In every area I can think of, last year was probably the best year I’ve ever had. I know you are wondering why I am referring to 2018 as the best year I have ever had when this post title points to 2019. Bear with me, there is a reason for that.
2018 is my best year by far majorly because it was the beginning of so many things in my life and this made me look to 2019 with high hopes.
Yes, I entered 2019 full of expectations!
The other day, I looked at the list I had made for 2019 and I was disappointed in myself; I was only able to accomplish a few things on my list. But in the spirit of check and balance, I will say that the few things I did accomplish were the biggest and most important on my list for 2019.
So, nothing spoil, maybe.
This positive outlook still didn’t change how I felt. Yes, I had accomplished things outside of this list and I should feel proud and clap for a job well done, but the heavy weight of disappointment remained.
Despite all my achievements, I couldn’t manage to be all-together happy when things still stand undone.
Anyway, we move!
The most important thing for me is that I learnt a lot! This year has drummed life lessons into me.
Most people will look at what I learnt and probably ask, “wait, you’re just learning these things now?”
Well, having head knowledge about something is radically different from walking/working in the realities of those things.
Like David said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart (Not head) that I might not sin against you (Psalm 119 vs 11)”.
Knowing something is one thing. Believing in it and making it change the way we do life is a different kettle of fish.
Most of the things I learnt were things I had previously known per se, but right now, they are part of what drives me simply because they are no longer head knowledge.
So yeah! I learnt a lot, but I will just share a few.
BEING IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN HAVING.
At the end of every process, whether it’s a job, or a project or whatever I am on, I’ve learnt to ask myself what I would become before I consider what I would get. If what I would become is not something I am proud of, then what I will have is practically useless and the process is not worth it.
Every single time I realize that what I become is always better and important than what I have at the end of the process. I don’t want to finish a job for a client and HAVE 500k in my account but end up BEING a fraud or a cheat. BEING is always better than HAVING
I want to finish that job and end up being a better software developer and a guy that has one more friend.
This has helped me walk away from many dubious opportunities like get-rich-quick schemes.
Even better, what we eventually HAVE is usually a function of who we’ve BECOME.
RELATIONSHIPS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROVING YOU’RE RIGHT
During the 2019 elections, I saw people ending wonderful relationships simply because of minor differences. Among Christians too, I have seen people end relationships because the other person disagrees with what they believe in their church.
We feel unfriending people or cutting them off is a way of punishing them for disagreeing with us.
In 2019 I have learnt to let things slide for the sake of the relationship. I feel if our discussion is born out of a sincere need to help our brother/sister know the truth rather than just proving we are right, then we won’t have a problem letting it go for the moment or even forever.
Peace within yourself and with people is more important than proving you’re right; the relationship is more important.
NOTHING WILL MOVE IF YOU DON’T MOVE IT.
This is a paraphrase of Newton’s 1st Law of motion. It states that an object will remain at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by an external force.
I know this is “sciencey”, so let’s give it practical, everyday meaning: That book won’t write itself; That song won’t write itself; Victor! that code will not write itself; Vinci, that suit will not sew itself.
You will remain ignorant of a thing until you actively learn it.
That skill will not automatically become yours if you don’t learn it.
That list you made for 2020 won’t happen if you don’t get up and proactively get to doing it.
When I said I was disappointed in myself earlier, this is what I was talking about. This year I just went with the flow. I was not intentional about tasks I set for myself. This is the major reason I was not able to accomplish most things on my 2019 checklist.
I discovered that to make things happen, I have to be disciplined, resolute and dogged in making and following plans, rather than doing things because I feel like doing them and not doing them when I don’t feel like doing them.
It is still hard for me but I am becoming better at being proactive with tasks and life in general. Here I am writing this article, which is not what I feel like doing at 5 am on a cold morning in December.
THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE ARE FREE
Salvation. Family. Friends. Sleep. Laughter. Happy memories. Love. All free. If you have to pay for any of these things, you are probably getting the fake versions.
Yet, we spend time chasing things that are not as important only to find out at the end that we have lost most of the important things.
This year found me calling home a lot just to hear my dad say, “Hassan kana nan lafiya ko? Toh mu ma mu na nan lafiya.” Or going home to have my 4year old niece jump on my body and tell me she misses me or my mum always trying to guess my well-being from my voice. One time while I was still in school, this woman said from my voice, she knew I had lost weight.
Moments like those, I can never afford if they were sold.
Indeed, the best things in life are free. The second best are sold at chicken republic for less than N2000.
May the Lord give you understanding.
BEING SKILLFUL IS ONE THING, MONETIZING THE SKILL IS ANOTHER.
This year, I learnt that knowing how to be a good software developer is one thing and learning the business of software development is another thing. And they are both important.
I have seen not-so-good tailors, programmers, photographers and so on build a profitable business out of their crappy work simply because they know how to do business as opposed to their counterparts that are very good but lack the necessary skills needed for money to change hands.
THE LABOUR OF FOOLS WEARIES THEM, FOR THEY DO NOT EVEN KNOW HOW TO GO TO THE CITY!
The labour of a fool so wearies him [because he is ignorant] that he does not even know how to go to a city. — Ecclesiastes 10:15 Amplified Bible
Whatever you are struggling to do, there’s a certain knowledge you can have (and apply) that can end that struggle in a second.
Whatever hole you are in, there is a HOW to get out. There’s a WAY to every city.
YOU CAN REHEARSE YOUR TOMORROW TODAY.
I used to belong to the school of thought that we cannot rehearse life. We just go through it as it comes. I don’t think so anymore.
I believe we can use people’s life as a rehearsal for ours. We can learn from people’s mistakes and strengths and grow from there. Whatever we are going through, someone has gone through it successfully. We can go through that same thing and see the same success only if we listen to the people that have gone before us.
“… IMITATE those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.” — Hebrew 6:12
“Without counsel, plans fail, but with many advisers, they succeed.” — Proverbs 15:22
“Where there is no guidance, people fall, but in an abundance of counsellors there is safety.” — Proverbs 11:14
“The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.” — Proverbs 12:15
GOD’S WORD IS MORE THAN AN INSTRUCTION, IT IS AN ENABLEMENT TO PERFORM.
This is probably the biggest realization for me this year.
When God tells me something, it is more than just an instruction to be followed but the power to be utilized. If God gives me a task that is beyond me, which is usually the case, that word that came to me, will go into my spirit to produce every grace, wisdom and capacity to enable me to perform that task.
And we see that in various places in the bible:
“…The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” — John 6:63
*“… the word of the Lord came expressly to Ezekiel the priest…
And He said to me, “Son of man, stand on your feet, and I will speak to you.” Then the Spirit entered me when He spoke to me and set me on my feet, and I heard Him who spoke to me.” Ezekiel 1:3, 2:1–2
So the word to Ezekiel was “stand on your feet”. The moment those words entered his ears, a spirit entered him and enabled him to "obey" those words.
It is the same words that framed this universe and by which all things are upheld.
“…by faith, we understand that the worlds (universe, ages) were framed and created [formed, put in order, and equipped for their intended purpose] by the word of God…” — Hebrew 11:3 Amplified
“… and upholding and maintaining and propelling all things [the entire physical and spiritual universe] by His powerful word [carrying the universe along to its predetermined goal] …” — Hebrew 1:3
So, most times, all we need is to get a word from God and to cherish it. And everything will eventually fall in place.
This is a different post in itself, so let me stop here.
PRAYING IN TONGUES IS UNDERRATED.
There were times during this year when I was stressed emotionally and mentally and the only thing that kept me sane was praying in tongues for a while. So, it usually beats me how people that don’t speak in tongues go through stuff.
I think this is something believers don’t take advantage of as they should. Praying in tongues is one sure way of resting for me, physically even.
THERE’S MORE TO LIFE THAN MAKING ENDS MEET.
Every day, I am reminded of the fact that I am here for more than just making money and living a better life. So, I tell all my friends and loved ones that money is not such an important factor to consider when making major life decisions. I don’t think God made me and said;
"Okay, let’s put him on earth and see how well he will survive, let’s see how much money he will make per month."
I’ve seen many people make major life decisions solely because of how much they will make and as a result, many have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.
But there’s a reason God made me, and my daily obsession is getting close to achieving those things. Whether it involves me making ends or not.
The world system is set up to keep you in this never-ending rat race of making ends meet and at the end, we discover that we have just successfully neglected the most important things in life; Parents spend time away from their kids just to make enough money to take care of their kids. Ironic!
I’ve seen young people waste their lives away in brain-sapping jobs in the name of “Job Security”. Ask a random student why they chose the course they are studying, and they will say “it is marketable”, whatever that means.
Admittedly, it is not easy to do. But it is fulfilling knowing that you are not a slave to money but God.
PEOPLE WON’T BE AS PASSIONATE ABOUT YOUR VISION/DREAMS AS YOU.
Yup! People won’t be as passionate about your vision/dreams as you and it’s totally fine. Helping them to be just as passionate as you are, is what leadership is about.
So, don’t spend time getting mad at people for not believing in your dreams and visions, take it as a challenge to lead them to the level you’re occupying — that is Leadership.
Even if you manage to get people in your team to support your vision, you will probably be the most passionate. Be patient and willing to lead people into your level of passion.
Also, our loved ones might fight our visions out of love. They will misunderstand your passions. And it is totally fine and expected. Be patient with them. Nobody will understand and be passionate about those things like you.
So, for now, let the misunderstanding serve as fuel and challenge you to learn how to communicate your visions effectively as a word-class leader.
So guys, there you have it. My 2019 in a nutshell.