Wednesday, 19 April 2017

The Dilemma of Dreams and Career Choices we make #Editorial #IYBlog

Dreams! I mean dreams!! They can and will change your life. What really will anyone’s life become who has no dream, no vision for his life? Without a dream, that is, an articulate visionary purpose for one’s life, no man can effectively channel and deploy his energies, talents, and abilities for the better. This is particularly true in career matters.

A life without a dream will be a life without focus and direction. It will be drab and dull, lazy, lousy and without verve and punch. A person without a dream is like an empty and water-less pipe. He is like a lake or a cistern with stagnant water and debris. Such a person will be easily tossed here and there. The person will be dead while he is alive. On the contrary, men with clear definite dreams about their lives are vibrant, up and doing. There are scarcely any prolonged dull moments around them.

No matter your career, calling, and vocation, you need a dream and a clear purpose for your life. Unless this is so, life will be very un-exciting and worthless. Whether your career is in religious vocation, business and economics, politics, governance, or in the professions, you will need a dream, a vision for your life.

Yes! I too have a dream!! What about you? Men who succeeded in leaving landmark footprints on the sands of time were men with clear and great dreams. Men like William Wilberiorce had a dream, to stop slavery. Men Uke the Herbert Macaulays, the Nnamdi Azikiwes, the Obaferni Awolowos, the Ahmadu Bellos of Nigeria had a dream of a great nation as they pursued Nigeria’s national independence. Men like Kwame Nkurumah of Ghana had a dream, a United pan-African State. Nelson Mandela had a dream, a South Africa where equity and equal opportunity both for the Whites and the Blacks shall bathe case. Men like Martin Luther King (Jr) had a dream, to bring about an end to social and racial segregation's in America, especially against the Blacks. All of these men succeeded largely.

The Revered Martin Luther King (Jr) was an American Baptist Clergyman, Civil Rights activist and leader He was the son of a Baptist Pastor also. Call him a modern day prophet of a sort. He was born in Atlanta in 1929. He was highly educated, brilliant, articulate, and vibrant. He had a dream for America. He said so and he worked for it. Much of the substance of his dream he articulated in several speeches. Among these, two stand out, namely: I HAVE A DREAM and BIRTH OF A NEW NATI ON.

The day was the 28 of August 1963 at Lincoln Memorial in Washington, USA. It was in the course of mobilizing people in pursuit of his dream. The climax of that day’s march and rally was Martin Luther King’s speech, I HAVE A DREAM. That speech has been acclaimed as about the most powerful speech in contemporary history. Its content and delivery were inspiring, motivating, vibrant, rousing, and informative.

It was all about ensuring that segregation and marginalization of Blacks (Negroes) and coloured people stopped in American Society. About 100 years previously there had been the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 outlawing slavery and declaring equality for all American people. 

However, as is often the case, creed and proclamation are one thing and actual practice and implementation are another. So it was that 100 years after the Emancipation Proclamation, segregation against blacks and coloured people had continued. It was such that in many places Blacks and Whites had to ride in separate buses as a matter of rule.

Martin Luther King (Jr) spoke of “manacles of segregation”. He lamented about “chains of discrimination” Once he cried out, “ Negroes live on a lonely Island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity”. The situation was so bad that Blacks were treated as third class Americans. They were expected to remain slaves of some sort, to be seen, but not really allowed to be fully integrated into the affairs of society. In many places Blacks could not exercise the rights to vote in elections or be voted for Where by law they were allowed such rights, they were too dehumanized, socially and psychologically put down to really exercise such rights. They were indeed an American population of internally defeated, disgruntled, frustrated, and marginalized Negroes. Even the term Negro was itself a social and psychological burden. Today, it is more acceptable to speak of them as African- Americans or the Blacks.

Dr Martin Luther King’s DREAM was to bring down these walls of segregation and marginalization. He set plans. He laboured in-spite of what he described as “the difficulties and frustrations of the moment”. The ways he articulated his dream are recaptured in the following quotes of his:

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold this truth to be self-evident: that all men are created equal"

“Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God’s children. Now is the time to take our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood”

“I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character”

Dr. King (Jr) put all that he was and had into the pursuit of this dream. He set off a trend with people of like minds that have given the issue of racial justice and non segregation plenty of mileage in America’s socioeconomic history. If not for men of vision and courage like Dr. Martin Luther King (Jr.), who would have believed that today African-Americans will occupy powerful positions in American affairs, state, and government. For instance in the first term of George W. Bush (2001-2004), as the president of United States, General Collin Powel, a black American, served as Secretary of State. Another African American, Condoleeza Rice, served as National Security Adviser In George W. Bush’s second term (2005-2008), Rice is serving as Secretary of State became Foreign Policy Adviser. Fifty years ago these were unthinkable, but there they are today.

Growing up, as a young boy, I can clearly remember and recall that my parents had a very clear dream. This dream impacted our lives as their children. Since they were not privileged to have good education and seeing the enormous emancipatory and visionary advantages of education, they resolved and determined to have all their children educated and well brought up in the fear of the Lord. They believed and taught that this is the only way their children, and indeed all children, could turn out successful and responsible members of society. They did all that they could. They made great sacrifices to ensure this. Today we their children are proofs that visions so pursued can be realized.

Once, someone asked a young man about 18 years of age, what his life’s dream was. His response, “To be a great and renown Christian Doctor and Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, bestriding the nations and affecting my generation for God and for good”. I did discover that in-spite of some seeming setbacks and difficulties that young man is sticking to his dream and working at it. Today he is making some good progress on it.

Take a long view and contrast what this young man’s career life will be with that of another young man his age who just wanted a university admission in just any discipline possible. He has no clear focus. He will make do with just anything. This could be a recipe for a very miserable future and a life that will remain groping for a long time to come. How can such a young man grow up to become truly self-actualized, since he is not focusing on anything in particular? Just anything goes! That is not the best.

Indeed, it is not possible to reach dreams if we do not pursue them. There will always be challenges confronting us on the path towards our dreams. In the pursuit of success one must insist on having.

  • A clear dream, vision or destination
  • A clear road-map as to how to reach one’s destination and so actualize one’s vision.
  • Determined zeal in pursuance of the dream to the very end.
  • The pursuit of one’s dream must be given all that one is and have, rejecting all manners of distractions.
It is pertinent for you to know that, all deliberate inventions and discoveries arise out of some dreams. Quite often, challenges and necessities remain the mothers of inventions. This is for the simple reason that they challenge people to think of solutions. In the words of Francis Bacon,

“They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea”.

Therefore, in the midst of challenges, difficulties, poverty, corruption, deprivation and all the like, there are solutions, there are remedies, there are answers to the questions of life and career It is so, only if someone would dream a dream. It was Mahatma Gandhi who declared, “Be the change you want/a see in the world”.

In this article I have used clips from the life of Dr Martin Luther King (Jr) to illustrate the powerful place a DREAM (a vision) can hold in transforming our lives, in bringing success, and in transforming society for good. These principles, as we have been sharing remain useful and applicable in whatever career path we choose in life. It is particularly useful and important that young people be clear of their life’s vision early. This applies whether we are speaking of religious vocations, professional or entrepreneurial career or any other human endeavour whatsoever

We may not be able to express our dreams in a vibrant and fiery manner like the Martin Luther Kings of this world, but if we have them they will burn within us. They will drive our actions. They will keep us moving and going in the midst of challenges, difficulties, and oppositions. Our faces will light up when we share them or talk about them. At such moments the passion it will generate within our souls will be expressly evident not only on our faces and voices, but to those around us. This in itself generates within us a propulsive energy to keep us on the path of our pursuits and commitment.

Really, why should Isaac Yoma bring you this way? It is to convince you that you too can dream and pursue. The only breeds of humans who are incapable of dreams of this kind are those who are so dead and out of this world that they can’t see the problems and challenges before them and the opportunities they are presenting. The truth is that you dream either to conquer a problem, surmount a challenge or to take advantage of opportunities presenting themselves.

This article "The Dilemma of Dreams and Career Choices we make" made me to feel that it will be nice, that we flog these questions here and now. What is your dream and purpose in life? What destinations do you want to reach? What are the challenges and opportunities around you about which you want to do something? What are your talents and abilities? To what purpose can you deploy them so as to reposition yourself, better your life and make yourself part of the solutions and not the problems?

May I encourage you to pick a piece of paper and pen., and in few short words write down what you will like to become, your career and life dream in the days, weeks, and years ahead. Do so, but above all pursue same! Don’t loose the dream. Keep trimming and refining it. Don’t take your heart, head, eyes and hands of it. Remember, nothing is impossible to all those who are willing to dare! You too can!


Disclaimer: Comment expressed do not reflect the opinion of Isaac Yoma