“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.”
– Karl Lagerfeld
What I have learnt is that there is a never-ending gravitation towards the direction of resources. For the purpose of this literature, resource refers to a skill, talent or ability.
More often than not, while still a prodigy at some specific ability, there is almost always a maddening rush for your services free of charge. Sometimes, you feign being occupied or being temporarily unavailable just to ward off the perceived parasites. You see, even when you attain a higher level of proficiency, people will still always come at you from all angles, seeking your assistance on this or that; their sweet tongues lavishing accolades on your unsuspecting person. If you allow yourself be fooled by these praise singers, you’ll see that in no time, you will have been gleaned of every strength or indeed, time to do other constructive things for yourself or for a greater cause.
Here’s the tricky part. The goal is not to form busy every time someone requires your input for a ‘selfish cause’ voluntarily. Rather, the goal is to ensure you’re building yourself up, while at the same time creating avenues for the projection of your talents on a larger scale. The harsh truth is if you fail to use your time for yourself, someone somewhere is always willing to use it up for you. And when it is considered critically, the person perhaps needs your ability more than you do.
Being practical, I have been faced with cases where I failed to use my abilities for constructive purposes for myself and have had people ‘run up to me’ needing my services ‘urgently’. In the end, maybe my input opened a door or two for them, but in most cases, I turned out none the wiser, for in those instances, I felt used; which is one of the worst feelings one can have. Take it from me. In the real sense of it, don’t make it a habit to ALWAYS be the ‘go-to-person’ when deadlines are imminent for some fellow or the other. It’s okay to be a person that others can count on, yet, do not allow yourself be always available for all seasons. Selective unavailability is a tool of great importance as you will learn in time.
It is expedient not to let your competence be chipped at gradually till it diminishes to the point of obscurity to leave you high and dry. There’s always a period for relevance for everyone and if you let others move a rung higher every time by feeding on your skillfulness while you remain a nobody due to your inaction, you only have yourself to blame.
Time waits for no one, and every resource yearns for expression, including yours. It’s left to you to decide if your expertise will be preyed upon or will propel you to become a force of nature.
May the odds always be in your favour!