One day in the year 2007, we had a break in school, so I decided to spend some time in my brother’s home. Because I had not much to do, so one Wednesday after my brother had gone to work, I was keeping myself busy with the TV. There was this television program called New Dawn with Funmi Iyanda in my country, Nigeria and on this very day, a man was invited to speak about entrepreneurship.
Before this time, entrepreneurship has been the subject I loved, and I have even gotten involved with different businesses. Still, I couldn’t remember ever making a do-or-die decision for entrepreneurship, until this Wednesday.
As this man talked about entrepreneurship, something struck my brain. I stood up and told myself, “I’ll rather build a company of my own or die!”
The very day I made this commitment, I didn’t even have $100 to my name nor did I have anyone in my family who can give me $1000 for business, yet, I made the decision to build a company, no matter what.
Decisions build the world
When I was a little boy, my father told me the story of how he stopped smoking. The story went like this. He and his smoker friends were living in the village, and on one fateful day, they were hungry for a cigarette and couldn’t find any in their village. Hence, they had to walk several kilometres to another village to buy cigarette. Rain fell as they were on the road looking for cigarette, and when they returned, my father looked at the cigar they had wasted all their lives searching for and broke his own. Then he told himself, “I’ll never smoke again in my life”.
That was the last day my father had anything to do with a cigarette. Today, he’s an octogenarian in good shape for his age. If he had not stopped smoking, nobody knows if he will still be alive, but it’s all about a decision.
The single habit that can change your life and your world is the habit of making a real decision about what you want and don’t. I call it real decision because there are fake decisions that people make every day. Fake decisions come when people are not truly tired of their situations. Though they seem to be making decisions for change but deep within them, they are not tired of their old life.
People may tell you that they want to lose weight, but they still cherish junk foods. People may say to you that they want to have a great marriage, but they still enjoy running around people in the opposite sex for the wrong reason. People may tell you that they want to be rich, but they have never gotten to a point when they want to be rich or die, so whatever decision they make is fake.
Yes, I believe in do-or-die.
In the real sense of what decision means, it means, “I’ll do it or die”. It’s like writing on raw cement. Its sticks forever. There’s no going back, even in the face of death.
Even though do-or-die has been associated with negative things over the years, it’s actually the spirit of every great achievement. You can’t achieve any significant success in life if you don’t get to a point where you burn your bridge.
Most people never burn their bridges. Most people never make up their minds to fight with their last blood. Most people never put their lives on the line, and that’s why most people never achieved greatness.
Let’s think about poverty for a second. If you’re born by a poor parent, I have bad news for you, and that is, your chances of ever having enough money are so lean that only 4 out of 100 people born into poverty will ever have more money than their parents—poverty begets poverty.
In my country, they will call it a “generational curse”. No. it’s not a generational curse, it only requires that you’ll have to burn your bridge if you will ever break through the poverty line.
When I mention do-or-die, I don’t mean you should do illegal or sinful things. I mean, you must be willing to do anything with the ambit of the law of men and God. I mean, you must be willing to sacrifice anything, it could be the TV, the social media, the pleasure, some sleep.
I mean, you must be curious and relentless. When I made the decision to destroy poverty, I started reading any book that came my way about money and entrepreneurship. I started learning from anyone I know that has done what I wanted to do.
The universe makes way for the stubborn ones.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen”.
Life is a difficult place, and it’s mostly unfair. If you’ve decided to achieve something worthwhile with your life, let me tell you what will happen to you; you’ll be frustrated. Life will make living unbearable for you. You’ll be rejected by people and blocked by angels of achievement.
This happens not because the universe hates you but because it doesn’t want to give its crown to those who don’t deserve it. For the people who have burnt their bridges and have made a decision never to look back, a time will come when the whole universe will bow to make way for you.
Ask any successful entrepreneur who has built a company from scratch, and they will tell you this; when you start, it seems as if everything you touch becomes junk. Everything you attempt simply fails. Everything you do simply end in disaster. However, a time comes, usually, after your face had been crushed and your spirit burnt without you giving up, then a sudden light appears, and you are given this magic wand. Now everything you touch suddenly becomes money.
Now you’ve paid your dues, and the universe has counted you worthy of the glorious crown.
Self-esteem and decision making
In my studies and life’s experiences, I’ve seen that most people are not able to burn their bridges because they have low self-esteem, so I think here is the right place to start your journey; improve your self-esteem and you’ll be able to make real decisions that will change your life.
Our self-esteem is directly correlated with our self-talk. We all speak to ourselves every day. Our internal dialogues may be secret to other people, but they influence what we believe is possible for our lives. What even makes this worse is that we repeat this dialogues every day.
According to what I read, an average human process between 60,000 – 80,000 thoughts every day and more than 80% of that is simply the repetitions of what he thought yesterday. Hence, people who have negative internal dialogues repeat those dialogues thousands of time to themselves every month or year.
Several studies have found that even the biggest lies can become a gospel, if only it gets repeated long enough. What this means is that, if your inner dialogues are negative, you have worked very hard to convince yourself that you’re not good enough and you’ll believe this.
So, how can people change their inner dialogues and self-esteem so they can achieve greatness?
What helped me is reading stories of ordinary people in history who achieved great things. I think such stories can help you too, so you must read good books.
The summary of this article is this; the one thing that changes people’s lives is the decisions they make, the bridges they burn and the do-or-die commitment they make. If you want to change your life and world, you have to make real decisions. You have to burn your bridges. You have to make a do-or-die commitment.
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