The Mirror Lifestyle Content

It has not always been like this

It has not always been like this

One day, when taking a stroll through town, a beautiful apartment caught my attention. It was not only the beauty that amazed me.


It had changed the outlook of the vicinity in so many ways. I remember pretty well it used not to be there the last time I passed by.

A friend nudged me. Having observed my utmost admiration for the building, he said, “It had not always been like this. An old house used to sit there. It was only renovated recently.”

My friend’s comment had me thinking about the many times we have flogged ourselves for other people’s achievements because we have assumed it had always been as such. 
It reminded me of the countless times we have looked down on our progress because we were so fixated on the progress of others, assuming it had always been rosy for them.

What we see in life can be deceptive. We envy people for their success. We see what they have been able to build for themselves and we assume that is how their life has always been. We conclude that they never had to go through life’s mill to get to where they are today.

If success were a low-hanging fruit, even the laziest person on earth would have been a great success. If you assume it is easy to climb the ladder of success, no one would have been at the bottom of that ladder. 

Anyone you see at the top was, at a point in their lives, at the bottom. Things have not always been as it is.

Many times, we assume everything we see has always been as we see it today. We have little or no idea about how tough it was for those we perceive had an easy sail through life. 
Behind every success is a sacrifice many may never see. The accomplishments we admire are only a product of their sweat from many years ago.
Often, we beat ourselves up as failures because we are helplessly comparing our sowing season to other people’s harvest. What we forget is that we are on a journey and will soon be what we admire if we persist a little more.

A skyscraper was once only a foundation. Every expert was once a novice. What you see is not what it has always been. 

When you admire how a fruit looks during its harvest season, remember it was once only a seed. Just as a seed doesn’t look in any way like a fruit, what our lives will be tomorrow looks nothing like what it is today.

When you see what you desire, encourage yourself that it has not always been like this. It is only a phase of its life cycle. That should be enough motivation to you that your future is near, too.  
Life is a journey. Everybody is on this journey. It will take ages for some to reach their destination. For others, it will take only a short period.

When we take time to appreciate life’s journey, we fret less and hope more. If we know that it takes time, for example, for a foundation to become a skyscraper, we will not be too hard on ourselves. It took us time to be where we are today, and it will take us time to be where we want to be tomorrow.

For any person who has achieved success in any endeavour, things are not how they look today. What their journey looks like today is not what it looked like yesterday. Who they are today is a testament to the fact that what we are is not a determinant of what we can be.
Some looked like failures some years ago. Nothing seemed to have been working for them. It felt as though they were only wasting their time. These are the same people you so much wish to be today.

We must come to appreciate the setbacks of life. They help us build capacity for what life is about to bestow on us.

You are not a failure. You are only on a journey. When you see others make great moves, be grateful for their lives. Be genuinely happy for them. They were not born making such moves. They were once in your shoes. They have also contemplated giving up before. If they were in your shoes yesterday, you can also be in theirs tomorrow.

If you read about people’s accomplishments, one thing you should always remember is that things have not always been like this.

 There have been days they have seen life from your perspective before. On some days, they wondered if their lives would ever get better. Their life yesterday is nothing near what you see today.   

Things have not always been like this and will not always be like this. Keep up with the hard work. 
It may not look like you are making any progress but you have no idea how close you are to the finishing line. Keeping consistently to a dream may not get you immediately to the finish line. However, it will take you far away from the starting line.

If you are at the bottom of the ladder, be hopeful. You will not always be there. It will get better. It will not always be like this.
For those at the top of the ladder, be humble. You were once at the bottom. It has not always been like this.

Kobina Ansah is a Ghanaian playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (, an Accra-based writing firm. His new play, IN THE PANTS OF A WOMAN, is an original musical themed on rape, and showing on Saturday, 20th April and Sunday, 21st April, 2024 at National Theatre. Inquiries - 0546098082.


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