I wrote my first full book at age 18 and struggled hard to publish it at 19. After so much delay by the publisher and several hard things I went through, the book was finally published. Immediately the publisher brought them on campus, I thought it’ll be a good idea to get a copy or two to the VC and Registrar of my University.
With that excitement, my face full of joy, I made my way to VC’s office. Thankfully, I would be allowed to see him. I handed a copy to him and answered a few questions posed. At the end of our conversation, he reached for his drawer, and pulled out 3000 naira (I remember it was 6 500 naira notes). I thanked him and left his office.
I headed to the Registrar office who also had a few minutes to spare that evening. Similar conversation, only that it was more of a quickie. At the end, he dipped his hands into his pocket and brought out 2,000 naira. I thanked him and left his office.
That was the end of motivation I got from the authorities – the same people who claim to be interested in my future. Nothing more. It cost me over 150,000 naira to get the book out. I was 19. And no, the money wasn’t from my parent. Being a first time author (without a brand), I knew it would be more difficult making my money back from selling those books. I didn’t care. I just wanted to do something awesome and inspire my generation (which was the theme of the book).
What I got in return from the generation ahead is poor at best. From all sides. All round, with no exceptions. All tales. Different shades. Not a single person made an effort to help or gave enough inspiration to get me going. In fact, one advised me to shed the idea.
Like me, there are countless young people doing great things who go unnoticed or even get demotivated by the actions of the generation ahead. I believe one of the major ways of getting more young people to do greater stuffs is to set up reward systems for the few who beat the odds to do great things at a young age. When the “bad” among my generation doesn’t see any incentive for doing good, why won’t they pursue the alternative distractions that surround them?
In my case, it could have been announcing/introducing the book to the University community during our weekly gathering. That would have increased awareness about the book. More importantly, that would have inspired other young chaps to do more incredible stuff. Imagine how a small award (even if it’s paper certificate) could have brought me to tears and become a source of motivation to me when I am down. I bet such a memento would always keep me going anytime I think of quitting.
Thank goodness that I wouldn’t need much of the incentives or motivation to keep me going (at least for now), but there are a whole lot people out there who probably need to see how their peers are being rewarded to get inspired to do the incredible.
So, before you criticize my generation about being distracted, you may want to help. Start by rewarding our little achievements first and help where we need you. I bet that’s the reason Chude Jideonwo and Debola Williams got MAD and started The Future Awards Africa.