I should have written this on Sunday, but when you actively fight capitalism, the few days of respite come and go so fast. In short, a lot made me push it to today. But come to think of it, talking to ourselves as men never gets outdated because there are always examples and lessons to be picked around us. So, ‘Nothing Spoil’
For the first time in a while, I got invited to participate in a small evening gathering with the guys. I was amused, and I immediately said Yes. It was something out of my normal schedule, and I wanted it. A safe space with the guys was something cool, you know. Then, compared to other Men’s Day that just came and went the same way, this had an air of chill and vulnerability.
It was an evening of sharing light-hearted banters, making jokes, eating, playing FIFA, and, of course, some serious talk. So, as we munched on the crunchy chicken courtesy of our host, we also touched on many core issues, and I just got the urge to share some of the insights with you, so let’s get on with it together.
First, Nigeria is Tough
At this point, there is no need for political correctness; the country is tough. Year after year, surviving the country as a young man gets tougher. We have not such great fortunes with leadership, so with each passing year, the country is more like a maze closing on its citizens looking for one way to escape.
As a man in Nigeria, one of the things that actively militates against your growth is the unpredictability of the Nigerian situation. Around here, anything is possible. Terrible policies can be suddenly enacted, and it's ‘Fuck you’ from the same people you elected; and what then do you do? You shrug it off and keep moving.
That unpredictability has become so terrible in a way that formerly miscellaneous expenses have now become major. Your transport fares, lunch at work, data expenses, and everything that was formerly affordable and had nothing on your salary is no longer what they are. Now, every Naira you spend must be accounted for, and you cannot afford to slack in any way.
With this as a man, what do you do? Well, if you are like me, this is the time to cut down on all those extra expenses. I have had to learn the hard way for real. Plan for every penny, and if you must get a spreadsheet to get the hang of your inflows and outflows, then so be it. You have to stay up.
Be Proud of What Puts Food On Your Table
‘Every honest work is good work’, so as a man, whatever puts food on your table should be respected and treated like what it is. An honest day job. You are growing, becoming more aware, learning about who you are, confronting your fears, assuaging your doubts, and coping with the times, so you are more than you give yourself credit for.
I have been in some positions in the past where I passed up on jobs I could have easily handled and gotten some good bucks for it. This was, of course, due to nothing other than my ego and my pride. But now, I am over that now, I am a damn good writer, and I know my worth, so bring in all the gigs; I will tell you the ones I can handle and the ones I cannot.
Put yourself out there, there is no gain in playing small or belittling yourself. Get out there, pitch your ideas, participate in challenges, and just do everything you can to keep moving. Your worth as a man should not be tied to your monetary value, but do not be found small, you are made for the big leagues, my guy.
Irrespective of your level, know you are made for the big leagues and do not give up on your dreams. However long it may take, the end is in sight, and you will hit your targets in no time.
Never Underrate the Place of Professional Development
As much as earning the big bucks should be in the sights of every man out there, we should also not forget the place of professional development. Folks are out here making what is supposed to be a 10-year professional jump in 5. You want to know one thing: I am also guilty of this, and to know, all you need to do is look at my Coursera tab.
So many courses are waiting to be completed there, and I have earnestly started on them. Have second, third, or even fourth hustles, but have a template for your career. Be laser-focused on what you are trying to get done. In today's world, it is easy to be a Jack of all trades and Master of none.
Recruiters always want stability, so keep that in mind when seeking to change jobs or assume new roles. I am also learning that nothing is too much to spend when investing in your personal development. ‘What do you mean, you have spent over 700k on professional development courses this year alone?’. It might seem alarming but spare no expense in developing yourself and making yourself an institution.
Be Serious With Your Finances
It took me some time to get this because I always thought that all I had was to keep working to level up and afford everything I had always wanted. But I have realised that if you cannot manage the little, how can you expect to improve when it gets bigger?
Money is a tool to be used, it is an asset, and as a man, you should be able to protect that asset, and use it in a way that benefits you. It is big 2023, soon to be 2024, and as a man, there should be no excuse as to why you are not saving up. Try to get your money up in the best way possible. If you have to plot ‘Excel’ to track your finances, do it.
Invest your money, seek advice, and learn from the experiences of others who have come before you. In the age of social media, tap into the rich perspectives it offers and learn everything you can about how best to get your money up. You are a man and have better luck with Westham winning the Champions League than getting the help you need. Be intentional.
Take Your Friends/ Relationships Seriously
Of course, we are going to banter with each other, we are going to make jokes, we are going to have light-hearted conversations about the trauma we passed through growing up, but be intentional about the friends you keep, and be sure that your friends will be there for you the same way you will be there for them.
The world seems to be obsessed with male vulnerability and male emotional displays, and while nothing is wrong with being vulnerable, be sure you have a close-knit circle that can cover you when things get hard. Be sure you are not with superficial friends who will make light of your situation and make jokes about them.
Be intentional about the friends you keep, and be sure they will ride hard for you the same way you would for them. It is 2023, as I said earlier, and as a man, it is fine to have down moments; you are not weak by talking to your partner or laying out your worries. Your relationships should hold you up; the onus is on you to ensure that.
You are a Man, and that is the Final
As a man, you are only responsible for your direct actions, so always be ready to own up and take charge. Take responsibility, but what I need to remind you never to do is never to feel responsible for the actions of other men. Be self-aware, always strive to get your head right, respect boundaries, respect others, and treat them with the regard they deserve.
There are so many things you cannot change about the world. You are not Superman, and the world is bizarre in many ways. The biggest influence you will have is in your immediate community, so do your best. This year’s International Men’s Day theme was ‘Zero Male Suicide’. Suicide rates are increasing amongst men, and so you need to tap into your community.
I have always thought that Suicide is not an Option, but in recent times, I have come to understand that it is one and, in fact, a solid one. You are never alone; talk to someone, and I am sure someone will be there. We only have each other. The male ego is there, and the bragging will always be there, but after everything, we are all humans. So tap into your humanity. I promise you everything will be good.