It was a sunny Friday afternoon and I was in a TGIF mood (TGIF mood for me is anticipation of my Friday night’s sleep and the sheer bliss of not having to wake up early the following day :D)… So off I went for lunch in a very great mood, India Arie’s “beautiful day” playing in my head… I was strolling along this curb housing some traders selling all sorts from phones to beverages to boli… when this strong sewage stench hit me from nowhere like a well packed fist. I literally staggered and held my breath. But you wanna know the curious thing? The traders looked totally unaffected and carried on with their business cool as cucumber! One of them who spotted me covering my nose and grimacing went: “Aunty, my shop dey smell?” I smiled and walked on without responding to her question and thinking to myself…. These people had become so accustomed to this foul smell that they could not even perceive it anymore… a condition known as olfactory fatigue, smell saturation or odor adaptation. Yeah, you know how sometimes your nose gets conditioned to a smell such that you don’t smell it after a while? It was quite obvious that this smell had become a way of life for the traders… A culture… Albeit a smelly one…
This got me really thinking… You see, often times we have “personal cultures”, habits, if you please, that are totally “smelly” but we are completely unaware of. We may have gotten so entrenched in such attitudes and habits that we have come to see them as normal and acceptable. We have become like those traders living in “blissful ignorance”….
My thought on this is that keeping a personal scorecard and getting feedback from others is very crucial in the journey of self improvement. Self evaluation is good, but you would need to balance it with feedback from others who observe you and interact with you from time to time. Also let’s admit it, often times we may not tell ourselves the truth or we may go easy and choose to stick to half truths we spin about ourselves to ourselves.
You just might need a fresh extra pair of nostrils… yup! A nose job 😀
Now where do we get this extra and fresh pair of nostrils, unbiased and able to detect those nasty smells we may not perceive? The first (and most important source in my own opinion) is from God Almighty, our Creator. I mean, how can you carry out a self examination without seeking God’s opinion using Scripture based truths? That would just be a total waste of time. This divine nostril can sense even the faintest of smells… You should try it. The second nostril is a mentor. The importance of a mentor cannot be overemphasized. If there’s anything you are passionate about, chances are that someone is already more experienced than you in that field. This is a very easy way to learn and succeed because you get to learn from the experiences of the guru. The last nostril I’m going to mention is friends and family who love you and want the best for you. Please take note of my emphasis. Because it is only those that genuinely care about us that would give honest and constructive feedback.
One last thing… Perhaps I should have told that trader the truth… maybe I should have replied: “Madam your shop smells like a poop factory” but I wonder… would she have taken my comment lying down? Or would I have chopped a dirty slap? Hmmm… the latter I suspect… Yes, we should be willing to accept the assessment of a fresh pair of nostrils.
It’s all part of the journey to self improvement…