It all starts with logging into Facebook. The first things you see are pictures of your primary or high school classmates. They all look so happy, smiling in high end places. Their outfits are sharp, their teeth all so white and perfect. Things seem to be working out for them. Some are getting scholarships to fancy schools, others are updating about their achievements, graduating with honours.
You log out and check your Instagram. You’re bombarded by more photos from your peers. They all seem to be in perfect relationships, proudly declaring their love for their better halves in pictures for all and sundry to see. Your mum calls you to tell you about mtoto wa Fulani and Fulani who just got a job at Equity. You were together in Standard 1 she tells you.
Then you start looking back on your life and the glum settles in. You feel useless, an under-achiever of some sort. You feel intimidated. You start asking yourself what happened along the way. You start questioning God (or the Sky Spirits or your ancestors…whichever you subscribe to) and the intentions He had for your life. Are you not clever enough? Did your bright and awesome genes vanish with age? Are you not dreaming big enough?
What are others doing that you aren’t doing? You keep asking yourself. Or maybe Lady Luck just stopped smiling upon you for some weird twisted reason. Or maybe some old village witch cast a morbid curse on you before she died and no one can break it. The possibilities that creep into your mind are endless.
But that’s what you get when you look at the accomplishments of others in comparison to your own. Your successes are dwarfed because you tend to think that others are doing way better than you. It is human nature to want to be the very best. But we can’t all be the best at being the best in living life in accordance with the society’s success script.
Once you start labelling your victories or failures in accordance to the society’s line of thinking, you’re bound to live a very disappointing life. True success comes from conquering your personal dreams and lifelong goals. If your life goal was to cook the best pancakes in the whole world then by all means you are a legend if you manage to do so.
You do not have to ascribe to people’s prescriptions and notions about what defines success or failure. Look at your life and think of all that you ever wanted to do, if you’ve done them then be happy because you my friend have succeeded in your life, no matter how minute the victories may seem.