Well, I am 66, and when I make time to look back at my six and half-decade of existence I discover things I wish I knew when I was younger.
This morning I want to share a few of these with you:
One, somebody is plotting your downfall.
This came as a huge surprise to me, I was naive to believe that because I mind my own business everyone else minds their own business. It comes as a shock because whilst I wish no one ill, there were people who were determined that I would not fly as high as I could.
And I have discovered that someone somewhere even at this moment is plotting your downfall.
Two, your progress threatens someone.
Some of Us are too open when anyone asks us what is going on in our lives, we are more that eager to tell them everything.
We tell them of our plans, we tell them of our breakthroughs, we tell them everything.
What I have discovered is most people do not really want to know that things are working that well fo you. It makes them feel bad then they begin to wish you ill, if there is anything they can do to thwart your progress, they do it.
It has taken me a long time to realise that it is not wise to open up to everyone.
The trick however is in knowing who it is safe to open up to and who it is not safe to do so.
Three, some of those who depend on you resent the fact that they have to depend on you.
I believe that anyone who is generous will come to this realisation sooner or later.
There are people you help wholeheartedly and you expect that they would accept your generosity in the spirit in which it was given.
But that is often not what happens, some of them who depend on you are not happy to depend on you and they resent it and resent you as well.
This is a case especially with your peers like former classmates, childhood friends, former colleagues, neighbours and some relatives, especially cousins.
If some of you who are generous knew what some of those who depend on you say about you behind your back, I am sure you will be heartbroken for a long time.
But it does not matter, it is always good to be generous when we are in a position whether our generosity is appreciated or not.
Four, people can lie confidently and convincingly.
The day Kutu Acheampong made his coup in 1972, I took trotro from Kaneshie to Accra Central. In the trotro, two men in their late 40s were chatting. One of them was very excited and he said, “Acheampong, oo me, I know him very well, I was in Accra Academy with him, we sat in the same class.”
His friend said, “oo did he attend Accra Aca.? The first one said, “ooh yes he did, we sat in the same class from form 1”.
And then he went on to tell us what kind of person Acheampong was, ofcourse everyone in the trotro was very impressed.
We all felt fortunate to have boarded the same vehicle with a classmate and friend of the new head of state. So you can imagine my shock when the profile of the new Head of State was made public.
And it was clear that he had not attended Accra Academy. It was the first time I discovered that there are people who can lie with such confidence that even if you knew the truth, you would question the truth.
Out of that discovery, I have come up with this philosophy, You should not believe everything you read, you should not believe everything you see and you should not believe everything you hear.
Five, someone you trust is using your trust to manipulate you.
This is one of the most distressing things in life, there are people who work very hard to earn your trust.
They serve you selflessly and with great devotion until you come to depend completely on them. At that point, they use your trust in them to manipulate you for their own ends.
Politicians know this very well. There is always someone who works very hard to help a politician get elected; they sacrifice everything for the politician and when the politician comes to depend and trust them completely
And then at that point, they use the politician’s trust to manipulate him. But it is not only politicians who suffer this bosses and even Pastors are not spared.
What makes this so difficult is that the victims in this cases, i.e those whose trust is used against them they find it almost impossible to believe that someone they trust so much could be manipulating them and so this continues for a long time.
Six, learning languages empowers you and opens doors for you.
I have one regret in life, and it is that I don’t speak that many languages, I look back now and realise how much I have cheated myself by not being proficient in many languages. Ability to function in many languages is priceless but I have come to realise this a bit too late in my life.
Seven, Your faith in God can be used to manipulate and take advantage of us.
How I wish I knew this in my 20s. I have always been religious and assumed that those who profess religion fear God, I could not imagine anyone could despise God so much that they would use His name to deceive and manipulate those who fear God, now I realise it comes very easy for some people.
In fact, there is a whole industry that thrives on unscrupulous people hiding behind the name of God to deceive and rob those who love God, there are people who take advantage of people’s love for God to deceive and rob them, it is big business and it is sad.
Eight, women are more intelligent than men.
I know some men will give me grieve for this. So let me qualify the statement and say that, In my experience and all the research I have done so far, women are more intelligent than men.
I wish I knew and accepted this fact earlier in life when I was younger, there were girls I thought I was taking advantage of. Now in my old age, I realise that they wanted me to think I was taking advantage of them, the truth is that, they were taking advantage of me.
Men tend to underestimate the intelligence of women, a retired army officer friend of mine, a macho man, once said to his wife, “You have no idea how hard I strategised and how well I executed that strategy to make you mine,”
His wife laughed in his face and said “What strategy? Go and ask my friend whose shop you first noticed me and she will tell you that two months before that first encounter I told her that I was going to make you marry me”
A lot of men when dealing with women deceive themselves into thinking they are in charge and they are running the show ooh if only they knew.
These are just eight of the many things I learnt too late in my life, hopefully, you will not have to discover them when it is too late for you.