In 2015 I contested for miss charismatic Nigeria, I normally won’t have bothered going for a beauty pageant but I was compelled to do it out of pressure from most people I meet, telling me I ought to be a beauty queen due to my stature and shape.
At first, I wanted to go a particular pageant because it was a small and upcoming pageant. I told myself at least nobody would know if anything went wrong. My friend knew the previous winner and she assured me that the competition was a fair one. Shortly after, another friend told me about another pageant. The immediate past queen happened to be a friend, so I asked for her opinion of me competing and she assured me that it was a good idea and my chances of winning were high as she would assist me to win. So, I decided to enter the competition.
However, just as I feared, I lost, after so much that was invested into it. To make matters worse, there was huge publicity as the social media was involved in the voting process. So, everybody ended up knowing that I went for a pageant and lost.
I later came to realize that the problem wasn’t my losing; it was my attitude towards it. I deleted and blocked all pictures connecting me to the competition on social media. The truth was, my initial goal was not to win that particular competition; rather, it was to give me the exposure and experience I needed for a different but higher-rated pageant. However, my attitude when I failed was totally shocking and strange. So, rather than keep my eyes on my initial plan, I was busy trying to act like it never happened.
Now, when I look at the remaining contestants, they’re all doing so well. Everyone has forgotten about the pageant and moved on; they’re not ashamed of the failure because they’re doing better. A couple of them went for other pageants and won; unlike me that “carried the failure on my head”. I diverted all my energy into making sure people didn’t know I failed.
The Biro story:
I reflected on this moment after receiving a message sent from my friend Femi which inspired this write up, it goes like this; “When I started using a “biro” in primary school, I often made mistakes. I would try hard to erase them. Sometimes I used chalk, but it later reappeared. So I began to use saliva, it worked but only to leave holes in my book. My teachers then used to beat me for being outrageously dirty. But all I tried to do was cover my errors.
One day, a kind-hearted teacher called me aside. “Little boy, anytime you make a mistake, just cross it and move on. Trying to erase it would only damage your book”. “But, I don’t want people to see my mistake and laugh at me”, I protested. “Trying to erase it will make more people know about your mess, and the stigma is for life.”
Cross it and Move on
I won’t let go until that mistake is erased. I make my mistakes a big deal. I hated to fail, and I prevented it so well but anytime I ended up failing, I would make sure I cleared it so anybody will know. Failure is inevitable but we need to have the right mindset after life knocks us down.
Like the errors you make with your pen, cross the mistake and move on! Even when we succeed, we need to move on too. Some of us are so engrossed with past successes that we end up stagnant. There’s a need to constantly press forward, that’s what increases our potentials. Forget the past whether you fail or succeed and keep moving on. The more you try to erase those errors, the more errors you’ll be creating, and those will be graver. It definitely isn’t easy but what other choice is there? Cross it, move on!
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