- Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works. — Virginia Woolf
Book title: Self Reliance Through Passion
Author: Chioma Millian Nsofor
Publisher: Opinion Research & Communications Inc.
Year of Publication: 2017; Pages: 86
THERE is a relatively new genre in the literary world dubbed motivational writing or inspirational literature. Books in this area which now sell impressively, mostly dwell on prodding the reader on by pumping him full with the ‘can do’ spirit. The publications can be anecdotal, didactic, evangelical, or just subtle theoritisation.
Books that fit into this strand of art are often those with the core goal of using the experiences and examples of the change in the life of major character(s) to inspire readers to mull such changes and possibly apply them real life, if not more.
Chioma Millian Nsofor’s new book, Self Reliance Through Passion didactically fits into inspirational genre literature or motivational writing.
The svelte but trenchant book richly makes incisive foray into bestseller psychological writing, the kind William James, Willem Hunt and some of the Austria-American writers of the mid 20th century made popular in United States at the height of capitalism. If psychological realism writers like Betorlt Brecht and Fyodor Dostoevsky among others were to be alive today they would create great fictions in novel and drama form from the ideas in books like Self Reliance Through Passion.
The book starts on a descriptive note of what passion means; how it impacts on success and failure and what havoc fear and impression, indecision and procrastination; age and criticism wrecks on self realisation – Pg vii – viii
These are some nuggets from the book:
· There is no you without accepting who you are…
· Success or failure in life is both a presence of anybody…
· Nobody can develop one’s talent unless on his passion for it. Passion is a pre-requisite for the discovery of talent…
The book is sectioned in five chapters, namely: Self Reliance Through Passion; Success and Failure; What is passion?; Passion Hindrances and Conclusion.
Apart from the 86 major pages there are seven preliminary pages.
In Chapter One: Self Reliance Through Passion, the writer dwells on what makes an individual an entrepreneur. She notes that a self-reliant person does not look for employment rather he employs other persons to work for him. According to her discovery of one’s self is vital for success. That, when added to believing in one’s self, can take a person to any level.
She urges her reader neither to walk in anyone’s shadow nor hope on fellow humans as that is abusing one’s capability. She writes: “It is the intensity of the urge within you that controls the action to quench the urge. Above all, it is the thought and mind-set that controls the intensity.”
In Chapter Two: Success And Failure, the author identifies success and failure as constant factors that qualify every human action. Hence any of them can be the outcome of any human action. However, none of these is a result, commensurate to the level of human efforts deployed.
She notes that failure offers opportunity for correction, re-examination, reinforcement or adjustment and achieving success next time around. But to a large extent, failure offers more opportunity for achievement than success. It tasks the person’s passion and opens windows for inward look and more expression of self. Her words: “With passion, one (who failed) picks courage and moves ahead as if nothing has happened. That is why passion could be described as “driver of success or failure” which is naturally inbuilt in every human being.”
Therefore, failure, she reasons, is a word that can generate several currents. But most importantly failure is not lack of success but absence of passion as the level of a person’s passion determines the extent of his success in an endeavour.
Chapter Three: What is Passion? appraises passion indepth. Passion, the author states, is a strong state of being which causes involuntary psychological response to a situation. Passion produces positive drive and positive drives breeds success.
Passion, she notes, gives momentum to talent. Therefore, to achieve successes one must spot his talent be passionate about it as failure is negligence of one’s passion and jumping into another person’s passion. “Passion is love! Passion is idea! Passion is creative! Passion is strength!” – pg 17
Chapter Four: Passion Hindrances is the major content and the longest chapter of the book. In the chapter the author reasons that a lot of factors hinder the manifestation of one’s passion.
Among them are: ‘Mindset’: The kind of thoughts one builds up in him; ‘Dwelling’ in self pity: which causes inhibition, laziness and withdrawal; ‘Limitation and Pretense’: wanting to be like somebody else; ‘Indecision and Procrastination’: Inability to decide and act which kills zeal as apt timing is vital part of success; ‘Fear and Impression’: fear of the unknown which breeds failure and makes one not to dare as “cowards, die many times before their death”; ‘Age’: No matter how daring, a human’s life has its prime; and paying too much attention to ‘Criticism.’ In the last section Nsofor reasons that while it is good to listen to criticism, it is not all that critics say that you must heed. She devotes some incisive pages to explaining the difference between objective and subjective criticism and emphasises that too much attention to critics can physically, psychologically, mentally and socially limit someone’s aspiration. – pg83
Chapter Five: Conclusion is where the author reiterates her goal of writing. She restates that it is to inspire her reader and help him channel his thoughts and passion properly. This she dubs “the co-relationship at self reliance and passion.”
Once more she notes the danger of whining and moaning thusly: “dwelling in self pity for myriad of reasons is sure way to failure in life… It (success) all depends on how an individual presents his mindsets in all circumstances.” – pg86
The book reminds the reader who is conversant with trends in psychological writings since the middle of 20th century that thoughts are being refined especially on issues of motivation (worker-motivation).
The reader would note that Mrs. Nsofor has remarkably taken up the discourse from where scholars like Abraham Maslow left it. She expands the frontiers of the concept of motivation critically and contextually. From employer-to-worker concept of motivation she has stepped up to the realm of self-to-self motivational relationship. Instead of following the common place treatise she makes the reader think in the line of looking inward sincerely for motivation.
That is the value the reader gets when reading someone who has hands-on experience of the stuff in context. Nsofor is a professional nurse, and nurses are nurtured in direct personal psychology. She is therefore delving into her specialty when she probes such issues. She makes her audience that motivation or success is neither about being preoccupied with rewards. Rather it is about emotional commitment such as paying heed to burning desire and passion.
After reading the book, the reader is moved to ask his or herself some questions such as: What do I think or know about myself? Where am I heading in life? Is my destination emanating from within or from without? What are my influences? Am I influencing myself or are other people influencing me?
These are the issues that Chioma Millan Nsofor’s Self Reliance Through Passion wakes in the mind of the reader.
Apart from some conspicuous challenges of the book such as typographical errors, writing in third person at some point and veering to first person at another and some contestable contextually premise like “the one way to contribute and be proud of your productivity is through passion” on page 3.
The flaws which a reissue will easily correct, notwithstanding, Nsofor, as a first book author in Self Reliance Through Passion only deserves the caution of writer, Stephen King: “When your story is ready for rewrite, cut it to the bone. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done.”
That will immensely help her subsequent books because a lot more is sure to flow from her pen. She has the potential for a prolific writer. The society owes her a duty to bring those books out though as she reasons in her book, she is actually the one that should motivate herself more.
In the words of the literary laureate and great African American woman, Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
Chioma, deserves to be urged not let the stories laying in her die. Being privileged to be the official presenter of the new book Self Reliance Through Passion by the young author, during the launching ceremony held in King David Hotel, Awka, Anambra State, penultimate Tuesday, offered one a memorable chance to appreciate the intellectual steep of a writer worthy of being followed and encouraged as she evolves.