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Failing Your Way To Success



The greatest desire of every human being is to attain success in every aspect of their life; be it in the home, in one’s career, academics, finance and other areas. Everyone wants to do well. However, one common factor that both the rich and the poor have in common is the ability to fail. Every one is bound to fail in something in life.

But you can choose how to react to that failure. Whether you get up, clean yourself up, move on and try to achieve something substantial, or you decide to stay behind to lament and mourn over lost glories, is what makes you who you are today.

My main reason for writing this article is to help you get up and move on after a downfall; help you realise your hidden potentials and maximise them in order for you to be successful. It is to help you to fail your way to success.

Abraham Lincoln is a practical example of someone who failed his way through life. He was a man born from a poor family, a man surrounded by sorrow. Lincoln’s mother died at age 9, his elder sister died at age 20 during childbirth, his first love Ann Rutledge died, his son Edward died of tuberculosis, and his other son Thomas died of heart failure. His life shows that you can’t control where you start but where you end. Lincoln ended up being who many people consider best President of America because of the abolishment of slavery and other deeds. Many great men and women of course, are made from troubles, problems and sufferings they go through.

A popular Nigerian adage says “Wetin no go kill you go make you stronger”, that is, if it does kill you, it strengthens you. However, many of us don’t want to strive or suffer to get to that point of ecstacy. We all want a smooth road without challenges. In my opinion, there is nothing like a smooth road in life. I think one of the most essential things we lack is patience. We are never patient enough to realise and make our dreams come true. Let me share a story with you: A man spent millions of dollars buying equipment for digging gold in a particular area of land which he also bought. He dug, and dug, but still didn’t find the gold so he finally gave up, sold all the equipment and the land area which gold was meant to be to another man and went on to another project. But the new owner began to dig and surprisingly gold was found 4 inches away from where the other man had stopped digging. He made millions of dollars from it. The first man lacked patience. Patience is one of the key factors for a successful life.

One man I admire for his patience and persistence is Les Brown, an African-American motivational speaker. I was lucky to hear the story of this great man when he came to Nigeria for a seminar. Mr. Les Brown’s life is more complicated than most of you reading this, and indeed myself as well. Brown and his twin brother Wesley were dumped by their biological mother on the streets, but a woman picked them up and took care of them. Les was always called the dummy twin, even nicknamed ‘D.T’ because Wes was more brilliant and more friendly. One day Les’s teacher asked him a question and he couldn’t answer; all his classmates started shouting and telling the teacher, “No sir! He’s not the brilliant twin, he’s the dummy twin,” and Les said to the teacher “Yes, I’m the dummy twin” and the teacher replied, “People’s opinion about you shouldn’t be your reality”. This stuck with Les and from that day on he realized he could shape his own destiny.

Now Mr. Les Brown is a multi-million dollar motivational and inspirational speaker & author of books like Live Your Dreams, the famed audio book, The Power of Purpose, and It’s Not Over Until You Win: How to Become the Person You Always Wanted to Be, No Matter What the Obstacle. Mr Les Brown is a man that I would say failed his way to success. It doesn’t matter how bad academically you are nor how finacially unstable you are now nor how dumb other people consider you to be. Success is on the way, so far you continue and strive to be the best in whatever you do because your failure is the failure of millions of people.

How can we help ourselves become better, you ask?

  • Hold on to your dreams. Robert Hiyosaki said in his book “The Conspiracy Of The Rich” “Take away a man’s dream and you take their life. Make sure you keep your dream alive because dreams are the windows of your soul.
  • Maximise your talents because life is a market place where you have to trade what you have to get what you want.
  • Have a goal, dream & desire because in life something has to drive you to what you are seeking out of it.
  • Keep away from demeaning friends. Your life is like a rainbow with different colours and you should know by now that those who don’t add more colour to your life of rainbow, don’t only crawl away from them, walk away, runaway and, if you have wings, fly away from such people.
  • Pay Attention. ‘If you want to be somebody, if you want to go somewhere, in life all you have to do is pay attention.’
  • Read inspirational books. Books that will boost and elevate your life because you are moulding your tomorrow based on what you read today.

Some say life is too hard; here’s my advice to them: ”I believe that life is a journey often difficult and sometimes incredibly cruel, but we are all equipped for it only if we tap into our talents and gifts and allow them blossom”.

On the road to success, age is not a factor because you are never too old or young to set another goal or dream a new dream. An example is Ted Williams, a 54 year old man found on the streets of America. ‘The Man With A Golden Voice” got a video of himself speaking on Youtube and today he has done several voice-overs for American TV shows. At the moment, he is struggling with addiction, but hey!, the road to success isn’t smooth, and our choices do have consequences.

Gender is not a factor if you do not define your goals by your gender. If you are a woman and you believe it’s a man’s world, it’ll continue to be because you already have that mindset. A great example to look up to is Oprah Winfrey. Who would have thought that an African-American woman would rise to global prominence? She’s one of the richest women in the world and moves with likes of the Obamas and the Clintons.

Religion is not a factor. Neither is height. A local example is Aki & Pawpaw, the Nollywood acting duo. They’ve managed to succeed in the Nigerian movie industry irrespective of their height.

Disability is not a factor – Stevie Wonder and our very own Cobhams Asuquo are practical examples. They were born blind, but that didn’t stop them from getting what they wanted out of life – solid careers and building families of their own.

Beauty is not a factor. Some complain, “I am not beautiful/handsome. My eyes, ears and nose are too big,” etc. Such people are not going to move forward because they believe they are not presentable.

Life is all about risks and risks are also meant to be taken to be successful at times. Remember life would throw things at us that seem rather unfair, but you can fail your way to success by maximising your goals and doing everything you possibly can to walk the path of success.

See you at the top!


Bio on Damilare Aiki:
Damilare Aiki is a 17 year old graduate from Airforce Secondary School, Ikeja. He lives in Lagos State and is currently interning at He recently gained admission to the University of Lagos to study Medicine and Surgery.  His hobbies are travelling, writing and meeting exciting new people. He is a social, friendly and hardworking young man and has been a welcome addition to the BellaNaija team.


  1. adaeze

    August 16, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    i cldnt agree more

  2. Babe

    August 16, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Great dude right there…I’m proud of you Damilola! Well done… (Bella Pls publish my comment,Thank you)

  3. Babe

    August 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    Sorry,I meant Damilare…

  4. Nne Somebody

    August 16, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    Damilare is amazing for a 17year old, don’t think we can say that too often. Well done.

  5. D Pretty

    August 16, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    Well written…great article.. Indeed,See u @ the top

  6. miss independent

    August 16, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    Wow!!! This was written by a 17year old, I think that alone is enough to inspire anyone. Well written Dami, God go make you bigger.

  7. samsie

    August 16, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    I’ll be waiting to pass u at some clinicals boy…I love u already

  8. longsufferer!

    August 16, 2011 at 3:50 pm

    Profund…written by someone so young…clearly an old soul..

  9. younglady

    August 16, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    very inspiring!!! keep up the good work.

  10. Godlovesme4me

    August 16, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    I love love love this Damilare…you cldnt have said it in a better way. I am totally inspirated and motivated all over again, see you @ the top. All the best D.!!

  11. awelewa

    August 16, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Good one.u just motivated so inspired.God bless u

  12. Effect

    August 16, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Well written, thought provoking and deeply inspiring. I am particularly inspired by the point “pay attention”. A lot of us lack in that area.

  13. ojaybaby

    August 16, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    these words speak to me so much!: “Keep away from demeaning friends. Your life is like a rainbow with different colours and you should know by now that those who don’t add more colour to your life of rainbow, don’t only crawl away from them, walk away, runaway and, if you have wings, fly away from such people”

  14. jennietobbie

    August 16, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    awww….such a cutie. Keep it up and win your way to success Dami. I love young people that GET IT!!! Kudoz

  15. lizk

    August 16, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Great great article. Imagine if all the youths in Nigeria had this mindset.

  16. Mary007

    August 17, 2011 at 12:24 am

    I am rooting for you, at that age I also read inspirational books and that set me for the blessed route my life has taken

  17. Lady Tee

    August 17, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Thought provoking and very challenging to those of us who always have an excuse. Your parents must be very proud of you for being so wise at such a young age.

  18. faith

    August 17, 2011 at 8:51 am

    ghood words….i love

  19. Onyx

    August 17, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    I am so pleased that there are young Nigerians in this present age of text speak (which. I. hate. HATE!!) developing their writing skills and publishing coherent articles. Well done, Dami.

  20. oscar

    August 18, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Nice one Dami.
    U are blessed

  21. Lola X

    August 18, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    Great read!!!

    Lola x, London

  22. Purple

    August 20, 2011 at 10:59 am




  23. simi

    August 20, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Wow Dami, Job well done. I’m printing this and putting it on my wall.

  24. onen ebokpo

    August 21, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    Wow!!!!!!! This is just what I need, life has been throwing some rocks at me lately and I know for sure that every problem has expiry date, so please do not stop writing, this things can people’s life.

  25. Doll baby

    August 21, 2011 at 8:26 pm

    Well done Damilare, but do hope there’s no plagiarism in this write-up and the parts not quoted are coming originally from you.

  26. Omonaikee

    August 22, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    Well done Dami. keep writing CONSISTENTLY- thats the key. congratulations too on getting into med. school. you owe it to yourself to do well with all your talents and opportunities so keep success in view both ways (education and writing). good piece, better bio- you’ll do great stuff before 20!

  27. Kay

    September 27, 2011 at 11:43 am

    The most amazing thing about this article is that it is written by a 17yr old.Wow!Wow!Wow!…

  28. miracle nkemjika

    January 29, 2012 at 4:29 am

    wow….is an undastatement, i feeel motivated all over again may God richly b less u!

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