Like most of my peers, Instagram is one of the online media platforms where I spend part of my leisure time. Stale introduction right? Thought as much. A few days ago while skimming through the posts on my account, I  stumbled upon a video of one of America’s Got Talent performances. The exquisite performance was by a teenager. He was American, vibrant, and handsome. And, his performance was eye-catching – oh my, I lost count of how many times I watched it – as well, emotional, that it left everyone – myself inclusive – in tears. So sublime was his performance that I struggle at first to believe the boy had just survived a battle with cancer, bullies, and stigmatization by his ignorant friends. After his amazing delivery, he left the stage to a standing ovation, leaving many inspired. At this point,  you have probably asked the rhetorical question: “Why are you telling us this?” My answer: I recounted the event because as youths, there is an important lesson for us to learn from him.

The lesson: do not allow your future to be defined by your present challenge. That boy had reasons – his health condition, stigma, and bullies – to give up early into his years of sojourn on earth. But he didn’t. And just months after he was diagnosed with cancer, he is up and alive, back to being a vibrant boy, brimming with confidence.

Dear youth, you must realise now before it is too late that life’s troubles and challenges are inevitable, and oftentimes, they strike at a time when you would least expect. Failure, rejection, illness, and death of a loved one are some of the different forms in which the missiles of challenges could be hauled at you. These challenges could subtly embark on the journey of registering distrust and lack of confidence in your unique abilities in your subconscious. But I have a message for you: do not lose hope and more importantly, give that opportunity one more shot! This time around, a better shot.

You see, it is quite easy for youths in a troubled nation like ours to lose hope and give up too early. That is why it is important, as you journey through the lane of your formative years in this country, to insulate your minds from mischievous thoughts of despair. Always remember that broken mirrors reflect images, as radiant and clear as unbroken ones. Besides, you have made it this far in your journey, it is enough reason to keep going.

Resilience is one of those salient virtues that made men whose achievements you admire today. I mean whose guidance beams light of hope on other’s paths. Hear this, Soyinka had rejections. Chimamanda got rejections letters, too. President Buhari tried four times. Why not give it one better trial? If you stop believing in yourself and your abilities, you do yourself a great disservice. Ditch thoughts of despair and unhealthy comparisons, and give that opportunity one better shot. Peace!

This article was written by Akinlaja Felix; connect with him on IG here  

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