If I knew I was only going to pull
down a bag of trouble on my small head, I wouldn’t have approached Mr. General.
I tell you, you too will be forced to advance towards him if you see the way he
carries his legs majestically. Many different stars is rested on his shoulder.
Being my first time of seeing him, I was impressed and promised myself that one
day I would emulate him.
Other soldiers? I didn’t know
their minds but I think they had been seeing Mr. General before. The place was
very crowded but I managed to reach him. He stood like a statue as I maintained
my posture perfectly and obediently before him.
‘Sire, how did you do it?’ It was
He couldn’t comprehend what I
meant, so I expatiated.
‘You have many stars on your
shoulder. What is the secret that propelled you to the position of General?’
He improvised a mockery that sent
me into shame.
‘You want to know?’ He asked.
I answered him with a yes. He left
me on the spot and disappeared into his office. Five minutes later I saw him
with a cup in his hand, coming down to where I was. He reached out the cup
towards me and I collected it. The cup was very full with water.
‘Now go to the training ground
with the cup. Go round the field 30 times with the cup in your hand and a drop
of water must not touch the ground.’
Hearing this, my eyes bulged out
of its socket. Sudden coldness descended on me. I must not talk again. The rule
says ‘obey first and then complain’.
But how would I do this without
letting a drop of water touch the ground? In fact, Mr. General had commanded
the most ruthless soldiers among us to get me shot, if I allow a drop of water
to touch the soil. It then occurred to me that ‘he, who exposes sugar, invites
ants’. Abruptly, I summoned courage and headed to the training pitch. Only two
options left for me-die or live.
The game switched on. The
Spectators were chanting. I didn’t allow their chants to distract me. My eyes
were glued to the cup in my right hand. These spectators were counting my
steps. They made me realize that I have turned the field 15 times. My right
hand was somehow shaking by now, so my left hand resumed duty. I was doing it
25 times, I said to myself. My
left hand was shaking by this time. A drop of water must not touch the ground or
else these callous soldiers will shoot me to death, I thought. Finally, I made
it. Exactly 30 times. No drop of water on the ground. My fans were shouting.
They were very happy for me.
‘Congratulations’ it was Mr.
We shook hands.
Later in the evening, he called
for me. He said he had questions to ask me as I appeared before him.
‘When you were on the field with
the cup, did you notice other soldiers that were playing football other side?’
I said ‘no’
‘Were you aware of those ladies
that were walking on the road side with half dresses that expose half part of
‘No, I wasn’t. Sire’
‘Did you know what I was doing
while you were on the field?’
I answered him with capital NO.
‘Can you tell me why your answers for the questions is no?’ ‘It’s because I had
focus and I didn’t allow distraction from others’
‘That’s what they call life.’ Mr.
General said this and rose to his feet.
‘Anybody that want to make it in
life must be focused, know what you want and make sure you work towards its
achievement every day. Never allow distraction to pollute your focus. For it is
our immediate enemy. You can find it everywhere-homes, schools, offices,
societies etc.’ He paused, resting on the table.
I was getting motivated.
‘Part of the ways to avoid
distraction…’ he continued ‘is by doing what is important to your life. Doing
the right thing at the right time is the best, even if the whole world is
against it. Never be concerned about what people will say about you. If you do,
you will regret it.’
He moved closer to me and grasped
my shoulder and said: ‘My brother, if you want to have many stars on your
shoulder, you have to be determined and focused. Never embrace distraction even
for a second because it’s your open enemy that will not allow you to achieve
written by M’Awwal Abdul’Rasheed