Do you remember your very first attempt at running? After running for hours without reaching anywhere, it was so challenging, I thought I was going to die. It took me weeks of serious training in order to finally beat the time that was set as the goal. But, the feeling to not only be able to run the course but also to accelerate down the stretch to the finish line was “happiness.”
I have realized every morning when we wake up, we face a new day filled with the challenges of life. These challenges come in many forms: physical challenges, financial setbacks, difficulties with relationships, emotional trials, and even struggles with one’s faith.
These challenges are not restricted to any age or section of society. They may differ in degree and nature. For instance my kids find Maths as the most challenging thing on earth. Then, I never understood the reason on why my wife often insisted on rewarding them for solving Maths problems. But, now I know they based their happiness on the rewards that will be showered upon them for conquering their worst fear.
Similarly, with time I have realized that challenges in life can either enrich you or poison you. And it is entirely up to an individual how he takes them. There are times when I am clueless about how to find answers to certain questions. But, we need to gather the strength to temporarily endure the challenges we cannot solve, it is important to remember that with time we will find solutions for them and achieve happiness.
Being a CEO of Diamond Bank, one of the biggest banks in Nigeria, comes with a lot of responsibilities and expectations. Often I choose to ignore the pressure it builds on me personally, but there are times when fighting with them is more than just difficult.
That is when I choose to fight them physically, because I am naturally inclined towards sports. It not only drives me to a healthy and happy lifestyle, but also to focus on new challenges and cut out all trivialities from life. Physical endurance is first step to personal endurance. Nigerian youth should definitely be motivated to seek inspiration from the energy, spirit and the idea of ‘sports’.
Just like our body, needs to be in shape if we want it to endure, our mind needs to be in shape too. We need fresh perspectives and clear vision in order to think through a challenging situation. That is where physical endurance meets mental endurance.
I think every challenge we face in real life should be treated like a game. We might lose and we might win, but the core idea is to give your best. That is why I say, happiness is directly proportional to the challenges we have faced.
Running every day or playing tennis for an hour not only keeps me in shape, but also helps to clear residual mental dirt. I start every day with a fresh new beginning. It is a clean slate start for me. Because we face challenges every day, it is important that we work on our mental stamina every day. When we develop this mental stamina, the false traditions of the world, as well as our personal daily challenges, will have little or no effect on us.
Hence, Happiness is inherent and striving for it is not wrong. Exercise, sports, games, physical hardwork is the most under estimated and the least talked about antidepressant. It is highly cost effective therapist and highly accessible to all irrespective of class or material barriers.
We have to put up a great fight towards the battles we face, so that we can end our day with content “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith…”