When I began writing almost four years ago, I kept it a secret. I was afraid of what people would think of me. I was scared that there are lots of writers who were way better than I was. I was petrified at the thought that no one would bother to read and if they did they would laugh at me. See, in my KCSE I scored a B- in English.
In addition, I have a handwriting so terrible that one of my teachers compared it to a duck with muddy feet skipping rope on a piece of paper. Therefore, I locked in all the ideas I had.
When I finally gathered some courage, I created a blog. The first one and half years were tough. I received a total of 1,500 hits on the site despite the amount of hard work, resources and time I put into my writing. My dream was and still is to reach out to 1.16 billion Africans through writing, inspire them to achieve their wildest dreams, and consequently, change Africa’s narrative yet my own friends were not reading. I was discouraged and terribly disappointed.
It hit me, I wouldn’t achieve this dream unless I did something drastic. As a result, I printed out my articles on A4 papers then went around campus sticking them on every available noticeboard.
I began introducing myself as a writer and asked every single person I met to check out my blog. Strangely, it was easier to convince a complete stranger to read my works than a friend. Soon enough hate messages started streaming in. I was called a plagiarist and an idiot with many questioning who gave me the right to write about lifestyle when I was clearly not an authoritative figure or a master in the language.
I still receive hate mail but that no longer bothers me. I may not be a brilliant writer but I won’t stop writing and trying to get better at my craft until I achieve my dream. However, I have made a few steps towards it with an article I wrote recently reaching 400,000 people.
Many of us fail to develop our talents out of fear. We compare ourselves miserably to those we consider better than us and give up even before we start. In the event we get over this fear, embark on developing our gifts only for close friends and family members to ridicule us. We get discouraged and stop. Get this from me, those closest to you will never be the first people to appreciate your gifts or support you so stop seeking validation from them.
The most beautiful thing about this world is that it’s not usually the most talented, strongest or smartest who actually end up making history. Do you know why? It is because the world belongs to underdogs like you and I. Men and women who refuse to be held back by their shortcomings. People who work day and night to improve their skills braving both ridicule and failure.
You may not have the most beautiful voice but don’t let that stop you from singing. You may not be great in class but if you desire to be an innovator let nothing hold you back. You may not have an MBA or even a university degree but if you want to be an entrepreneur then go for it.
Don’t do it for the praises, fame or money. Do it because that’s what your heart wants. Don’t wait until you become the best in the country, start now and work your way up. Remember, anything that comes from the heart goes to the heart and ultimately leads to success.
Written By Mark Maish