Years back, not long after a graduated from college I proceeded to apply to be considered for a master’s degree placement. Soon enough, the university to made me an offer, but there was one problem: I was going to need funding and that real quick knowing full well what happens to students who were unable to complete their tuition. I knew how they were locked out of school facilities and how often they were eventually bundled home and labeled hoodlums and I was not going to experiment with that option. It was lucky some scholarship opportunities were handy, out of which I went for the one that could offset both tuition and living expenses. I was sure I was going to study and get ready for the interview I had waited all my life for but only when tomorrow comes. A few months down the line, I got some notification from the scholarship board informing me of the schedule for the scholarship interview and the documents I would need. It was still a few months and besides I had my job to concentrate on so I didn’t bother besides I was sure I was going to read and prepare for it. The flight of time made sure I was soon facing a panel of five professors trying to convince them why the government should shoulder the financial responsibility of my program unprepared.
After a working tirelessly in vain for over fifteen minutes to convince them that the money would not be wasted if it were invested in my future, I was asked leave that I would be notified of the outcome in due time. That was it: I had lost the single chance I had dreamt of for year only when I came face to face with it not because the professors were biased but simply because I could not take out a meager 24 hours out of three months to prepare in a scholarship program that is relatively fair and just a few other people to compete with.
That loss cost me $30,000 a year of my life. Years afterwards, I had only wished I had studied.
Out there in all walks of life are men who have their opportunity had met unprepared and have spent the rest of their lives wishing they did prepare ahead. If there was any trick that the mind plays on humans is the trick of tomorrow. We are prone to wanting to put everything off for tomorrow. Do you want to go to school? Apply now. Do you want to start a business? Start now. Do you want to carry out a project? Begin now. Not moment is perfect take the moment and make it perfect. If you wait for everything to be perfect before you will start out, then you will have to wait forever. There is an opportunity that when missed in any man’s life, may make the rest of that man’s life colorless and tasteless.
Joe Stoker, rear brakeman on the-accommodation train, was exceedingly popular with all the railroad men. The passengers liked him, too, for he was eager to please and always ready to answer questions. But he did not realize the full responsibility of his position. He took the world easy, and occasionally tippled; and if any one remonstrated, he would give one of his brightest smiles, and reply, in such a good natured way that the friend would think he had overestimated the danger: “Thank you. I’m all right, don’t you worry.”
One evening, there was a heavy snowstorm, and his train was delayed. Joe complained of extra duties because of the storm, and slyly sipped occasional draughts from a flat bottle. Soon he became quite jolly; but the conductor and engineer of the train were both vigilant and anxious.
Between two stations the train came to a quick halt. The engine had blown out its cylinder head, and an express was due in a few minutes upon the same track. The conductor hurried to the rear car, and ordered Joe back with a red light. The brakeman laughed and said: “There’s no hurry. Wait till I get my overcoat.” The conductor answered gravely, “Don’t stop a minute, Joe. The express is due.” “All right,” said Joe, smilingly. The conductor then hurried forward to the engine. But the brakeman did not go at once. He stopped to put on his overcoat. Then he took another sip from the flat bottle to keep the cold out. Then he slowly grasped the lantern and, whistling, moved leisurely down the track.
He had not gone ten paces before he heard the puffing of the express. Then he ran for the curve, but it was too late. In a horrible minute the engine of the express had telescoped the standing train, and the shrieks of the mangled passengers mingled with the hissing escape of steam.
Later on, when they asked for Joe, he had disappeared; but the next day he was found in a barn, delirious, swinging an empty lantern in front of an imaginary train, and crying, ” I wish I had! ” He was taken home, and afterwards to an asylum, and there is no sadder sound in that sad place than the unceasing moan, “I wish I had! I wish I had!” of the unfortunate brakeman, whose criminal indulgence brought disaster to many lives. — Oswald
Edwin Drake was one man I loved and admired his passion. He was an industrious young man. At age nineteen, he had left home to work and fend for himself. He found a job working on railways and soon became a train conductor. It was during the days nobody knew what to do with crude oil. Everybody used lamps but the lamps only used whale oil. All of a sudden someone came up with a refinery and crude oil demand suddenly hit the skies but there was a problem: how to drill the oil. Having been caught in an accident that resulted in his dismissal from the railway, Drake went to work for Seneca Oil. After he had successfully convinced them that he could drill for oil for them Seneca sent him to the field. When he was not delivering the expected result soon enough, Seneca pulled the plug on funding they had provided for the project, leaving drake to his devices. These were the days when people prospected and drilled for oil using shovels, pick axes and all, so when Drake went to buy a steam engine, everyone laughed him to scorn. What was he going to do with that? Could it be he has run nuts in his quest for black gold?
But Drake continued and his idea was working although not as fast as he anticipated and with much trouble. He drilled without hassles until his holes began caving in, but he found a way of cementing it and continued. After a wearing day’s work in which drake had reached a depth of 21 meters, had hit oil. Excitement had hit the roof, too happy and carried away with the worth of the treasure he had discovered for he had become instantly rich, Drake forgot to patent his invention for by the next day, a thousand other drillers who were watching replicated him method by daybreak the next day. After a series of investment in wrong places and mismanagement, Drake who discovered that one apparatus and process that made thousands of Americans instant millionaires died a wretched man after he had come so close to being a multi-billionaire and had he taken the one last step to register his patent but somehow he didn’t.
No time is better that now. No time can be more perfect than now. If there is something that needs to be done, now is the time for it now is left unused, tomorrow shall come but not without much regrets.
About the Author
feanyi J. Igbokwe is a life coach, writer and motivational speaker with a focus on corporate and personal growth.
Photo Credit: jakebouma