“It’s assumed there are many things you can’t do because you’re blind. And so, for me I had to prove that there are many things I can do because I’m blind and that there are many things I have done because I’m blind,”- Cobhams Asuquo
Leading Nigerian music producer and songwriter, Cobhams Asuquo, who was born blind, is calling on all who care to listen to become blind. On a number of occasions, he has spoken about the advantages of blindness and he does not hesitate to encourage others to embrace blindness . In 2012, while talking at TEDxEuston, an event that brings people together to share their experiences, he spoke on the lessons he has learnt from being blind. “I believe strongly that one of the strong elements that have fuelled my very strong sense of imagination and my ability to dream is the gift of
blindness ,” he said at the event.
In the talk, which he titled “The Gift of Blindness ,” Cobhams mentioned three lessons that blindness has taught him:
1. Do not excuse failure for any reason on any account.
2. Trust, even when there’s no reason to.
3. Be blind to be focused.
He related different stories to drive home his message during his inspirational speech which was well received the audience and which was intermittently punctuated their applause. Cobhams’ third lesson, ‘Be blind to be focused,’ is the focus of this write-up. “Sight sometimes is a distraction,” he says but he quickly adds, “Now don’t get me wrong, sight is a precious gift. But on your way to your destination, what you see can also be a big distraction from your goal. So, I have learnt that you have to be blind in order to be focused. Focus is blindness in a sense…” There is a profound truth in this statement. We all have goals and aspirations but many a time, we come across some other things that cause our focus to shift. And it can be so distressing when, later in life, we realise what we could have achieved if we had not allowed ourselves to be distracted. This is why Cobhams’ message that we should be blind to be focused is apt.
Truth be told, focusing is not an easy thing to do. It is a habit that must be learnt until it becomes a second nature. I must confess that personally, I am still struggling to learn how to focus on the most important things to me, especially as they relate to my aspirations. There are distractions in our world today, with the Internet, television, mobile phones and other electronic devices that are being introduced to the market every day. What I have learned is that focusing on one thing and doing well in it will open other doors for you. There is a halo effect that comes with being focused. Focus makes you a master in whatever you do and this makes people to admire and respect you. Focus defines you. That is why if I mention Warren Buffet, what comes to mind is investing. If I mention Donald Trump, you will start thinking about real estate and if I mention Pastor E. A. Adeboye or Bishop David Oyedepo, preaching comes to mind. Focus helps you to be clear about what you intend to achieve. If you can’t maintain your focus, you won’t achieve your goal, unless it’s such an easy goal that it would have happened anyway.
Cobhams Asuquo, who has nurtured many singers in Nigeria, is thus right in encouraging us to become blind. You will agree with me that not everyone has mastered the art of focusing. Thus the blindness that comes with being focused is indeed a gift not everyone possesses but which we should strive to have. So are you ready to become blind?