A friend of mine who is a book editor amongst other things was raving this morning about a recent book she is editing. This particular book is of interest for two reasons; one is that it was a struggle for her to take the job because the clients could not afford her fees, and secondly because the subject matter was not one she was interested in, so it was double stress. You see, if she enjoyed the subject of the book, like a good romance novel, she would have had fun doing it, but because it was an uninteresting subject, politics, she would struggle through it, probably reminding herself it’s a job every time she felt like throwing up and wondering why she was undergoing the torture. She came to me when she got the offer, to help her decide on how to handle the matter because the client was a friend she didn’t want to turn down, so after considering the surrounding facts, I felt she should take the job for relationship and future opportunity sake.
That evening she called me and I could barely make out her words as she stumbled over her words, expressing her amazement and obvious spiked interest in the subject of the book. Halfway through the first chapter, she was already hooked not on the work she was doing, but in the discovery she was making on a subject she was totally ignorant about, but apparently very interested in. Now less than seventy-two hours after, she has read and edited six hundred pages of work, something she would have normally done in two weeks at best. She is so excited, even searching for similar and related books on the said topics to buy and read, and designing plans to engage in similar activities. I daresay, her life has been changed, and she just discovered a new passion, judging by the sparkle in her eyes.
It’s an interesting phenomenon that births the topic of this post. I realised that in life quite a number of people have stumbled into the things that made them famous. Just like a gold medal sprinter who got to discover his running ability the day a mad rabid dog on the loose was after him, sometimes we discover hidden potentials and interests by mistake, while trying to deal with an unrelated matter or trying to solve a crisis. A lot of people today who are writing about their success actually stumbled, not into the success itself, but the subject area that made them successful. I for one stumbled into what I am doing today, I would not have known, more like I would never have believed fifteen years ago that I would be doing what I am doing now and loving it too, and the same may be said of you too if care is not taken.
One of the major contributors to our progress is when we learn to take advantage of the resources that make for our success. So today, I present you with a very transformational phenomenon that I can assure you would greatly increase your chances of success, it is called ‘the thing you didn’t know you need’. Let me try and elucidate by giving you three keys (you can discover more and send to me, I need more) to discover the things you need you don’t know;
Knowledge, the first, is undisputed. If you have not heard the expression ‘knowledge is power’ then you are already in danger of dying broke. You can never go wrong with extra knowledge, whether it is in an area of interest or not. Wonderful sources of quick and random knowledge are magazines, editorials of different kinds, internet, conscious observation… As much as I am a fashionista in my own right, I don’t consider fashion magazines that are made up from cover page to cover page of pictures a source of knowledge, but in this case, even that can serve as source of something you need you didn’t know. Make it a habit when you have spare time, either waiting to keep an appointment or something else, instead of scrolling through your phone pinging busy people, to pick up a reading material or have one on your mobile device.
When you help others achieve their goals, you not only sow seeds for yourself for when you will need help, but you also pick up fragments of information, knowledge and know-how about something someone else is doing, which you may need one day. Helping your aunty cook that bitter-leaf soup for her women’s meeting and thereby learning the traditional way it’s made maybe the thing that would move Dave to ask you to marry him because the last time he ate that kind of soup he was six years old and mummy was still alive. Whenever you have the opportunity, whether professionally or otherwise, volunteer to help, you never know what you’ll learn.
Changes and Crisis
Because of our natural proclivity to avoid pain and embrace pleasure, we don’t like changes occurring in our lives, and we out rightly hate crisis moments. We can embrace our comfort zone so tightly that even to take another route to work causes us panic. Some of the world’s greatest minds especially in business and creative arts are people who were forced out of formal corporate establishments because they were considered incompetent. Unplanned changes and crisis provide us with opportunities to both be tested and remoulded, and we know that no one passes into a higher class without passing a test. The thing with being remoulded is that even though it hurts, most of the time, you get to love the new you better than the old one. Let go of the comfort zone.
I know you’re rolling your eyes at me right now, but I really do think that at the end of the day, your greatest achievements may very well be from things you needed that you had no idea you did. So go ahead and pick up that book with the title ‘why the lizard nodded at the mouse on the wall staring at the chicken crossing the road’ and read you a few pages. Who knows, it might have the key to what you’ve been searching for.