I’ll go out, like always — Samson.

I love soccer. It is the beautiful game. Jogo bonito has no rival. If you think religion is the opium of the people, jogo bonito comes a good second. It is easy and cheap to set up. All you need is a ball — which is anything round, circular, spherical — and then anything can be the goal post. Voila, you can start making folks chase the ball with the aim of scoring.

In Nigeria, everyone has an opinion about soccer; either on how they play or how the game should be played. Millions are glued to the TV sets on weekends to watch their favourite European team slug it out. Well, I am not the watching type and so I stay active by playing.

Every Saturday morning from 9am to about 1030am, I join my local soccer team to play. It is a great way to burn the fat on a weekend. Hey, I make it clear to everyone that I have no career aspiration whatsoever and so I play as I can. Mid 30s is not the time to aspire to be a great soccer player. And so I do not deceive myself. But that is for me. The case is different for a few others.

Mondays are soccer discussion days in the office. Most guys talk about their teams and how they performed. At times some of my colleagues talk about their soccer exploits and prowess in the years gone by. I do not doubt them. As the discussion progresses, they suddenly get inspired to join the local team for a match. Everyone welcomes them when they come around and the game begins. This is where the drama starts. A man who has not kicked a soccer ball for more than 15 years tries to outpace himself. He pants for precious oxygen. He wants to dribble and the tricks are not coming together. After 15 minutes, he realises that he’s thoroughly disgraced himself. His kids in the stands wonder what has happened to Daddy. Daddy limps out; gasping for breath like a gazelle that just escaped from the claws of a tiger. And Daddy never returns to playing football for whatsoever reasons. He quits without saying so.

Let me diagnose what happened. The man forgot who he is. He thinks of himself in the context of who he was; who he used to be. He thinks he can master what he has left unpractised for more than a decade. He wants to get the results he used to get BUT he forgets who he is. He is a man in his mid 30s. He has love handles. His bones are well formed. He has a sedentary job. He forgets the old Nigerian slang “I get am before no be money”. Loosely interpreted as, “I used to be wealthy doesn’t count today”

This is the same thing in our world today. Parents want to bring up their kids the same way their parents did and forget how the world has changed in the past 20 years. As one of my friends once said, “NTA kids are not DSTV kids” (Analogue TV generation are different from digital TV generation). Employees take to the workplace, skills that nobody wants because they are dated and they expect to be top- rate performers. We want to fight terrorism the way we have always fought it decades ago and expect to win. We want to do the things we have always done and get the results we want to get despite the seismic changes over the years. This will not happen.

This is the Biblical Samson stepping out against his enemies in the way he had always gone out not bothering to check if the playing field was still the same. The story is detailed in Judges 16. It is a good read. The result Samson got was abysmal failure and he went downhill from there.

 

Donald Trump talked about a great developer, William Levitt, who built the famous Levittown in large suburban America. According to the story, Mr Levitt sold the company for a good amount of money and took a sabbatical. The guys that bought the company did not do the things Levitt did and they were in trouble. About 12 years after, they called Mr Levitt and offered to sell him back the company at a discounted price. Mr Levitt took it on and went to work but before he knew it the company went bankrupt. Trump met him at a private dinner and he asked Levitt what happened. Levitt responded “Donald, I lost my momentum”. So much had happened in 12 years that Levitt had not been aware of. The old tricks and ways of working could not produce what Levitt had produced before.

As we step out in whatsoever endeavours we want to embark on, especially things we have done before, let us ask ourselves the pertinent question:

  1. What has changed?
  2. How can I adapt to the changes?
  3. How do I proceed from here?

Fellas, don’t go as you have always gone. Some things might have changed and you need to know that. Don’t be like my soccer friends and colleagues in the office. Know when the song is over and stop dancing. Ok…do we agree? Even if we don’t….hasta la vista.

Regards,