Everyone has a domain where he or she can perform maximally. When we are out of our domains, we find it pretty difficult to do and accomplish things. In our domains, we are surrounded by our potentials and natural traits and opportunities to make use of them productively. There is a natural habitat for each of us, one within which we don’t have to sweat or feel like fish out of water; one where we would do things with ease and get good results frequently. Every single person has his domain- whether discovered or undiscovered. Panam Percy Paul in his song ‘Eagle-Man’ said “What you struggle to do is not your natural gift. Successful people don’t often work so hard, they only do consistently what is natural to them.”
Many people struggle because they are not in their own domain. Sometimes, it is because they have not discovered where it is and other times because they ignore it, leaving for other domains. Trying to be like others pushes us out of our domain into a life of artificiality where there is no enabling environment for us to thrive. When we force ourselves to do what others do or live their kinds of life, succeeding becomes pretty difficult. Therefore, realizing that each of us is unique and so must live within our unique domains is the starting point for greatness.
Let me come down to make this simpler.
I once thought in a secondary school before leaving for NYSC. As a teacher, I too learnt a number of things. I had this student who would play around in school, yet topped his class. He appeared very unserious and I kept wondering how he did it. I noticed that he didn’t often follow what was being taught in class either- like you ask him a question and he can’t answer. However, he often did so for lessons of previous sessions. Then, I discovered that he understood through studying his books at home and not by listening to teachings. In his class was another girl who often came second, but whose note books were repeatedly incomplete. Her way of learning was grabbing and understanding lessons as they were being taught. She would pay keen attention and answer questions correctly as classes were on. Her mother often complained that she played at home and never read her books. Now, these two high-performing students obviously had different approaches to their academics and it helped them because they operated in their domain. On the other hand, I had noticed that there were some other students who tried to copy their styles, but it never worked for them.
In identifying our habitat, we must first of all understand ourselves and what works best for us. I shared something on ‘Understanding What Works’ a few months ago, you might want to read it up. Understanding ourselves entails that we come to the knowledge of our behavioural patterns, our personality traits as well as our natural endowments. Knowing what works best for us also requires we sit down to consider how our strengths and weaknesses contributed to our successes or failures in the past or where our talents played roles in our achievements, while considering our skills as well. As we discover these things, we must endeavour to make a shift from things that do not suit and benefit us unto those which do.
The best thing is to see ourselves as being the centre of a circle. That circle is our lives and within the circle of our lives contain our nature which includes our natural traits, potentials, physical, mental, psychological and social abilities and disabilities, as well as our acquisitions such as upbringing, knowledge, skills, experiences and socio-economic status. These are things that we cannot cut off from because they have become part of us. However, our life circle might not be placed in the right domain that will enhance maximization of the things that make up our life. Therefore, as the centre of the circle we must continue to move our lives until we arrive at a comfortable and profitable domain. The domain that works best for us will inevitably become our true domain.
I will continue this subject in the second part of this article. There, I will use Emeka’s story to explain how one can keep shifting until one get’s to the right domain. The second part follows immediately. Please do well to read it.