Choose Yourself

Ayooluwa Uthman
5 min readJan 2, 2018

I was thinking about choices and freedom, and an insight that isn’t particularly new, hit me. When we say we want stuff — like a new car or a 100 million naira, we don’t actually want those things, we just want the outcomes we’ve associated to those things.

For example, let’s say you want one million naira. You’ve prayed and fasted; cried to heaven for money to fall on you. And there’s nothing anybody can tell you, you have to get that paper.

But then if you probed this desire deeper, you’d find that it you don’t actually want a million. What you want is the financial relief, the good feelings, and the relative freedom that comes from knowing you have a million in the bank. And here’s the interesting part, you don’t need a million to feel those things.

I can’t tell you what you need, that knowledge is available only to you. But I do have some good advice; don’t take what other people or society tell you about your happiness to heart. Unless you have a good and thoroughly validated reason for doing so.

I’m not saying this to diss society or to be contrarian - though I find great pleasure in doing so. I’m simply speaking from a perspective gained through prolonged observation and deep thought. And from this angle, society tends to tout a lot of bullshit as rules for happiness.

The general idea is to make big bucks, buy luxury cars, marry a hot chick or buff guy and die rich. But when people follow through with this plan, they find that it doesn’t bring the promised rewards, or rather, what it brings isn’t what they want.

I came to this realization via a combination of reading, experience and reflection on said experience. For the longest time, I’ve had rockstar dreams. I’ve fantasized about fame, tours, stupid money, TV interviews and so on. They were my foremost thoughts for a large part of my youth.

Alas, the days went by with no valid action on my part and at some point in recent time, when I was older, wiser and had learnt a thing or two about life, I decided to objectively examine the prospects of becoming a rockstar.

The first thing I realized it was that it was a potentially lonely and arduous journey (that applies to basically any journey that takes you out of convention and popular opinion) and that in all my youthful desire I had never thought about the reality of what it meant to chase this dream.

But that is a story for another post. The point here is that, through a series of discoveries and pseudo — experiences, I realized that making a choice is not about what you can gain from that choice, because a lot of times, what reality delivers is far from what imagination expects.

Thus, your motivation for making choices should probably run along the lines of “does this choice resonate with me? Does it resonate with who I am strongly enough for me to stick with it irrespective of consequences?”

I imagine that the above questions sound like a load of idealistic bullshit, but just hear me out. I intellectually (I’m struggling to internalize it) believe that life can’t be lived in expectation of future rewards.

Most of the future rewards society tries to sell to you aren’t actual rewards. They are just events that give you a shot of dopamine, and after that you keep on with the same drab existence. That new house, won’t be so new after a while. The extra money you make will not be saved, you’ll spend it on something unnecessary, because more money equals a bigger lifestyle. You’ll get used to that fine girl you married and she’ll just become another human being.

Don’t get me wrong, all of these things are delightful and I fantasize about them a lot, but what is the point of having a shitload of money if you have to spend it to maintain a life you hate? What’s the point of marrying that fine girl if you only feel good about her when other people see her with you? What’s the point of hanging out with people you can’t have an interesting convo with? What is the need of having all that luxury, all that wealth, plenty plenty money if you no fit to jaiye?

You’ll just be a very comfortable prisoner, a richer version of the same boring person, you’ve always been.

Now this isn’t to advocate poverty either, hell no, it’s the number one killer of dreams. I’m talking instead, about having a life you truly value, that you truly find interesting. I’m talking about waking up every morning looking forward to living your life, I’m talking about being able to kiss your spouse deeply not just because you love her, but because you’re just so full of life.

I’m talking about having something to chase, a life to live for, a life that is intrinsically satisfying most of the time, a life you own and not the other way around.

Money and comfort don’t give you that. In my experience, these feelings come when I’m being true to all the things that make me, me. When I’m learning and practicing the things that take me down the rabbit hole. When I spend time with people that add value to me. When I do the activities that make me come alive and so on.

And from observing the life of others who live like this, I’ve found that they always find a way to make the things they love a major part of their lives. Whether it’s through finding jobs related to those things, struggling through life just to hold on to them, or finding a way to monetize them. They always make their life serve them rather than vice-versa.

In essence, the aim of life isn’t to be Bill Gates. Judging from experience, it’s about knowing who you are, what you need, and the best way possible for you to get it. And of course, actually going for it.

Then again there are the people who value comfort and stability over everything else, there’s nothing wrong with that, just make sure you make that money, dasall.

Till my next post, see you all later.

NOTE: I still want to be a rockstar tho and if it clicks, fuck yeah!! If it doesn’t, on to the next thing, the main aim now is to have a very interesting life, a life worth writing about, feel me?

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