Wednesday, 26 March 2014

What is your bottom line?

Few days ago, as I was on my way to my everyday business in the morning, I saw two grown men arguing in public. One had bashed the other’s car, but mildly. The argument was intense. In the course of the squabble I overheard the victim say to the accused, “the bottom line is that you are going to repair my car.” I have heard the term bottom line being used in financial or business world. I have heard it being used in church. I have heard people use it in every day interaction. You too may have heard it. But something struck my curious mind to think about the term bottom line in another context. With that statement from the victim still fresh on my mind, I thought about the term in a bigger context- LIFE.

My thoughts became vivid in my hands. The numerous questions provoked by my inquisitive mind came at a lick in front of my eyes begging for answers. What is my bottom line as I go to work? As I ponder over events in my life, what is my bottom line? You can think about this for a second. What is the minimum compromise that you can accept from others? What is the most important element that defines your life that you cannot trade for anything? What fraction of space in your life can you give up for anything or anybody? What is the minimum emotional access to your life that you can give to others? To what extent are you willing to give up the mind of your own just to be validated by others? What is the minimum excuse that you can give for leading a life of validation (where you want to be accepted by everybody, so you cannot live without others approval)? What is the minimum level of pity that you can accept from others? As you think about those challenges you face every day, what is your bottom line? It is my submission that a life that is devoid of bottom line is not worth living. Underneath my field of vision lies my bottom line. Where is your bottom line?

Recently, public discussions were dominated (perhaps still dominate) by the unfortunate incident (death toll arising from the Nigerian Immigration Service aptitude test) that happened on 15th March 2014 across the country. Many people have expressed their views. Perhaps the outcry is ongoing. The families of the victims (whether dead or injured) are still licking the wounds caused by the heartrending incident. To put the incident into another context (the bottom line context), which may be unpopular and unappealing to some people. What if all the applicants had a defined bottom line? What if they had the minimum level of compromise they would endure for anything (be it aptitude test)? What if they had all valued their lives that they would not trade life for anything? What if the pregnant women had defined the most important elements in their lives (which could be their babies) that they would not trade for anything? What if every applicant had defined the minimum condition anyone could subject them to (whether or not employment was involved)? What if they had realized the power of choice in their hands? What if they had normalized the tempo of their extreme anxiety to get a federal government job? Would there have been a stampede?

It is often popular among people to take short-cuts. Majority of the public have taken the shortcut, which is the outcry that government has failed; hence deliberately isolating the areas we failed as individuals. The loopholes in the outcry are easily noticeable. In a few weeks the dust raised by the ugly incident will have settled and business-as-usual syndrome will continue to take over our sense of reasoning.

Think for a second about the questions you face on a daily basis and the choices you make therein: What cloth should I wear? What food should I eat? How much should I save from my income? How much am I going to spend? The list continues. As you ask those questions, you should be able to ask what your bottom line is, and where your bottom line is. It would be interesting to ask those two questions because there are many events in life that can cause a shift in reality of life. There are many reasons we are confronted with the challenges we face. It is the power of choice that we have in our hands that can guide the answers we give to those two questions. Every life comes with a purpose. Every life has a bottom line. A life that is devoid of bottom line is not worth living. Underneath my field of vision lies my bottom line. What is your bottom? Where is your bottom line?
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