Once, in my university days, one early morning, I picked my backpack, threw in some clothes and went off solo hill-climbing. I needed some time alone, a personal retreat. I stayed up there with the sky for a roof and the biting cold, my closest companion for a little more than two days. With just one book, my bible, several sheets of paper, no cell phone, no food, I should have known there would be pockets of joblessness and boredom, it being my first time.
It was during one such moments that I decided to shout for the fun of it. I had funny fun just hearing my voice coming back at me several times. Thoroughly enjoying myself, I began making all sorts of outrageous sounds and noises as I could think of, much like you’ve most definitely made funny faces at a mirror at least once in your life. I also began clapping and timing my claps so they coincided with the sounds reflecting off the surrounding hills. What a sight I must have made! But it was funny fun while it lasted, I tell you!
The Greeks have a legend about Echo. Echo was said to have slunk off to the hills to slowly die and pine away until only her voice remained when her passionate love for the very handsome but proud Narcissus wasn’t reciprocated.
I didn’t see Echo on those hills but I sure heard her voice.
In remembering that event, I clearly recall that Echo only repeated what I shouted into the hills.
If I said ‘Hello!’, She would reply ‘Hello! Hello! Hello…!’ several times.
If I screamed ‘l love you!’, she would inundate me with calls of ‘Love you! Love you…!’
If I wanted to hear that ‘I am the world’s greatest!’ I just had to shout it to Echo and she would gladly repeat it to me several times.
But it was also true that…
If I cried ‘You’re a baboon!’ she definitely wouldn’t reply ‘You’re an angel!’
If I yelled ‘You’re a dumb ass!’, ‘Dumb ass! Dumb ass!‘Dumb ass!’ would keep on ringing in my ears.
If I didn’t holler. She never hollered back.
If I kept shouting, she never got tired of replying me.
Now, doesn’t that sound just like life? It sure does.
Life is really an Echo. It gives you back what you gave it in the first place. Just like that computer term, GIGO, remember? Garbage in, Garbage out. I coined mine too and I like the sound of it, it goes ‘WYGIWYG’– What You Get Is What You Gave.
That is life.
If you are not getting the kinds of things you want, it’s likely a result of some things. Either you’re not shouting the kinds of things you want back or you’re not shouting at all. It could also mean you’re might be with someone who is screaming arrant nonsense into the hills of your life.
I also realized that Echo never kept a grudge. If I started out by shouting vile obscenities at her, she would scream back the vile obscenities in multiplication. But immediately I changed what I was saying to nice things she would become nice and say nice things back to me.
It’s never too late as long as you’re not ‘late’. It’s never too late to change what you’ve been saying into the hills of your life.
If you want to get what you want, then you better start giving what is required.
As simple as ABC. As simple as the echo theory of ‘WYGIWYG’!
AKPOVETA, Valentine ‘t