Some things don’t need to change (and that’s fine)

Emmanuel Bakare
3 min readOct 2, 2023


Growing up in Nigeria left a lesson I carry till this day — “hustle”. A mental acceptance of madness and chaos.

I remember the fast pace I once developed, seeing the Danfo’s filling up with the people hustling in the harsh sunny weather and flash floods that would swarm the streets of Lagos — enough to push anyone to madness. But somehow, we kept it going. For the more cultured folks, it was even “normal” to endure these things.

Man hanging on a bus, popularly called “Danfo” in Nigeria. Credits: shutabug
Man hanging on a bus, popularly called “Danfo” in Nigeria. Credits: shutabug@

“Nigeria oh”, they would say. Random strangers frolicking together in the folly of a working nation that strives to keep their sanity out of place. On the worst of days, it was stress but in latter hours, it was life. It was home.

A couple years back in school, I discovered an odd side of myself. I was “hyper-active”, I always “had energy” they would say, and maybe it was this hustle that kept me going, a prize entitled to some Nigerians from day one. Moving out of Nigeria left with me this hustle, one I have yet to dissolve in the passive nature of the European spirit — one that is different from the likes of “The American Dream”.

“Nigeria oh”, they would say.

The European dream however is one with raving comfort, you will forget the “hustle” and learn to relax — for the betterment of ones health if we speak honestly. This divergent state of affairs has left me on the edge for a while, do I push myself more or fit into a society that thrives on one doing their best and “vesting” other efforts to be catered for?

Random musings on Twitter

As I progress more in work and life and adapt to a much older and mature view of existence, I find the Nigerian hustle to be one built for the systems that developed the modern world — it is far from obsolete for this day and age. Not everyone needs the hustle but maybe it will do some good in the world, one that inspires those in the background with a sense of “can do” spirit. Let the suffering and heart-ache we once felt be enveloped as “normal” in a place that works to eradicate such feelings, even in a place born out of comfort for the lowly folks making hay in the brownest fields of summer.

I find lately some things do not need to change, even if the environment is right for it. Even as the situations that once pushed us cease to affect us and the very parts of life that we once loathed come to fill a soft spot in our hearts. It is alright to fear what comes from change and maybe even better to resist the temptations to change, there is a reason the present we see came to be, the “hustle” should really never die till we ourselves die with it. A legacy to hold for those who need not “hustle” to make their day.