As an immigrant, one of our greatest fears is that, despite taking the risk of abandoning everything and coming to Canada in faith that we did the right thing for ourselves and our family, we will eventually discover that we made a mistake.
This silent but brutally disturbing fear is what holds down many of us immigrants.
We continue to look back at the glamorous lives that we lived back in our country of birth. The same life that we thought was beneath what is available in Canada.
The allure of that Canadian dream — whatever that means for each one of us brought us here and at the very least, we feel that even if we don’t quite hit that goal, we will live the same fulfilling life that we had but in a better environment.
Unfortunately, for many, the reality on the ground bites.
“We must let go of the past — good or bad. We must be here mentally. We must dig in and connect with our local and professional communities. We must focus on the future with faith in God or whatever you believe in. We must press on, working on our new-country goals with focused tenacity as if our life depends on it, because it does.”
And so we never really settle. Settling in Canada is first and foremost a mind game. It’s a thing of the mind.
We don’t dig in to connect with our newly chosen home, community, and people. We look back. We daily wrestle with the thought of going back to where we came from but deep down, we know it’s not that easy. It has now become a complex decision.
And because we don’t connect locally, we can’t really get what we want. Yes, we huddle locally, but often with people that look like us and think like us.
But to integrate successfully, we need more than that.
Here is the fact; when we think and act this way, we won’t make progress, and we will get frustrated.
This mental attitude is like straddling the lane, driving forward but consistently looking in the rear mirror instead of in front of us.
Imagine it. It will never end well.
We will frustrate ourselves, other immigrants on the same journey as us and create an unwholesome story about our journey which may be discouraging for others when in fact, we played a huge role in creating the situation for ourselves. We will endanger our lives and the lives of those around us. Eventually, we will crash.
What’s the way forward?
We must let go of the past — good or bad. We must be here mentally. We must dig in and connect with our local and professional communities. We must focus on the future with faith in God or whatever you believe in (yes, I continue to say this — you need to believe in something or someone bigger than you). We must press on, working on our new-country goals with focused tenacity as if our life depends on it, because it does.
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you must trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You must trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
It worked for Steve Jobs, and it continues to work for me.
It can work for you as well!
Give up, to move up!
Written by Dapo Bankole.
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