your children the best things of life that you never had?”

Just then, I realized it is not worth it wanting to have what a CEO has when I am not a CEO in that capacity yet. It is not worth it wanting to wear the quality of suit rich men wear to executive meetings when I don’t earn what they earn. What is the point of dressing like Beyonce and other celebrities when we don’t have events where thousands of people would sign up at a fee? Why should I add the burden of having what other people have to the burden of becoming who I should be?

It is okay to do what makes you happy, it is okay to do what you are comfortable with but you must know the difference between the right time and the wrong time! I mustn’t wear Gucci clothing just because I met the President’s son wearing it on any occasion! I may go for what I can afford that still meets my fancy but I must learn to define my taste by myself rather than define my taste by the standards of people I can’t meet up to at this moment.

No matter how much I love 2019 Rolls Royce Cullian, why should I want to drive it at this stage? Oh, maybe, if I love it so much, I may have to steal or commit a certain crime before I can afford it. The question then is, those other people who drive it, do they have to commit a crime to drive it? Why endanger your life to look like celebrities when those celebrities committed themselves to years of discomfort just to get to that level? Some people achieved the extravagant lifestyles you are seeing today in fifty years! Why want to have what they have in just one year?

“The seasons of diverse crops are distinct and therefore, when certain people are enjoying their harvest, don’t enjoy your seeds just because you want to belong to their network.”

Right now, I am no longer overawed by people’s success, I am no longer disheartened because I don’t have what some of my mates have. I may not be able to do what they did to get it or I may not have built enough capability to afford it. Why choose a lifestyle that doesn’t apply to me? If I have to break the bank to sustain a certain lifestyle, then such a lifestyle doesn’t belong to me. Some of the things we want to accomplish today are what took the people we are looking up to manifold years of sacrifices to achieve. How then do we think we can achieve them without constraining ourselves to the process?

There are farming seasons and harvest seasons! The seasons of diverse crops are distinct and therefore, when certain people are enjoying their harvest, don’t enjoy your seeds just because you want to belong to their network. Focus on planting your seeds, your harvest time will come! It may not be more glorious than that of the people you admire, it may be greater! But whichever way it turns out, be appreciative and content with your life. It is because we want to be like people who laboured for years in one year that many of us engage in certain illegalities. A French proverb says “Bien mal acquis ne profite jamais” which means “ill-gotten, ill-spent; ill-gotten gains seldom prosper.” There is peace in enjoying what you worked for.

“Don’t endeavour to live a life you cannot manage, it is lack of contentment, it is not deserving of the stress and the damage it will cost you.”

Before you reproduce the extravagant and luxurious lifestyle of another person, consider these things. Don’t endeavour to live a life you cannot manage, it is lack of contentment, it is not deserving of the stress and the damage it will cost you. Why reside in a city you can’t afford when there are cheap but good buildings in the out-sketch? Why lodge in a hotel of a thousand dollars when it will cost you a fortune while there are few dollar hotels around? Why drink Soda where it will cost hundreds of dollars when it will cost you a fortune? Why not pick it from the roadside and go your way? You mustn’t be in that club, you mustn’t be at that party if it will take you your seed!

Don’t suffer your peace just because you want to appear like other people who never lose their peace to appear the same way. Some people are driving 2019 Mercedez Benz CLS without losing their sleep, why try becoming like them when the cost of a high-end mobile device will take periods of sleep off your eyes in the struggle to settle the bills?

You are not so much uncomfortable as you think. Remember, it is not what you have that defines who you are, you aren’t made by those things and they aren’t masters over you! Be thankful for what you have now, be satisfied with it and always stay convinced that there are better days ahead! Don’t be cowed by other people’s luxury.

Take your time, let it sink!

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