One cool evening, my niece (yes, that one that refers to me as an unreal aunty) calls to tell me about a spelling bee that she’d love to participate in. She goes on to tell me about the juicy monetary prize for the winner including a scholarship. I have my doubts about it though, but we have to be supportive, right? So, I let my niece engage me and we start the application process.
“Spell pronunciation,” I suddenly say, five minutes into the application.
“Aunty Fafa, wait I need to write it down first. I don’t know how to spell without writing it first,” she retorts.
Ahhhh and she wants to do spelling bee? Okay. I give her time, still being ever supportive. She spells it as Pronounciation. I educate her on the “pronounce” and “pronunciation” spelling difference (hehe, did I educate you too?). Moving on, I tell her to spell encyclopaedia and she goes, “O boy eeee, that one pass my power o.” I can’t even hold it in anymore, I burst into laughter, all the support system in me has finished. Anyways, she tells me to spell it for her and a couple other words which I do while educating her on American and British spelling differences – proud aunty moments.
After five more words, I know I have to get honest with my niece. Honesty is also a way of being supportive, right? I tell her, “You don’t prepare for an exam on the day of the exam and expect that you’ll perform excellently.” (Oh please, don’t even go rambling about those people who do such, their success story is short-lived, trust me). No one prepares for battle on the battlefield…
A lot of us like my niece think like this often. You see someone who has bagged a record and you go “God when?” (It’s not bad o, I mean I do too, but I’m going somewhere, stick with me). If you’re close to said person, you even go on to ask for secrets to success. Often, we feel like there’s magic to it. I dare say most times when we ask, we aren’t really interested in walking the walk or working the work – we’re expecting a one-off remedy not knowing it’s a life-long walk of commitment. You ask the secret to someone’s success, they tell you cliches like hard work, diligence, prayer, consistency, failing and standing etc, but you forget to ask, “for how long should this last,” “how many times a day, a week, a month, a year or your entire life?” You get vexed when it doesn’t work for you. Reminds me of the lady who was prescribed an inhaler by Dr. House and was upset that it didn’t relieve her of her attacks when all the while she was using it as a neck spray. #Idigress
Like I told my niece that day, “Those that are going to win this spelling bee started preparing long before this advert came out. There’s gonna be another spelling bee next year, so if you want to win, start preparing now. Practice words now, learn to spell without needing to write it out first. Put in the work!” Enough of lusting over the prize and thinking the Heavens are against you when you haven’t put in the required work. Spend good time in your preparatory phase and you won’t need to be “God whening” or asking secrets to success because you know what it is – a life long commitment – Yes, I said it finally, that’s the secret – intentional preparation for as long as you breathe!!!
“Seest thou a man diligent in his work? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” – Proverbs 22:29