I have set a goal for myself to read 52 books by the end of the year (keep up with my journey here) and one of the books I have read so far is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. The book seeks to give its readers a better understanding of the concept of success by using various success stories as case studies. Gladwell challenges the theory that people are successful because they are exceptionally gifted, by highlighting the fact that there are various contextual factors that contribute to their success.
I decided to apply Gladwell’s theory to my own life by looking at the various contextual factors that contributed to my success. Social media creates a false sense of intimacy or closeness between creators who choose to share their lives online and their audience. This creates the perfect environment for comparison to thrive because you are not presented with the full picture. I aim to have a platform that fosters transparency on all fronts, so I am going to break down some of the privileges which helped me to get where I am today.
Time of Birth
Before you think it, no I don’t mean astrology, I literally mean the time of my birth. The date you were born has a great impact on what you can achieve. I was born in 1996, and in 2020 when I decided to start creating content, I was 23. In the year 2020, the market was ripe for content creators because everything switched online which resulted in people spending more time online. Me being 23 at the time, meant that I was young enough to understand the digital landscape and old enough to fund my venture into the sphere. In comparison to an 18-year-old who may have felt like they were too young and did not have enough funds or a 40-year-old who may have felt like their time had passed, I was the perfect age to take full advantage of the space.
Both my parents are working-class lawyers who allowed me to live comfortably. They are both financially literate and passed down the knowledge to my sister and I, for which I am eternally grateful. I started investing at 18 years old because of this and was able to buy my first house at 23 (learn more about this here). I have never had to worry about money which is also a blessing. I have travelled across the world (currently at 30 countries and counting) which has given me a global perspective and stronger cross-cultural communication skills. I went to university debt-free and I am still allowed to live at home, no questions asked. My parents are also very supportive of all my ventures which has allowed me to pursue various passion projects and led me to where I am today, a content creator.
I spent A LOT of time in school. Beyond the regular school terms, my parents also enrolled me in educational camps during the summer. While Kindergarten to Grade 12 is government-funded in Canada, anything you wanted to do beyond the September to June school year, would have had to be funded by your parents. I was privileged enough to have parents who could afford to fund my extra learning which put me ahead of my peers who did not have the same opportunity. I wasn’t the Einstein of my class but as Gladwell sought to prove, my abilities were not because of me being a genius but because my parents had the resources to invest in my schooling, I was at an advantage.
I was not born in Nigeria, however, both my parents were and so I was raised with Nigerian values. Nigerians invented grind culture (the girls who get it, get it), that hustle mentally is in my DNA. Even though my parents are on the more chill side, they still always pushed me to do better, I mean brought home an A and they asked for the plus. While Nigerians are go-getters there is also this element of ‘honouring elders’ that I respect, but it sometimes leads to a hesitancy to advocate for oneself. Being raised in Canada, I was taught to advocate for myself (because closed mouths don’t get fed, sis) which proved to be very beneficial in the business sphere and has led to many of the opportunities I have today.
My hope is that this helped you to understand a bit more about my background and how I was able to accomplish all that I have accomplished. I am not implying that I am the poster girl of success, but I am an example of someone who had a lot of ‘leg ups’ and used what they had to get where they are. I want us to move beyond comparison because it is truly the thief of joy. You are right where you are supposed to be at this moment, don’t let people’s curated social media life cause you to second-guess that.
If you would like to hear me talk more on this topic, feel free to check out this video.