“Ability is not enough to enable us to reach our potential. Opportunity alone will never get us to the top. Knowledge is a great asset, but comes up short helping us “be all that we can be.” Even putting together a good team is not sufficient. Passion is the difference-maker. In my years of observing people, I have never seen an individual reach his potential without passion“. John Maxwell
Nigerians are one of the most passionate people on earth and this is seen in the way we talk (with our loud & harsh tone), recreate (especially at parties or watching football matches) and our frequent arguments. But this passion has not resulted in our nation reaching her potential? Could it be that Nigerians lack a passion for Nigeria? I believe the majority of Nigerians do not have passion for Nigeria and we will discuss this in details in this article.
Before my question causes controversy and distract from the purpose of this article, I am saying that most Nigerians are seeking for a better Nigeria (through credible political leadership) that will ensure their security & prosperity. That is great but that is having passion to have our needs met and is different from having passion for Nigeria which means we are seeking the development of the nation for the sake of the nation first before us as individuals.
True passion is committing our lives to the pursuit of something greater than ourselves and ministers to the needs of others than to us. It is this passion that is the difference maker and responsible for an individual (& indeed a nation) reaching his or her potential.
To showcase what it means to be passionate about Nigeria, we shall look at the key qualities that are inherent in someone with a passion for Nigeria. These are qualities that they apply in their daily lives and by highlighting them, it is hoped that it would lead to a shift in our passion.
Responsibility: For Nigeria to become great Nigerians would have to be great and for Nigerians to become great they must pay the price of responsibility for Nigeria. In effect, whatever happens to Nigeria must first happen in the hearts of Nigerians.
Bearing this in mind, the first quality of those with a passion for Nigeria is the fact that they have accepted responsibility for Nigeria. They have stopped the ‘they’ syndrome (they did this, they did that) and rather than blame everyone but themselves, they’ve accept that their actions affects the nation positively or negatively.
With responsibility, we recognise that we cannot change the circumstances in Nigeria now but we can change our thoughts (they are directly responsible for every outcome that we experience), attitudes, words and actions. Here is where we focus our passion and the outcome is our circumstances changes and starts the process of change first in our families, our circle of influence, our community and eventually, our nation. Change cannot happen in Nigeria if we don’t become changed.
With this attitude, they spent little or no passion complaining about the obvious & numerous problems in Nigeria but focus their passion on exploiting every opportunity with solutions that would move the nation forward. This leads to consistent passionate & courageous actions because responsibility always creates the power to act.
With a passion focused on Nigeria and not on complaining, we become focused, compassionate to the sufferings of Nigerians and generate innovative ideas to effect change in the specific area of our passion.
Through responsibility, we can create the Nigeria of our dreams and it is the passion that propels us through the tough challenges we will encounter on the way. We must remember that we cannot change what we don’t own and it is only through responsibility that we can own our nation & become inspired with solutions to make her developed.
Maximise Potential: According to John Maxwell, “Without passion we stop dreaming and settle for survival. We relinquish heartfelt vision in exchange for security and comfort.” This is so true about most of us in Nigeria. We have stopped dreaming and settled into survival mood.
The outcome is the lack of people maximising their potential which is the foundation for any national development. For any nation to develop, a key prerequisite is the various talents, skills, expertise and experiences expressed in their fullest form. By that I mean, we need people who are giving all it takes to pursue their dream and when attained, persist to ensure mastery (excellence).
People with a passion for Nigeria commit their all to attain mastery because they recognise that Nigeria develops when her citizens give their very best in their field of endeavour. When we see a person of excellence, we see a person who is maximising their potential and this person is always passionnate about their country & her people. They see their greatness and the greatness of Nigeria as one and the same thing.
Impact on Society: The 19th century German Poet Christian Hebbel once stated “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.” People of passion for Nigeria are noted for their commitment to visions much bigger than them, visions that have great impact on society. It can be something publicly visible or something privately visible (like in a family).
Not only do they commit to great visions bigger than them but vision that exceeds their lifetime. Their passion propels them to make contributions that will make the nation better for the next generation than theirs. As a result, they focus not only on efforts that will yield results in their lifetime but efforts that will yield many years after they’ve gone. They are not self-glory seekers but they seek the glory of their nation in their pursuit of their vision.
Because of this, they see the need for unity in the country because they recognise they need others to participate in them to make great impact.
Purpose & Vision: According Personal Development expert Steve Pavlina “Passion and purpose go hand in hand. When you discover your purpose, you will normally find it’s something you’re tremendously passionate about”. It is true that people passionate about Nigeria are a people living a life of purpose.
To achieve purpose, they have a strategy which is worked out through their daily thoughts, words and actions. They cut out waste in their activities, relationships and financial resources to ensure there are no distractions in their efforts to attain their goal.
As earlier stated, people with a passion for Nigeria develop a vision bigger than themselves and that vision normally is beyond material riches but about making society better than they met it.
Their vision is normally focused on an area of endeavour that they are most passionate about and suited to their unique gifting/talent and purpose. Interestingly, long after they are gone, people remember them for their vision, their commitment to the pursuit of it and the development the nation experienced as a result.
The famous American Screenwriter and Producer of the movie Toy Story, Joss Whedon was quoted as saying “Without passion we’d be truly dead.” I believe that says it all. The reason Nigeria is stagnant (or dead) is because her people lack passion for her and as individuals, they are brain dead.
There is hope because there is a slow but gradual increase in the number of Nigerians passionate about Nigeria and these are the people I call the nation-builders. They have committed their lives to the pursuit of their dream of a developed Nigeria and as a result, they have a lifestyle of compassion, responsibility, opportunity, courage and enterprise.
Passion provides the energy or drive needed to maximise potential, convert responsibility into actions, achieve great things and fulfil vision. Nigeria is in desperate need of more of her people focused on her rather than themselves. The labour of these heroes shall not be in vain.
I leave the last word to T. Alan Armstrong who said, “If there is no passion in your life, then have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you and BECAUSE of you.”