It’s been said that we purchase more self help than literature. Religious or secular, those gems move faster than any Saro Wiwa prize winning stunner would any day. So face it we sell more motivational books than pains taking works of art. I know more people that would quote “Ginger Jargon”, like it were the lines to a bad Nollywood plot. When a major telecoms company starts importing motivational gurus as a ploy to solidify its status as the number one premium telecoms brand, you know the motivational disease is about to become about to take a life of its own. I accept we all need a bit of quick and cheap therapy resulting from our collective state of mind. But how much of it can one really stomach before you start wearing incontinence pads due to a leaking backside.
Just drive through Falomo in the morning or underneath Ikeja bridge. You will feel the urge that wells up inside of me intensely on a daily basis. The urge to pound a hawker to a pulp with a pirated copy of “The audacity of hope”,then pin him to the ground with a kung fu style hand stroke to his throat as though about to rip out the jugular, (or maybe just an artery) with my thumb and middle finger, then I would say “how the hell can you have any reason to hope”. Don’t even get me started on the audacity part. But then the thought of a night in Area F police cell places me back on a path of clarity, with a simple nod through the car window, I signify, “I am not interested”
I am often intrigued by titles like, “unlocking the chains to your inner success” or “accelerate your destiny” perhaps “ the power within”. Not like I have ever opened any piece of extended motivational epistles to actually ingest or even masticate its content, but there is this perplexed feeling that resonates strongly within and it goes thus; how many times do you really need to be told that “preparation is the only means to success” or “you have to take risks and go the extra mile”, “focus” and one of my personal favourite’s ,“put up a middle finger to the world and just do what makes you happy". My neighbour says he is a motivational speaker. He looks as jaded as his mongrel Hans. He merchandises weight loss products as a side hustle and I my mother says he awaits his father’s death so he can own the semi condemned property he inhabits which smells like putrid waste. I suppose his motivational strategy is to work as the property caretaker and sooner or later, he will unlock the chains, release the power within and inherit six flats built on a plot of land.
Recently I saw a children’s motivational series authored by one of Nigeria’s premier gurus. I heard a certain state government was about to make it an official part of its educational syllabus. What happened to the McMillan English text books with its stories like Ali and Simbi. Whatever happened to “Eze goes to school”. I thought all kids needed was just a bit of a moral seminar at the end of a story and wham… Bang.. we could go out to play. Pretend you are cooking with flowers and leaves, or play table soccer with bottle tops and buttons. I never realised they needed to be “gingered” as well to unearth the CEO that laid deep in their poor naïve and innocent souls. Between flashes of insanity and lucidity, I do wonder what a replicated life of sixties America would feel like. Sex, narcotics and rock n roll, or as my favourite rapper puts it “sex, church, wine and bread, we are trying to be one with the environment”. What more motivation could one ask for?
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