Read the first part of this story HERE.
Biodun’s wife had turned her back to the brothers at this time. She was busy in the kitchen sink while Alex and Biodun were at the kitchen counter, on top of which the set of silverware was impressively displayed.
Biodun reminded Alex of when they were both growing up and how he would ask Alex to help him out with tips on making friends, studying effectively, getting jobs and all the other areas where Alex seemed to be ‘shining’. He reminded Alex of how he always had no tips to give because he always claimed not to be doing anything special or know why he was exceptional.
Alex motioned with his head, indicating that he remembered what Biodun was talking about. He also had this slightly puzzled look on his face as he wondered how all that had to do with anything.
Biodun knew it would take something dramatic to get the point across to his brother, who for now was so emotionally distraught that his logic seemed to be failing him. So, Biodun glanced at his wife, who still had her back to them. He had a mischievous look on his face as he returned his gaze to the silverware.
He picked up one of the fancy-looking forks from the set and twisted so badly – beyond recognition.
Alex’s eyes shot wide open and he looked over at Biodun’s wife, hoping that she would not turn around and see what her dear husband had just done to her dear cutlery.
But it was too late…
She turned around at that moment and had shock and unbelief written all over her face. “What did you do that for?” She demanded. Biodun calmly explained to both of them:
“You see this badly twisted fork?” He asked as he put the fork down among the other forks arranged in a line on the counter. “It’s the most useless of all the forks here”, he continued.
“You bet it is!” His wife interjected. “And whose fault is that?” She inquired rhetorically.
Alex had his eyes and mouth wide open this whole time. He had nothing to say. He just hoped this was going somewhere worth it.
Biodun continued. “It is the most unique out of them all because it’s still a fork but looks very different from the other forks”.
At this time, Alex was totally confused and was getting a little irritated. “What’s your point bro?” He demanded.
“Well, that’s you Alex”, Biodun responded. “You are a very unique guy”, he continued. “Things happen to you naturally; things the rest of us struggle to achieve. You’ve always been exceptional and we’ve always tried to figure out how you do it. Even you don’t know how you do what you do!”
“Okay”, Alex interrupted. “So I’m unique, but do you also want to say that I’m useless?”
“Well”, Biodun anxiously continued. “We, the rest of us, have figured out what works and what doesn’t, from our many failures, and we can teach them to our children. We understand some of the principles of success now and we’re passing them along”.
“Are you saying I don’t understand the principles of success?” Alex retorted.
“Not quite”. Biodun felt as though he were walking on egg shells. His big brother was getting upset and his wife was still not getting why her precious fork was just twisted beyond recognition. He felt very much on his own, even in a room of three people.
But he continued. “You see, you KNOW the principles of success. They come naturally to you. But you haven’t studied them to UNDERSTAND them. It’s easier for us to study them through failure, evaluation and then trying again. But you, on the other hand, try once and succeed once. And so you don’t bother to reflect on how you got your success.”
It was beginning to ‘click’ for Alex. Biodun’s wife’s mouth was slowly closing too.
“So you can’t teach anyone what you haven’t understood yet.” Biodun was sounding a bit more confident. “You can’t teach your kids how to do well in life if all you’ve done is just ‘wing’ it and succeed.”
“But it’s not my fault that I’ve always just – “
Biodun didn’t let Alex finish. “Yes, you’ve always just had it easy but you also have to realize that it’s not all about you. There are always going to be people in your life to benefit from you, to learn from you. So, make sure you’re picking up stuff along the way, along your journey through life. You could even record them in your journal just so you can go back and pull out stuff like principles to teach your kids so they can do well too. If not, they’ll keep trying to please you and keep asking you how they can do things as well as you do them, and all you’d be able to say is ‘just do it, and it’ll be fine’.
But, no, it’ll not be fine!” Biodun felt like the big brother here, but he ignored the feeling and continued.
“You need to stop being so exceptional to your kids and start being an example to them! Start being a teacher and not a superstar! Right now, you’re like this twisted fork – so unique but, at the same time, so useless to those around you, those who are to benefit from you. But you can change that from today and start paying attention to what you do and how you do them, just so you can extract the principles to teach others. No one succeeds by mistake. There are principles behind every success. You know them, but now you need to understand them for the sake of others.”
Alex was staring at his brother pensively. His face showed that he had got half of what was said and the other half just needed some time to digest. Biodun was staring back with a little bit of hope and anxiety. He had hoped his brother understood what he said, but was anxious that he might take offense.
He looked away from Alex, giving him a moment to digest it all, and looked over to his wife. His anxiety was completely wiped away as he noticed that her once slowly closing mouth had turned into a proud big smile.