By CHINAZO-BERTRAND OKEOMAH
To be young is an asset, which also carries with it an enormous load of liability. This load often makes young people to speed on the highway to failure by engaging in acts which major on minors or those that minor on majors. Many of them waste their time, energy and resources on trivial things, things that would never add value to their lives today nor yield dividends to them tomorrow.
I think their age is prone to this attitude of trial and error, for it is an age given to tentativeness; it is an age of gullibility and impressionability. But the greater tragedy than this occurs when young people embrace what they should avoid and avoid what they should embrace. The greater tragedy occurs when young people are seduced by the circumstances of their upbringing or society or even the influence of their peers to embrace a life of hard drugs and evil. This spells a lifestyle they should avoid like a poisonous snake, even as they should embrace a life of vision and purpose like a seraphic baby.
At this juncture, permit me to state that purpose is the reason a thing is made. And every man was created by God for a purpose. In Jeremiah 1:5, the New Living Translation of the Bible reads: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born, I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” This truth about Jeremiah possessing a vision statement is not just true for him alone, it is also true for all of us. No man is a biological accident! We are all God’s products, so to speak. And since every product is supposed to meet a need, every man created by God is expected to fulfil a divine purpose.
Indeed purpose and vision are related. While purpose talks of the reason behind creating a man or a thing, vision talks of you catching a glimpse of that purpose. Vision is to know where you are going to in life that usually comes from knowing who you are. Men of purpose and vision are usually men of great worth. And usually the world celebrates them. One such man was Henry Ford (1863–1947).
Ford was a man of great vision. This explains why he also became a man of phenomenal success. He had the vision to “belt the world with dependable motor cars.” When Ford died in 1947, he had about 4,000 people working for him who produced over 35,000 units of his model T per year. By 1960, the Ford Motor Company was considered the second largest enterprise on earth. His success story continued even after his death, so much so that by 1970, the company employed 432,000 people and had a wage bill of over $3.5 billion. For us to be like Ford, we have to act like Ford. One of such acts is to have a vision statement for our lives. Would you craft one today?
Aliko Dangote’s phenomenal success can directly be linked to the serendipity of finding what he was created to do. He got the clue when he was a child. Listen to his words culled from www.nairaland.com: “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was very used to buying and selling…. I usually bought packets of sweets and gave some people to sell for me. I would join them whenever I closed from school. I would collect my profit and give them something out of it….” Those are the traits found in great entrepreneurs. Today Dangote is not just the richest man in Africa, he is also the world’s richest black man.
Permit me to submit that any sane man who catches a vision for his life, which is usually glorious, will fight a battle to pursue it. It is only men who fail in this regard that live careless and carefree lives. But men of vision usually live a life of integrity, because integrity is one of the great preservatives of vision. Any prostitute or armed robber or secret cult member that knows he will rise to be a governor or minister or president will cease from practising the illicit act. He can only go back to such lifestyle if he gets complacent or if he reaches some set goals and does not set new ones.
May I end this speech by quoting the immortal words of some phenomenal characters like Winston Churchill who said: “The empires of the future are empires of the mind.” Helen Keller, a blind and deaf philosopher, disgraced people who have sight but have no vision when she said: “The most pathetic person in the world is someone who has sight, but has no vision.” It is such pathetic people that Philip K. Dick spoke to when he said that “…drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error of judgment.” Do you want to be the pathetic person with an error of judgment who steps out in front of a moving car? Or do you want to be the man of vision who builds empires of the future in his mind? Ladies and gentlemen, the choice is yours!