Relatively Absolutely

After each game, I want to be able to say: I gave it all I could, I gave it my best
The Vision of a Champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, and the point of exhaustion, when no one else is watching” – Anson Dorrance

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the bRinEstAkeS show. Now, meet your performers! Introducing: Sowfoe Agbebodorun, Shawbore Lation and Gbebz Aproko. Let’s get started.


Sowfoe: They are twins, jor.
Shawbore: No, they are not!
Sowfoe: Are you blind? Can’t you see their dressing?
Shawbore: But, they don’t look alike now.
Sowfoe: Well, not all twins look alike, dummy!
Gbebz: See these international mumus oh! You mean you don’t know those boys? When you will not roll with happening people. Sha follow me, lemme download their gist for you!


Ade and Olu; two boys, two names, two words – best described by one: rivalry. They were like lightning and thunder; if one attained a certain status, it was only a matter of time before the other followed suit – and even tried to out-do him. It was going to take more than a 4-ton truck to pull them apart. Ade seemed to have the ladies in a whirlwind with his new “rain-forest afro”! It didn’t take too long for Olu (who wasn’t blessed with much hair) to start using a hair-growth cream! Olu was beaten in that tussle, though he kept his lead somewhere else. Ade was determined to usurp Olu’s position with the guys. He’d dedicate his weekend to listening to the newest songs on air and try to convince the guys he was more current than Olu – but he was doing a tacky job; his croaky voice didn’t help much either. If both sets of parents had one wish, it would be that there was more than one week between their birthdays. That interval just further made it seem like their rivalry was ordained before the existence of time.

Their parents didn’t do much to contain the situation; they were fairly wealthy and saw no reason to turn down those endless requests. While Olu preferred the “dad, Ade’s had his PS3 for 2 weeks. When am I getting mine?” approach, Ade went for the more subtle “Olu’s parents pay more attention to his needs. They’ve got him a mountain bike already!” style. Whatever technique they employed, each lad knew exactly how to get what he wanted from his parents.

So acute was their tussling that the boys signed up for the same sporting activities. After going the rounds – soccer, basketball, long jump and discus – they settled for athletics. Ade seemed to prefer long distances but their rivalry always had Olu close in tow – sometimes, even taking the lead. The sprint (Olu’s favourite) was about the same; occasionally, Ade would just pip him to the crown!

One surprising thing in their lifelong struggle for relative superiority was that, somehow, through all the scuffling, they managed to remain best of friends. On one of their more peaceful days, they planned to spend some time away from all the noise of the city. After each laid his parents off with a well-sutured string of half-truths, they embarked on their jungle adventure. The plan was to take as many pictures as they could of wildlife and have the class kids decide who was better at photography. They quickly ditched their fancy “go karts” for a closer feel of nature’s concealed wonders. Snap snap snap: a few spectacular trees, four squirrels, one huge rabbit and nine very decorative birds. It was Olu’s turn to drop some gist and he chose to share the details of how he carelessly scratched his own “ride”. It had to do with a female, so they had a good laugh and carried on. Things were looking very rosy;  – until they spotted a lion! It’s not often the case that you spot a lion before it spots you; so maybe they were inordinately lucky. But do you call it luck when the king of the jungle gives you a 50-meter head start? They were about a quarter of a minute into their escape sprint when they were frightfully reminded that the king of the jungle never really sleeps. It was hot on their trail and appeared to take lethal pleasure in doing it! Not that the boys were strangers to races – and competition in general – but this one had something more than ego at stake! They exchanged positions a few times as they scampered for dear life through the shrubbery. Soon (and surprisingly too) Ade appeared to be tiring. As soon as Olu was convinced he couldn’t be caught by Ade, he looked mockingly over his shoulder and said “I told the coach I could beat you with proper motivation” His friend responded “Pig! The idea is not to outrun you – but to outlive you

I didn’t wait to see the end of the saga. You guessed right: I was running too. Now, I’m safe but Ade’s words keep resonating within my head. What did he really mean? Was he so inundated with the idea of their rivalry that not even the fear of death could set him straight? Though, I can’t be sure of anything till Monday, I really hope they both made it out alive. Memories of all their squabbling flood my mind right now, like a masterful collage bearing only one message: rivalry. I can’t help wondering if one boy was truly better than the other. Clinging to the very slim chance of finding the better one, some help might be required to prove if that fellow was actually “good”. To the lion, whichever one of the boys got away was the smarter one. To Olu, being ahead of Ade was enough to convince him he was faster.  Ade was convinced he was more intelligent. Afterall, he had a plan; and really, they had very little hopes of outrunning the lion!

The boys spent so much of their lives in competition they probably never got round to finding out if they were fulfilling their individual potentials. The goal was always to beat X “in his own game”. From one short-term “sprint” to the next. Did they ever have enough time to set long-term goals? It’s not very wrong to define long-term goals as an ordered pile of short-term goals, but how can they come to be when goals of the moment are warped? If long-term goals are the “big picture”, warped short term goals are ,in very simple terms, distractions. “Dude, your dribbling and run-in are super, but the final ball is weak”. “Sharrap there. I’m still better than you”. Given, you’re better than everyone around you – but are you better than you were yesterday? Would you wake up tomorrow better than you are today? If I were a mediocre in a class of geniuses and got transferred to a class of “dull-wits”, over which I now rule, have I suddenly become good? Your dream was once to be the best you could ever be; now, you’re content with simply being better than your peers. Something tells us those two are not exactly the same.

I lost track of how many times I’ve heard the line “see pot calling kettle black”. Certainly, being black doesn’t blind the pot to a “fellow black”. The fact that the kettle is not as black as the pot doesn’t make it white, does it? Ours has become a world where every thought, every action is judged against someone else’s. “Son, you should be making better grades”, “Dad, I can’t kill myself. Grandpa wasn’t educated and he made it in life”. Isn’t it funny that a lady would rush into marriage just to beat her kid sister to it? Or, that a man would squander a fortune on new gadgets just to “stay relevant” at the office. “That second degree can wait. No pressure”. Everything has become relative; but, better, stronger, taller, richer, faster, newer ….. than what/who? Maybe it’s about time we set a conscious standard for excellence; one devoid of this festering ambience. Maybe someone would, someday, be able to say “he/she is good” and make sense. Maybe we all would face our own goals and leave others to theirs. Just maybe ….

You aim for at the moon but land on a star? Good. In fact, very good. You are now a star; but what do you do next? Get conceited with thoughts of the many who totally missed out or take a deep breath and aim for the sun? The fact that you’re better than someone else doesn’t make you good. You’re only good when you embrace the habit of exceeding your own {lofty} expectations. I really wish I could speak for you but I can’t. As for me, my ultimate unequivocal goal is to be the very best of myself – no matter how much “better than the rest” I already am; to wake up a better man than I slept. So, baton in hand, muscles taut with ambition, teeth gritted with determination, eyes widened by desire, I look forward and then backward. Either way, it’s the same face I see; I must have seen it a million times before – but where? Yes, I remember now; that face must be mine! The mirror always showed it to me. Alas, I’m in a race against myself – my dreams and expectations. No one else(‘s)!

This entry was posted in Absolutes, Competition, Excellence, Relativity and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Relatively Absolutely

  1. HexyDre says:

    Great piece; interesting 'story' and apt message.I was like Olu/Ade for a long time when growing up, my elder brother was the competition (and I failed to beat him in so many things) Dude was just almost perfect :(Thank God I realized early enough that the best competition for me is ME, where ME = the person I want/will/desire/see myself to be. Simple, and it has been working for me. The journey is still on.That, and above all, looking onto Jesus…:)

  2. I agree that the race should not be against another person. When that becomes our drive (like I suggested in one of my posts), we are preparing ourselves, perhaps not for short term failure but a long term one.The only thing that should drive us is fulfillment of purpose and outliving someone else in competition. That's why I would not do the philosophy of seeing life as a game or a race. It's like saying life is a competition. I am not here to compete with anyone. I am here to fulfill the purpose set for me by my creator and as HexyDre advised, "looking unto Jesus should be our watchword" – LDP

  3. how awesome the finish phrase is. I am in a race against myself – my dreams and expectations. No one else'(s). If the world would only understand this, then everyone would feel better with themselves and we would end strive, wars, killings and that feeling of dejection.

  4. Mwajim Al says:

    Reminds me of a quote by Zig Ziglar if am not mistaken: "Be the best you that you can be", second to none always comes to mind after that. Definitely one of the motivating uplifters to play in one's mind every day.

  5. Imisi says:

    Zig's one highly respected writer. I'm not too sure if those words are his, but they are very true.

  6. Imisi says:

    You're right. I love the way you always go for the "big picture"

  7. Imisi says:

    Gbam! Plus, when you even stop to consider how different our missions here are, you just get piqued at the rat-race!cc @hexydre

  8. Imisi says:

    Yea, the journey's still ON! I only pray we breast the tape and get to look back with contentment! Target: Jesus. #nowaimingPS – BTW, me bro n I were like that too

  9. Darol2020 says:

    ……oh my God! this is so interesting and at the same time so inspiring…..and really this is wat happens more than often….we get carried away by the now and forget what lies ahead…..i especially like your closing statement…"i am in a race against myself – my expcetations and dreams…no one else's"……i aint disappointed at all….cant wait 4 d nxt…….lol!

  10. Honeynubi says:

    Dis is serious sumthin mehn 🙂 well done.

  11. Imisi says:

    Thanx for taking time out to apply your mind to the lessons of the post. "TownCow Kobonaire" is almost done. You'll be the first to know once it drops!

  12. Jaycee (E.A) says:

    Wow. This post excited me, because I know what I am supposed to accomplish and it has nothing to do with anyone else, but many times I think about my peers and what they have accomplished and compare them to myself. But when we aim for the moon and land on a star, we must stretch to land on the sun as well….rather than sit there looking at whether we've triumphed over our peers (or vice versa). Each of us are individuals with a different purpose in life. I really loved this. "You aim for at the moon but land on a star? Good. In fact, very good. You are now a star; but what do you do next? Get conceited with thoughts of the many who totally missed out or take a deep breath and aim for the sun? The fact that you’re better than someone else doesn’t make you good. You’re only good when you embrace the habit of exceeding your own {lofty} expectations."

  13. Imisi says:

    I've got to admit that I fall into that occasional trap too. The trick is to keep aiming AT OUR OWN TARGETS – cos, as you said, our missions differ greatly! Thanx, Jaycee

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