Our featured guest writer this week is PRINCE JAMES
Prince James is a creative storyteller and podcaster whose life’s mission is to inspire millennials to find meaning in their life’s journey and tell their stories authentically.
The society we live in today tells us that we have no business influencing people with the stories of our lives until we have everything all figured and sorted out.
But he believes we’re the ones to make this change. We’d no longer have to wait to tell “perfect” stories. Instead, we’ll take pride in telling our “progress” stories. And together, we can inspire others to find meaning in their life’s journeys and tell their stories authentically.
He is the anchor of “Reality of Life life podcast” and a passionate creative building a community of fellow creatives.
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Here is Prince’s deep and heartwarming story
You think you haven’t made progress.
Are you among those waiting for Bill Gates to one day, give you a shout-out for creating an app that beats Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter combined? What a defining moment that’d be, you say.
Most of you still define success as that singular event in you life that should be pursued. And for this reason, your eyes remain solely focused on the finish line alone.
But success isn’t all about the destination. It isn’t all about crossing the finish line. It’s also about every little step you take towards that line.
It’s about the direction you’re headed in your life’s journey, as opposed to “waiting till you get there.”
Today, millennials like you are waiting for defining moments before they can say “Mama, I made it.” We have learned wrongly from society to put our happiness on hold for “defining moments.”
But you forget that every day of your life presents to you, “defining moments.”
Every day, for instance, you get to choose between execution and procrastination.
So if today, you chose the former, good for you. Celebrate it. You won!
And if you didn’t, then that’s another defining moment for you because you get to choose between wallowing in guilt & picking yourself up again.
Every single step you take towards the finish line is a win in itself. And this could be in your quest to build a personal brand on social media, scale that business, or finish with better grades in school.
But while at it, you mustn’t see “crossing the finish line” as “the only defining moment” to look forward to. So understand that you’ll not “blow” only when you get that award or that amount of money and followership on the digital space.
If you pay attention to your life’s journey, you’ll realize that you “blow” every single day of your life.
So what is a defining moment?
Let’s cite a few instances, shall we?
You were supposed to write that blog post yesterday, but you procrastinated. Now that was a defining moment right there.
You were supposed to create that video, but you held yourself back because you felt you weren’t good enough for your voice to be heard. That’s another defining moment you let go off.
But what if you did otherwise? What if, instead of procrastinating, you stepped up to the occasion? What if you faced your fears today & instead of cringing, you released your God-given potential?
Isn’t that a defining moment right there? So why aren’t you celebrating it?
Look, I know…I know that people in the society today, in a bid to sound comforting, tell you and I to celebrate the small wins while looking forward to the big ones.
But I think you get to determine for yourself, what is big, and what is small. Perhaps, you could stop categorizing your wins altogether.
I mean, just because your achievements “seem” little in the eyes of others, doesn’t make it small, does it?
So…All you do is WIN–waking up early, strong & cheerful, brushing early, taking that long walk & feeling better equipped for the day ahead, calling that friend you’ve been scared to call because you’ve absconded for a while, creating content after procrastinating for two weeks, etc.
You see? You win every day and in every detail of your life.
The instances above may readily seem trivial to you, but the point is that you don’t have to wait for those “grass-to-grace” stories before you know that you’re making progress.
“Success stories” may give you something to “aspire to” but “progress stories” connect with the “everyday people” in a personal way, showing you that you aren’t alone in “this thing called life.”
Your stories may be imperfect, but they’re valid, still. So own them.
You can find meaning in your individual journey and tell your story authentically.
Constantly comparing yourself to others.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong in having role models. But it can take its toll on you when you start seeing their lives as standards to match up with.
I remember earlier this year when I discovered that the filmmaker who shot the “mafo” video for “Naira Marley” was my classmate in secondary school. I was amazed…in a good way, of course.
I was like, “wow…this guy is killing it, etc.” But something happened along the line. I noticed how, “subconsciously,” I started telling myself that I wasn’t doing enough!
To make things worse for me, Naya, the filmmaker, gave a shout-out to another classmate of mine (the same set), who produced the beat for Fire boy in that popular song titled “vibration.”
I was happy for both of them, quite alright. But the problem again was that I started to compare myself to them.
It only made sense to me that being in the same class & age bracket with them, I may not have maximized all the opportunities that life has brought my way, at least, not in the way that they have.
Now, I admit that watching them thrive in the creative industry, motivated me in some kind of way, showing me that I wasn’t too young to do big things.
However, I had to unfollow them for a while, not because they weren’t worth following, but because I struggled to be inspired by their work without simultaneously comparing myself to them.
So in my quest to build emotional capacity to balance both, I had to first take my eyes off them. This helped me in two ways:
- I stopped trying to out-pace myself. I stopped the narrative playing in my head, the narrative of “time is not on your side, what are you doing with your life?”
- I stopped trying to prove to myself & others, that I was “equally” capable of doing “great creative work.”
Now, this here, is what I call freedom.
You see? When you take your eyes off the people you’ve placed on pedestals, you become free to chase your own dreams and not that of others.
This way, you stop trying to succeed in the exact same way that your role models have succeeded.
For instance, if your role model made his or her first million at 23, you shouldn’t hold yourself to ransom, insisting that it “must” be the same for you.
Should you be inspired by the achievements of others? Of course, absolutely! But you have to be careful not to feel intimidated or pressured to hit the same goals, the same way.
We all want to win in life…I get it. But you’ll always have problems when you measure your success, using the yardstick of others. Rather learn to find meaning in your individual journey and own your progress story.
That role model of yours that you’ve placed on a pedestal may be racing against his or her last month’s goal of a million followers, but your last month’s goal may have been to “start” a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. And if you hit that goal, that’s progress. Own it!
Stop looking away from the progress you are making. Look at your life 3 months ago, 6 months ago, and a year ago. And you’ll see how much progress you’ve made yourself. Celebrate it because you’ve “blown.”
But if you keep comparing yourself to others, you’ll always believe that you are yet to “blow.”
You see this blog post you’ve been reading, it’s my very first blog feature! And if you ask me, I can tell you categorically, that I’ve “blown!”
So ask yourself: “Should I still chase this idea of blowing ‘one day’ like my role models? Or should I start normalizing the concept of blowing ‘every day’?”
Once again, remember that you can all find meaning in your individual journey and tell your story authentically.
You insist that life “must” go as planned.
The story is told of a dreamer boy named Joseph. (He died 1445 BC.)
Earlier on in his life, he would often see himself making a global impact as a ruler. But there was a twist to it, and like many of us today, he didn’t know what he’d have to go through, on his journey to attaining global relevance.
Many of you have been taught to have your life all planned out as though you’re in “total control” of its outcome.
But life will not happen to everyone the same way. And this is a truth that a lot of millennials are unwilling to accept.
Joseph, according to the biblical narrative, was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, after which he got into prison, being falsely accused of rape.
As many know, he was later released and appointed the highest official in Ancient Egypt to serve the pharaoh.
Now, do you realize that his journey wasn’t smooth at all?
Honestly, it’s a beautiful thing to have goals, dreams & ambitions.
(It makes you feel like we have your life under control.)
But what happens when the reality of life hits different?
Many start to feel less confident in who they are and what they’re worth.
Truth is, no one in this world has an organized life. It’s a façade. It’s only a fantasy that you and I uphold in our hearts & minds.
Life, many times, can be turbulent. So turbulent that it’ll take only God to keep you sane.
Please note that I’m not advocating against having plans for the future.
At age 17, I was told to have a “vision board.”
So I wrote that I’ll be a graduate at 21, finish NYSC at 22, get a job at 23, and quit at 25 after raising capital to start my company.
But guess what?
My dad passed on 3 months, 2 weeks, and 3 days after my 18th birthday.
Tragic, isn’t it?
Both my junior sister and I were in private institutions.
Now you see why I was so confident about having B.sc at 21?
Private universities don’t go on strike. *laughs*
So I was in year 3, studying a 5-year course, while my sister was in year 2, studying a 4-year course.
Long story short, I had to step down for my sister to continue schooling.
I later enrolled in a state university where I currently study. And it’s just two days to my 24th birthday, as at the time of writing this.
My lovely friend, Chika, calls it “the best plot twist of all time; life.”
After a series of battles, trying to make my vision board come to fruition, I eventually gave up. I realized how pointless it was, pushing against the current. And to my surprise, that’s when life started to turn out beautifully.
I’m so grateful to God for the kind of people and opportunities that have come my way thus far. And sincerely, I don’t think all that would have been possible if my Dad was still around.
This is because my dad was really protective. Hence the reason he sent me to a private school. And to be honest, my life had been “private” for the larger part of my existence…until his demise.
So although it once felt like the world was going to come to an end, in retrospect, I can now say that it was just a blessing in disguise.
The moral of the story is that you don’t always have to fight against the wind. You don’t have to always move against the current.
You also don’t have to “wait” till the wind or turbulence stops. A lot of millennials are indeed putting their lives on hold because they’re waiting for the storms to be over before they tell their stories of victory.
But if it was a victory all the way, what do you think would have become of Joseph’s story? Wouldn’t it sound so boring, no matter who was telling it?
I can’t wait to connect with y’all. Please share your thoughts in the comment