It was October 5 2015, as I drove to work that day; I tuned my radio to listen to Smooth 98.1’s 7:30 am ‘Freshly Pressed.’ It turned out that it was World Teachers Day. The presenters took time to appreciate their fondest teachers and encouraged everyone to do same; very nostalgic memories that program turned up.
I realized then that I wanted to say thank you to my after school Common Entrance tutor. The first memory of inspiration to really stretch my mental capacity, outside of my parents and immediate family, came from him and taking those lessons. Over the years, however, I had never gotten to thank him. So there and then, with the gusto of one who had bid procrastination good bye, I placed a call to my mum, told her I wanted to send him a gift for Christmas but also wanted to call first. She promised to help get the number. It was really heavy on my spirit that day.
A few days later she was able to get the number and she sent it to me. I was excited beyond words. It was very late in the day so I thought it was only proper to call the next day. The next day, however, I figured that since my brother resided in Lagos it would be nice to get him to call alongside. I also thought of sending my beloved teacher a text message ahead, but jettisoned the idea; it would spoil the surprise after all, I figured.
Day turned to weeks and somehow I just didn’t get to call. Each time I remembered to call him, I purposed to deal ‘tomorrow.’ Alas, I never did. Guess what? I got a text from my mum two days ago to say he passed on Monday. I was heartbroken; I had a whole month to tell him thank you but I didn’t; I kept saying, ’Tomorrow.’ I mourned the opportunity I just missed and I wept. I hadn’t seen or spoken to him in almost 20 years, surely, that call would have meant something. He would have known I appreciated his sacrifice before he passed on.
This reminds me of a saying, “By the street of by and by, one arrives at the house of never.” I thought I was done with procrastination but it subtly robbed me of an opportunity to do something that would have made a big difference.
Procrastination is horrible, it subtly cheats you of your life and it’s more hurtful because it is your personal contribution to your failure to achieve what you set out to so you honestly cannot blame anyone else. It is the distance between intention and action less the willingness to do. The less that figure is, the more impactful our lives will be. One way I am learning to deal with procrastination is to shorten that distance by DOING SOMETHING immediately I can. Sometimes we hold back because we aren’t equipped to go the whole length but we honestly are better off if we at least took a small step. Imagine if I had sent a text message whilst waiting for the best time to make the call.
Thinking about it now, I remember the top 3 lessons I learned from Mr. T. Imobekhai.
- Get your foundation right and prepare! He didn’t cut corners; we went from one topic to the other and through all the materials until we knew EVERYTHING we needed to know. Didn’t matter that we started taking the classes in Class 3 for the exams in Class 4.
- He set lofty targets. For many parents and teachers, the goal may have been to try the National Common Entrance out in Class 4 and see how it goes. For him, the target was to smash the ambitious Delta State cut off mark and go to school straight away and he made us believe it. He never entertained the thought of it being just a trial and he prepared us that way.
- He taught me about counting the cost. We were preparing for Common Entrance way earlier than our peers were and he made us realize there was some sacrifice involved to go beyond everyone else. To go ahead and succeed ahead others or to do what no one else was doing always comes at a personal cost. How bad do I want it?
Although I should have said “Thank you” in person, my heart remains grateful to you even now. Thank you sir!
This was a very personal reminder for me to act promptly going forward. What is that thing you know you should do, but like me, you are saying tomorrow? Is it a project? Is it getting serious about your walk with God?
A song titled ‘Tomorrow’ comes to mind:
“Tomorrow…. forget about….Tomorrow Won’t you give your life today OOOOOOOOOOOO PLEASE Don’t just turn and walk away Tomorrow, tomorrow is not promised Don’t let this moment slip away WHOOOOOO Your tomorrow could, could very well be here TODAY…”
If you are worried about not being ready to go big yet, and that is stopping you from doing anything at all, remember that ‘small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.’
Your excuses like mine could be valid, but the cost of leaving the task undone is weighty.
Please do it TODAY!