Commuting in Lagos is one of my greatest nightmares about living here. It is a survival of the fittest —literally. The rush into the bus will show you that if you couldn’t get the only one seat left amongst the 10 people clamoring for it, then you weren’t the fittest. And in the slim chance that you do get it, you’d be grinning from ear to ear in victory. But that’s not my story.
One morning, I was at the bus stop trying to get a bus to work, but all the buses going my way only had available seats at the back, and my preferred seating is usually the middle row or front seat(when I’m truly lucky). After turning down at least 3 buses,some of which insulted me for not choosing to take what was available, I began to wonder; is there really a perfect bus?
Well, of course there isn’t a perfect ‘yellow’ bus! Have you seen the condition of some of these buses? Heck! I feel like I’m in a Mad Max movie most of the times. But here’s what I learned from my little incidence: there may never be a truly perfect bus, but there is a preferred seat. A seat where I’m comfortable even in the midst of chaos. Now, that’s what I was really chasing.
A bus conductor from one of the buses I rejected was quite reasonable. He tried to negotiate with me that the person at the front seat would soon be dropping off, and I’d be able to leave the back seat (which was what was available). But the chances of them keeping their word, wasn’t very encouraging. Even I could have ended up being ‘okay’ with the back seat that I’d avoid that rush of getting to the front all together.
That’s what happens when we settle.
We get in tune with whatever it is that we settled for, and almost forget to chase after that preferred dream. We get into the routine of things, and as it is, our brain likes driving on autopilot. In the slight chance we get an opportunity to chase after our dreams, our minds begin to draw up a list of ‘what-if’s’ that leave us doing nothing. What-if you chase your passion and get broke? What if you travel and get kidnapped? What if they break your heart like the others? What if they send another rejection letter from that interview? The list is endless!
My bus analogy can be applied to everything from jobs, to relationships etc. there may never be a perfect job or relationship, (the world isn’t designed to give you a perfect life). But there is a preferred job or purpose that makes you excited about going to work even in the traffic, or a preferred relationship that makes life feel less lonely and burdensome. There are people that would convince you to settle. And I mean, there is a place for reasonable compromise (as you know, nothing in this world is perfect). But if you settle only because you’re afraid you’ll never get that preferred setting, then it’s gonna bug you for a long time. You’ll always wonder what else is out there for you. And what chances aren’t you taking.
So here’s your encouragement to chase what you really want. That goal, that dream, that purpose, that idea, that person… whatever it is. You are worthy of new beginnings. It’s scary, it’s a risk, but it has great rewards.
Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing. -Denis Waitley
Oh, and of course I got my preferred sitting in a bus that came along shortly after.
Don’t give up on your quest for more.