Thoughts on the need to foster collective success within our communities
Several weeks ago, I watched a clip of an interview Chude Jideonwo, host of the “With Chude” show, had with Yhemolee, a nightclub Influencer and actor. In the video, Yhemolee, who is close friends with Afrobeats musician Asake, shared the story of how he connected Asake with Olamide, rapper, singer, and YBNL founder and record executive.
Yhemolee and Asake had been friends since their university days. Asake had recorded a few songs but needed the right push to go mainstream. He wasn’t well-known but Yhemolee had a larger profile as he had established himself within the Lagos club and nightlife circuit. When he got the opportunity to pitch Asake’s music to Olamide, he didn’t waste any time. And when Olamide decided to drop a verse on Asake’s “Omo Olope” song, Yhemolee made sure that everything was in place to make it happen. Yhemolee has also gone out of his way to ensure that some other guys within his circle are also successful.
When we speak about providing access to opportunities, people often reference the Jewish and Indian communities. How they support their kinsmen even though they may not be directly related. How they ensure that every one of them has a fair chance at succeeding, without placing demands on one another. There are many other people and communities like this as well; these people have simply discovered the benefits of lifting others. Such people are equally as focused on the people within their circle succeeding as much as they are invested in their success. Everyone desires a Yhemolee in their lives but how often do we desire to be a Yhemolee to others?
Why do some people look out for those around them while others couldn’t care less? Why does going out of one’s way to help people you don’t have an obligation to help come naturally to some while others never even think that they could bridge the gap for someone else? These are some of the questions I often ponder on because it is clear from the various societies we live in that not everyone is their brother’s keeper.
As humans, there is no gainsaying that we are inherently selfish and prone to looking out for personal interests every time. In situations when resources are scarce or perceived to be scarce, this behaviour is even more prevalent. The mindset of “me first” has permeated our society for this very reason. Same as “What’s in it for me?” or “scratch my back and I scratch your back”. The need to always seek out some benefit from interacting with others when we could simply support them in exchange for nothing is often lost on many people. Many of us want our rewards on earth and we all want the rewards now.
Do I blame anyone who chooses to look out for only their interests? It’s a “dog eat dog” world after all and if one doesn’t focus on number one, who will, right? I can imagine this is what goes on in the mind of the average person but it sounds like reasoning based on a scarcity mentality. The idea is that there isn’t enough to go around so we must first settle ourselves before settling others but is this true? As societies have gone from being communal to individualistic, this thought pattern has become more prevalent, and sadly so.
But honestly, how do I look out for other people’s needs when my needs may not have been fully met? This is the million naira question. How do I help my job-seeking friend get information about suitable vacancies when I am also job hunting? Why should I share my source for bargain items with anyone? Why should I connect anyone with opportunities that I come across that may be suitable for them?
At the heart of all this is just being human: being our brother’s keeper. Looking out for everyone we have the opportunity to be connected with. One key thing that I have seen that supports helping people and consequently being helped, is communicating and delivering value. Nobody will refer just anyone to an opportunity if they aren’t sure that they can deliver. Bringing some value or potential to the table is very important.
Some people would like to help other people but value is absent. How do you help a friend find a job when they have no suitable skills to speak of or when they are unseriousness? How do you connect a contact with a business opportunity when you know that they are not straightforward in their dealings? These are very present considerations that hold some people back from helping others.
Fostering collective success is important and at the heart of it lies a culture of collaboration. This is the point where individuals transcend self-interest and embrace the idea that their accomplishments are intertwined with the achievements of those around them. This culture cultivates a sense of shared responsibility and empathy, which in turn strengthens social bonds and fosters a more harmonious community. When we shift our focus from “me first” to “we are in this together,” we create an atmosphere where helping one another becomes second nature.
The benefits of a collaborative culture extend beyond personal achievements. By supporting others, we tap into a diverse pool of talents, perspectives, and resources that we may not possess ourselves. We create cyclical doors that open at different times to give access to everyone, irrespective of what our needs and expectations are. If we open the door for someone today, the door will be opened for us tomorrow, and it will not necessarily be opened by the person we had previously opened the door for. This is because, as we experience the positive impact of being supported by others, we are more likely to pay it forward, creating a cycle of goodwill and collaboration.
One of the remarkable outcomes of looking out for one another is the dismantling of barriers that often hinder progress. In many societies, access to opportunities is unequal, and individuals from marginalized backgrounds may face additional challenges on their path to success. When those in positions of influence actively support and uplift those who lack access, they contribute to levelling the playing field. This, in turn, creates a more inclusive society where talent and potential determine success rather than social or economic factors.
While pursuing personal success can bring temporary gratification, actively participating in the success of others can lead to a more enduring and impactful legacy. Yhemolee’s story illustrates how his acts of kindness and support will be remembered not only for his achievements but also for the positive influence he has had on the lives of others. Leaving behind a legacy of impact means creating a world where the next generation inherits not only material wealth but also a culture of compassion and collaboration.
In a world where individualism and self-interest often dominate, the stories of Yhemolee and countless others who prioritize collective success remind us of the profound benefits of looking out for one another. As we move forward, let us strive to be the Yhemolees in our communities, embodying the spirit of collective success for the betterment of all. After all, in a world where we must all win together, lifting each other is the surest way to achieve greatness for ourselves and society as a whole. This is the way I see things today.