Refuse to Die

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”

Calvin Coolidge

Helen Keller, at the age of 19 months, became deaf and blind. But that didn’t stop her from pursuing her vision. She was the first deaf and blind person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree going on to become an author, political activist and lecturer. 

Think about this for a moment. If someone you loved were trapped in a building, would you stop trying to rescue them if the front door were locked? Wouldn’t you try other ways and means, the windows, the roof, and every opening, right?

The reason why many people fail in their endeavours is because they know more about failure than about success. Bad news sells faster, they say, and people subscribe to it without giving much thought. The media bombards us with stories of wars, deaths, collapsed businesses, high commodity prices, and ailing economies.

We are told of how worse the economy has become, yet there are inspiring stories of individuals and organisations influencing change in significant ways in their communities.

We are made to believe that all is falling apart, and therefore, many people discount the need to invest their best efforts in their endeavours. Afterall, ‘everybody go die’, ‘dollar dey die’, ‘government dey chop chop’, ‘everything is falling apart’ they say. This negativity is poisonous and it travels faster than the venom from a snake’s bite. ‘The losers’ mantra’ is how i call it and how they sink into our deepest thoughts is pathetic, burying our very flickers of hope.

Little, however, is shown and told of the many success stories littered across the landscape of Africa, of the people improving their lives through gainful employment, of young people volunteering in their communities. My grandmother built her houses from the sale of ‘Kenkey’ and fried fish in the sixties. Her diligence and determination accounted chiefly for her success.


Ladies and gentlemen, there are a thousand reasons to fail but a thousand and one reasons to succeed, and you are the constant in that equation. Give yourself no reason to fail because conditions seem to be against you. That is the more reason why you ought to be resilient.


You need not have everything to begin a project but you need to gather much confidence and resoluteness. These virtues are drawn from within. The biggest excuses I hear are “I don’t have enough money”, “I don’t have enough time,” “I’m too busy”, “I don’t want to travel,” Shut the fuck up! Nobody has ever had everything and nobody will ever have everything. All those whose lives you admire did not have everything either yet they took the first step nevertheless.


If you know how to write songs, start serious writing, keep writing and then do everything possible to get your songs out there. Take advantage of Youtube. Youtube? Yes, Youtube, you need not have a professional camera. You can begin with the 4 megapizel camera of your mobile phone. Go to one radio station. If they turn you down, go to the next and the next and tell them about your songs. Rejection is why you should push further. Do it! Do it!! Do it until you succeed. Never give up! Never!!

Young people of today give themselves beautiful reasons to be idle. Many of them are interested in short-cuts without mastering a skill. A lot more are frustrated because they are not realising what they were thought formal education would bestow them; to secure a white collar, green collar, gold collar kind of job after graduation. This conventional mentality has left many in a hole as unemployment figures continue to soar.


Most people prefer the safe haven of blaming all else but themselves for their circumstance. They are yet to realise that their success depended mostly on themselves and their actions or inactions. They do not understand that where there is a will, there is a way. The earlier they realised this, the better.

Meet Esi Owusu, intelligent and charming, a Fine Arts graduate, who intends to run an Arts gallery. The funds in her bank account is only enough to buy porridge for a few days. She sends her works to potential buyers but each gave her sermons on why they couldn’t buy. Those who thought she had a brilliant idea gave her one option; that she agreed to a sexual barter.

Esi is discouraged, doubts her own innate abilities. She contemplates taking up any available job offer just to make ends meet. She is also frustrated, continually judging herself in the light of the temporary setbacks, and measuring her real worth by a piece of certificate. She finds a job as a teller in a rural bank. Should Esi, in the hustle and bustle of work in a bank forget her real passion; she will very likely end up living out a life of regret.  
Esi must come to the realisation of her life’s task. She must give herself no reason to fail in this task. She must not look at others except to draw inspiration from those who are making it happen in their own lives. She must give herself no excuse to fail but to continually ask herself what she can do to better her lot and her society. She must begin to build a career around her ability to paint creative emotional scenes. She must begin today, not tomorrow. Yes, today!

Victory may be like a hesitant woman but with persistence, you will woo her to your side. Make it happen! Refuse to die!!

About nene marcus katey

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