But I've Said It Before...

Ok, funny thing happened today. I know you’ll say funny things are always happening to me, but yea, if you take everyday life like a school the way I do, you’ll be amazed at the amount of education you’ll get daily. Back to what happened. The other Sunday, my pastor said something I found thoroughly profound. He said “if something is an error or is wrong, and the entire society accepts it as normal, it still doesn’t make it right”. Being one given to philosophical contemplations, I immediately started thinking of the myriad of activities and thoughts we engage in and are ok with, just because “everyone is doing it”. I began to imagine the amount of wrong we must be perpetuating considering that most of our accepted behaviours are simply based on popularity polls.

As interesting as that is for a topic for discussion, that is not the funny thing that happened and it’s not our lesson for today. Our lesson is that the next day, I was hanging with my friend Uchechi, and I decided to share with her what pastor had said, hoping that my revelation would interest her. Instead of oohing and ahhing over the profoundness of such a seemingly obvious piece of wisdom, she flew into a tirade of how I never listen to her and all what not (she’s a pretty emotional person). When I finally got control back, she explained to me that she had been singing that particular piece of wisdom to me and I never bought it, and that just because I heard it in church, it was now acceptable to me ( a prophet is not recognized in his own hometown, blah blah blah).  Now I believe I am an attentive and teachable person and if she had said before, I was sure I would have heard.  She was able to remind me of a couple of times she had said it and I realised that indeed she had and not just once. So why did it sound like I was hearing it for the first time on Sunday?

 Here's what I realised. Each time she mentioned it, she said it in relation to an aspect of my behaviour, which I considered if not perfect, very tolerable (I suffer from a chubby impression of myself). So each time she said it, even though it was a profound truth, it was always lost on me because she said it in the context of something I didn't consider true about myself.  I realised that as long as you are not able to associate a piece of thought or information to something you already know and consider truth, you would hear it, but you will not get it. I always heard her go on about the fact that doing something all the time does not make it right, but I never appreciated what she meant. That same way, traffic of information, opportunities, and knowledge are passing over our heads like radio frequencies for which we have the wrong channel, because we can’t seem to associate the information released with any accepted truth in our subconscious. And these are some of the reasons I think are responsible.

Ignorance: When you are largely ignorant about stuff, it hampers your ability to understand other simple things. An example is if you tell someone who has never read of a volcano in a book or seen it in a movie, “our boss is an erupting volcano this morning”, the person would have no idea what you mean and probably walk into an angry bear, sorry, boss. 

Self-preservation: Because I always heard her expressions as attacks on my perceived perfect character, my first response was always to protect myself from the apparent onslaught. In so doing, I always missed the wisdom in what she was saying. This always happens to us when we are being corrected or rebuked by authority. Our single focus becomes to avert blame and avoid judgment, and in the bid we miss the teaching the correction should bring.

Pride: Some people cannot just be taught; they know it all, have seen it all and have heard it all. You know them by the way they brag and how they finish all your sentences before you do. They always know what you are talking about, and where you are headed. Because they have to keep a very high mental activity, they seldom have the time to process what the other person is saying.     

If only we learn to take some of the things we hear or come across on the value of the information they carry, not on the nature of emotion it is carried on, we will be so much wiser. So next time, before you say “wait a minute”, pause and think about what you hear, you may just learn something new.   

"Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/FreeDigitalPhotos.net"

Kanayo Aniegboka

Kani is a Nigerian born and based minister, public speaker, entrepreneur and life coach. His keen and unique perspective to life issues makes him a refreshing voice to listen to. He currently serves as the Executive Coordinator of House on the Rock - Word House and sits on the board of a number of companies.


  1. If u can't beat dem,join dem!so,wat do we do about?cos most times,If u don't conform to d norms of d society,u'll be stuck and not be pogressive!!!I accept dis new philosophy,bt I don't think is applicable and realistic!!!

  2. Yes I agree with you but let's not forget the manner to which we say things or try to correct people could contribute to their not hearing or seeing their point first time it was said.

  3. True. Attitude is everything. Don't insult me in the process of trying to 'correct' me. It ruins ur intentions and makes ur message unreadable.

  4. it's all about emotions. Psychologists use a couch to get u to relax and talk and then after u do, they insult u in the name of diagnosing u and we accept it. Why? Emotions are neutral. U can't expect a friend to hear ur 'educating' above all d judging not with all that emotion running between u both.why do u think u flog a child for the same misbehavior everyday but when a counsellor talks he listens? Emotions. Talk to me when it's neutral and i might just hear u.

    1. Thanks a bunch guys, you'all make great points. My challenge is that I wish to learn all the time, whether conditions are conducive or not. That is why I suggest we work to learn, even when the person is not being nice about it, we are the better for it. I know a lot of people will argue with it, but if you can apply self control to that level, then you are a prince among men.

  5. Thank you . Thank you. Thank you again.
    You just did me a great good through this piece. I'll relay my lessons later