By Salihu Mohammed Lukman
As we welcome 2019, I want to remind all my associates – family members, friends, colleagues, my leaders, political associates, etc to focus more on the critical issues, which is our capacity to deal with challenges which comes all the times with a lot of pain, irritation and aches. Our joy and happiness would be determined eventually by how we are able to continually respond to higher and higher challenges.
Life is all about challenges. We move across and between them, often from smaller to bigger challenges but most times changing shades and meeting other challenges in the course of avoiding some other challenges. The reality is that our life journey is defined by the challenges we face and how we respond to them. Success or failure could simply be a function of how we interpret our challenges and then the responses.
Most times, we try to comfort ourselves with the suggestion that to be alive is indicative of our success in responding to challenges we face. No! Being alive simply means having the same lifelong opportunity to continue to respond to challenges. It may have little or nothing to do with our interpretation of how we respond to previous challenges. Although the kinds of challenges we face today may take bearing from the way and manner we respond to previous challenges, the reality is that so long as we are alive, challenges will continue to steer us in the face. Overcome them and meet bigger challenges. Avoid them and meet similar challenge in one form or the other.
Progress, stagnation or retrogression is simply a function of whether we are dealing with bigger, similar or smaller challenges in life. Most times we tend to miss this natural logic of life when we seek to explain challenges we face in relations to other subterranean factors, which may only excuse our limitations in responding to challenges we face. When we do that we end up further weakening our individual capacities to respond to challenges.
Whether it is about the family, workplace, relationships, politics or organizations, it is all about responding to challenges. In the case of families, this manifests in different forms – from spousal conflicts, siblings’ rivalries, challenge of bringing up children and managing their different forms of transitions to more complex issues of keeping families together and managing individual choices of family members and how such choices impact on the family.
At the level of workplace, it is simply about survival, working to earn our monthly pay, accessing collateral opportunities to demonstrate our competences and through that perhaps get promoted and perhaps climb up the career ladder. There is also the associated element of managing or responding nuances of colleagues which could often have its own correspondingly enthralling or irritant value.
In relationship, politics and organizations, it is a bit more complex, bordering on whether our choices and networks confer capacity to respond to wider societal challenges. Maybe in the case of relationship, we could think in terms of whether we are serving as resources person empowering others to respond to challenges or are we looking for others to help us to be able to respond to our challenges. In the case of politics, the issue could be whether we are contributing to solving societal problems or we are creating more problems? The question is always about whether our organizational or associational lives is empowering our citizens to respond to challenges they face or whether our organizations or associations are looking up to our citizens to be able to guarantee the survival of the organization or association?
Perhaps, partly because we today have a quick fix mindset, a lot of these are taken for granted. Everyone tends to expect a number of these issues that confront us as challenges to naturally fall in place. Our young ones are hardly oriented to struggle and prepare themselves to invest by way of hard work, efforts, patience, diligence and learning to be able to respond to challenges. Part of the unfortunate reality is that we end up setting ourselves up for endless failures, denials and finding excuses for our individual and collective limitations.
May 2019 bring about higher challenges than the ones we faced in 2018. And may God almighty continue to endow us, individually and collectively as well as a nation to, effectively respond to all our challenges. Finally, may we, as Nigerians, conquer all our challenges of nation building in 2019, overcome all our national frustrations and proudly emerge as a united people irrespective of our differences. HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019!
Comrade Salihu Lukman who can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org is with the Progressive Governors Forum, Abuja