To start with, expectancy is a wonderful proactive and intentional word for seeking out significance. People with expectancy plan not to only be successful, but they also plan to be significant. They expect to fulfill their purpose and live a life that matters every day. They prepare to do significant things. They consistently position themselves to make a difference in the lives of others. Their sense of bated breath for significance draws them forward. Remember, significance is superior to success. Many are successful, but only a few are leading a life of significance.
Why am I writing on this crucial subject today? It is because I want you to experience a shift in your frame of mind, because virtually everything the African man is consistently thinking about is success, not significance. And for the umpteenth time, significance is superior to success. If what I am writing on today is totally embraced by everyone on this continent, the whole Africa is going to become better for it.
Many years ago, my wife and I made up our minds to live a life of significance. This made us pick a project that has been affording us the privilege and opportunity of making a difference in the lives of others. How do I mean? We paid some money for a hall in the city of Lagos and began to host a bi-monthly conference, training folks for free. After running with it for some years, the Public Affairs of United States Embassy, Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa got to know about it and as an organization, we began to relate and work with them. Over the years, we have made a huge difference in the lives of several people both within and beyond the shores of the beautiful nation of Nigeria.
How can you begin to live a significant life? Every day, you’d need to start looking for an opportunity to do a significant act by adding value to someone. Look at your daily calendar and think about the potential times and places that you can do this. Over the years, this has been my culture. It was my passion to help and add value to others that landed me in the ‘beautiful-ghetto’ of Ajegunle. For years now, I have been laboring in Ajegunle, transforming lives. This is what it means to add value to others. And this is what it means to lead a significant life.
Those who lead a life of significance know and understand that every day is their time to make a difference. To add value to the lives of others, it is not someday, one day, or maybe tomorrow, it is today. You will have the time to make a difference if it becomes a priority. The only day you have is today, not tomorrow. Make the most of today, because you may not be around tomorrow.
I have come to tell you today that you are not going to live forever. While you are still breathing, make the most of the time you have left. Whether you know it or not, your days are numbered, just as mine are. But more important, on any given day, when you have a chance to add value to others and perform an act of significance, you may never get that chance again. That moment can pass, and most of the time, you do not get that moment back. The opportunity is gone, and the person who could have been helped has gone on his or her way. That is why you need to seize it.
Having a strong sense of expectancy changes the way you look at everything, and it makes you prepare differently. When you anticipate that you can and will make a difference, you would prepare differently—for your day, for your year, for your work, for your family, in how you see problems, and in how you see opportunities. There shall be no reason to prepare real hard when you are not anticipating anything. Once it enters your heart that you are going to make a difference real soon, you would not wait for anyone to tell you before you start to prepare real hard.
If you are anticipating that you are going to make a difference one day in your nation, the way you see knowledge would change. Not too long ago, I met with someone who has not bought any book in the last ten years. Why? It is because he is not anticipating that he would make a difference in the lives of others. If I may ask you too, in the last five years, how many books have you bought and read through? If you are driven by the day that you are going to make a difference in the lives of others, the rate at which you consume books would increase.
As I round off today, I do have a few questions for you to answer: when you wake up this morning, was your mindset related to making a difference? Did you believe you could make a difference? Did you expect to make a difference? Did you even think about it at all? What can you do to remind yourself that now is the time to find ways to help and add value to people? Remember, what you make happen for others, God makes happen for you. The best way to solve your own problem is to solve problems for others.
Most of us in Nigeria only think about survival, not significance! On each day we wake up in this part of the world, what comes to our minds is what to eat, what to wear, what to ride and where to sleep. Most of us do not think about what value we are going to add to other people’s lives. It is this kind of mindset that negatively impacts on how we prepare in this part of the world. Buddy, pause and think today. Ask yourself this question: what can I do to help someone who is within my sphere of influence? As you help others, you too would find the help you are looking for.