The Value of Life

Sam Aka

Warning: This column may be hazardous to areas of mediocrity in your life!

I know that you have entrusted to me one of your most precious resources, your time. I promise to do my best by the grace of God, to be a good steward of the minutes we spend together. Thank you. Mucho gracias.

‘Truth is heavy, so few men carry it’ – Jewish proverb

 …the future starts now!

 …don’t get swallowed up in a cup of water

…do not create a storm in a tea cup

 ...the part of least resistance makes men and rivers crooked

 A little boy went to his old grandpa and asked, “What’s the value of life?”

The grandpa gave him one stone and said, “Find out the value of this stone, but don’t sell it.”

The boy took the stone to an Orange Seller and asked him what its cost would be. The Orange Seller saw the shiny stone and said, “You can take 12 oranges and give me the stone.”

The boy apologized and said that the grandpa has asked him not to sell it. He went ahead and found a vegetable seller.

“What could be the value of this stone?” he asked the vegetable seller. The seller saw the shiny stone and said, “Take one sack of potatoes and give me the stone.”

The boy again apologized and said he can’t sell it. Further ahead, he went into a jewellery shop and asked for the value of the stone. The jeweller saw the stone under a lens and said, “I’ll give you Fifty (50) million Nigerian Naira for this stone.”

When the boy shook his head, the jeweller said, “Alright, alright, take two gold necklaces, but give me the stone.”

The boy explained that he can’t sell the stone.

Further ahead, the boy saw a precious stone’s shop and asked the seller the value of the stone.

When the precious stone’s seller saw the big ruby, he lay down a red cloth and put the ruby on it.

Then he walked in circles around the ruby and bent down and touched his head in front of the ruby.

“From where did you bring this priceless ruby from?” he asked.

“Even if I sell the whole world, and my life, I won’t be able to purchase this priceless stone.’

Stunned and confused, the boy returned to the grandpa and told him what had happened.

“Now, tell me what the value of life is, grandpa?”

Grandpa said,

“The answers you got from the Orange Seller, the Vegetable Seller, the Jeweller and the Precious Stone’s Seller explain the value of our life.

You may be a precious stone, even priceless, but people will value you based on;

– Their belief system,

– Their financial status,

– Their level of information,

– Their belief in you,

– Their motive behind entertaining you,

– Their ambition, and

– Their risk-taking ability.

But don’t fear, you will surely find someone who will discern your true value.”

Respect yourself. You are unique. You don’t have a destiny mate. No one can replace you in your destiny space!

YOU HOLD THE KEY TO YOUR OWN PEACE…it is all about how you see yourself!

In an international conference, the speaker got out his wallet and pulled out a five hundred (500) Naira note. Holding it up, he asked,

“How much is this worth?” “Five Hundred Naira!” the crowd yelled in unison. “Right,” said the speaker.

He then took the note and crumpled it into a ball and asked,

“How much is it worth now?”

“Five Hundred Naira!” screamed the audience.

He then threw the note on the ground, stamped all over it and picked up the note and asked one more time:

“And how much is it worth now?” “Five Hundred Naira!” was the response.

“I want you to remember this,” said the speaker. “Just because someone crumples it, or stamps on it, the value of the note does not diminish.

We should all be like the five hundred (500) Naira note.

In our lives, there will be times when we feel crushed, stamped over, beaten. But never let your self-worth diminish. Just because someone chooses to crush you — that doesn’t change your worth one bit!

Don’t allow your self-worth to diminish because someone says something nasty or does something dirty to you.”

Never let your self-worth diminish!

Lifestyle is not a competition and there are different ways to get a lot of things done, different lanes all leading to the same destination.

A RABBIT runs, jumps, moves faster and lives for only fifteen (15) years while a TORTOISE doesn’t even attempt any of such activities but lives for one hundred and fifty (150) years or more! Life is not about rushing, comparison and doing what others are doing but rather doing what is right and what you are called to do. They may live in the same forest and play together but have different life expectancy and destiny space.

We must remember that we will have age mates, class mates, school mates, office mates but there are no DESTINY MATES in life. Be who you are called to be, love who you are and thank God for your special journey which may not look like others!! You have your own destiny SPACE and race!! JUST stick to your own track!!

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us , and let us run with patience the RACE that is set before us.” – (Hebrews 12:1 KJV)

This is the simplest way to succeed in life!! The power of a seed is not in its size but in the quality of its product. May every small effort of yours always yield multiple results of blessings. Life is not by grade but by grace. Not by labour but by favour. Not by merit but by mercy.

“I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.” – ( Ecclesiastes 9:11 KJV)

May the Grace, Mercy and Favour of God locate you each step of the way in this great journey called LIFE in Jesus matchless and most powerful name.

Nigerian highly rated actress, Omotola Jolade Ekeinde at 40 years old celebrated that her last child was already in the university while Nigerian celebrity Funke Akindele (alias Jenifa) whole heartedly congratulated her then, and later had her own first babies (twins) at 41 years old. Both are successful and relatively fulfilled in their own rights.

Popcorns are normally fried in the same pot, in the same oil, at the same time, under the same heat conditions but they do not all pop at the same time. When flood comes, fish eats ants and when flood recedes, ants eat fish. Only time matters. For making soap, oil is required, but to clean oil, soap is required. This is the irony of life. Everybody needs somebody at any point in time. Do not despise or treat anyone anyhow. There is time for everything and for everyone. Keep working hard and connecting with right people, your time to pop up will soon come!

Some years ago, Auma Obama picked her brother Barack from the Airport in Kenya when he travelled home to visit his paternal family. She drove him home in her “old Volkswagen” car. They went home together, and he happily slept in her room on a “tight camp bed”. That was what she had then, and she happily shared all she had with her brother. She did not mind that he probably came from America with nothing. 27 years AFTER, he returned home and arrived at the same Airport, and his sister was there again to meet him.

This time around, he lifted her in the most technogically sophisticated car in the world known as the BEAST. He arrived home this time, not as the ordinary Barack who had to hang around the airport about 4 hours waiting for his sister, but as the most powerful and most influential and most important political figure in the world. Never ever underestimate, downplay, overlook or dismiss any human being. Treat people with love, respect and dignity. Do not mind whether they have today or not. You never know what they might become tomorrow.

You were born in a first-class hospital, another person was delivered at home, you both survived.

You went to a private primary school and someone else went to a public school, you both ended up in the same university.

You woke up from the bed and someone else woke from the floor, you both had a peaceful night rest.

Your outfits are all expensive, his or hers are all simple and cheap, you both still cover your nakedness.

You ate fried rice and roasted chicken; another person ate roasted plantain with palm oil and fresh pepper but you both still ate to your satisfaction.

You ride on Lexus jeep, Range Rover, G Wagon, Hummer Jeep and someone else uses public transport but you still got to your various destinations.

Lifestyle is not a competition and there are different ways to get a lot of things done, different lanes all leading to the same destination.

Just because your neighbour is doing things faster does not mean you are failing.

Happiness doesn’t come from having everything, but making the best out of what you have; it’s all about how you see yourself.

Happiness is not having what you like. Happiness is liking what you have and being contented.

…Never let your self-worth diminish!

Another public speaker in a conference got five hundred (500) Naira note and held it up for all to see, people thought they knew what’s up. But he just asked a simple question.

“Who wants this five hundred (500) Naira note?”

Lots of hands went up. A slow chorus began to build as people began to shout “Me!” “Me!”

And some began to wonder who the lucky one would be; who the speaker would choose. People secretly wondered why he would simply give away five hundred (500) Naira.

Even as the shouts of “I want it” grew louder, a young woman ran down the aisle. She ran up unto the stage, went up to the speaker, and grabbed the five hundred (500) Naira note from his hand.

“Well done, young lady,” said the speaker into the microphone.

The speaker simply said,

“Most of us just sit and wait for good things to happen. That’s of no use. You’ve got to make things happen. Make a move”

‘Simply thinking about doing something is of no use and not good enough’.

Our lives are like that.

We all see opportunities around us. We all want the good things. But the problem is we don’t take action.

We all want the five hundred (500) Naira note on offer. But we don’t make the move. We look at it longingly.

Get up, and do something about it. Don’t worry about what other people might think. Take action!

I got these interesting statistics below about the great exploits of young minds from a journal.

Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he started Facebook.

Ashish Thakkar at 31 became Africa’s youngest billionaire. He escaped from the Rwandan genocide and relocated to Uganda where he started an IT business.

Collin Thornton, who made his millions by fixing bad computers and setting up Dial-a-Nerd, is just four years older than Ashish Thakkar!.

Adam Horowitz, an entrepreneur, at 18 started 30 websites in 3 years before he became successful.

The only things most young people have ever started are online scam and junk.

Have you heard of Jason Njoku? He’s 33 and the founder of Iroko TV. He received $8m investment into his company just a few years ago.

What does he do? Sharing the same Nollywood films that some spend hours to watch online. He didn’t just hang around waiting for a President or government to make something happen or blaming former Presidents or governments for not making anything happen.

Kamal Budhabhatti was deported from Kenya but while on the flight, he thought of the opportunities in Kenya. He found his way back after 6 months and today his company is valued at $30m. He’s 36.

Have you heard of Chinedu Echeruo? Apple just paid $1b for his app. He’s a Nigerian and all he did was attempt to fix a problem. But for some, the only thing they attempt to fix are their nails and hairdo!

Chinedu moved to New York in 1995 and found it difficult to navigate the city with ease so he developed HopStop to fix the problem.

Stop listing all the problems, we know them already. What are you doing about them?

Awolowo was 37, Akintola was 36, Ahmadu Bello was 36, Tafawa Balewa was 34, Okotie-Eboh was 27 and Enahoro was 27 at the time of independence of Nigeria.

In 1966, the first coup was led by Kaduna Nzeogwu (29) and stopped by Murtala Mohammed (28), TY Danjuma (28), IBB (25), Sanni Abacha (23) and Shehu Yar’adua (23).

It brought in Yakubu Gowon as Head of State at 32 and Olusegun Obasanjo at 29.

Some youth are still sagging their trousers and doing scams.

Of course, you know Linda Ikeji. Some people spend hundreds of hours on her blog laughing and commenting while she smiles her way to the bank.

She built a house for her father in the village just by some people clicking on her gossip and sharing.

She was as broke as some young folks but she turned a hobby into a business.

Are you that void of understanding?

Please don’t have a false estimation of yourself and an over bloated ego.

A man, an avid Gardener saw a small Butterfly laying few eggs in one of the pots in his garden. Since that day he looked at the egg with ever growing curiosity and eagerness. The egg started to move and shake a little. He was excited to see a new life coming up right in front of his eyes. He spent hours watching the egg now. The egg started to expand and develop cracks. A tiny head and antennae started to come out ever so slowly.

The man’s excitement knew no bounds. He got his magnifying glasses and sat to watch the life and body of a pupa coming out. He saw the struggle of the tender pupa and couldn’t resist his urge to “HELP”. He went and got a tender forceps to help the egg break, a nip here, a nip there to help the struggling life and the pupa was out. The man was ecstatic! He waited now each day for the pupa to grow and fly like a beautiful butterfly, but alas that never happened. The larvae pupa had an oversized head and kept crawling along in the pot for the full four (4) weeks and died! Depressed the man went to his botanist friend and asked the reason.

His friend told him the struggle to break out of the egg helps the larvae to send blood to its wings and the head push helps the head to remain small so that the tender wings can support it through its four (4) week life cycle. In his eagerness to help, the man destroyed a beautiful life! Struggles help all of us, that’s why a bit of effort goes a long way to develop our strength to face life’s difficulties! As parents, we sometimes go too far trying to help and protect our kids from life’s harsh realities and disappointments.We don’t want our kids to struggle like we did.

Harvard psychiatrist Dr Dan Kindlon says that over-protected children are more likely to struggle in relationships and with challenges. We’re sending our kids the message that they’re not capable of helping themselves. To quote clinical psychologist, Dr Wendy ‘s Moral: “It is our job to prepare our children for the road and not prepare the road for our children”

About author

Sam Aka

Sam Aka is a prolific writer, Public Speaker and Author. A member of the American Society of Criminologists (1985 Batch) and World Association of Detectives (1986 batch). For comments (sms only): +2348033053006 or E-mail:

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