The power to reject “No” for an answer is a rare gift that has made a lot of people give up prematurely in life simply because they lack it.
I used to think persistence is annoying until I realised that success is not dependent on how tough the journey is but on how resilient the sojourner is.
This is a hard lesson that I learnt a few years ago from one of the most hated insects of all time – mosquito.
In my third year at college, I was faced with a nearly insurmountable academic pressure. The lectures were getting overwhelming. Assignments and projects were off the charts. At a point, I decided I was going to drop out of college if my grades didn’t improve as I felt the clouds of social isolation gathering around me.
In the heat of the entire pressure, I was invited for a camp meeting at a location quite far from my campus. I initially didn’t want to go, but I eventually showed up because I needed some “fresh air.”
There are certain points in life when nothing makes sense. The normal melodious music on your phone suddenly turns to noise, and everyone around you becomes irritating. Remaining in that atmosphere can drive one crazy. A change of environment is often what people need to clear their minds off the clogs of frustration, depression and misguided anger.
The legendary Bob Marley once said,
Life is one big road with lots of signs. So when you’re riding through the ruts, don’t complicate your mind.
The mind can be likened to the RAM of a computer, when it gets used up at any given point in time, the performance of the system drops. Everyone that is success-driven must ensure that his mind is always free and decongested because the most important battles in life are the battles of the mind.
I reluctantly went to the camp meeting solely to get some “fresh air”. Little did I know that I was signing up for a realtime battle.
After the evening session at the meeting, I sat at a corner of the meeting hall, trying to think things through. Almost immediately, I noticed a mosquito hovering over my head. I quickly dismissed “him” by flinging my hand against “him”.
I guess the pressure I asserted against it was not much because it was back after a very short time. Once more I dismissed it with a fling of the hand.
In less than 15 seconds, I heard a popular song playing in my left ear. It was a song I couldn’t mistake for anything else. And trust me, it is the most annoying song ever. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, and it didn’t take me a split second to recognise that it was the popularly infamous rhythm of mosquitoes – the guy was back again. There was no way I could have identified his face, but I knew he was the same mosquito that I had dismissed 15 seconds earlier.
Once more, I sharply dismissed it, but with a high dose of anger. The mosquito made me restless and my anger level was hitting the roof. I swore to kill him the next time he crosses his boundaries. Reluctantly, I tried to focus on my thoughts, but my eyes were on the lookout for him. I chose to refer to him as a person, because he eventually won my heart.
It wasn’t up to 10 seconds and he was back again. This time around, it was my right ear. I tried killing it but ended up giving myself a painful slap. The pain I felt was the pain of frustration – the pain that has been locked up in my heart due to my failure to get results.
I saw myself unleashing a trailer load of anger on the tiny creature. His desperation was high, but I made up my mind that I wasn’t going do anything else that night until I had successfully punished the arrogant mosquito that sought to illegally feed himself with my blood.
He obviously had no right to terrorize me. I sat up and searched for him within a metre radius. But it seemed like he knew how angry I had become, so he had backed down and was probably restrategizing.
That was when it began to dawn on me that I wasn’t dealing with just an ordinary mosquito, rather I was been tormented by an hungry, aggressive, determined, persistent and result-driven mosquito. He doesn’t want to take No for an answer. The word “impossible” doesn’t exist in his frame of reference. It was my blood or nothing else, and he was ready to die for it.
Right there at the spot, I saw myself being educated by wisdom. A lot of questions started going through my mind. If a mosquito would damn the risk of being killed and go after what he wants, how much more of me, a right thinking human.
A lot of people have given up in life too quick even before their battles began. They felt it wasn’t what they signed up for, but guess what?
Success isn’t breakfast. It’s not a tray of mouthwatering burrito served with oatmeal and chilled strawberry yogurt that will be placed at your bedside while you’re making a return from dreamland. Wake up! You’ve got to work for it.
At least that was what the mosquito taught me. He was no ordinary mosquito, I could have sworn that he whispered that into my ears. I had to stand up because I had poor chances of winning against an enemy that is airborne while I was sitting down.
Most times, what one needs to make a difference is to stand up. You’ve got to stand up against the challenges of life. You’ve got to take stand against the failure knocking at the doors of your life. You certainly have to take a stand against depression, self-pity and their cohorts.
In a world of over 7 billion people, it’s practically impossible to survive if you’re not dogged. How far will be too far for you? What can you give in exchange for results?
While I was brooding over these things, I slowly looked at my left arm…
Lo and behold, he was there, sucking my blood.
Guess what? I didn’t kill it. I watched it for about a minute sapping my precious red juice. The anger I had melted like wax. I just couldn’t kill him. I would have given him a handshake if it was possible.
I was stunned at how much I had learnt from the resilience and persistence of a mosquito. He never cared if it was gonna die. He was result-driven, strategic, and completely focused on his goal.
That encounter with the young mosquito was what I needed to bounce back on track and to dismiss the clouds of failure and social isolation that had gathered around me.
From that day on, one question kept ringing as a bell in my heart. “How far is too far?”