By Goke Ilesanmi
As human beings, we almost always like to wait for a perfect time to take necessary action about our plans. Is there any time called “Perfect”? I need your answer, please. Some years ago, a friend of mine bought a car and got a man to drive it and also teach him driving because he could not drive. As expected, whenever the man wanted to teach my friend, the learner sign “L” would be hung on the number plate with the driver sitting beside him and guiding him. Surprisingly, after one year of learning, my friend was still using the “L” sign and totally dependent on the driver to guide him while driving. I was compelled to ask why he was still using the “L” sign and could not drive unguided. He said he wanted to PERFECT his driving skills even when the driver had been encouraging him to be driving alone.
I had a different experience while learning driving. Within one month of learning, the man teaching me just alighted from the car one particular evening as if he wanted to buy something. Then he bent down, opened his mouth and let loose an intercontinental ballistic missile into my ears, which almost deafened me. I thought the world had come to an end! What did he say, you may want to know? He said he just remembered he had one important appointment to keep with one rich man he had just met for business assistance. Reluctantly, I nodded in agreement but the ocean of confusion had engulfed me from within. Would I say he should not go to see the man that wanted to assist him? That would be selfish of me.
Some thoughts flashed across my mind. One of them was to get a towing van to tow the car from there. Another was to look for just anybody that could help me drive it home, but that could be very risky. My dilemma became heightened because the man had never encouraged me to use the “L” sign that could have given me some protection from other road-users. After about five minutes of total confusion, I decided to start the engine of the car, then engaged the gear, accelerating little by little and gaining confidence gradually as I was driving along.
I finally got home and became very happy that I prematurely achieved a feat that I had thought could only be possible in three or four months from then.
The second day, the man came and commended me for driving home alone without hitting another vehicle. Then, he confessed that he did not have any appointment the previous day but just wanted me to master driving early as I was learning fast. In one month of learning driving, I started driving to other states unlike my friend. So whatever plan you have to execute, do not wait for any perfect time. Perfect time is a figment of imagination. If you believe there is a perfect time, then NOW is the “perfect” time to act.
Contradiction and flexibility
We like to blow hot and cold every time. We are quick to admit in one situation that nobody is perfect but God when it comes to doing some things. So we always resign our fate to attaining excellence not perfection. But it is ironical that when it comes to implementing our plans, we quickly hide under the pretext of seeking a perfect time to board the flight of perpetual procrastination.
Even our perfect God is not rigid about perfection. Genesis 1:31 says, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was VERY GOOD….” “Very good” is used not “Perfect”. According to Psalm 8:1, “O Lord our Lord, how EXCELLENT is thy name in all the earth….” “Excellent” is used not “Perfect”.
It is human nature to always look for perfection before taking action. When God told Moses that He wanted to use him to deliver the Israelites from Egypt, Moses gave excuses thus in Exodus 4: 10, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent… I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.” But he should have known that God was aware of his shortcoming. God then replied him, “…Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.”
Average lifespan and interpretation
We need to take action fast because Psalm 90:10 says, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten….” The noun phrase “Threescore years and ten” means 70 years in modern English. The implication of this is that we have a short lifespan, especially when considering the fact that Methuselah lived for 969 years and Enoch 365 years.
By daily interpretation, 70 years is about 25,568 days, including extra days of leap years involved. By the time one is 20 years, one must have spent above 7,300 days; at 30 years, one must have spent above 10,950 days; at 40 years, more than 14,600 days must have gone, leaving one with about 11,000 days. At 60 years, one must have spent 21,900 days, remaining about 3,650 days out of 70 years. This interpretation is not meant to instil fear in you but to motivate you so that you can discard your long-awaited vehicle of perfect time.
Findings and reality
Findings show that most bachelors and spinsters overstay at the bus-stop of bachelorhood and spinsterhood all in the name of either waiting for a perfect time or looking for Mr. Perfect or Miss Perfect. Even most job-seekers often get drowned in the sea of job search because they are looking for perfect jobs. I would like to advise such overambitious job-seekers to be contented with good or very good jobs because there are no perfect jobs.
I have interviewed outstanding Nigerian chief executive officers having extremely-humble employment background. I was shocked the day Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, the intelligent MD/CEO of First Registrars Nigeria Limited told me he got his first job at Michelin as a messenger, officially glorified as “Office Assistant”! Also Reverend Dare Ajiboye, the highly-respected General Secretary/CEO of The Bible Society of Nigeria said he started work in the organisation as Personal Assistant to a former General Secretary/CEO. But he was able to DARE challenges and climb the corporate ladder to the top through commendable planning, vision, focus and perseverance. Mr. Olugbemi, a man of distinction will say, “The fact is that your background does not mean your back should be on the ground forever.”
You need a good plan to succeed in whatever good thing you do. However, all great plans are useless without the discipline to keep to them or avoid perfect time for implementation. Most people that cherish entrepreneurship or self-employment fail to realise their ambition because of unnecessary procrastination till a perfect time. At times, some employees are foresighted enough to have Plans A and B, but it is always very difficult for them to implement their Plan B of self-employment because of their perpetual stay on the paid employment all in the name of gathering endless business management experience.
It is a known fact that there are three basic ways to leave a paid job. These are professionally referred to as three R’s. That is, it is either you Resign, Retire or you are Retrenched. Apart from these three, there is another form of disengagement that is between voluntary resignation and retrenchment. This is called “forced resignation”. You do not have to wait until you are retrenched or forced to resign before implementing your plan B. In short, you also do not need to wait for the official retirement time when all the energy you need to run your own business must have been exhausted as your perfect time. Celebrated entrepreneurs like Alhaji Aliko Dangote of Dangote Group; Chief Mike Adenuga of Globacom; Dr. Cosmas Maduka of Coscharis Group and Architect Taofik Popoola of Artec Practice among others did not wait perpetually for a perfect time to start their businesses.
Those who delay or look for a perfect time are regarded as time abusers. Steven Berglas, a clinical psychologist says the time abusers’ quarrel is not even with time but rather with a brittle self-esteem and an unconscious fear of being evaluated and found wanting. This is why you should focus your efforts on what makes a time abuser anxious instead of teaching him or her how to organise his or her day. Out of the identified types of chronic time abusers, the two that are concerned with delay of time are the “procrastinators” who make constant excuses to hide the fear of being found inadequate on their jobs and the “perfectionists” who often hold unachievable standards and wish to prevent criticism of their work, thus spending huge amounts of time to repeatedly crosscheck each aspect of their work. The case of procrastinators and perfectionists requires a psychological solution which is only possible through digging deep into their upbringing or background.
For those whose penchant for procrastination is borne out of weak-mindedness rather than psychological disorder, they can change their negative habit by maintaining a daily “TO-DO” list. On the list, they can write three or four things they will otherwise have postponed as some of the things they must do each day. By compelling themselves to take action on the listed items, their weakness of procrastination will disappear gradually. Through this strategy, they will easily achieve much daily, weekly, monthly and yearly because a big achievement is often a result of many small and right actions taken on time.
Finally, if you aspire to be an achiever in life, NOW is the time to take action because there is no perfect time in the dictionary of great accomplishment. You are a success.
PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI, Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker/MC, Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker and Career Management Coach. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant.
Tel: 08055068773; 08187499425