The First Drop of Rain in a Hurricane

There’s increasing tales of the overnight success. The guy who apparently woke up one day and happened to strike gold. They say he got lucky; fortune smiled at him; the stars aligned. A mythical creature if you ask me, held high by the pillars of romanticizing success. Nothing just comes out of nowhere (Must be a shocker for the folks basking in instant gratification). Truth be told, it’s mostly been a long time in the making. Classic working hard in silence and suddenly turning up on the map when no one was watching. Like every small start, with persistence and perseverance things silently take off, then they escalate, gain momentum, the rate at which they grow grows. One drop becomes two, becomes ten, becomes rain.

We all want to be affiliated with the tag “successful.” That’s like the ultimate goal; having it all; attaining the perfect balance between family and career. But no one hardly asks themselves at what cost.

The choices we make …make us. The habits you develop, the small changes you apply, add up and later multiply in folds. Call it snowballing, compounding, it doesn’t really matter. But that’s what eventually makes all the difference.

Now surpassing mediocrity is no menial task. It’s through doing the continuous, mundane unexciting stuff over time. In order to have more, you obviously must work continuously to be more. You just have to stop sleepwalking through poor life choices. And biidhnillah you will succeed.

But like I said, success is not something to be romanticized. It often has a hefty price to go with. The moment you start growing you start changing. We don’t like it when people change. So, there’ll be a rift created between you and some of your closest people… which will only grow overtime.

Like a hurricane, your growth is going to scare people and push them away. Like how dare you level up. I thought we’d stay comfortable where we are and never change. We come from the same means for God’s sake.

Forget a social life, you’re going to repel people as you grow. Plus, you won’t have the time to begin with. It gets lonely being that big you know. You’ll always be adored for the things you create but being liked… by the people you started with, that’s too much to ask. This hurricane wasn’t really meant for the people.

Then there’ll come the blame through claims of your destruction. You’ll never escape people’s tongues. Alliances will shift from people who were cheering you on in the beginning. You’re a force to be reckoned with and people are realizing that they can’t control you. But you’re past that and you shouldn’t apologize for being you, for being hungry.

Now that you’re at the top and almost everyone has left you. You’ll constantly be doubting yourself. This was what you wanted but you aren’t fulfilled. You’ll break down quite a lot. You’ve cast a shadow bigger than yourself. The doubts in your head will undo all the good you’ve done.

It’s only after looking down when you’ll see it. The lives you’ve touched, the ones you’ve inspired, the opportunities you created and just the general magnitude of the feat you’ve undertaken You lost people but gained others. Even more loyal. You’ve worked on something you’ve ardently believed in. Hardly anyone can say that. In your fits of passion, mixed with the spurts of madness, you’ve built something that’s going to outlive you and keep on giving back. And that makes all the difference.

Like I said, it’s not for everyone.

This isn’t exactly about the long-term results. It’s more of the under-appreciation of humble beginnings. The magic of choosing to start small and having the drive and courage as not to lose momentum. It’s taking care of the little things, like making your bed, cleaning your room and just sticking through with whatever you begin and believe in.

That’s the blueprint for the overnight success. The small things done consistently over time. You are the first drop they don’t notice. Then the trickle they choose to ignore. The rain they think shall pass and before they know it, they’re in the eye of the storm.

compounding, doubt, growth, habits, momentum, Overnight success, perseverance, persistence, snowballing, success


Hassan Kassim

Hassan Kassim is a Mombasa-based Creative non-fiction writer, recently longlisted for the Toyin Falola prize, blogger and translator of Kiswahili work. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa and the European Union(E.U), and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management. Hassan writes about the ill-documented Communities of Coastal Kenya. His work has appeared in Writers Space Africa; his 2 non-fiction stories published in the anthology 'Twaweza,' a collaborative effort of 12 African writers on the African identity and set to appear in the forthcoming anthology for the Toyin Falola prize.

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Hassan Kassim is a Kenyan-based Creative non-fiction writer, blogger and translator of Kiswahili works with over 2 years of experience. A beneficiary of the Penpen program by African Writers Development Trust(AWDT) commissioned by Culture at Work Africa, and holds his Bachelor’s degree in Maritime Management.

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