What you don’t resist, you cannot overcome.
The legend of Bruce Lee versus Jackie Chan.
It was a beautiful day in the Summer of 1999. The sun was beginning to retire for the day ushering the coolness of the evening. It was sports time. After it would be the dinner. I can’t remember exactly what led to the argument but what happened next digs me even today. Demola and I were up in each other’s face. As a Bruce Lee fan, I wasn’t going to accept any dishonorable comment from anyone who didn’t accept that Lee was the greatest. He (Demola) was a Jackie Chan faithful and like I was to Lee, he was loyal to Chan. Lee is the greatest! No way, Chan is. Tempers flaring, neither of us was going to yield to each other. By this time, the crowd was gathering. The tempo now sustained, one dare devil amongst them suggested that we laid the argument to bed by going at each other in a bout. Few other voices reinforced his and immediately, the crowd was divided into two groups. One team was routing for me (Bruce Lee), the other was solidly behind Demola (Jackie Chan). We were led to the sports field and the duel began. We threw punches for about 10 minutes. This was the longest 10 minutes of my life. I think we had about three rounds. Both of us were exhausted to the point that we could not even fight again. This blog post is about a beautiful conversation I had with Demola yesterday night. He (Demola), now Matt Law is a subsea engineer from the prestigious University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Deliberate and conscious.
Demola is a returnee from the United Kingdom (UK) where he went to study. For over 30 minutes of the chat, Demola lamented on the state of the nation. He went on and on about how tiring it is to be back to a system that is programmed to frustrate one. I felt the same way after one month out of this country. There is no way it adds-up. Compared to more sane societies’, Nigeria is a jungle. I have had several of this type of conversations in the time past but this is different. After his outburst, Demola announced to me that he is tired of complaining. He shared with me his decision to do something about Nigeria. His plan is audacious and crazy to say the least but I can relate to it. If what Steve Jobs said is true that those who are crazy to think they can change the world are those who do, then Demola’s aspiration for Nigeria inspires me at a deeply spiritual level. He calls it a long range plan spanning at least 20 years. The highlight of which includes the transformation of the thinking and reformation of ideals. This conscious Nigerian asserted that he is not interested in becoming a Godfather. He said “we must get our hands dirty not smeared. Each and everyone of us will play crucial roles in changing this country”. He has read Animal Farm by George Orwell and isn’t suggesting an utopian dream of a society where everything is perfect. What we need is a critical mass and one that isn’t defined by just number but a resolve to build a desirable place to live and do business.
The quality that we need beyond any other is for us people of African extraction to become restless. Innovation happens at the edge of chaos and as such we must tap into the raw energy of everything that is contrary to our dream of a great nation. To be restless is to say no to status-quo. To be restless is to push the envelope of what is possible. Restlessness speaks to being fastidious. Its about pushing humanity forward. The clarion call for restlessness is one that seeks to empower we the people. There you have it, the highlights of my conversation with Matt Law; the one we know as Ademola Lawal. Between, I salute all pugilists. Like boxing, life is a serious contact sport requiring stamina, courage, strategy and more. May we stay the course. May the creator give us the grace to live as He wills. God bless Nigeria. God bless Africa. God bless humanity.