Shake the dust off your feet

Wilson Orhiunu

First Gentleman with Wilson Orhiunu

Email: Twitter: @Babawilly

While hugging a girl with flowing beautiful locks, I noticed the scent of dodo (fried plantain) in her hair. This was proof that the activities of the kitchen followed you out of the house unless care is taken.  A bit similar to watching the game with the guy who ate two pots of beans 12 hours before. The air soon becomes alive with molecules seeking a nose to irritate.

Everybody walks around with the evidence of what and who they have been with. That is why urine drug tests might be enough when a club is buying a new player and is desperate to avoid ‘science students’ (substance abusers). The urine could however be drug free in a matter of hours. The hair is the best place to look for drugs taken up to three months ago. I once had to stand behind a Premier League star almost waiting in vain for him to spend a penny. He kept on saying how embarrassing it was. When he finally produced the sample, I got out the scissor for some hair and sent all to the laboratories.

I once knew a guy who swept up all his hair from the barber shop floor believing that his hair could be used to communicate with him when he leaves. The hair like the heart is a place packed with evidence.

Those who watched the movie South Pacific would be familiar with the song that goes:

I’m gonna wash that man

Right out of my hair

And send him on his way

Not as easy as that but a good hair wash is a start. The next huddle is to wash the mind clean of all those sweet nothings whispered under the moonlight.

When we are not valued or appreciated in a place, it is time to move. A toxic environment degrades us more and more the longer we stay in it. When your best foot forward is met with silence and your masterpiece does not raise an eye brow in the room, you are in the wrong room. Likewise, if someone sits you down and slowly deconstructs your self- belief by telling you how much of a talentless misguided person you are for pursuing your dreams, it is time to leave.

The only problem is that walking away does not mean that those fumes of discouragement are not lingering in the mind producing self-doubt or self-sabotage. If you had head lice in one continent and took a plane to another, the head ice goes with you. Hanging about in places where you are politely tolerated or perhaps openly shown that you are not wanted could teach one to become accustomed to never being celebrated. That state in which an individual so blends into the background that no one notices their absence when they have been away for months on end.

When walking away from rejection of what one stands for, the soles of the shoes must be cleaned so as not to transport that dust to a new location. Dust is as bad for the shoes as it is for the mind. A dusty mind could travel across the seven seas in search of acclaim but success proves elusive. Discouragers do their work on the mind and not on the body. One who has exceeded what they were previously unable to do needs to be applauded. Depriving an achiever of the sounds of applause kills confidence and could make that achiever have a low opinion of their success.

It takes courage to leave arenas where one is being taken for granted. Better the devil you know is an adage that makes people throw down deep roots in places with zero potential for fruitfulness. The goals for self-improvement may require risk taking but one must move. The dust in the mind tends to pop up at the new huddle. Hateful words recalled can quench the spirit but they must not be repeated to friends. Rather than a problem shared becoming a problem halved, talking about the dusty places and quoting the naysayers magnifies the strength of those words especially if shared with a ‘beaten down’ person primed to have an all night long pity party. It does not matter if one has to walk alone. Gratitude for life and a vision to work towards can compensate for temporary loneliness. A lion will not run with hyenas just for the company.

Thinking about the words of those who doubted your dreams and hoping to prove them wrong is a waste of time. Positives never come from thinking up a negative storm. Discipline is the main key and the scorners must never be quoted or battled with; just ignored. It is important to be happy for those who seem to have what you lack such as a positive and supporting network of people around them. Envy however is lethal as it draws you into comparing yourself with them and soon there is the lamentation of “why me?” or “why did I have such lame people in my life who said…”

The primary intention of most speakers is for the listener to go away and think about what has been said. No matter how initially uplifting or demoralising freshly baked words are, it is in the reflection and digestion of the words that the real influencing power of what we heard is manifested. Unlike food, there is no bulimia with what has been heard. It is always there, but words soon become impotent when not thought about.

One must visualise what success means and think only about that. All the daydreaming moments must be spent looking to the future. When no mentors or ambitious peers are available to network with, then online communities solving similar problems to the ones you want to solve might be a good alternative. The thoughts in the head always manipulate the feet to go in a certain direction; from the wrong places to the carpeted halls of your dreams. You don’t really want to spoil your new carpets with yesterday’s mud. Sometimes even the shoes might need to be thrown away.