This may not go down so well with some people, but it is the truth – Nigerians settle for less. They do this because they have programmed themselves to suffer. In fact, Nigerians enjoy suffering. In Nigeria, you can hear people bragging about how they suffer most. You can hear statements like, “See this one that’s ‘making mouth’ about how he suffered as if he can compare his own to mine”, as if there’s an award for suffering.
I know readers will be fast to judge that things are not easy in the country. I am not against that, but we shouldn’t use it as excuse to settle for less. Honestly, Nigerians make it look as if someone has to suffer first before being successful. This is why someone whose father paved way for is looked down on because he didn’t ‘suffer’.
I once told someone that what most people do these days is struggling, and not hustling. The person didn’t understand me because to him, struggling and hustling are one and same thing. Anyway, let me clear the air a little bit. When you hustle or struggle, you get to leave your comfort zone which will make you uncomfortable for sometime. But then, if you are smart, you’ll find a way to control and manipulate your environment to give you what you want – this is hustling. But when you allow the environment to control and manipulate you and keep you where it likes, you are struggling (and that’s when suffering sets in). So in summary, a hustler uses his brain while a struggler uses just his body (lol).
Ok, let’s get back to where we were. The ‘you-need-to-suffer-to-make-it’ syndrome is affecting a lot of things in this country. To be honest, I believe things are the way they are in this country because of our mindset. Because we believe nothing good must come easy we swallow up a lot of trash dished out to us.
Ok, let me point out some ways this affects us:
a. Most Nigerians are uncomfortable with embracing modern day technology because they don’t want to be called lazy. Ok, let me ask. How many of us have vacuum cleaners in our houses? Don’t worry, I haven’t even seen it (lol). What about other home appliances like dish washers, rice cookers, foo-foo pounders and the rest? Ok, coming to our offices, how many offices are conducive for people to stay and be productive to their maximum point? What about office equipment and machines that could make works easier and more efficient? Of course if you complain, your colleagues will tell you to ‘manage’ because this is ‘Naija’, where ‘things are hard’. And if your boss hears it, he will tell you to either make do with what you have or procure them with your salary.
b. Our public office holders actually treat us the way they do because they know we will just sigh and decide to ‘manage’. They know Nigerians easily adapt to difficult situations and whatever is dished out to them won’t really bother them. Honestly, if we haven’t embraced suffering the way we do, there is no way we will be plying bad roads that break our bones and send us to hospitals. It’s because of our mindset that a lot of communities in the country do not have portable water, which has been provided for. What about civil servants that have not been paid for months at a stretch? Of course they will survive; they have been surviving since so what’s the difference? Our ‘suffering’ mindset is denying us good governance; we need to do something about that.
c. Our utility companies misbehave as well. It is because of the way we see life that ‘NEPA’ will give us power for only 8 hours and we will say, “they have tried o. If they are giving it to us like this everyday we won’t be complaining” (as if we don’t pay them). And because we have decided to settle for less, these people are not planning to improve.
d. Our education system is also witnessing this suffering syndrome. I always say that the coming of private schools to Nigeria has changed the outlook of Nigerian education system (though a lot of works still need to be done). Those of us that went to public schools do not cherish going to school, especially in our primary schools. We always look for reasons why we should skip classes, all because of the hardship experienced at school. But today, children look forward to going to school (especially private primary and nursery school children) because they go there to study and play in good environment that has all the necessary facilities. As for our public schools, well, a look at their students while going to school will tell you where they will rather be.
e. A lot of Nigerians are unemployed or underemployed right now because they believe they must suffer first before ‘making it’. So they look at themselves as passing through the ‘suffering’ stage, which will usher in the ‘success’ stage. I don’t know how this ideology came into our country because it is not in our culture. Yes, what our culture preaches is diligence and hard work. In fact, in Igbo tradition, when people suffer, it is seen as temptation, ill luck or repercussion. Our tradition doesn’t preach that you suffer first before you land your dream job. So, if you know someone that tied himself down with this mindset, kindly let him know that he can aim higher and achieve.
f. We don’t direct the career path of our young ones because we believe that when they grow up they ‘will suffer like every other person’ until they find their footing. But then, what about those that continue to suffer without finding their footings? Shouldn’t we have helped them at the right time? Must we allow them to pass through the same pain we experienced because we believe that’s the only way they will be ‘wise’?
A lot of people have developed this ideology that they must suffer before they find their right path. If you ask me, I will say that it was passed onto them by their parents. So we have been passing on this suffering syndrome unto the next generation and that means that the old story will continue.
We need to understand that there is nothing wrong with coming out of school and landing your dream job, or going into the career you have passion for. Let’s stop preaching about ‘suffering’ and ‘struggling’ and start preaching about ‘fun’ and ‘hustling’