“Wise sayings” often have deep truths hidden beneath their glossy surfaces. That has always been the most effective tool of truly wise men: to conceal priceless wisdom in the commonest and seemingly most mundane of remarks. The most obvious result of this cunning act has been the separation of the wise from the foolish, generation after generation, as the vast majority fail to see or hear beyond the literal interpretations of our most common statements.
We salute ourselves by saying “good morning!” or “have a nice day!” or, as the season suggests “happy new year!” as a matter of courtesy but we forget that we are actually saying a short prayer for those we greet, wishing that the day or year will bring them good; but, that is not my focus today.
One of the most quoted sayings is “old habits die hard”. It’s used in so many varying contexts and has been so frequently misinterpreted that most people do not even realize the heaviness of the expression anymore. It’s quoted by mothers warning their daughters to stay away from bad ex-boyfriends, husbands apologizing for not squeezing the toothpaste from the bottom, and more recently, by we normal human beings advising Arsenal fans to give up their hopes of winning any silverware (apologies to the Arsenal fans reading this…I just couldn’t resist the urge to laugh at your expense).
Every year, millions of people in the world document their “resolutions” for the New Year. They express their desire to drop bad habits, pick u good ones, quit smoking, swear less, pray more, stop supporting Arsenal (obviously my resolution is to stop taking cheap shots at them), and to generally become better people. The idea is commendable at the very least, and quite a few of these people tend to achieve some level of success with their decisions but sooner or later, Newton’s first law of motion comes into play: “an object will remain in a state of rest or in motion in a straight line unless acted upon by a force”. This singular statement describes the vicious cycle a lot of us find ourselves in year after year.
The truth is that a new year will bring no change of its own. It has no special powers or ability to transform anyone or anything for better or for worse. If the 31st of December is a Saturday, then the 1st of January will be a Sunday! It’s just that simple. So attaching some immense behavioural transformation to the beginning of a new year, while idealistic, is for most people just one of those “old habits” that has refused to die.
Surely, it cannot be that easy to transform a human being…or anything for that matter! Real change is not the result of big plans, or wishful thinking, but of the readiness and the resolve to embrace and pursue that change whenever the opportunity presents itself: whether it’s the 1st of January or the 29th of February (which by the way would be a lot easier to use as a target date for resolutions seeing as it occurs once every four years). Too many of us have started “hiding” behind these New Year resolutions as a way of postponing those changes that we so desperately need.
Am I saying that New Year resolutions are pointless? Most definitely not! I believe that a problem discovered is a problem half-solved. I also believe that a problem half-solved remains a problem NOT solved. All I’m saying is if we gave as much attention to changing our ways EVERY morning as we so frantically do on the first day of the year, it might be just a bit easier to change.
In closing, some of you will wake up tomorrow morning with an urge to take a morning run; and though it might not be one of your new year resolutions, fulfilling that urge might be the seed for better health that you really need to be planting. Some of you will wake up and feel like calling an old friend you haven’t seen in years. Some will wake up wanting to spend some time in prayer, and of course some will wake up tired of supporting Arsenal (or at least hoping that Theo Walcott stays). Real change is not always planned for, but it always presents us with the opportunity to be integrated into our plans. I think the real “resolution” should be to embrace that opportunity whenever it shows up.
Another one of those common sayings is that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a step”. Whatever it is we want to achieve this year, no matter how minute or mammoth-sized it may be, there is a small and seemingly inconsequential step that we can take right now that will set us on the path to achieving it. Take that step…and have a truly happy new year!
Clement “DJ KLEM” Kponu has been around for a bit. In 1998 as a teenager, the University of Ibadan graduate of Electrical/Electronic Engineering started the journey into music production, and by 2004, while still in university, he’d built himself a reputation as the go-to producer and remixer in Ibadan. This success saw him moving to Lagos to join the Knighthouse crew as in-house producer and DJ. With production credits for some of Nigeria’s finest artists including Wizkid, Mo’Cheddah, Sasha P, VECtor, EVA , Ice Prince, Sound Sultan, Sauce Kid (Sinzu), Phenom and many more, and with two critically celebrated albums (Six8Ten and Afrofunkydiscosoul) to his name, DJ Klem is undoubtedly one of Nigeria’s top producers.
30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.