Driving Around With a Flat Tire

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“A bad attitude is like a flat tire; you can’t go anywhere until you change it.” —Unknown

I was browsing through my photo gallery some days ago when I stumbled upon this interesting quote and I just couldn’t agree more with it. Indeed, having a bad attitude (and doing nothing about it) is just as dangerous as driving around with a flat tire. My friend Eli would have called it a Trojan horse, outwardly adorned in white linen but there is a gothic apparel underneath it. Push the analogy of the flat tire a little further and we’ll realize that the gravity of the situation at hand is much more devastating than what we actually perceive.

Experts say that when you get a flat tire while driving, the most advisable move to make is to gradually bring your vehicle to a stop and pull it off the road. Don’t continue to drive around with the flat tire because 1. You can easily destroy your vehicle and 2. Your vehicle can lose balance, skid off the road and cause a major accident. Already, a vehicle plying the road is regarded as a potential hazard to the driver (the individual), the occupants of the car (family ties and other closely associated partners) and pedestrians, other vehicles and objects around (other people not necessarily related to the individual). How much more a car with a flat tire! Honestly speaking, if our negative attitudes can be likened to that of a car with a flat tire, then we can’t be indifferent about them. Apart from the fact that we injure ourselves in the process, please pause for a moment to think about the harm we do to others within our proximity. I’m giving you more time to think about something that you did today, yesterday or even some weeks/months ago (and you still haven’t made any efforts to work on it). Have you declared yourself a loser in life because of that test you failed in college? Did you reject that offer because you felt you didn’t match up to the standard (Low self-esteem)? Are you saying your life is in shambles because you grew up in a poor home? Do you still think your friend is looking down on you not because you have any proof of it but you just feel like it (Insecurity)? Do you get defensive whenever someone tries to correct your mistakes? Are you over-exaggerating your failures? I have jumped to conclusion on many occasions and every time I did that, I hurt myself and the person(s) involved. My excuse may have sounded good but once I expressed that negative attitude of ‘over-generalization’, I caused an injury. Our negative attitudes may be similar or different but whatever the case, none of us is ever far from it. However, the fact that we aren’t perfect and that we can’t completely eradicate bad attitudes from our lives doesn’t mean we should accept them and say such is life. Such is life? I’m sorry but making no effort to pull your flat-tired vehicle off the road is complete selfishness. No better word can aptly express that. You get that same effect when you decide to remain adamant about changing your attitude. You’re an accident waiting to happen. You have to get yourself out of the way because when you go down, you may drag innocent lives along with you and that wouldn’t be a pleasant sight to behold.

What do we do now? What’s the way forward? Well, the GOOD NEWS IS…

Flat tires are changeable. Just as flat tires are changeable, bad attitudes are changeable too! There may be competent roadside assistance agencies (experienced people with a positive attitude) ready to help you fix your problem but the onus still lies on YOU. Primarily, You (the individual) must be fully persuaded that your problem can be solved. I’ve heard people say countless times, ‘as for me that’s how I am…I can’t change…I AM ME so LET ME BE’. We already know why it’s unacceptable to be unconcerned about our bad attitudes (please refer to paragraph 2). To add to it, once you keep professing negative statements over your life, you can never fix your problem. Words are powerful. Words have creative powers. Speaking along a particular pattern (a negative one in this context) will shape your actions accordingly and your actions will certainly begin to poison your character. That’s not good. Instead of pronouncing negativity over your life, rise up and speak positively. One of my positive confessions as a Christian when it comes to such matters is ‘With God, all things are possible.’[1] I take that major step to breaking bad attitudes and making good ones. What positive confession will you make to commence your quest?

Flat tires are preventable. A flat tire may not be completely preventable as some circumstances may be beyond our control. However, we can reduce a greater percentage of the occurrence to the barest minimum by avoiding places—rough roads with potholes, broken bottles, nails and other sharp-pointed objects—susceptible to tire punctures. In the same way, avoid places, people or things that have the tendency to trigger the negativities within and around you. If it means avoiding a certain company of friends, please do it. If it means avoiding a particular spot in your neighborhood, please do it. If it means avoiding a particular collection of books or music or TV programs or movies or any other audio-visual stimulant, please do it. Better to accept a positive change than to remain obstinate. For people who hate discipline and only get more stubborn, there’ll come a day when life tumbles in and they break, but by then it’ll be too late to help them. [2]

Attitudes don’t break and form by themselves. It’s not spontaneous. It takes a willful, deliberate effort to work towards making good ones or breaking bad ones. It’s very important to work on our attitudes because it determines how we react to people, places or things. As we know, nature hates vacuum. Air will always fill a vacuum. For that matter, be conscious about replacing a bad attitude with a good one. If you don’t, that space might be rented by a very stubborn tenant and evacuation will become a lot of work than before. Lastly, remember that change doesn’t occur overnight. We are human beings. Growth and development is an on-going process in our lives. Patience. Determination. Anticipation. Balance. Accountability. Persistence. You cannot do away with these major prerequisites if you are willing to effect a change in your life. So I won’t only say ‘With God, all things are possible’ and expect to see some magic happen in my life, I must take corresponding actions based on my confession to start the adventurous journey. Are you currently driving around with a flat tire? What are you waiting for? Pull over—slooooooooowly please—and let’s get to work!

The Rabbit Chase

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“Catch the Rabbit!”

A vibrant young man once decided to learn about the secret behind another man’s successful journey in life. He wanted to know what really kept this ‘oldie’ going on in what he did because apparently, other people who had initially joined a similar pursuit had began to slowly fall away one after the other. As kind as the elderly man was, he narrated his story to enlighten the young one about the force behind his endurance throughout the years. According to the man, his dog spotted a rabbit one sunny day while he was resting. Immediately, his dog leaped and ran after the rabbit in hopes of catching it. His dog kept barking throughout the chase and this inadvertently sent invites to other dogs and of course, they joined the race to ‘catch the rabbit’. Instead of a one-on-one chase, it became a many-to-one affair this time around. The pursuit continued for a while until it reached a point where his dog remained as the only survivor still chasing after the rabbit. The other dogs that had joined in gave up along the way. “In that story, young man, is the answer to your question.”, he concluded. The young man later learnt that the man’s dog continued to take after the rabbit because it SAW what it was chasing after; the others didn’t.

Seen the Rabbit?

Do you take the pains to inquire about the success behind another man’s pursuit? If not, cultivate that habit now. It’s actually a good practice to find out that which really drives a person to keep on keeping on in what they do despite the potential challenges they encounter on the way. I personally believe most of us rush into things without even investigating to know what it is we’re venturing into in the first place. Just because you’ve seen your parents or friends or role models do it, doesn’t necessarily mean you should follow blindly too. Like the dog, you must SEE what you’re chasing after.

Have you ever made a decision without taking the time to examine your actions? Take career development for example, most of us are still dreading the very day we will  launch ourselves into a particular profession. In Africa (especially Ghana), most of us want to become either doctors, nurses, lawyers or bankers just because we feel a lot of people move in that same direction in terms of selecting a career path (the reasons may vary of course). The reasons vary from ‘I want to follow in [fill in the blank space] footsteps’ to ‘it generates more money’ and so many other reasons. Others can’t really do much about it because the problem is beyond their control. Perhaps, their ‘beloved’ parents decide to issue an ultimatum of “you either go into ‘this’ or that’s the door!” I for one had the opportunity to know who I wanted to become in future at an early stage. Because of that, I had no struggle in choosing the course I wanted to pursue in the university. I knew and could SEE what I was chasing after so despite the challenges that came my way both in class and during practical sessions, I still managed to endure the whole process. I saw the ‘rabbit’ I was chasing therefore not only did I know its size, color and other descriptive details but I also knew the implications associated with chasing that dream from the very start. I wasn’t following blindly. NB: Emphasis is on ‘blindly’.

For some of us, we are in a messy relationship because that of our best friends whetted our appetite some time ago stirring up some wild hunger within us to also test the waters. Let’s be honest here. If some of us were to be asked the reason for entering into a particular relationship, the observed reaction will portray someone fumbling in his pocket for his keys. I could go on and on to cite more instances but the question is basic: how many times have we come out successful with such poor decisions? We can’t be like the other dogs that joined the chase after being attracted by the barks of the first dog. All they heard was the other dog’s ‘invite’ and they joined WITHOUT knowing what they were chasing after. What happens is after some time, you lose the desire to press on because you realize you don’t even know why you went out there in the first place. This is the same reason the other dogs backed out of the chase. Frustration sets in at a point and you get tired of chasing the ‘air’. In effect, you are highly likely to get disappointed in what you’re doing and guess what? You withdraw from the race and you may have wasted time and energy—plus money because ‘time is money’. Such a loss may never be recovered.

The long and short of my message is be well informed about what you want to pursue before you join any race. Don’t follow blindly. Be it academics, a business career, relationship or even spirituality, be sure to ‘SEE THE RABBIT YOU’RE CHASING’. Don’t run because everyone is running; run because you’ve seen what you’re supposed to be running after. That way, when fatigue, discouragement or other negative impacts threaten to set in, the mere sight of what you’re chasing after (the dream itself) will be your greatest motivator to deter you from giving up. There may be times the rabbit might run faster and out of your sight. When that happens, follow the rabbit’s trails on the ground. If you can’t locate the trails, ask the people around (those who possess great knowledge on how to catch the type of ‘rabbit’ you’re chasing) for its whereabouts. Whatever you do, don’t stop. After all, how long can the rabbit keep running? It’s only a matter of time till it comes to a halt. Until then, keep chasing the rabbit IN SIGHT and DON’T LOSE SIGHT!

Remember, Remember this time the 14th of February

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Remember, remember this time the 14th of February! We’re at it again! Boys and girls are on the run—and as usual, not all the faces are beaming with smiles. I think we all have a fair idea of what’s going on here so let’s not bother ourselves with the trouble of inviting Scooby Doo’s Team to help solve the mystery for us. Let me start by warning the ladies, please don’t attempt to play any Catch-Me-If-You-Can games around this time. No “Hide ‘N’ Seek”. If for anything, not in the early weeks (before the 14th) of February. It’s a trap! Trust me, you won’t find him and not even NASA’s GPS navigation device can do anything about it—well, unless they get too serious with #OperationBringMyManDown. And yes, watch out for the sodas too. Very very important. Take precautions. If you have a dog at home, kindly make him/her/it sip your drink first before you do. You don’t want to retire to bed on 13th February only to wake up to a bright morning on the 17th of March (kind courtesy of Valium 10mg). I don’t know but I tend to hear these kind of jokes around this time of the year and sometimes I’m tempted to even believe they actually happen in some parts of our world. Ah well, I always say that it was never meant to be so but someway somehow…we’ve made it so. *sighs*

My friend, you’re under siege if your relationship with someone brings you constant sorrow and depression every time. It’s a PARASITIC RELATIONSHIP: somebody wants to benefit at the expense of your health. I know that because I always flee from the proboscis of the female anopheles mosquito. I don’t walk away. I said I FLEE. And at this moment, you should be nodding harder to support my statement if you’ve ever been pinned down by a severe malarial attack before. So I understand if that guy is Missing in Action okay? His wallet may be suffering from unconsciousness due to severe bleeding. That lady is wearing a serious frown on her face not because of any pungent smell around her. And it’s definitely not emanating from your body because you’re smelling very good— I trust. It’s just that she’s been let down so many times she’s even lost count of it. But I’m not here to lecture you on LOVE. If I should start now, I won’t end anytime soon. And I intend to keep this post short as planned so… *Discipline Mode Activated*

This year…no, wait let’s look at something briefly first. Can you guess the most searched word last two years around this time on Dictionary.com and also the day after on Thesaurus.com? What word do you think had the highest search on the web engine? According to their blog titled The Trending Words of Valentine’s Day”, the word ‘expenditure’ saw the biggest spike on Dictionary.com (on Val’s day) while ‘discourage’ saw the biggest spike on Thesaurus.com (a day after Val’s day). Other notable words were enlisted too but meehn, I’m feeling too lazy to type them now, so please check it out yourself (just click on the blog title). It’s a very short read so you should be fine. I want to give you an assignment. Go do your research and tell me why you believe people looked up those words the most (You can kindly drop your answers in the comment section below).

This year, can we try something new? I know you already have plans on how you’re going to celebrate Feb 14th. That’s cool. I just want to chip in something though. As you munch all the munchies and drink the drinkable, find some time within your fun moments to sit and talk about other pressing issues. Especially for the couples, try to reexamine the progress of your love relationship. If there has to be the redefinition of its purpose, don’t hesitate to do that. At least, make sure both parties still remember the ‘why’ for the pairing. Is the bigger picture still intact? You know, be intentional about it. Once your love life has a vision, it must be characterized by a sense of conscious commitment and discipline.

Now you…YES, YOU!!! Don’t give me that I-will-be-in-my-room-and-make-no-noise-and-pretend-as-if-I-do-not-exist excuse not to make merry on that day. Who told you that Val’s day is specially reserved for couples only? It’s a day (and this shouldn’t be your first and last by the way) to express your love to everyone around you—including friends and family members. It’s just like any other day but choose to do something a little more different than the usual. Do something special to make that ordinary day extraordinary for someone you admire. If it’s a friend you haven’t visited in a while, use this opportunity to pull that surprise on him (her). Still holding a grudge against Mum or Dad or any other relative? C’mon, this is a good time to quit taking stock of their shortcomings. We all make mistakes everyday. So why don’t you wipe the slate clean and forgive whoever it is that offended you, mmm? *Tweety’s voice* Love keeps no record of wrongs as the Bible says. Learn to let go so you can release the heavy weight from your chest. You can’t be sulking pal, You gotta be rejoicing!

Do something new this time around. I’m tired of the old stories already and I’m guessing you are too. February 14th, 2016 will never come again. Let’s make it special!