The best things in life are free
If you have ever read the Christian bible or gone to Sunday school often, you must have come across the parable of the talents. In this parable, a master gives three of his servants 'talents' before he goes on a trip. The first servant gets a number of talents, the second got less and the last servant got just one. The first and second servants went out and sowed their talents and acquired more while the servant with one talent buried his in the ground so it did not get lost.When their master returned from his trip, the first and second servants presented him with more talents than he had given them but the third returned only the original one. Their master received the talents of the first and second with warmth and he rebuked the third servant and took his one talent away from him.
We are all born with gifts, whether we know them or not. The task is not in acquiring gifts or talents really but in finding out those that we already have and polishing them and making them marketable. Right from when we were younger, there must have been one thing at the very least that we knew how to do better than most people or something that gave us joy when we did it. Some people are born with just one talent or skill while others are born with many. It is easier to acquire more skills when we have more than one, but with just one we can make a difference as well.
Nobody is useless in this world, there is a place for the skill of one particular individual no matter how small. Skills vary greatly individually, from communication skills to singing or dancing or political or oratory or whatever it may be. In Nigeria, we seem to think that there is no avenue for skill acquisition and when there is, they are very costly. That is true in MOST but not all cases; there are a lot of ways to acquire skills for free.
Before one acquires a skill however, there must be interest and before there is interest there must be exposure. Someone cannot like what he does not know and as my teacher would say "wetin you no know pass you".
Before we proceed to skill acquisition, an important thing we should do is to hone our natural talent. It is infinitely easier to make better what is already there than to start something anew. We all have sleeping skills within us and discovering them is the first step. If we want to acquire new skills, it also makes sense to try to do something we have a flair for. For instance, if we already know how to draw, it would be easier under regular circumstances to learn how to paint than to learn how to sing or how to drive a car.
Next, to acquire skills, we must have mentors (note, mentors and not tutors). A mentor is someone who you can pour out your heart to and he will give you quality advice or he may be somebody who inspires you who you want to surpass. Having a mentor keeps an individual goal-oriented and this is crucial in skill acquisition. Tutors make the skill acquisition process faster but they are like retailers or wholesalers in the chain of supply, good to have but not necessarily compulsory. Next, to acquire skills, the individual must have a target, somewhere he can reach and say "Yes, I sabi", this is a very important step and one that gives the best feeling when we achieve. And finally, if someone wants to acquire skills, he must be willing to do what it takes. We may want to acquire a skill but when we see the rigors involved, we lose interest saying it is too tasking. If we want to acquire skills, we must be determined to acquire them. The world has no space for quitters and if you think you are hot-cake, go to China.
Also, in acquiring skills, we should have a distinct reason for wanting to acquire the particular skill. It may be to just expand your horizon, to please friends or show-off, to solve problems we are facing, to master what we already know or the most popular reason: to make money. The time it takes to acquire a skill varies from field to field and by individual and knowing the estimated time-frame has a calming effect on the mind.
Next, it is of note to mention that having rivals seems to make certain people more determined (positively) while they drive others negatively; knowing your kind of individual tells you whether you need a rival or not. A rival is someone to compare your development with, to estimate the speed of your growth. If you must have a rival though, your rival should be in your class not someone far above you or someone far below you; he should be someone you can envy and not hate, someone who would drive you and not frustrate you, be wise before entering into a rivalry lest it wastes your time.
There are so many diverse fields in Nigeria and since I am in the university, I should talk a little about those in the university setting. There's the all popular music and entertainment industry, there's acting and stage performances, public speaking, event decor, make-up and hairdressing, poster designs and graphic manipulation, writing, dance, or even academics. There's a lot of opportunities to acquire skills in the university for free if we know what we want and how to get it.
As the Christian bible would say "Ask and it shall be given....seek and you will find". Do not be shy to ask someone to teach you something, if you truly want something do not let your pride ruin your opportunity. Nobody wants to teach an undedicated or nonchalant student and a prospective teacher with little patience would not spare his temper especially if the student is not paying for the lectures or adding anything specific to his life. Skills can be acquired from friends and acquaintances and from a place we should all know YOUTUBE.COM. Do not complain if you do not have a phone that surfs the net or a laptop, start from somewhere and things would fall into place. I began professional writing on public computers where I would pay N250 for time in cyber cafes and not browse, just so that I could type my articles. With time, I got a laptop and a smartphone but if they get damaged or lost, I will type on my Nokia torchlight so help me God.
The world outside is not looking for people with degrees but people with hands-on skills. People who can do things they can see with their eyes not people who can quote their textbooks but not put it into application. Learn a skill today, it's worth it. Do not waste your youth, do the right thing, transform naija!
And as Peak milk would say, my dear Nigerian youths, "It's in you!"
Until next time,