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The Mango and Success

Mon, 29 Apr 2019 Source: Victor Raul Puobabangna Plance

When we think of Christianity, Islam, or whatever religion or divide one might belong to or identifies with/to; many try to strive to be perfect for God or whatever it is that they worship.

We always want, wish or even as in try to present the best version of ourselves to the Lord, Allah, etc. and even before people. However, is that always necessary. Do we or must we be perfect or near perfection to success or close to God? No, that’s not always necessary.

God understands that not everyone is perfect, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be successful. There are a lot of people who made it even in their imperfect state. And in fact, there are many of such characters in the Holy Bible, the Holy Quran, etc. that didn’t always live up to expectations of the Lord (Allah), but it didn’t stop them from becoming amazing Christians, Muslims, etc.

Hence, at this point my article – The Mango and Success

Fruits in general have a lot of benefits to man and in fact, they are life savers. Such is success too to man. Success brings with it several benefits that could and is saving lives. Just like a manure from the seed to when it is an edible fruit, so is success.

Every success is like a seed. Must be planted, cultivated, nurtured and cared for, invested in, brave the rough weather, etc. before it gets to its finished state. Just as no one knows the beginning or how most mango trees came about or who planted and cared for them, so is success too.

Nobody or quiet often, no one is usually interested in how one attained their success and frankly, most people upon seeing the end – product of your success, never even believe you or take you seriously when you tell your story.

If you doubt this, ask the ‘sakawa’ boy to go through the hustle others went through before they made it and watch his reply. Or throw that same question to the youth of today and watch their facial expressions or reactions to that.

Just like a hungry boy who has walked several miles in search of food (mangoes) and upon seeing unripe mangoes wouldn’t think of waiting patiently for them to get ripe, so is the attitude of we the youth of today when success comes.

Just like eating raw mangoes for whatever reason no matter how genuine they may be, that is the same way we rejoice and enjoy our success in its raw state forgetting we must be patient for it to get ripe (A much more sustainable state).

Hmm! I know I am a victim or will be someday…

For those of us born without silver spoons in our mouths, never had the opportunity of having to walk into any supermarket or fruits shop to purchase mangoes in any quantity they may be; this is our story.

Mangoes have always been a part of me growing up and in fact, I remember slicing raw mangoes over my rice just because I thought it would serve the purpose that a pear does.

If you have stayed in a “Zongo” or a rural certain, then you might have had the unfortunate experience of going through a bit of starving at some point in your life. If you did, then; you will certainly appreciate the importance of fruits like, Sheanuts (‘Taama’ in my local dialect), ‘Sinsibe’- for want of the right name, Guava, mangoes, dawadawa fruits, just to mention a few.

Today, my focus is on Mangoes probably because of the inspiration I had from eating it today even though I have eaten it all my life. On another day, I most certainly will write about the others.

Success in relation to the mango tree is just like a young hungry boy from my village “Eggu” or my second village “Charia” in the Upper West Region of Ghana, galivanting, scouting, or going on a hunt in search of mangoes in the bush or behind a rich man’s house (As that was usually the easiest target then and I believe now). These searches could most often be fruitless and tiring, that we have no other often than feeling our stomach with water from any available stream or dam near us.

Where we happen to locate a mango tree, ripe or not, the smile that exudes from within is more than a man lusting after his virgin fiancée for years and finally having her on the first night of there honeymoon. (That’s on a lighter note and just for illustration. Laugh and read on please).

At this point, we would have to look for stones, sticks, or whatever “mango killing weapon” to attack! Believe me, the battle to conquer a single mango high on the stalk at the very apex of the mango tree can be very tormenting especially when you are hungry, desperate and have no more strength left. (That is how challenging the quest to be successful could be).

In attacking from every angle, aiming, strategizing, weighing your options and running out of “weapons or Missiles of Mass Mango destruction and your strength gradually depleting, then you realize you are more courteous, careful and focus (if not) at the least. Woe on you, if your stick or stone miss the target (mango) and lands on a wrong target (another human).

There and then the whole story changes and focus or goals disrupted. (your quest for success might sometimes lead you to stepping on toes or even worse, but do not despair for you still have a quest to quench your hunger for mangoes (Success)).

Fast Forward:

So, growing up, anytime one was given a mango fruit to eat with cutting but through the mouth; you were by the norm going to most certainly start by biting from the beak/apex/The remains of the Stigma or style or as most people would say the “mouth of the mango”. Yes, that is because it is the most convenient and appealing place or because that is were everyone starts from. My simple question is; “Must it only start from there?” or “Is that the main goal of eating the mango?”, etc.

Experience from having to scout the bushes and sometimes sneak to pluck mangoes and eat them as a child is that; once you start from the apex, beat or “mouth”, you often have some of the fluids from the from drip from the fruit stalk end or the cavity. Hence, conveniently, to enjoy the mango without soiling oneself, as kids, we grew up learning to start from the fruit stalk end or the cavity (The most vulnerable end) towards the apex.

Moral:

•Weaknesses (as in the fruit stalk end or the cavity (The most vulnerable end)) can be the starting point to one’s success and comfort.

•That weakness of yours can become an opportunity and a strength.

•Yes, they all started this way and hence, the norm. Yes, it can or might be true, but you don’t necessarily need to start as others did or have what there had to get to where they are today. All it takes is knowing what you want and starting from whichever end or side you are now. Failure might come, but it isn’t the failure that determines the outcome of you but the lessons you learnt from it and what you intend to do with it.

•Remember, success is good but not permanent. Even if it did, it will someday become one of those things or even boring you the ear of the bearer of it. Hence, just like eating the mango; you start from the exocarp (the peel which is a bit tick), then the mesocarp (a softer and sweeter part of the mango (Success)), then to back to the seed (Another opportunity to harness another success.

Dry it, plant it to get a seedling, nature it, and it produces or gives you several more mangoes (Successes). Therefore, let no success or your success of today deny you or others of a much greater success in the future. Even when you are weary to continue, find someone, groom them and let them pick up from where you left off. Be the starting point of someone else’s success.

•No lasting Glory is won without struggling. To find the true worth of success (eating a mango), ask the one who worked for it.

Several lessons could be deduced from this and could be used to motivate us in our journey through life, but the key to all this is what we want from life, where we have been, where we are now, and where we truly want to go from here.

Whatever it is we are looking for, let’s stay true to the course. It gets tougher as you get closer but there is light at the end of the tunnel. You are closer to it than you really think. Hold on and keep on keeping on.

I conclude with the Job story. A man who had everything one can ever wish for: Money, money, money, a good name, health, and a beautiful family. Then Tragedy struck, and Job lost his wealth and everything he ever owned and struck with illness. He had the best possible worse moment in life one can think of or dreads of. Yet he never for once gave up. Yes, not even on God. At the end, the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life more than the former part.

Unlike some may be tempted or want us to believe this bible story centered too much on material wealth, “get rich quick” attitude of people, etc. when we read and reflect on the story of Job just as with the mango and what it goes through before it becomes ripe and succulent for eating; we will notice that; the main subject of the all Job story and the mango, is about how you must keep your own identity as a child of God (mango), and do not let any external storm (With regards to the mango, the weather, etc.) to change you, your nature, your faith and loyalty to God.

We may suffer or go through trying moment in this world to get what we want, but certainly like the mango, that stands the test of bad weather, and using these; to grow and mature into a wonderful fruit, so must we turn our every weakness to an opportunity; even if we look like losers to the world. There’s no quitting. Never Ever!

Columnist: Victor Raul Puobabangna Plance