What’s the Cost of Your Ambition?
(Lessons from Games of Thrones)
“That child has called you father, do not have a hand in his death”, Chinua Achebe, Things Fall Apart
After my graduation from the university in 2011, I had a conversation with a friend that was financially ok at that time. He was a former classmate, so we were relatively close. I requested that he help me raise some money to start a business and that I would pay him back from the proceeds of the business. I was interested in running a sachet water company at that time. The guy told me that we were old time friends and as such he would prefer to teach me how to fish than to give me fish. I was happy, that was far more than what I expected. Long story short, he promised to introduce me to his club, and that he would talk with one of our mutual friends to stand as my sponsorer. He then gave me details that were scary. The part that really got me pissed off was the sacrifices. He told me the ‘oracle’ would give the conditions and that each member of the club was given different conditions. After he shared some common conditions given to older members, I told him I was not interested. Sincerely I was scared like hell as putting him off was not easy, but that’s a story for another day.
I have been and I am still an advocate of paying the price to succeed, but there are some prices that make the success worthless. What’s the essence of making wealth if you can’t enjoy it with family and worthy friends? Or wealth without peace of mind? Or you want to learn that ‘you can’t buy sleep’, the hard way?
Stannis Baratheon might have the legitimacy to the Iron Throne in the movie, ‘Game of Thrones’, but he broke the golden rule by making too much a sacrifice for the throne. He had a conscience and refused at first to even sleep with the priestess, based on the sacred marital vows he had with his wife. But after he broke that vow, he saw further sacrifices as not too much a price to pay for the throne. He killed his only surviving brother, almost killed his late brother’s son, if not that he was rescued from his reach. And then he went ahead to burn his only child alive for sacrifice. He was unrelenting even after his wife committed suicide due to the murder of their only child. Mehn, that was mean!
No matter the goal, there are some prices that must not be paid. Pressure from others should not be an excuse at all. I recall how much pressure was mounted on me during my Presidential elections back in my undergraduate days. Some of my ‘well-wishers’ pressured me to go and see one ‘baba’ or to go and spend three nights in a particular church. They gave accounts of prominent personalities within and outside the University that frequent those places and the results were there to prove it. As good as their intentions might be, I refused because it was getting out of hand. I was making myself available to serve, and going to consult sorcerers that call themselves pastors, was extreme for me. Till this day, I still believe it is extreme for anyone to go that length.
Stannis Baratheon lost his chances the very moment he burnt his only child as a sacrifice for the throne. Though it was an already written script, personally, I wished him dead after that incident. And his desperation made most of his men to abandon him in the struggle. Obviously, they were scared for their lives. If a man could sacrifice his only child and refuse to take a day off to mourn his wife that committed suicide, then he is capable of sacrificing all his followers if that would give him what he wanted. Who would want to partner with such a person? You?
What kind of a King would he have been if he had gotten the throne after sacrificing the whole family? Who would he celebrate the victory with?
No matter what you’re chasing in life, please avoid making unimaginable sacrifices, especially the shedding of human blood, whether they are family members or not. It is not worth it. Don’t join the league of ‘successful’ people that have no peace because of the sacrifices they made to achieve their goals.
At the end you will realise that all the acquisition is nothing but vanity!
IDEDE Oseyande, a graduate of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, is an unrepentant believer in the Nigeria project.
His concern for the actualisation of a prosperous nation and the continent, in general, is reflected in his written works.
He currently runs an online advocacy platform (www.socialwatchdog.ng) where he engages the government and the people.
Among his published works are ‘What is Left of What is Right?’, ‘The Portrait of a Revolutionary Leader’ and ‘Warri No Dey Carry Last’.
He is a guest writer for several blogs and his Attitudinal and Behavioral Coaching classes has transformed many lives.