Deep Thoughts, Great Works

Deep Thoughts, Great Works


(Psalm 92:5)

We were in the notorious early morning Lagos Third Mainland Bridge traffic. My friend was driving, I sat in the passenger’s seat in front with him.

I could see he was very agitated. The slow pace of the traffic, the blaring of car horns: all the drama and chaos were getting to him. I always wonder: why does Lagos traffic get to Lagosians? You should be used to what you encounter everyday, no?

I watched my friend closely: he grabbed the steering wheel with both hands tightly (if he were white, I’d have seen the blood flowing through his hands), his eyes staring ahead like a hawk, hardly blinking. His breath was slow and measured, I could see his jugular rising and falling. The air conditioner was on, the radio was on the Sports Station, the analysis of the previous night’s Champions’ League matches was wafting through the speakers. We should be enjoying this journey, I wondered. But apparently, my friend was not!

Suddenly his phone rang. His gaze fell down to his phone: he checked who was calling. In that moment, the vehicle ahead of us moved, creating some space between us. The vehicle on the next lane tried to cross to ours, in front of our vehicle. My friend realized what was going on: he dropped the phone and quickly moved forward, blocking off the car, a deep frown on his face. He almost ran into the car in front of us! I could almost hear him think, “How DARE you try take advantage of my brief distraction by my phone to switch lanes and get ahead of me!”

“Calm down Bro! Just let the guy in, it’s no big deal”, I counseled. “Nooo!” he responded. He was almost screaming! Woah!

These Lagosians are crazy, I thought. Everybody changes lanes at some point: why the aggression?

“But why don’t you want him to get in front of you?” I asked.

“He thinks I’m stupid! He wants to cheat me!”

Woah! How? I couldn’t understand how cheating entered the mix

“He didn’t beg me: he thinks he’s smart!”

Ah! He didn’t beg! This is getting interesting!

“So, if he begs you, you’ll allow him change lanes and cut ahead of you?”

“Yes! If he asks politely, I will consider it!”

Now, it is getting MORE interesting!

“But Bro, what difference would his begging make to you? What does it matter to you if he begs or not: would begging you add anything to you?”

We sat in silence for about 2 minutes…

Suddenly my friend broke out in laughter! He laughed so hard, tears were flowing from his eyes! Then he did something surprising: he stopped the car, wound down his window and signaled to the vehicle to change lanes and cut ahead of us!

Woah! I was pleasantly surprised! “What happened?” I asked.

“Harry, I actually thought deeply about what you said. I have never thought of it like you presented it! Really, what is the big deal? We will all still be in this traffic for the next hour: how much time is he going to save by changing lanes? How much time will I lose by being benevolent, whether he begs or not? I think Lagos has a way of making people act as animals without subjecting their actions to DEEP THOUGHTS!”

Now, Scripture says, “O Lord, how great are thy works! Thy thoughts are very deep!” Psalm 62:5

Reverend Sam Adeyemi says “Great Works are a result of Deep Thoughts”. The deeper you think, the greater your works. For years, my friend had been involved in Road Rage on Lagos highways. It was his default setting, as it is the default setting of the average Lagosian. But one day, he subjected that default setting to DEEP THINKING and his attitude and understanding took a 180 degree turn! His works became great (I can tell you with all sense of responsibility: being benevolent enough on Lagos roads to allow other vehicles cut in front of you IS a great work!).

And it took just 2 minutes.

We need to engage our minds more. We need to THINK! The deeper our thoughts, the greater the works we do. The different between great minds and average minds is the quality of their thoughts. The way we process information and channel our thoughts determine how our lives pan out on this planet.

I remember over 30 years ago, I was in a stadium to watch a football match. A team was awarded a penalty and the fans of the other team protested against it. They trooped into the field, disrupting the match. Now, they were all on the other side to where I sat. A policeman on my side saw them trooping in and he ran across the field, waving a…. BATON! I saw it and was shocked! Who does this cop think he is? Superman? Or Samson? How in the world did he think he, a single cop could foil a protest of a mob with a BATON?

He ran into the mob and was enveloped by it. He was beaten mercilessly. Later when he was rescued, he said, “I thought they would be scared of me and my baton and run away!”

What a shallow way to think! He almost lost his life for it.

Deep thinking produces great works.

Conversely, shallow thinking produces disastrous works.

I was a student of the University of Jos and Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. In both schools, I was a member of the Chess Club. Ironically, in both schools, about 80% of members of the Chess Clubs were architecture students. Chess is a game that teaches deep, critical and analytical thinking and the average architect needs such deep levels of thought to come up with the different design concepts he produces.

I strongly recommend Chess to everybody who wants the quality of his/her thoughts to go from the level of the mundane to the depths and heights of genius.


Haruna Daniels