When I was a student, I had the opportunity of being the leader of a group of students in school and we decided to organise a seminar; it was my first experience and I wanted to arrest the attention of people on campus. So, I suggested that we should have a very dramatic theme so it could arrest everybody’s attention and they could come to the conference in droves. We produced some posters that we placed at different strategic spots around the campus and the day of the conference, I was expecting loads and loads of people to pack out the hall we are using for the conference but to my surprise the time came and the people were not there it was not an exciting experience.
Was I disappointed? You can say that again, I was surprised; 30 minutes into the seminar I was hoping that people would show up. One hour after we started, I kept hoping they were going to show up. Eventually, I realised that round the campus some people had thought that I and my group were weird and some of them had written very critical comments on our posters around the campus. I was disappointed. Did I stop organising seminars from then on? No; I learnt my lesson and it was just that you don’t have to be excessively or unnecessarily dramatic to get attention. What people are interested in is the benefit they would derive from the seminar or conference or product or whatever it is that you have to offer.
There has to be a connection between what you have to offer and their needs. I learnt my lesson, I moved on. I remember that I organised a conference after that and this wasn’t even on the campus but it was for the whole city and I had this group of young people who were working with me; we were walking up and down streets, giving fliers out to people and this time around, our target was clearly defined; it was young people. Their basic interest and needs were clearly defined; entertainment, so we prepared exactly what they wanted.
We made it look quite interesting and attractive and there was nothing to guarantee that people were going to show up. It was the first time we were having that kind of a programme. We called it: The Youth Carnival; there was going to be a lot of music, a lot of humour; that was what we promised and on the day the seminar was to start, I still remember clearly how some 30 minutes to the time the conference was to start, it began to rain heavily. I despaired for some minutes, it was heavy but short; in about 10 minutes or so, the rain was gone. So I held my breath waiting to see whether people were going to come or not and some minutes to the time the seminar would start, they began to come after some minutes, they came in torrent before I knew it, the hall was filled. I’m happy I tried again. Since then, I have organised hundreds of seminars and I’ve seen loads of people come to the seminars.
What am I saying? Don’t let failure be final in your life, you must try again. There is this common saying in some parts of Nigeria that the downfall of a man is not the end of his life, that is true anywhere in the world; the fact that somebody has fallen does not mean that the person has to stay down.
The capacity to stand up again is the stuff that successful people are made of and I challenge you today, your dreams are coming to pass, don’t let any situation or circumstance cremate or bury your dreams, they are not dead; you can be knocked down but you cannot be knocked out. Sometimes in a boxing bout, you can have someone knocked down but at least the referee gives an opportunity by counting to 10 if you can stand up before you’re counted out, the fight continues and I want to encourage you to have that fight in you, to have that staying power in you; refuse to stay down, don’t mourn your loss forever, you can start again and today is that day for you to begin again, this time around; more intelligently.
There are practical steps you can take to turn your set back into a come-back or to turn your failure into an opportunity for success.
– Rev Adeyemi is the Senior Pastor of Daystar Christian Centre