Someone once told me that 99% of humans use only 30% of their inherent potential.
Unfortunately for me, this was in retort to a statement I had made regarding the colour of number plates in the UK. I had, after ten years of inhabiting that isle, just realised that a vehicle’s front and rear plates have to be different colours. It was such obvious information, but like most things that are right in front of one’s eyes, I missed it.
The gentleman who so eloquently qualified my ignorance, without making me feel inferior, went on to advise me on the need to extend oneself, particularly as God had entrenched certain undeniable gifts within us. He opined that Einstein, Bell and Michelangelo would have been unworthy of note, had it not been their zeal to push themselves and their visions, to the limit, although, he was gracious enough to accept the individuals in question, had their unfair share of natural intelligence.
That salient point notwithstanding, it was now crystal clear that I had to take my ‘fair’ share of intelligence and broaden it as much as was mentally and physically possible. I was advised to read voraciously and conduct simple mental exercises like; continuously adding, subtracting and multiplying numbers (no paper please). Also, memorising car number plates (I wasn’t sure whether this was just a humorous inclusion) and of course, telephone numbers.
I do all these, to this day and considering the fact that alcohol has been proven to kill brain cells, I am living proof that the exercises work. Okay, there are going to be the cruel jibes from my mean friends, who are now likely to say things like; ‘no Castro, you are still as stupid and drunk as you were in University!’
Seriously though, my father passed on a year after he enlightened me. His thoughts stay with me and the older I grow, the wiser his sayings become. If the truth be known, the greatest mistakes that I have made in my short life have been closely linked to my choosing to ignore some of his worthy advice. He always used to say Nigeria was a perfect example of a country where inherent potential was definitely underused and talent, criminally wasted. Of course the evidence is overwhelmingly in his favour, even nine years after his demise. Crazy thing, but my father like most fathers of his generation, was fearful for his children and our peers. I wonder if their worries have not been manifested right in front off our eyes – just compare our achievements with what our parents had accomplished at our age (I am 42 by the way!).
Having come from him, I wished I had understood that he was my beginning. That is why today, I am determined to increase my 30%. I just hope my capacity for the other 70 hasn’t gone with all the unheeded advice.
One day. I hope Nigeria does the same....