Overnight Success: Could It Really Happen To You?

Jumoke and Tinie tempah
(c) TY Bello
[ 5 min read].

Google Jumoke Orisaguna and you will get over 400,000 results with websites such as CNN and Huffington Post featuring her story. Even if you’ve been living under a bridge this last few months, you would have heard the incredible story of Jumoke, the bread hawker who literally walked her way into fame and fortune in late January of this year. If you haven’t heard her story, well, here’s a quick recap.

U.K rapper, Patrick Okogwu, otherwise known as Tinie Tempah was in Nigeria for a number of events including a photoshoot with celebrity photographer TY Bello. One of the shots was taken on your run of the mill Lagos street and as Tinie struck his pose, Jumoke walked right into the shot with her tray of Agege bread on her head. According to TY, the photo was near perfect and after some digital enhancements, the photo along with others was released in ThisDay Style magazine. The shot with Jumoke was so striking, it attracted attention from readers and after TY’s appeal on social media to track her down, Jumoke’s life changed forever. A modelling contract and a luxury flat in Lagos are just a few of the amazing outcomes of that innocuous picture and the story is just beginning.

Hardly does anything happen instantly and expecting anything different is expecting the unnatural.

This entire affair is nothing short of a remarkable phenomenon. The odds of her being there at that very moment, Tinie and TY choosing that street and she being there at the exact time for the right picture are astounding. If she had decided to take another route that day or she decided to sit down to rest even for 5 minutes earlier in the day, she would have missed the shoot completely.

If she was just 2 steps behind or 2 steps ahead when she turned to hawk on that street, the shot wouldn’t have happened. The light wouldn’t have been right or she wouldn’t have been making eye contact with Tinie and the image would have been deleted from TY’s camera without a second’s thought; as an annoying interruption. If it were someone else who walked past that day, even if the timing was perfect, it wouldn’t have been THE shot. If it were me for example who walked past, it’s unlikely I would have been offered a modelling contract or have received any life changing notoriety. The shot was meant for Jumoke and her alone.

It’s a fairytale story that we all wish would happen to us in our own perfect way someday. In your daydreams, it could be that you and Aliko Dangote share a lift together and by the time you doors open again, he has taken an immediate liking to you, ultimately making you his close confidant and best friend. Or maybe your own daydream is to run into a thirsty and disheveled Mike Adenuga who approaches you to buy him a N20 soft drink because his car broke down in your neighborhood and he doesn’t have any cash on him. You buy him the drink because you have heard tales of his generosity and you know that when he pays you back, it will be with at least a seven figure sum.

The Way The World Works

A thought that I’ve been pondering over Jumoke’s case is, “In this world we live in, can success really happen overnight?” Jumoke’s case makes the answer to the question an obvious yes but what are the odds of it happening again? What are the odds of it happening to me or you? Who was even the last Jumoke? Where is he or she now? As much as overnight success or fame is plausible, because it’s so rare to come by, it might as well be deemed to be impossible.

While I was in a shopping mall in Lekki over the past weekend, I was approached by a young man. He told me he was a new musical artist and then proceeded to pass me a CD with his picture on the cover to prove it. He told me that he needed my support to push his album. “No amount is too small sir.” he said. I recognized him from the last time I was in the mall and I bought a copy of his album at the time. I told him that I already bought a copy and he scurried away. “This is obviously his hustle.” I told myself. I also concluded in my mind that I could have just met a future music star if he continued to work hard at his career. Clearly many of the famous artists today started in a similar fashion. They didn’t just have the fame and success handed to them. They all went through a process before breaking out. The same applies to sports stars, film stars and even business owners.

In my pondering, I looked to the natural world and I imagined a beautiful flower. Its purpose in life is simply to attract insects with its bright colors and nectar and have them aid pollination thus ensuring the continued existence of its species. However, it doesn’t become a flower overnight, there is a process it must go through before it blooms. A seed can become a mighty tree but it can take decades to grow into one. Even a new born baby grows into an adult day by day and the changes that go on in his or her body take arguably a fifth of a lifetime. When you have a cut on your skin, the wound heals and disappears; not immediately, but over time.  None of these things happen in the blink of an eye.

The lightning bolt that illuminates the sky and is gone just as suddenly as it appears is caused by a process. It just doesn’t come on and off as though there was a light switch (here’s an interesting video that offers some explanation). This is how the world works, it’s how nature works. Hardly does anything happen instantly and expecting anything different is expecting the unnatural.

Making Money Takes A Process

Why do so many people fail to go through the process of saving and investing their money for their future? They expect that someday, something will happen or someone will come into their lives and all their money problems will go away.   Often times, some people placate themselves by saying, “One day, I will start my business and I will HAMMER! That is when I will start saving.”

Perhaps you have had a killer idea for a business sometime in the past. How old were you when you first had this idea? It could have been more than 10 years ago, I don’t know. How far have you gone in executing the idea? Have you even started? One of the main reasons people don’t put their ideas into action is a lack of capital. If you had saved just N20,000 every month for the last 10 years, you would have N2.4 million cash today for your business and that doesn’t include the interest you would have earned. Have you saved anything for your business in the last 10 years or are you still waiting for someone to come along and hand you the money?

The success that we crave for is more likely to come via a process and that process should start today.

What I’m saying in a nutshell is that your version of the life changing event that happened to Jumoke may never happen. The odds are just too large. You and I may continue to pray for it but we shouldn’t bank on it. The success that we crave for is more likely to come via a process and that process should start today.

Enough Talk, Act Now

Jumoke probably never wanted to be a model. Today she is one because she also happens to have the right talents and qualities. You are different from Jumoke because you can decide for yourself right now what you want to do and what you want to be. Doing it is going to take hard work, tears, sleepless nights, missed meals, strained relationships and I haven’t even talked about the challenges.

It’s going to be a long journey, not a short one. That’s just how the world works so start now!

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Jonathan Babatunde Lawuyi
Insurance distribution professional and financial planner. Passionate about personal financial management. Host blogger at www.talkingmoney.com.ng.
Jonathan Babatunde Lawuyi

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