Have you watched Cobhams Asuquo’s – Gift of Blindness? If you have you’ll have noticed that there’s indeed a lot to learn from Cobhams Asuquo story asides the personal connection it’s created. Before I knew Cobhams Asuquo, I have always associated blindness or any other disability with poverty. This is because it was what I grew with.
Back then, it was hard to see a man living with a disability living large – I mean rich and successful. I never saw one person. In fact, even men who were able found it hard to be successful in Nigeria not to talk of disabled men living in Nigeria so, Cobhams Asuquo was my first.
He has always inspired me times I feel like giving up even before I knew his story. Then, I used to tell myself that if a blind man like him living in Nigeria never gave up, I have no reason to, no excuses.
Cobhams Asuquo’s Gift of Blindness
Well, it was introduced to me by my piano teacher. A young instrumentalist I met shortly after I had finished my OND many years back. I had always been passionate about musical instruments so that time was a perfect opportunity for me to learn because I had no job and I was still thinking my next step towards my education.
I embraced music with joy until I realized it was one of the toughest things to learn in the world. I was about giving up when my music instructor told me about the “Gift of Blindness”. Cobhams Asuquo being able to learn and play the keyboard perfectly despite the fact he was totally blind.
In other words, if he was able to do this, I should be able to do better and stop all the fuss that my fingers ache’s and how impossible it is for me to play some of my scales.
I gathered courage that day to play the notes he gave me but still I still felt the urge to watch what the video and what it was all about despite the fact I already heard rumours about Cobhams Asuquo before.
That same day, immediately I got home, I flipped out my phone and googled Cobhams Asuquo’s – Gift of Blindness. I watched and since then, my life has changed. My perception of musical instruments, Nigeria, and myself changed for good.
So today after sharing some lessons I’ve learned from Aliko Dangote, AY the comedian – Ayo Makun, I will share with you 5 lessons I’ve learned from Cobhams Asuquo’s story. How he rose from a typical blind man in Nigeria to one of the richest music producers in Nigeria.
For those of us that don’t know Cobhams well. He was born blind into a family of six children in Nigeria. He began to learn musical instruments at quite a very young age. He produced Asa’s first album, he was an onetime music producer for the Rooftop MCs, Timi Dakolo, Nikki Laoye, and so on.
Mind you, these are the artists I know he produced for. There are many more artists in Nigeria he has produced songs for. Cobhams Asuquo no longer lives in Nigeria now (levels have changed) but he still works with Nigerian artists any time, any day, and makes his cool money. He is married with a kid.
5 Lessons from Nigeria Music Producer Cobhams Asuquo
1. Don’t Excuse Failure
I do this a lot and I believe many of us do it too. We blame our failure on people and many things around us. We blame our not being able to meet up with deadlines at work on too much task to do and we blame our not being able to succeed or start a business in Nigeria on so many factors like power, accessible roads, housing, and so on.
Cobhams Asuquo calls this in his TEDx talk the gift of blindness “the Nigerian factor” NF for short. He also talked about how people have excused Africa for where it is today. So sad!
Cobhams Asuquo despite all the factors against him as a blind man never excused failure and that’s why he’s one of Nigeria’s foremost music producers today.
Truth be told, there was also a time I almost gave up on this blog. Let’s face it; no matter how passionate you are about blogging, traffic is still one major factor in terms of the success of your blog. So when it was not coming then I was discouraged and almost gave up.
But I just kept pushing, I had to and continued to learn ways it will work and now our traffic is improving thanks to you and every other person reading our blog now.
I know our excuse can sometimes be justifiable, yes, but it doesn’t mean these excuses are valid because seriously no excuse is valid. So never excuse failure. If you fail, you failed. Pick yourself and move on.
2. Trust When You Have No Reason
One of the biggest problems today in Nigeria and all over the world is the ability to trust people. Everyone is selfish and I don’t blame them. No one wants to lose his intellectual property and otherwise to another person but come on, we still have to trust. I used to say I can’t trust anyone with my blog.
This worked for me until I needed to get a custom domain for my blog and because I didn’t know how to go about it I had to just put my trust one side and ask Esther Adeniyi to help me out. By the way, she has a fantastic blog so please check her out. Update: She has stopped blogging.
I did that and thank God I did it. Because of this, I’ve formed a deep relationship with her. Also been able to form relationships with other bloggers just because I began to trash “trust”.
So I’ll advise you to begin to trust and trust carelessly. This might seem hard but you’ll be able to do this if you assume you’re a blind man that cannot help himself.
3. Be Blind to be Focused
I have always thought of the power of focus but I must say I never thought of it in this manner. We all usually think one of the hardest things to do in this world is to focus but this is not true. It’s actually the simplest thing to do because it’s a habit that can be practiced every day.
Dandapani talked about this in his TEDx video – Unwavering focus
It’s so funny our teachers back then in our early school years used to tell us to focus and concentrate on our work but they never teach us how.
In Dandapani’s video; he teaches us that we can learn how to focus because focus is indeed a habit and we can start each day by devoting some time to practice.
In Cobhams Asuquo TEDx video, he told us to be blind to be focused. He is not saying we should make ourselves blind to achieve this. No! He is just saying we can do this by pretending to be blind.
The gift of eyesight is one of the best things God gave us but it can also be a distraction if not used well. Remember David Story in the Bible?
So be blind to be focused. Focus on that business you want to start. Focus on that task ahead of you. Focus on that talent of yours. Focus on that passion of yours. Focus, focus, focus…
4. See Potential in Yourself
Believe in yourself even when nobody chooses to – is another lesson we should always put in mind. As a young child Cobhams Asuquo said he’ll always hit his head on hard surfaces just because he never pitied himself.
He made sure he had the life a regular Nigerian child would have. This is how to really start a successful life – by seeing the potential in yourself and not wallowing in self-pity no matter your condition.
Not wallowing because you failed an exam. Not wallowing because the business didn’t work. Not wallowing because the relationship didn’t work out. If you pity yourself, people will pity you but if you see potential in yourself people will see potential in you.
5. Put Your Soul into Your Work
I’ve been in love with Cobhams Asuquo’s music long before I knew him or should I say long before I knew what he looked like and his story. One of his first songs I listened to was Asa’s – Bibanke and I love it. I loved it to the extent that I had to go look for the album and buy.
So this brings me to my last lesson learned from Cobhams Asuquo’s story – Put your soul into anything you find yourself doing whether little or big. It will take you places.
Typical examples of these are the articles I’ve written so far on our blog TheInfoWorth. Turns out the ones I put my heart and soul into are the ones receiving more traffic despite the fact that some of them are 2 years old.
That’s life! Don’t do any work you won’t be proud of at the end. If it won’t take your sweat, don’t do it. Every day I work on myself so as to write life-changing articles on this blog. This is because I want to look back at them 5 years down the line and be proud.
This is what I want and this is what you should be gunning for. And trust me you go farther. Thanks for being with me on this episode many more to come. Please leave a comment. What have you learned from Cobhams Asuquo’s story and how has it changed you? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.
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