- Apr 12, 2021
- 2 minutes
Wisdom From The Barber's Shop
Segun is a Lagosian, a father of three, skinny, dark complexion middle-aged man, who works virtually 15 hours every day, save Sundays, yet, he only manages to stay afloat. I know Segun because I frequent his barbing saloon at least twice a month, back when I lived in Nigeria. Segun may be struggling economically, but he is no whiner — as a matter of fact, he is surprisingly a cheerful and grateful soul.
When I sit to have my hair cut, I'm entertained by Segun with his unique stories. His job gives him the chance to meet people and get to hear the stories of their lives — the pains, the struggles, the fights, the battles as well as their victories and conquests.
On this day, Segun told me about the story of a young lady of about the age of 29. We will call her Funke.
Funke, he said, is a single mother who lives not very far from him. She moved from Calabar about 5 years ago and has since acclimatized herself with the Lagos fast life. She was dating a man who was abusive, the same man she had her only son. After years of abuse, she finally left the man, got her own place and opened up a beer parlour shop.
It seemed Funke was finally getting her life together and maybe, just maybe things would turn out great for her. But, he said, just last month, Funke got really sick, and was taken to the hospital, she got diagnosed with ductal carcinoma. She is currently still in the hospital looking for how to raise the money for her operation.
Poor Funke, I thought. Life doesn't seem to be smart in picking her victims.
Segun looked at me through the saloon mirror and muttered; “You see life isn’t fair?
It may seem life is normal and nothing unique — it seems this way, only because we’ve grown accustomed to its normality, that most part of life has become trivial, mundane — too normal.
But remembering today the story of Funke, opened my mind a bit, to reflect and be grateful for my life. There are little things I have learned from, things as small as a remark, or a happening — mundane things that most often we let slip without giving it much thought.
They say success is not in doing extraordinary things, but in doing ordinary things extraordinarily well. What if we repurpose that phrase, and make it sound like this; happiness in life is not in finding leg shaking miracles, but in noticing the subtle miracles happening in front of us; like a young child smiling at you, or the fact that we have a home to come back to, a roof over our head and a family that loves us.
My father always said to me, even the word, nonsense, has sense in it.
In other words, there is something to learn from everything. Lessons from mishaps, and blessings from the miracles. The winter and the summer are both necessary for life. A phrase that goes aptly with the remarks, was made by Les Brown; the prosperous years we put in our pockets, and the lean years, we put in our hearts.
I hope that today, just like I am beginning to practice myself, to focus more on those things in our life, that you do the same. I believe there is enough joy to light up the bulbs of our faces if we choose to look with a different pair of eyes. Remember the following words;
“It is not the things we do not have that keeps us from being happy, it is the things we think we need that steals our joy.“— Les Brown
Learn with the best. Get access to all existing and future courses and articles created by George Blue Kelly.