In our world, pressure abounds everywhere; from friends, neighbours, relatives, schoolmates, colleagues, you name it. The frequent pressure you face from peers is the main subject of discussion in this essay because it invariably influences the outcome you get.
Who is a peer? Someone who is approximately the same age as someone else. Taken further, we could define a peer as a comrade, friend, associate or colleague. Someone or something of equal level. These sentences are the summary of dictionary definitions of peers. The influence of a peer on you could be good or bad, positive or negative, depending on your value system and world view.
What your peer do could influence you in many ways. Remember, birds of a feather flock together. The people you hang out with can make or mar you. In 1973, when I lived in a squalid compound in Mushin, on the Lagos outskirt; five other folks shared a small room with me in this densely populated area.
We were all looking for jobs. Ojo was a driver, Ade (electrician), Felix (plumber), Femi (mason), Andrew (secondary school “graduate”), but he did not pass his WAEC in the grades required to gain admission into the university. I decided to take the G.C.E O and A levels examination. After two attempts, I was able to pass seven papers at both the Ordinary and Advanced levels.
My live – in friends were stunned. Then, Felix and Andrew said, ‘If Ladi did it, we can’. Two years later, both passed five papers in the G.C.E O’Level. Felix was fortunate to get a job with the Federal Ministry of Works through my contact. At this time, I had become a Cub Reporter with The PUNCH, and I was doing well. The ministry sent Felix to South Korea for further training. Today, Felix is a retired senior civil servant. He lives in his own house in Abuja with his family. Andrew also got a job with the Ministry of Internal Affairs after he graduated with a Second Class Upper in Economics at the Obafemi Awolowo University.
At this writing, Andrew works in one of our embassies in Europe. You know my story. What happened to the other three? Ojo is dead, Femi has retired as a mason, after working with the cement company, WAMCO; and Ade is retired as an Electrician. None of these three, who were not inspired by my success became as successful as the three of us. You can see what peer pressure could do to friends.
Make no mistakes, am not suggesting that artisans don’t succeed. No, not all. But three friends who remained as artisans, could not change their destiny because they lacked the vision which only education can give to someone with a mission. If I had remained a motor mechanic, I won’t be pastor, Author, Life coach, Publisher and Educator that I have become today. My influence would have been limited. My two friends, who were inspired by my success in the G.C.E Examination, would have remained on the lower wrong of the social ladder.
So, friends, peer influence is powerful. My first ministry failed abysmally because of wrong peer influence. A trusted friend sold out and allowed Satan in – road into my ministry; the mission was aborted. Thank God, the revelatory teachings of Rev Chris Okotie restored me in the Lord and the Holy Spirit enabled me to overcome those demonic influences and relaunch my ministry in another dimension. Imagine, you wake up to discover that your ministry colleagues don’t even know Jesus! When I realized this cold fact, I almost went mad.
I give God the praise, I was led to Rev Okotie’s church and all the Devil stole from me, God Almighty has restored. Peer pressure has dealt with me both ways. The lessons I share here are usually products of painful experiences. If you must emulate someone, make sure it is the best that they can give to you. Not all relationships are good for all eternity. There’re folks you have to discharge if all they tell you is about sex, booze, parties, smoking and other useless pastimes.
Go for people whose discussions are dominated by ambitious projects, godliness, success, positive growth, etc. People who are success – driven are likely to get you on same track; people whose narratives are dominated by pettiness or hedonistic stuff, will most likely push you to destruction. Always evaluate your peers. If your friends are stagnant, you’ll be stagnant unless you are a stronger personality. The stronger dominates or influences the weaker. That’s nature’s reality.
If you yield to a stronger peer, you’d fall to his vision. You don’t have to keep up with the Jones if what they’re doing is wrong. Emulate what edifies; not what is trending; something that’s popular may not necessarily be good. Many famous men end in infamy. Never follow what others are doing if you do not find it beneficial.
Some youth go into crime because their friends live by it and seem to be doing well. If your peer suddenly becomes rich, find out the source of their sudden wealth before you subject yourself to undue pressure. Yield to positive influence. That’s the summary of this message.
Weekend Spice: Wisdom is the insight of knowledge into the mysteries of life – Pastor Chris Oyakhilome.
Ok folks, let’s do it again next Friday. Stay motivated.
Ayodeji is an author, rights activist, pastor and life coach. He can be reached on [email protected] and 09059243004 (SMS only)