On Thursday March 1st, 2012, something happened and I had my heart in my mouth! I almost spat it out, but thank goodness I didn’t! Rather, slowly, I swallowed it back to its rightful coronary position. From where I hail from, when you don’t want something to happen to you or to anyone, you usually say, “Tuphiakwa!” to register or reinforce your stance. But my own case was different—the ‘something’ happened before the ‘tuphiakwa’ could be uttered!
I had just finished taking my morning bath, preparing to head to the studio to work on a project in hand, when I received a phone call. “Hello, big sis. Good morning,” I cheerfully said to my caller, my elder sister. “Good morning Chinonso,” replied my elder sister, “I’m calling to inform you that your younger sister has just been stung by a big scorpion!” No sooner had she finished enunciating those words than I uttered, “What! Scorpion?!” in a tone of voice that I could barely recognize. To be frank with you, my heart jumped and I felt like I had just suffered arteriosclerosis! I mean, I have heard stories of scorpions and how dangerous their venomous stings could be on humans. And there I was being told that the one I truly love, my beautiful sister, was carrying the venom in her system—the thought was damn scary! To cut a long story short, she was offered an antidote and successfully treated, and today everything is history—but not the lesson that I garnered.
I am a very curious being, thus I decided to conduct a brief study about scorpions. Scorpions are opportunistic predatory animals that belong to the class of Arachnida. They have eight legs and a pair of grasping claws known as Chelae that they use for prey immobilization, defence, and sensory purposes. They have a narrow, segmented tail, often carried in a characteristic forward curve over the back, ending with a venomous stinger that they use to kill or paralyse their preys. The size of scorpions range from 9mm to 21cm, and they usually live in hot countries. Okay, all of that info didn’t really impress me until I read that fried scorpion is a traditional dish in a town known as Shandong, China. Yuck! At that point, I halted and began to think. But wait a second. Imagine, here I am scared of scorpions at one end and some guys at the other end are having a real feast on them, I thought. Simply put therefore, scorpions made Chinonso scared but they provided the guys in Shandong with great pleasure.
Okay, please don’t mind the way my mind works, and the way I express it in black and white—that’s just how I am wired.
The lesson I learned from my study of scorpions is simple, creative but priceless. If the guys in Shandong could derive great enjoyment from something I worried about, then it simply means that their perception towards it was quite different and enlarged than mine. Rather than perceive scorpions as a symbol of pain only, they perceived them as a gift of enjoyment as well. And since their perception was different from mine, they acted differently—and we both had different results. Listen, the way you perceive the challenges of life determines how you respond to them. If you perceive the challenges of life as cruel, you’ll simply take up the position of a victim. But if you perceive them as a learning window, you’ll simply take up the position of a student. And the position you take up determines your actions, and your actions determine your results.
So the questions are: How do you perceive your life’s challenges? Do you learn from them and enjoy the ride or do you run away from them or grieve over them? The truth is that, whatever perception you attach to your challenges comes with its own consequences—consequences that work for you or against you. To be fair, yeah, there are life’s challenges that are so overwhelming that they make you feel like packing up! In fact, there are times when you think that having a great dream is even an offence punishable by life. At such times, things may appear to be moving on reverse gear or remain stagnant for too long, and no sign of help on the way. If you’re currently experiencing that season, then let me challenge you not to give up or give in. Instead, hold on and be strong. And one best way to hold on is for you to change the way you perceive your own scorpions of life. Rather than perceive them as demons unleashed to frustrate and put a stop on your dreams, go ahead and see them as an avenue for learning and growth. Rather than allow them to inject venom into your dreams and put a stop on your limitless potentials, use them as a recipe for a delicious meal of success and significance. I believe in you, and the Grand Creator believes in you more.
Chinonso Ogbogu is a management consultant, highly sought-after conference speaker, gifted writer, blogger, and on-air-radio personality. He is the radio host of the popular SuccessMatters™, and conveyor of the GET INSIGHT, GET INSPIRED event.