“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” ― Winston S. Churchill
The Forced Meet Up
After Prime Minister Rutte announced that for our safety, it’s in our best interest to be recluse as hermits till January 19th, 2021. Two of my close friends – let’s call them Wim and Jan, decided to substitute our festive plans, for a blitzkrieg drink up, the next day.
And, after we all had two bottles of our favorite blond beer, the following conversation ensued…
Wim: So guys have you decided on your new year’s resolutions yet?
Jan: Well after 4 decades of living I have found new-year resolutions, to be another absurdity in man’s culture…
Me: C’mon Jan, are all Physicists Ph.D. holders this cynical?
Jan: No! Fisayo expressing my truth does not make a cynic. After all, haven’t you used Einstein’s Law of relativity to eel out of several of our discussions?
Me (I with a smirk on my face knowing that I have been had): Erm, what…
Wim: Okay guys, I agree that was the wrong question. What about hobbies or activities you will like to devote more time to in 2021?
Me: Hmmm that’s a good one, I’m yet to give that a thought.
Jan: Well, I hope to get the chance to use my hunting license in 2021.
Me: Interesting. Wim, what about you?
Wim: With two decades as a consultant, always on the road. I think from 2021, I will like to reduce my time on the road, and spend more time with my kids, my first son turned 13, a couple of weeks ago, and it dawned on me how time flies.
Me: Hope you’re still keeping your parenting notes, I might request them in the future.
Jan: Fisayo, I think for 2021, you should start giving a master class or podcast on bravery and being courageous.
Me (chuckled, and almost spat out my beer): What do you mean Jan? Where did that come from?
Wim: Yes, Fisayo I think Jan is right.
Me: What do you guys mean?
The Mistaken Compliment
Jan: Well, from the first article you wrote on LinkedIn, Seizing The Moment or Waiting for The Moment To Be Right? That was related to bravery and courage, and to date, the majority of your actions prove that you walk your talk.
Wim: Oh Yes, that’s true Jan, especially his George Floyd series, and his recent video about international students and the Labor Laws in G20 nations. The courage to then change the title to G7 + 1 nations and admitting your mistake is the MVP move of the year for me.
Me: C’mon guys what you guys call bravery, I have Doctor friends, that classify that as a mild form of psychosis mixed with a delusion of grandeur, acquaintances that say is me striving for fame, and HR experts that will tag me as eccentric and erratic.
Jan: Well, Yes they are right in their thinking. After all, you of all people know that “there’s a fine line between genius and insanity.” And, I will encourage you to erase that line in 2021 for yourself.
Me: Guys, you’re letting your alcohol talk.
Wim: No Fisayo! I’m serious, first, after your first three articles, it was hard to reconcile my perception of you. Because, I know how you’re passionate about finance, after all, that’s why you came to my country. Yet, your articles are more tilted towards motivation and inspiration…
Me: About that, that was a difficult decision to make, at the end of the day I only did what felt right?
Jan: How do you mean?
Me: Well, I experienced an internal conflict in my fourth article, which was do I write through my acquired skill, or do I write from my heart? Where the effects will be that the former will require that I live in a way that my actions observe all the expected laws of decorum, and the latter will require me to live with my heart on my sleeve, which experience and popular knowledge confirms that it’s a vulnerable way to live.
Wim: See, and you chose to live vulnerably. Yet, you don’t consider that courage and bravery?
Me: No. I won’t say it’s bravery or courage. I will say my choice is backed by convenience. Because my choice felt right than brave to me.
Jan: Fisayo, for over 2 decades I have come across several international students like yourself. Do you want to know how many I consider brave and courageous?
Me: Indulge me.
Jan: Just one, you!
Me (laughing out loud): Now the alcohol is definitely talking.
Wim: Fisayo, you needn’t be modest with us. But, tell me how many international students past or present in your reference circle talked publicly about the issues you raised. Or perhaps how many African Expats talked about the issues you raised in your articles.
Me: I am not being modest. Because for me all I saw was a window of opportunity. See, most of the issues I raised in my articles, were inspired by my conversations with other Africans, so they are not my sole ideas. I simply was tired of hearing these conversations and not do anything about these issues.
Jan: And still you don’t consider that decision a brave decision?
Me: Well, my courage and bravery failed me, to get a selfie with Guy Kawasaki, in 2019 at the TNW Conference, when fate gave me 2 chances to ask for my selfie.
Wim: What do you mean?
Me: Hmm, I see an opportunity here. I see that if reason will not make me convince you otherwise of my bravery and courage, maybe this story will.
Jan: Interesting, okay indulge us. Even, if both of us are older than you are with about 40 years cumulatively, maybe your story will teach us something our experience failed to reveal to us.
The Corrective Story
We all laughed
Okay, I like to think you both know my friend, Joe, because he was the one who sent me the link and encouraged me to register as a volunteer, for the #TNW Conference.
First, a lesson to buttress that success is in the details.
When I registered to volunteer, I choose to volunteer from Wednesday all through Friday, because the keynote speaker Guy Kawasaki, will be speaking on Friday, so I thought volunteering on Friday will increase my chances to be present at his speech. But during my registration duties with Tatiana, on Wednesday, I discovered how my attempt to read the full volunteer conditions, caused me dearly in time.
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Now on Friday, I was to resume at the merchandise store, but I negotiated with my team lead that the reason I volunteered from Wednesday through Friday, was to simply experience Kawaski speak, so I was allowed to join the crowd control team in the main hall for his speech.
But guess what happened? As I was walking back to the hall to resume my duties, Kawasaki passed by me, and I just walked by too. I remember I couldn’t hold back the disappointment in myself for inaction towards a selfie or a quick introduction. The experience was so painful that before his main speech I shared the tale of my inaction with about three other volunteers.
If that was the only opportunity I had to get my selfie and a quick introduction with Kawasaki, trust me guys, I will admit and accept that I am indeed brave and courageous.
Wim: Keep going.
So after his speech, I returned to my merchandise booth. And guess what? Kawasaki was signing copies of his books for his fans – like me, who sees value in his writings. Now, I was introduced to Orphe, a fellow volunteer, and I explained to him my earlier chagrin of inaction. And, his reply “Well, here is your chance again,” but guess my reply? “I’ll wait till there are fewer people on the queue.”
Guess what? He wasn’t able to attend to everyone in the queue, because of time constraints. There again I let the chance to get that selfie and a quick introduction pass by.
Me: So Wim and Jan, tell me about my bravery and courage again?
Jan: Well, I take my words back.
Me (laughing): It’s a rarity to see you take back your words.
Wim: Well, your 2020 version is way different from your 2019 version that attended that conference. You remain brave and courageous to me.
Me: Ever kind and recalcitrant Wim. Thank you.