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A letter to Andrew, my young friend

Dear Andrew,
I am told you’re preparing to check out of Nigeria. Why? You’re unhappy, frustrated that since you graduated four years ago, with first class in Engineering, you have not got a job. Your sister was kidnapped recently and all the family resources were used to pay the ransom. You’ve tried your hands on ‘Yahoo, Yahoo’ because as you said, “an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”

Fortunately, you didn’t make any hit before common sense prevailed and you gave it up. You are lucky you did because some of your contemporaries have now been apprehended. Crime does not pay! Now, you want to check out to United States, Canada or the United Kingdom.

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Andrew, life is very much like a seed. You have to sow a seed before you can reap a fruit! Look at this tiny seed in my hand. It is a mini computer, inside which all the information needed for its survival and growth is embedded. But it may remain like this for years if no attempt is made to put it in the soil or degenerate if it found itself in a hostile environment such as the wrong type of soil.

If you are still complaining about finding a job, four years after leaving school, you are an idle seed, waiting for planting. If you’re working and not making any progress, perhaps you have fallen on the wrong soil! Let me tell you a story.

A young man watched intently as an old man dug the ground and got ready to put some seeds into the holes. “What seeds are those?” asked the young man. “They’re humble seeds,” the old man replied. “Humble seeds?” the young man echoed, unable to curtail his disgust.

He continued, “These seeds take over ten years to germinate and another 15 years to blossom. Papa, I am not cursing you sir, but you will never enjoy the fruits of your labour. Why are you taking all the trouble?” Not offended, the old man smiled. He could read the thoughts of the young man.

“I am not a fool young man. How old are you? “he asked, “I am 25 years old sir,” the young man replied. “And you must be over 80 sir,” he added.

“You are correct. I am 85,” the old man replied. I certainly would be long gone before the fruits come up in 25 years time! My dear, I am sowing the seeds for you, our grandchildren and great grand children.

“I came into this world absolutely naked! Everything used on me were already on the ground – the clothes I wore, the food I ate, the chairs, the tables – all the luxuries were here before my arrival. Should I not make some contributions to make the world a better place? I want to be satisfied, on my deathbed, that I have added value to what I met; that the world is a little better than I met it.”

Andrew, think about this story – a fable – I once heard about when I was young and like you. A few days ago, I met a practical man whose pre occupation is planting trees that would make his city (not his house), the garden city of Nigeria. You are a seed with innate ability to succeed.

Think! Change your attitude! Be humble! You cannot succeed sitting on one spot and lamenting. This country is a land of abundant opportunities waiting to be tapped. If you can’t find a job, create one!

Be pragmatic! Look for the right place to sow yourself, germinate, blossom and produce fruits. Learn to wait; learn to grow! Don’t be in a hurry to be rich! Read about the history of the countries of your dream.

All have had times worse than ours. Some people decided to work to make their little cities better. These cities translate into better states and eventually better countries!

Don’t kid yourself thinking that all those who have gone abroad have made better choices! Majority are in trouble with their choices but having boxed themselves into a corner, coming back is no longer an option. There is nothing for them to come back to.

Charles R. Swindoll, (American writer and clergyman, b.1934), said, “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.

It is more important than the past, the education, the money, than circumstances, than failure, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. … we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.

I am convinced that life is 10 per cent what happens to me and 90 per cent of how I react to it. And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.” And if we are in charge of our attitude, we are in charge of our destiny.

So Andrew, change your attitude, your destination is here! If you can’t find a job create one.

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