TEDx Talk: My Story, My Drive

July 9, 2021

By Sola Mathew

Sola Mathew TEDx Talk TEDxEKSU

On the 9th of July, 2021, I delivered a TEDx talk on My Story, My Drive. This is the original script for the TEDx Talk at TEDxEKSU, Ekiti State University campus, Ado-Ekiti. I hope you read and it inspires you. Read on.

I will like to begin with two stories:

First, I was just about to get into secondary school when I met her. I thought that I had seen a goddess. She was light in complexion, tall and beautiful. 

My heart melted. It was like I had never seen any girl before. I told myself: That is my girlfriend. Unfortunately, because I had never ‘toasted’ any girl before, I was too shy to tell her my heart’s intent. 

As luck would have it, we got admitted to the same school, Government Science Secondary School, Jalingo, Taraba state. It was the best public secondary school in the state. 

Ebenezer and Christopher, my friends would encourage me to talk to her but timidity wouldn’t let me. Whenever I decided to profess to her my love, I always ended up changing the subject instead.

She loved me too but it was not proper for a Nigerian girl to make her intention known to a guy first. Because of a terrible incident, we moved to Ekiti, my hometown, and I lost track of this damsel. 

For a whole year, I dreamt of her but didn’t get to see or hear from her. Much later, I was able to get her contact but she had already gotten married.

Here is the second story… and this is really personal.

In 1996, I lost my dad to the cold hands of death.

For 7 years, my mum became a widow, taking care of my siblings and me alone.

Since we, the children, couldn’t take care of her financially and psychologically, she remarried in 2003.

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Precisely, on the 10th of January, 2004, she gave birth to a bouncing baby boy…

But shortly after giving birth, she died.

All hopes, for me, were lost.

Now, no father, no mother.

Someone might ask “how about your stepfather?”

Well, that’s a story for another day but all I know is that my siblings and I were taken back to our hometown to continue or let me say, start our lives of complete orphanhood.

To be honest with you, orphanhood is not an exciting journey especially, when your parents left no inheritance.

I struggled through almost all the journey of my life.

Name it! 

School, finding myself, relationships, decision-making, etc.

In fact, there was a day when I was famished while I was in university. I hadn’t eaten anything from morning till night.

I had to pluck unripe mangoes to eat around 11 O’Clock that night. All I did was made sure I blessed them before eating.

Being an orphan is not easy at all, I tell you.

But… Nothing happens to us without a reason. It is just that the reason or reasons might not be revealed to us sometimes.

TEDxEKSU Sola Mathew TEDx Talk

Up till now, I don’t know why all that happened to me happened but one thing I’m sure of is that God allowed these things to happen to me to groom me and so that others can learn from it.

So they can know that they’re not alone.

And I have proofs but I’ll share just one:

3 years ago, a lady told me she wanted to see me. I wondered why. Let’s call this lady Hannah. Of course, you know Hannah isn’t her real name.

Hannah told me she had read my story and would like to talk to me about something.

I made myself available. Before she even started talking to me, I saw tears filling her eyes and later rolled down her cheek.

Hannah told me about how she was bullied out of university. 

She later gained admission to another university but when she got to 300 level, she was told her admission was fake.

According to Hannah, the authority of the university claimed their website was hacked at the time of her admission.

She further told me of how she had tried committing suicide twice but God miraculously kept her.

All the while, I listened to Hannah without interruption.

She then said that my story has changed her mindset about taking her life.

She told me that if I could face all that I faced, definitely, she too can.

I’m glad to tell you today that Hannah is now at a university and living her life. A life full of hope. 

Imagine I didn’t share my story. 

Imagine, she didn’t get to meet me.

This is even more reason I’m sharing my story with you today.

Perhaps, my story and that of Hannah I shared earlier can inspire, motivate and challenge you to move forward despite the challenges that you face today.

I am a Christian so, permit me to quote this Bible text I hold dear to my heart;

It’s from Romans 8 verse 18 and it says:

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

All that happened to me has shaped me to become who I am today.

TEDxEKSU Sola Mathew TEDx Talk

It is not what happens to us that matters but what we do with it.

For me, my experience has become a message. 

I have to embrace myself for who I am. I don’t want to worry too much about things I cannot change…

I believe education is what God used in bringing me to where I am today.

That’s more reason I founded an NGO, Christiana Titilayo Foundation (CTF), in honour of my late mother, to empower children and youths with quality education.

I believe that education is a light that can erode one’s darkness and set him free.

I also published a book on my story and those of four of my friends including a visually impaired person, in which I’m donating 30% of the proceeds to support orphans and vulnerable children in my community.

Not just that, I enrolled in life coaching academies so I can become better and know how to help people going through similar challenges better.

In fact, I met my beautiful soulmate through life coaching — on the journey to becoming a better person.

I know the journey is still far but the God that sustained me to this very day will definitely sustain me to the end. I keep trusting Him.

That’s my story, that’s my drive.

Thank you.

What’s your biggest takeaway from this story? Share with me in the comment section below.

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Sola Mathew

The Author

Sola Mathew is an Amazon Best-Selling Author, International Speaker and digital marketing consultant. When he is not writing, podcasting or designing website, he enjoys Volunteering with NGOs.

Comments

70 Comments

  1. Mide Blessing

    Thanks for inspiring me the more

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      You’re welcome, Mide. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
      • Amb.Olu-Ajayi Maxwell O.

        You are indeed a source of joy. Infact, I call you a joy giver.

        Thank you with gusto to reinforce a positive change in the world. Glow more brother

        Reply
        • Sola Mathew

          Thank you so much, Amb. Olu-Ajayi.

          Reply
          • Vivian

            Thank God in all you didn’t give up, you’re indeed on a mission! If those things didn’t happen to you, you wouldn’t be where you are today keep growing in God sir.

      • Temiloluwa

        I like that you express your faith without mincing words.

        Reply
        • Temiloluwa

          Greater achievements are coming your way in Jesus name.

          Reply
          • Sola Mathew

            Amen. Thank you, Temiloluwa.

          • Stanley

            Thanks for the fresh energy and inspiration. Just what I needed.

    • Sunsam

      Great testimony sir

      Reply
      • Sola Mathew

        🙂 Thanks for reading, Sunsam.

        Reply
    • David

      Thanks For your story. Your story has really change my perception about life that when God is with us he will see us through all we are going through. Thanks Once again.

      Reply
      • Sola Mathew

        You’re welcome, David. Thanks for reading my TEDx Talk.

        Reply
    • Ogochukwu

      Good to hear

      Reply
  2. Daramola Olaoluwa

    Never quit in the face of no decision move on
    God knows the end right from the beginning.
    Great job brother

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Surely, God knows the end from the beginning. Thank you so much, Daramola.

      Reply
  3. Bolanle

    It is not ended yet, no matter how bad the situation is. God means good out of our seemingly bad situation. We should cooperate with Him to make this happen

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      I absolutely agree, ma.
      He makes all things work together for good for His children.
      Thanks for reading, ma.

      Reply
      • ThankGod

        Thank you sir for giving back to the community; Your story is a glow to the world, inspiring.

        Reply
        • Sola Mathew

          You’re welcome, ThankGod. Thanks for reading.

          Reply
    • Oluwamayowa

      Thanks for sharing, sire. You are actually an inspiration. I’m glad also that I’m part of your daily email messages. You are truly a mentor!

      Reply
      • Sola Mathew

        Thank you for your kind words, Oluwamayowa. I’m glad you found my emails valuable. Keep the good work.

        Reply
        • Tosin

          I am inspiring, irrespective of our challenges we can become better

          Thank you the value king for sharing this. 7

          Reply
          • Sola Mathew

            You’re welcome, Tosin/\.

  4. Julius ADEGUNNA

    You shared some of the life challenges you went through, but did not tell us what you did, and how you went through victoriously. Thank God you came out successfully.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Thank you, Julius.

      I hope to share some of these things right here on this blog.

      Please, stay tuned.

      Reply
  5. Olu-ojo Precious

    It’s not what happens to us that matters,but our respond to it matters
    Nothing happens to us without a reason
    Your story inspires me sir
    Greater achievements sir
    But how did you do it sir despite all these challenges?

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Thank you, Precious.

      I really appreciate your comment.

      Reply
  6. Elizabeth yaya

    Thanks for sharing this with me…. It will get me going…. U hope to share my story one day with a quality result.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      You’re most welcome, Elizabeth. I look forward to hearing your story.

      Reply
  7. Ojo Peter

    Shola, you are an iceberg of inspiration and a catalyst to bring out the best out of nothing.
    Indeed you have inspired me and I’m blessed.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Thank you, Peter. I’m grateful for your kind words.

      Reply
  8. Perry

    It’s always the way you tell your story for me…….so inspiring

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Thank you so much, Perry. I’m glad the way I tell my story inspires you .

      Reply
    • Seyi Ajilore

      In life, we can either give up or keep moving, it is certain that our dreams will always be awaiting us to achieve them.

      Thank you Mr Sola for taking time to write that book – You are not alone.

      For me the people who has contributed most to my life are authors. I strongly believe that the courage to share your story most have been a blessing to others around the world just as it is to me.

      Reply
      • Sola Mathew

        Thank you so much for comment. This is well appreciated.

        Reply
  9. Agbesoyin Oluwakanyinsola Elizabeth

    Thanks so much for the inspiration . Please I have been trying to get your book I HAVE BEEN THERE BEFORE. Is it still available

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Yes but I don’t have enough copies available… you can get it at Christore Bookstore at Similoluwa, Beside EKSUITH or contact me directly via the my Instagram page.

      Reply
  10. Kehinde Ajayi

    You are an inspiration Shola, may God bless you and keep winning

    Reply
  11. Abigail Ilufemiloye

    This is me answering Hannah in the story.
    Thanks for sharing your story. It came to me at the right time.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      You’re welcome, Abigail. Thank God that my TEDx story is timely for you. I look forward to your next greater level. Cheers!

      Reply
    • Kenny

      God blessings Hannah keep soaring

      Reply
  12. JIMOH OLALEKAN ABAYOMI

    What a powerful talk! Kudos for sharing this inspirational and propelling message.

    My take aways go thus:
    .
    No matter what we are going through, there will always be light at the end of the tunnel.
    .
    Our journey in life is a marathon and not a sprint. We must live in the reality of this to get the best out of life.
    .
    We must never forget that bad things happen to good people atimes. When such happen, it doesn’t make our God wicked or unconcerned about us. Our God is a great God who has our interests at heart and whatever unpalatable situations we are facing at hand are to promote and even make us better if properly utilized.
    .
    Restoration is actually in view for people who can lay hold on God in whatever they are going through.
    .
    Nothing is beyond God. Situations God cannot turn around don’t exist.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      These are timeless lessons you just shared, Olalekan.

      Thanks for reading and engaging.

      Reply
    • Chidinma Rejoice Dominic

      Wow! Thanks for sharing bro….you are really a great inspiration.

      Keep up the good work

      Reply
      • Sola Mathew

        Glad you’re inspired, Chidinma. Thanks for reading.

        Reply
  13. Bennett OKONOBOH

    God is Faithful, a living being There is always hope, no matter what?

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Yes, there is hope for anyone alive. Thanks for reading, Bennett.

      Reply
  14. Scillapoint

    Your story is super inspiring and I thank God for how far He has brought you. You life is indeed an inspiration. Weldone Sola.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Thank you so much, Scillapoint. I hope business is going on fine.

      Reply
  15. Ruth Amondi

    Really nice article and helpful to me. Thanks so much for sharing.
    May God continue to strengthen you and preserve your home

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Amen and amen. Thanks for reading, Ruth.

      Reply
  16. Obafunmiso Mary

    Thanks for sharing this sir, it shows there is still hope. I am delighted. Thanks

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Yes, there is hope, Mary. Thanks for reading.

      Reply
  17. Eniola Olugotun

    The fact that you didn’t go through this tough journey alone like a sheep without a shepherd, you found Jesus, the Great Sherphered. Glad you made it this far, and sure you will end strongly well.
    GDSS Taraba caught my attention because I did my NYSC there 2003/2004. Cheers

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      OH, Yes, Eniola. Jesus is King. Taraba is such a beautiful place. How was your service there?

      Reply
  18. Gee

    I’m inspired. That passage you quoted is a passage that has given me hope.

    Today look at how you turned out, despite being an orphan.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Glad the Bible passage gave you hope. All glory to God.Thanks for reading, Gee.

      Reply
  19. Adebayo David Adehola

    Really, these are life changing stories. He (God) promised He will not forget us, we just need to continue trusting Him for His unfailing promises. God bless you for the positive impart these stories have on my life.

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      Amen. Thanks for reading, Adebayo.

      Reply
  20. Isaac King Diran

    Inspiring piece

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      You’re welcome, Isaac. Thanks for reading my TEDx Talk.

      Reply
  21. Ezinne

    What an inspiring story. Thanks for sharing

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      You’re welcome, Ezinne. Thanks for reading my TEDx Talk.

      Reply
  22. Anifowose Odunayo

    I always look forward to your inspiring and encouraging mails…thanks for sharing ❤

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      You’re welcome, David. Thanks for reading my TEDx Talk and for your kind words.

      Reply
  23. Segun Adebayo Balogun

    Thank you so much for this, seem we have lots in common but thank God my dad is still alive. My mum died 1998 while I was still JSS2 and i am the first out of 5 children but thank God where I am a sports journalist formerly worked with The Nation Newspaper (SportingLife) pioneer of the sports paper. Right now I’am a Product Manager and Invoicing Manager at Technology Distribution Ilife (TDIlife). Though am not married yet bcos I have to let my siblings do so before I have to because that’s what I promised by mum. by God’s grace this year i will be married. When life throw us stone we should build cornerstone with it. God Bless…

    Reply
    • Sola Mathew

      WOW. Glad to read about your progress. Keep moving. God’s got it.

      Reply

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