Dare to dream and be more


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On my last birthday, an older friend, a woman I have immense respect for, likened me to Ifemelu (the heroine in Chimamanda Adichie’s much acclaimed latest book “Americana”). A comparison that had me re-reading the story. A comparison I treasure very much, for Ifemelu was/is a kickass wonderful woman – strong, determined, intelligent, right-thinking. She had her flaws like everyone else but she remains a heroine worthy of emulation.
So, yeah, I am thrilled to be seen as Ifemelu-ish! Because I have come a long way from the confused girl with bad grades, whose father and English language teacher were the only ones who saw a potential in her. I have come a long way from the young woman who made wrong choices because she thought they were cool choices. I have come a long way from the young woman scared to speak out because she dared not be seen as different. It has been a long, hard and educating journey, but I have become (and I still am becoming) the woman I want to be; the woman who has lived and learned through her experiences; the woman who has earned great opportunities and a promising future.
My advice to anybody going through a difficult time is: hang on and hang tight! It is never ever okay to give up, to stop dreaming. Success is the stuff of which dreams are made. That and hardwork.
So, before you give up, ask yourself “what would Albert Einstein have done?”, “what would Nelson Mandela have done?”.
Imagine if Albert Einstein never dreamt of walking in the moon. Imagine he gave up when people repeatedly laughed at his “tall” dream. Would he still be THE Einstein we all know and admire, or would he have faded into obscurity?
It is always possible to dream, and live your dream.
During my final year at university I made a scrapbook, with the usual question “where do you see yourself in ten years?” on everyone’s page. On my page I answered, “working as a senior executive with UNICEF”. It seemed like a “tall” dream, and my friend and I always laughed about it. And yes, it has been five years since, and I am nowhere near that goal but I have also up-ed my goals in life. I still dream and I dream big, because it would a sin not to. Because, I trust in myself and I know my capabilities and I have something to give to the world – me.
A great woman I admire so much (so much so that I had a picture of her hanging in my office. A picture that had some people asking if she was my mum – apparently there is resemblance), Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf once said, “if your dreams don’t scare you, then they are not big enough”.
Sleep on that statement and when you wake up, sing this like a mantra – “I dare to dream because I can be more”.
As the world remembers Nelson Mandela and his great works for humanity, I urge us all to dare to dream so we can be more.
On that note, I sign off, leaving you with these inspiring and humbling words of the great African Humanist – “it is in our hands to make of our world, a better one for all”.

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About Egoyibo Okoro

Beautiful. Friendly. Opinionated. Feminist. Scholarly. Apolitical. Christian. Sometimes, I write in Engli-Igbo and/or pidgin English. Just so you know, I am naturally disgruntled about a lot of things, most especially gender inequality, human rights abuses, racism and corruption. #EndChildMarriage. #EndTerrorism. #EndPoverty. #EndRacism. #EndImperialism. The Igbo say, "egbe bere, ugo bere, nke si ibe ya ebena nku kwa ya" - Live and let live!
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