Do you remember Federico Macheda? Back in 2008, the 17 year old had just moved from Lazio, Italy to England where he signed a professional contract with Manchester United Football Club’s reserve team. Fast forward a few months, his skills with a football and consistency in front of goal earned him an opportunity to represent the Red Devils’ senior team at a couple of premier league matches. Most notably, Macheda came off the bench to score a dying minute wonder goal in the 3-2 win against Aston Villa. After this sensational performance, the young man became something of a superstar. He granted interviews to enthusiastic journalists, and chronicled his meteoric rise to football celebrity status. Few years later, nobody knows where Federico Macheda is. Did he leave England and play in another league? Did he quit the game entirely? Most avid football fans have no idea.
I once heard my father say, “Everybody gets 15 minutes of fame. How you use it determines your relevance afterward.” The closest I have come so far is Professor Ayodele Awojobi Design Competition (PAADC). After leading the team that organized Nigeria’s largest student-initiated, technology-themed design competition back in July, I was on top of the world for a minute. For the next few weeks, all I received were congratulations. After that, I mostly received offers to join projects and requests for advice that were above my pay grade. It felt great to be honest, but I thought I had bought myself a break. I decided to avoid any commitments for the rest of the year and focus on self care; which I really needed at the time. I started actively listening to podcasts, reading books and resumed watching Suits and Billions. I even returned to Season 1 of Naruto!
Several weeks passed and all was going fine. Till one day, when Caleb Uzuegbunam shared a post on Whatsapp.
”You cannot consume your way to success. No amount of reading books, listening to podcasts or attending events will be worth as much as something you create and put into the world.
So write, record, produce, design, sell, ship, upload, send.
You must create.”
– Daniel Priestley
Since then, I have spent some time thinking about this. I concluded that I have been a consumer so far in life. I have consumed books, articles, courses, TED talks, lectures and more but somehow was yet to put forth content, ideas and new projects into the world. Even with AIESEC and PAADC, I had fought to promote already existing projects, benefitting from a system that was in place rather than creating something new. I observed my immediate environment and realized that young people I admired like Qaozara Adepeju (Vibrant Teen Girls Initiative), Daniel Ogbechi (EnPact) and Adebayo Adegbenro (The Investment Society) were running projects that they had brought to life, not just consumed.
Now that my 15 minutes are up, it is time once again to put ‘resting’ on hold and attempt to balance school/work with adding value. Many things are yet unclear, but this much is certain. The focus should be on creating, not consuming. Dear young people that are leading teams, running businesses and working on interesting projects, are you creating or consuming?