Living in the Stench
Have you visited a place with foul smell and wondered how people living there cope?
My aunt and her children visited Lagos for a one week holiday. They had lived in Abuja all their lives – the kids most especially.
During their stay in Lagos, I put a call through to them to ask after their welfare. They all complained bitterly about the foul smell in Lagos.
They couldn’t go out often from their hotel room and it ruined their holiday.
The question it left on their lips was, “how do people cope in Lagos with this foul smell?”
I grew up in Lagos but until I moved to Abuja, I realized the difference. Everyone is angry in Lagos. Someone is shouting or cursing at the other.
Lagos is too fast paced, noisy and busy. My friend Tolulope Ajayi had cause to come to Abuja and on waking up the first morning, the first comment he gave was how much peace he felt sleeping and waking up. He confessed that it has been a while he enjoyed that.
The next question is, “how do people cope in Lagos?”
Then in dawned upon me that people do not cope in Lagos. They have no idea that what they are going through is not normal. They believe they are living life to the fullest. They believe it is the normal life.
Living in the Stench is thus as a result adaptability. Those people living in Lagos are so used to Lagos that they have no idea that something is wrong with Lagos. It is normal for them.
It is the same way you pass an area with a foul smell and while you are struggling to cover your nose, you could see someone sleeping comfortably in the midst of such stench. Such a person is so used to the stench that they do not have an idea how foul it is.
In James Clear’s Atomic Habit, it talked a lot about 2 things – Habit and Environment. Making a thing an habit means that thing eventually becomes a part of you. Also, being in an environment where your desired behaviour is their normal behaviour makes it easier to adapt to that behaviour.
Both works on the principles of adaptability. To be a better writer, you should go to an environment where writing has the greatest stench. Same for programming, marketing and every other skill you desire.
Adaptability is fostered by length of time. The longer you stay in a place or you do a thing the more adaptable you become. With an example, it means that the more you write, the better a writer you become.
Your job is to find the stench you so desire and adapt to it.
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