Start Where You Are, With What You Have

All your excuses are in your head

Michelle Okafor
3 min readMar 26, 2022
Photo by Moses Londo on Unsplash

If someone asked you today if you are happy with the life you have right now, what would you say? Yes? No? Maybe? Maybe you wish things were different. That you had a happier marriage. That you had less debt. That you had a better job.

Some things you have control over, others you don’t. Like the year you were born. The family you were born into. The number of siblings you have. Whether your family is well off or poor. Whether you were born in a first-world country like America, or whether you were born in Africa.

Does your set of circumstances make you any less able to achieve great things? Do your circumstances weigh you down? Perhaps they do. Does it stop you? Should it stop you?

It would be naïve to think that all of us have equal opportunities in life. That we all start from the same baseline. Some people have great advantages like being born into a wealthy family, in a first world country, with great technological advances, where they are trying to get to Mars and all you are aiming for is to get out of the little street with no running water and electricity.

You are no less of a person. You are no less of an achiever. We all have the same ambition if we tap into it. We now have access to the same digital library, the same resources. All you have to do is start.

The same with marriage. The same with getting out of debt. Don’t stop fighting the good fight. I was the top salesperson at my company this month. I come from a rural town. It’s hard in the beginning. It’s easier to give up because all you see around you are people who have given up. There is no more drive, no desire to reach above their present circumstances. And that’s ok too if you consciously choose it. But then don’t blame others for your misery and for not advancing in life.

The intensity of human desire is the same in everyone. You are no less armed. You are no less equipped. How you manage your obstacles and trash your shortcomings will determine how far you go. Continue to fight the good fight. There are no shortcuts.

In trying to reach great heights, keep your character intact. Keep your good spirit going. Don’t lose hope. Don’t lose courage. Don’t keep count.

“Those who complete the course will do so only because they do not, as fatigue sets in, convince themselves that the road ahead is still too long, the inclines too steep, the loneliness impossible to bear and the prize itself of doubtful value.” — Thabo Mbeki

The road ahead is awfully long. It seems like there is no finish line in sight. Blisters are forming around your toes. There is more than one pebble in your shoe. All you want to do is give up. To stop the pain. But look at how far you’ve come. You are almost unrecognisable to those who knew you many years ago.

They secretly look up to you. They are silently cheering for you. You don’t know it. All you feel are the blisters forming. You go deep in your psyche trying to make sense of it all. Why did you choose this mountain to climb when there are valleys nearby? All level, all easy. You could have reached the oasis already. But what is at the oasis? A single palm tree with low hanging fruit that everyone can reach.

You are aiming for the juiciest fruit far out of the reach of everyone. The fruits of excellence, abundance, good health, prosperity, wealth. They are not for the masses. Only for the ones who refuse to stop and take the pebble out of their shoe.



Michelle Okafor

Writer of short, inspirational pieces. Make the most of your time here, for we pass this way only once. See the good in yourself and others.