In the year 1665, a great plague hit London. At this period, 22 years old Isaac Newton was studying at the Trinity College, Cambridge and to prevent the contagious disease from spreading further, London city was locked down, so Newton’s school sent all of its students home.
This plague was to last about a year, so the 22-year-old Mathematician was going to be depressed. No. he wasn’t depressed because he kept himself busy, busy looking for opportunities right amid the plague. It was during this terrible time that Isaac Newton wrote the papers that went on to become early calculus and also sprung his theories of optics,
It was during this lonely time that Newton propounded the theories of Gravity and Motion. Needless to say, without the plague, there might never be Isaac Newton’s brand, as we know it today.
This story is to show us that even at this time when all of us are grasping for our breath, there could be opportunities all around us if only we can change the way we look at this whole drama.
- Opportunity to be desperate
As a young boy, I suffered rheumatism for all my childhood and almost every time I fall sick; my father would come to me, check on me briefly and go his way. A few times he would give me money to buy drugs, but most times, it was my mother’s problem.
This was one of the unbelievable things my father did, just because he was poor so when I grew up, I made a commitment to myself to be rich or die, and I meant every single word of that commitment because I simply cannot be alive to repeat what my father did. I can’t imagine myself looking at my sick child and not being able to take him to the hospital because I have no money. I can’t imagine seeing my children begging me for basic necessity because I’m poor, so I told myself, “I’ll rather not live than to do to my children, what my father did to me.”
I call this, “A Holy Desperation” and I think everyone should have some dose of it.
The problem, however, is that human beings often need some terrible situation before they can be desperate. Fortunately and ironically, many people are going to find themselves in a difficult mess during this period we are.
If you’re one of those people, now you have the opportunity to be desperate.
Millions of people have lost their jobs, millions are hungry all over the world, millions are worried because they are about to finish their savings. While this is a painful time, it also comes with the opportunity for you to renew your commitment or even have a little bit of positive desperation.
For example, I can see some people saying to themselves after losing their jobs, “I’ll never in my life be in a position where someone will fire me!” and such people go on to build successful businesses, even though it was difficult.
I have seen a situation where some people make up their minds to stop looking good on social media, instead build up a significant emergency fund. I have seen some people making a commitment to diversify their portfolio and prepare for anything the world might experience next.
Do you get what I mean? We can choose how we receive the bad news. We can use the bad news to make a change in our lives. We can use this as an opportunity to commit ourselves to a bigger dream. Just like Isaac Newton, we can use this plague to become a better person or even achieve our greatest dreams by being positively desperate.
- Opportunity to know yourself
I spent a lot of time between ages 16-19 struggling to have an idea of who I am. I read every book I could and spent time alone with myself, just searching to see how I was different from everyone else. Today if I look back at my life, I can tell you that the single most important factor in my success is the fact that I seem to know myself than how most people know themselves. I tend to understand what I’m capable of and what I am weak in. I tend to know what I should do. I mean, generally, I know how I’m different from the rest of 7.7 billion people in the world so I can easily choose the battles I can win and avoid those I can’t.
I honestly think that one of the reasons why most people fail in life is because they lack understanding about who they are and why is that so? Well, the world is busy, too busy for soul searching, alone time or solitude. Ironically, the world is quiet now, and this can be an opportunity for you to spend some time with yourself.
Think again about the story of Isaac Newton. He probably would never have discovered the theory of Gravity if there were not plagues that forced everyone to be indoor. Now that you’re probably indoor, one of the ways to become a better human is to spend quality time with yourself.
Put away the phone and other electronics for an hour and remember who you were as a child. Think about what you loved and your childhood dreams. Think about the talents you showcased which other people marvelled at during your childhood. Think about things you efficiently do, which were difficult for everyone else. Think about your strengths and weaknesses and meditate on how your strengths could create a new opportunity for you.
- Opportunity to know who the most important person is
All my life, I’ve always been a selfish person, and when I said this, I don’t mean it in a negative way. I mean, I’ve always loved myself, so much that I think about myself before I think about the world. You might think that everyone is like that, but you’ll be wrong. In the age of social media, most of us live not for ourselves but for the camera. I once heard a man talking about some people who buy very expensive shoes, use the shoes to take pictures then sell the shoes at 70% of the money they bought it.
Think about that for a moment. You are broke, but because you want to look rich on the social media, you buy a pair of shoes for $3,000, use the shoes to take like 50 pictures (to be used on social media), then, sell the shoes for $2,300. You do similar things every day of your life, either buying the car you can’t afford to impress people who don’t matter, or renting the wristwatch you can’t afford just to take Instagram pictures. Do you get my point? Most people live a fake life, but now we can see who is the most important.
By far, you’re the most important person in the world. It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you. It doesn’t matter how many likes or followership you have on social media, at the time of crisis, just as we see now, you alone will be there to face it, and that should tell you something which is; stop making other people your priority. Stop trying hard to buy things you can’t afford so people might think well of you. Please yourself and invest in your future because that is the way to show that you’re the most important person in the world.
Now we have opportunities to renew our commitment to our old dreams. Now we can be positively desperate.
Now we have the time, the solitude and the opportunity to know ourselves by spending more time with ourselves.
Now you have the opportunity to see that you’re by far the most important human in the world, so you need to focus on yourself and not what others think or say about you.