A friend of mine is wont to say that ‘failure is not an option’ and I quite agree with that. We have the right, the privilege even, to fall as many times as it warrants before we succeed. The issue is not in falling, but in quitting after falling. Falling is an essential part of life, trial and error, but if you fall and lie down there where you have fallen, then you become a failure. Confucius once said that;

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall”

Life throws too many obstacles our way, it is inevitable. I think life would be boring without them. A Chinese proverb aptly puts it thus;

“The gem cannot be polished without friction. Nor man perfected without trials”.

So how can you contemplate giving up when the challenges are part of what makes life tick and makes us stronger and wiser? True, some challenges can be too daunting at times that it feels easier and better to just throw in the towel, to give excuses why we can’t go on. There are numerous excuses and justified reasons you can use to build your world of nothingness – you were born with a wooden spoon rather than silver spoon, to illiterate parents, physically challenged, poorer than a church mouse, suffering from one terminal illness or the other, too old/too young to start, there are too many excuses. But as Stephen Graham the actor said,

“Excuses are the tools with which persons with no purpose in view build for themselves great monuments of nothing.”

|In such case, you choose to live in regret, forever wondering; what if I had pushed myself harder? Maybe if I had persevered longer I could have won the battle? You regret quitting too early without trying hard enough.
We all have dreams buried deep within our hearts, it doesn’t matter what the dreams are. What matters is that you have the dreams; you nurture them, pursue them and turn them into reality. It may seem small and inconsequential, meaningless even, to the untrained eye, but it is your dream and you must believe in it despite what anybody thinks or says. If you do not believe in yourself and in your dreams, who will?

I have always dreamed of being a writer of some sort, preferably a novelist. I had no clear cut plan as to how to get there due to the challenges of publishing and readership which are huge issues in this part of the world where we mostly read just to pass examinations. Yet, I continued writing anyway, writing articles to newspapers and magazines, short stories and drama which sometimes make it to some competitions. I remember the drama competition I entered way back in school. It was organized by BBC radio service. Even though I did not win, I got a beautiful certificate for participating. I remember my joy the day the certificate came into the mail at school, I honestly did not expect to hear anything from the sponsors, I just wrote. One of my friends saw it and was like, wow! Babe you’ve gone this far? Moreover, with the advent of the internet came the possibility of self publishing, e-books, blogging, twitting and all of that, it is easier now for me to pursue that dream.

I have quit more times than I care to remember. I have despaired countless times. I gave up several times. Yet, I did not stop dreaming, in fact, the dream became a part of me, whether I wanted it to or not. Shaking it off was like trying to shake off my shadow, it just wouldn’t go away for what who will I be if I give up on it? Whose dreams will I dare to dream? The dream may lie dormant for weeks and months on end, but never dead, never! Julia Cameron buttressed it thus;

“When your dreams turn to dust, then vacuum them”(sic).

I read other people’s books /write ups and the dream will be awakened. I watch/read about other authors and day dreamers that fought to turn their dreams into reality, and I am spurred on. I see youngsters and the aged pushing hard to make a mark, working doggedly on whatever it is they believe in and I am challenged all over again.

Oftentimes the inspiration you need most, the one that pushes you the hardest is the one from within you. Outside motivation might not have such strong effect as personal motivation. We should be able to ‘ginger our own swagger’ for only then can all the motivational books and speeches strengthen the belief we have in ourselves and our dreams.

It was because I continued to feed my dreams, dusting them after letting them lie fallow for months that I was able to grab this blogging opportunity when it presented itself. Abe Lincoln said that;

“I shall prepare myself and my opportunity must come someday”.

Making oneself available and open to opportunities go a long way to take us to the path we choose and to keep us there as long as it takes. Although I have yet to make any impact in the blogosphere, yet, I am on the right track. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for me to get there, but get there I must, there’s just no alternative to that. I might decide to sell goods, or nurse patients or do some other work, but I can quit at the slightest challenge or provocation and never look back. However, with writing, I always look back, always come back to it. That is what having a dream, a goal does for you – keeping you on track, helping you find and establish who you are. Having a purpose and plan as opposed to mere wish propels you forward, especially when the going gets tough.

In addition, as the Bible says, faith without good works is dead. You must follow through with action. Do that deed, eat that frog! You may have the dream and the talent to pursue it. But hard work gets the mission accomplished, alongside your plans and goals. It is said that hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard. You need hard work to make your dreams come through. No one crosses the river by merely looking at it, effort is needed, your effort more than that of anybody else. Life is a do-it-yourself project no matter how silver your spoon is, if it gives you lemon, make lemonade out of it.

On a final note, someone said that it is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else’s life with perfection. So learn to look inward, to be yourself and pursue your own dreams.

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”.

– Winston Churchill
You cannot afford to give up on you nor your dreams for who are you going to be if you give up on your dreams?