The POTENTIAL: Breaking Forth

potentialIt was the beginning of a new session. The young boy put on his uniform and was set for school. At the end of the term, the boy was sent home with a note from his teacher thus: ‘This boy should not report to school henceforth. He’s too dull for knowledge and performed woefully in arithmetic. He may never amount to anything in life’. That young boy however grew to have the most intriguing mind of all time. His brain became the focus of research into human intelligence and abstract thinking. That young boy was Albert of the Einsteins.

Centuries ago, a young boy was employed at the Royal Institute, London, as a laboratory assistant under Sir Humphrey Davy. His major work was to wash the apparatus, make them available for use, and pack them back for storage. The young attendant was however curious to know more. Not only would he do his job, he would also collect the notes and read them on his own, yet he was not a student – nor did he go toschool. (While he was an apprentice with a book binder, he would wait behind after work hours and read each book bound!) After fifteen years of self-education, he had garnered so much knowledge that he succeeded Davy. Then he got a patent for his first invention, the dynamo. He was the Faradays’ Michael – yes, that unit of electricity was named for him.

A young man was working at a local factory as a paper paster on wine bottles, but had a passion to write. He wrote a book and submitted it at a local publishing house. The publisher sent him a note that the book was a mere collection of trash, and advised him to face his work at the industry as he may never become a writer. But the man was undeterred with the comment. He merely published with another publishing house. Yes, it was the best of times and the worst of times. That young man was Charles, a Dickens.

All those people had potential – a passion that needed to be tapped. Inherent in each was virgin energy trapped within, held back by tradition, society; held down by what Isaac of the Newtons chose to call inertia. They didn’t start out so well, but they ended very well-and like every well, the beginning was a level ground; the middle, a shallow depression; and the end, a great depth.

Potential is indeed a form of energy, as we learn in Science; it is that energy that is yet to be. Chemical or gravitational, it is that energy contained in a body by virtue of its position (location, orientation; gravitational),or composition (chemical). One’s potential therefore is by virtue of one’s position (access, relationships, connections) or composition (pedigree, inheritance, education). While your potential is invariably not the same as mine, no man is born empty: each comes with life!

Potential is a measure of what can be done as against what is being done: Those three people in spite of what was thought about them had things to be done- and did them. They started small. Not interested in being forests, they focussed on being trees; and they buckled their belts so they may not themselves buckle- or be buckled. For potential makes and breaks, heals and kills, lifts and plunges- as will be discussed in the sequel, The POTENTIAL: Realising Limits. Potential energy is one that intrigues me, because energy at rest must never be underestimated: the atomic bomb is not as big as a runaway train, but is far more powerful; fìrìgbọ̀n ò ṣ’ílẹ̀kùn and because everyone has potential; one only needs develop it- for the betterment of himself and the society.

Ironically, the society will that one starts huge, forgetting that even Rome in all her majesty was not built in a day, and that they are the little drops of water that make a mighty ocean. So, that humble sole proprietor is looked down upon and the business tycoon, worshipped. So that one catches the itch to reach for the cash and to be a forest.

I am proudly a sole proprietor and I started out on a day very much like yesterday- ọjọ́ náà rèé bí àná…Very often I (was and) am told that I cannot survive alone, that I cannot weather the storm or stand the weather. I am told that a tree cannot make a forest. Yet, I never set out to be a forest, I am content with being a tree bearing fruit till I am no more, and useful even in my demise; for my Lord is the Vine, and I a mere branch.

Forests scare & repel me for they harbour wild animals & tolerate inimical deeds. Very often I (was and) am told that a solitary tree would easily belumbered, but in this age of technology which forest wouldn’t? Which forest can resist the hack of the revolving saw? Success lies in one’s palms. One therefore only needs be himself, be true to himself, and not be afraid AND I strongly feel that the way forward for Nigeria at the moment is sole proprietorship (for the first few years). There are only so many(reasonable: factual and sustainable) jobs ANY government can create. Lest we again throng ourselves to death, start your business NOW.

Ayokunle Adeleye

Ayokunle is a doctor, a writer at heart, his opinions are strong and he wants a better society. Follow him on twitter @adelayok