I remember when I was a kid, I was about crossing from Primary 4 into the Junior Secondary School. Yes, I was smart and brilliant, so brilliant that I never have to read before I’d successfully pass an exam or win a quiz competition; so my Parents believed that I could cope. But I remember how my big brother, while telling me about how the secondary school system works because he’s been there, explained how it’s so different from the Primary School. He mentioned about how different teachers teach different subjects and each would give an assignment and though it may be cumbersome, yet you must not fail to do any of ’em. And he was just saying all that to let me know that it’s not the same way I handled Primary School that will work for Secondary School, that I needed to be ready for what’s ahead. His message was clear but the picture my little sub-conscious mind picked was that of fear- fear of not being able to really cope with the new system only it was a little too late to change my mind.

The fear became real when I started out and like I’d sub-consciously believed, I found myself struggling with the new system and ended up moving from the 1st — 3rd position I used to occupy to 20th — 25th position in a class of about 50 students. Fair? Well, it went on like that for the next 2–3 years until I changed to another school. The very first class I attended at my new school did the magic. I remember the teacher who taught us that morning, a young woman who should then be in her late 20s. She was taking the subject Integrated Science — as it was called then. She recognized that I was new and asked me to introduce myself which I did and afterwards, she asked me what my best subject was; I wasn’t sure what to say but I told her English Language anyway. There was something about her, I could tell she liked me and then the moment came when she looked at me straight in the eye with a little grin on her face and she said “you look like a brilliant student”. In my mind, I was asking myself, really? If she had said that to me 3 years ago, I’d have agreed easily but standing before her, I just didn’t feel like the brilliant boy I used to be anymore but I didn’t want her to know that she’s probably wrong so I smiled and bit my nails.

Truth is, she probably just said that and I probably don’t have that brilliant look but the way she said it changed my life and rekindled my fire. It rekindled it so much that despite the things my classmates told me being a new student — like how the school is strict with grades and how a lot of students get repeated, somehow all that didn’t get to me coz I just didn’t want to disappoint this woman who saw me as brilliant, I didn’t want her to think of me as otherwise. And after the first result came out, I was holding the 10th position and I remember saying to myself, ‘If I could manage to beat most of my classmates to the 10th position, then I could be better and maybe I’m still that brilliant young boy I was after all’. Needless to say, I improved ever since and I made my way back to the top.

How many times have you because of something someone said, lost courage in yourself? How many times have your sub-conscious mind, while reading through an article or listening to someone, picked on the wrong detail other than that which the writer or speaker intended and as a result, you’ve made yourself believe what is not?

During my Remedial days at the University of Ilorin, Fufu Campus, I was a member of a small family of love called ‘success assembly’ and there, a brother shared his story with us. He was in his final year in secondary school when one day he was passing by and he overheard some guys talking about how difficult it is to gain admission through post jamb and that there is an easier way to gain admission into the University called ‘Pre-degree’. And right there, he said to himself “I’m gaining my admission through Pre-degree”. Although, he didn’t really pay attention to its implication then but true to what he said, he tried post jamb for a few years but never made it. And in short, he never gained admission until he went through the pre-degree program.

Was the brother I shared his story destined to make it into the University only through Pre-degree? Nah… I’m sure he’d have made it through post jamb if only his sub-conscious mind had not been made to believe that it was hard and difficult to gain admission with.
And myself, I wouldn’t have struggled at first with secondary school the way I did if only my sub-conscious mind had not been made to believe that I may not be able to handle the new system.

What about you? 
That subject/course you are finding difficult to understand and think you hate because of what you’ve heard people say about it… If only you’d channel your mind to believe otherwise, it’ll surprise you how much you’ll love and understand it.
That food you think you don’t like, probably because of the first impression you had about it… If only you’ll give it a try on a clean slate, it just might end up being one of your favorites.

So, what is it that you’ve misconceived? Consciously or unconsciously? You should know that it’s not about what people say, it’s about what you do with what people say.
And perhaps you’ve lost your courage because of what you’ve heard and forgotten who you are, let me put it straight to you…
You are smart, intelligent, brilliant, and you’ve got all it takes in you to be whoever you want to be. Just never let a negative comment or a negative remark stop you from being who you are meant to be!