I remember some months before I left Nigeria, I tried to create a PayPal account. Of the one or two challenges I faced, one of them was getting a TIN (Tax Identification Number) and needless to say, I didn't have one. I like to think it was not because I had not been paying tax. I worked as an English Language teacher in the private education sector, and they deducted our taxes from our pay package. So, who needs a number of identification, anyway?! The concept of tax, I like to think, is one of the government's way of saying, "We are doing something for you, we need you to contribute to it". I mean, there are infrastructure and policies and interventions and all that, someone's gotta contribute to it through our their individual efforts. Which means, paying tax is one way to contribute your singular effort to the bigger picture effort. One of the ways they determine how much tax individuals pay is by how much he/she earns. That is, your worth is equivalent to your effort. If you think about it like that, it makes sense, right? It is only fair then to ask, what is your effort worth? In other words, what is the worth of your contribution to the bigger picture? Really, what is the worth of your efforts as an individual? I used to think I didn't exactly have any worth. My father taught me to be selfless, and he also taught me to do what is right by myself. Sometimes, they clash. However, now I realize the clash is not necessarily a bad one. I mean, I can enjoy writing on any topic and yet send out a missive of inspiration to anyone reading it. So, little by little, I begin to challenge myself to do more. With or without restrictions, I grasp at every chance I get; be it in the classroom (as a teacher and/or student), in my writings and interactions with the speaking world.
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I must say I have come a long way. I know what my tax is worth. A friend sent me a voice note on WhatsApp two weeks ago. It said, "Thank you so much because you've helped me so far to overcome my posted your video even though you were not sure of being good at issue has been being scared of putting myself out there, afraid of rejection...I've learnt to just do it and..." and it went on and on. My story with YouTube videos will have to be for another time, but right now, words like these remind me of how much my tax is worth. It reminds me of my influence and how much my efforts are worth in the bigger picture. If I may ask you, how much is your tax worth?
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