Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Thank you for 2014!

‘And sometimes when you turn, there is a shoulder to lean upon, a smile to believe in, and a hand to hold. Those are the times your faith in the world is restored.’

I once heard Larry King say that ‘If you say you have never stood on another man’s shoulder in attaining success, you lie.’ He couldn’t have said it any better. No one achieves any kind of success in isolation. Genius is but a mirage if people don’t help galvanize, steer, inspire and pilot it.

In 2014, my list of gratitude is a litany of men and women that have inspired me in more ways than one. However, undoubtedly top of that list, is one that is no man. Believe in whatever you choose, I will not seize to rub it in that God has been the bedrock of my year. I like to say it at any slightest opportunity I get that my life has been a story of ‘Grace unconstrained’. The thing about me and God is that it has gone beyond a religious dogma. The fettering relationship is not one that is based upon mere religion. It has become a conviction that transcends fiction. Cognizance of all the daunting challenges and life knocks in 2014, God has been an ever present help. For this, I am eternally grateful.

To my life coach and spiritual father, Rev Chris Oyakhilome, I love him more than he can fathom. Thank you for always teaching me God’s word.

Defying reason with their unwavering support has been my family. Through thick and thin, they have been there. And more than anyone else, I am so indebted to them. Perhaps, it is true what they say, ‘When everyone walks out on you, family sticks with you’.

Then there are friends, who will so easily pass for family. In 2014, I made some great friends, and four of them must be mentioned here:

To Zuby Achara, for being a friend that inspires, that cares, that troubles, and in some occasions, that stretches me. You know I cherish you.

To George Ogbudimkpa, for being someone I can always look up to on virtually all matters, despite the ‘recency’ of our friendship. God knows I greatly appreciate you.

To Moses Ajika, for being the maiden helper in my HR career, I am so grateful. He was a torn in my flesh this past one year, but boy, I have relished the monkeys on my back.

And then, least but not least is another of my spiritual father, who I met this year. Not only is he a source of wisdom and a teacher to me, he is a senior colleague whose everyday life of simplicity is a great inspiration.

Indeed, those were some remarkable list of people I met this year that have been immense to my life. However, the list can never be exhaustive. I met a great number of men and women in 2014 that in one way or the other, added value and spark to my life.

However, while I made some amazing friends this past year, I have not lost sight of the ever present friends. Covenant friends who have been there for all times. God knows I can’t never adequately reward you for all things. For always being there, thank you immensely.

Penultimately, it is said and not without reason, that ‘we through the way we are living our lives are affecting the people around us.’ Nothing can be more true.

Thank you all for a smashing 2014. Here is wishing you an excellent 2015!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

14 Life Lessons I Learnt In 2014

1. Life has taught me that failing often very early in life is a great thing. It is these failures that set you up for a winning streak later in life. Thus, making so many mistakes early in life helps to avert a life time of regrets and failings.

2. I learnt that the world does not really revolve around any one and nothing stands still when you are gone. In truth, the world does not really care about you; hence, you can as well do yourself some good by caring less of what the world thinks of you.

3. Everyone has issues in their lives; some of us just mask it better than others while some others just face them squarely rather than rubbing it into everyone’s face. We are fighting something and we are all tussling through a battle. Perhaps, it is key that you remember the next someone’s gut or lifestyle infuriates you that nobody has it completely figured out.

4. It’s ok to feel down at times, to be down beat, to be disappointed. What is a travesty is to remain there. Life has taught me to cut myself some slack and not always take myself too serious when I don’t have it all together.

5. Find the fun in every moment. Nothing is as hard as it seems. Relax, take a break, listen to some music and find some joy in admiring the colours of the fire even when you are going through hell.

6. In 2014, I saw a movie ‘The Dawn of the Planet of Apes’. It was one of the best I saw in 2014 alongside ‘The Equalizer’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’. While there were plenty to learn from the movie, key for me was the lesson: Eliminate the potential trouble in your life before it snowballs into a monster.

7. A great truth I learnt this year is this: Never let the little things get to you. Too often than not, we get bugged by what someone said, what he did to you, how she behaved towards you and such petty things. While not justifying these actions, I believe our lives will be much easier if we let some things go and just turn a blind eye. It’s not weakness; it’s called ‘rising above petty things’.

8. Life has taught me to be grateful always. It takes nothing to be grateful, but it can mean a lot. Appreciate the people in your life, appreciate those who provide their shoulders for you to lean on and be swift to say ‘Thank You’ always.

9. In 2014, I reaffirmed the immense importance of family. Through thick and thin; when push comes to shove, when the chips are utterly down, family will always be there. Put them as priority in all you do.

10. Friends come and go. In 2014, I lost some friends, but I also made some wonderful ones. People will always be people, live and deal with it.

11. Vacations are really great. You must not travel to the Bahamas or Seychelles to have a smashing time. At times, it is priceless to leave your immediate environment and take some time off away from people and events. The refreshment from this is simply amazing.

12. I have discovered that self-confidence is not only infectious, it opens doors. You have to so believe in yourself that everyone accepts the truth that you are the best thing to happen since slice bread (Lol). There is also a thin line between having a high self-esteem and being cocky. Be careful not to thread there.

13. Life has taught me that every moment is a battle. Sharpen your blade and show up for the fight. Sometimes life is tough, but always you are tougher. Thus, live before you die. Be bold. Take risks. Go out and make some irreplaceable memories.

14. When all is said and done, your relationship with God will be all that truly matter. Never forget this in your everyday sojourn in life.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

5 Things Happy People Never Do!

1. Mind other people’s business.

Forget about what others are doing. Stop looking at where they are and what they have. Nobody is doing better than you because nobody can do better than you. YOU are walking your own path. Sometimes the reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes circumstances with everyone else’s public highlight reel. We listen to the noise of the world, instead of ourselves. So stop the comparisons! Ignore the distractions. Listen to your own inner voice. Mind your own business.

Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day. Don’t be scared to walk alone, and don’t be scared to enjoy it. Don’t let anyone’s ignorance, drama, or negativity stop you from being the best you can be. Keep doing what you know in your heart is right, for YOU. Because when you are focused on meaningful work and at peace within yourself, almost nothing can shake you.

2. Seek validation of self-worth from others.

When you are content to simply be yourself, without comparing and competing to impress others, everyone worthwhile will respect you. And even more importantly, you will respect yourself.

How are you letting others define you? What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?

Truth be told, no one has the right to judge you. People may have heard your stories, and they may think they know you, but they can’t feel what you are going through; they aren’t living YOUR life. So forget what they think and say about you. Focus on how you feel about yourself, and keep walking the path that feels best under your feet.

Those who accept you are your friends. Those who don’t are your teachers. If someone calls you something and it’s true, it’s not your problem because it’s true. If someone calls you something and it’s not true, it’s not your problem because it’s not true. Either way, whatever they call you is not your problem. What other people call you is their problem…

What you call yourself, and who you decide to become, is your problem.

3. Rely on other people and external events for happiness.

Unhappiness lies in that gap between what we have now and what we think we need. But the truth is, we don’t need to acquire anything more to be content with what we already have. We don’t need anyone else’s permission to be happy. Your life is magnificent not because someone says it is, or because you have acquired something new, but because you choose to see it as such. Don’t let your happiness be held hostage. It is always yours to choose, to live and experience.

As soon as you stop making everyone and everything else responsible for your happiness, the happier you’ll be. If you’re unhappy now, it’s not someone else’s fault. Take full responsibility for your own unhappiness, and you will instantly gain the ability to be happier. Stop seeking in vain to arrange conditions that will make you happy. Simply choose to appreciate the greatness that is yours in this moment, and the right conditions will start to line up around the contentment you seek.

The greater part of your happiness or unhappiness depends upon your outlook, and not upon our situation. Even if things aren’t perfect right now, think of all the beauty still left around you. A good reason to smile is always one thought away; choose to tap into it any time you like.

4. Hold on to resentment.

Let today be the day you stop being haunted by the ghosts from your past. What happened in the past is just one chapter in your story; don’t close the book, just turn the page.

We’ve all been hurt by our own decisions and by others, and while the pain of these experiences is normal, sometimes it lingers for too long. Feelings of resentment urge us to relive the same pain over and over, and we have a hard time letting go.

Forgiveness is the remedy. It allows you to focus on the future without combating the past. To understand the infinite potential of everything going forward is to forgive everything already behind you. Without forgiveness, wounds can never be healed and personal growth can never be achieved. It doesn’t mean you’re erasing the past, or forgetting what happened. It means you’re letting go of the resentment and pain, and instead choosing to learn from the incident and move on with your life.

5. Spend prolonged periods of time in negative environments.

You can’t make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable. So protect your spirit and potential from contamination by limiting your time with negative people and the environments they inhabit.

When other people invite you to act like victims, when they whine and moan about the unfairness of life, for example, and ask you to agree, to offer condolences, and to participate in their grievances, WALK AWAY. When you join in that game of negativity you always lose.

Even when you’re alone, create a positive mental space for yourself. Make it a point to give up all the thoughts that make you feel bad, or even just a few of them that have been troubling you, and see how doing that changes your life. You don’t need negative thoughts. They are all lies. They solve nothing. All they have ever given you is a false self that suffers for no reason.


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

30 Things to Let Go of Before the New Year

1.Let go of your temper. – Never do something permanently foolish just because you are temporarily upset.

2.Let go of petty grudges. – Life is far too short to be spent nursing bitterness and registering wrongs. If there’s someone in your life who deserves another chance, give it to them. If you need to apologize, do it. Give your story together a happy, new beginning.

3.Let go of the idea that everyone has it better than you. – If the grass looks greener on the other side… Stop staring. Stop comparing. Stop complaining and START watering the grass you’re standing on.

4.Let go of lingering false beliefs. – Stop from time to time and ask yourself, “Is it true?” It’s funny how we can sometimes wrap our minds around things and fit them into our version of reality. But thinking something does not make it true. Wanting something does not make it real. So watch your thoughts. Be wise. When your identity is not rooted in the truth, it can lead to toxic and lonely places where we seek approval from the wrong things.

5.Let go of expired ideals. – Growth is painful. Change is painful. But in the end, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you do not belong.

6.Let go of yesterday’s tragedies. – You are not what has happened to you; you are what you choose to become in this moment. Drop the needless burden, take a deep breath and start again. Ultimately, you will know you are on the right track in life when you become disinterested in looking back, and eager to take the next step.

7.Let go of your tendency to avoid problems. – You cannot change what you refuse to confront.

8.Let go of life’s little annoyances. – Don’t let dumb little things break your happiness. Frustration and stress come from the way you react, not the way things are. Adjust your attitude, and the frustration and stress is gone.

9.Let go of assuming other people are more “normal” than you. – The only normal people you know are the ones you don’t know very well. Period.

10.Let go acting standoffish and unapproachable. – We all need to learn to be more human. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind gadgets. Smile often. Ask about people’s stories. Listen.

11.Let go of the idea that some people are below you. – Even if you’ve worked really hard to get to where you are in life, there’s no such thing as a self-made person. Someone believed, encouraged, and invested in you. Be grateful and be that someone for others too. What goes around eventually comes around. No one has ever made themselves strong in the long run by showing how small someone else is. So don’t be lazy and make assumptions about people. Ask about their story. Then listen. Be humble. Be teachable. Be human. Be a good neighbor.

12.Let go of the idea that you are what you physically own. – You are an incredible human being who’s entirely detached from what you have physically acquired in this world. Remember to remain humble. Ultimately, two things define you more than anything else: Your patience when you have very little, and your attitude when you have more than enough.

13.Let go of wanting stuff you don’t need. – Don’t think of cost. Think of value. And remember, it’s always easier to find wealth by needing less, instead of making more and more and more.

14.Let go of seeking happiness from outside yourself. – In life, you have to create your own sunshine. Happiness starts from within. So read something positive every morning and do something positive before you go back to sleep. Keep your focus on all the positive possibilities and opportunities, and you will feel great. Feel great, and you will do great things.

15.Let go of wanting to be repaid of every good deed you do. – Don’t worry too much about what’s in it for you. If you’re making a positive contribution to others, there’s always something in it for you. You were born with the ability to change someone’s life. Don’t ever waste it. Be kind. Be present. Be someone who makes a difference.

16.Let go of all the little white lies and charades. – How do you build credibility? It’s not rocket science. Be honest. Follow through. Honor your promises. Say sorry when you screw up. Be the type of person you want to meet and spend time with. Be the type of person whose actions, words and values always agree with each other.

17.Let go of any hypocrisy. – For instance, don’t pray when it rains if you don’t pray when the sun shines.

18.Let go of putting everyone else’s needs in front of your own. – Give as much as you can every day, but don’t allow yourself to be used. Listen to others closely, but don’t lose your own voice.

19.Let go of fearing what your intuition is telling you to do. – Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will. So don’t let fear shut you down; let it wake you up. Do one thing every day that scares you. The more that you act on your intuition fearlessly, the more your intuition will serve you. If you genuinely feel something, pay attention.

20.Let go of waiting for the stars to align. – Remember, you don’t always need the perfect plan. Sometimes you just need to give it a try, let go, and see what happens. Just do the best you can until you know better. Once you know better, do better.

21.Let go of the need to get everything done at once. – Keep going. True purpose has no time limit. True purpose has no deadline. Don’t stress and overwhelm yourself. Just do what you can right now.

22.Let go of the “all or nothing” mentality regarding success. – Appreciate the grey area between the extremes of success and failure – the journey, the process, the path – what you’re learning, how you’re helping others learn too, and the growing process you allow yourself to participate in. And above all, never let success get to your head or failure get to your heart.

23.Let go of criticizing yourself. – Nobody is inspired by your misery or self-deprecating comments. If you wish to inspire yourself and others, be joyful. Have fun. Love yourself.
Forgive yourself. Accept yourself. Be unapologetically YOU.

24.Let go of those who say you aren’t attractive enough. – More women worldwide are suffering from anorexia and bulimia than are fighting breast cancer. There are similar statistics for men too. Love yourself the way you are, because you are beautiful just the way you are.

25.Let go of changing just to impress people. – Change because it makes you a better person and leads you to a brighter future. Change because you know it’s the right thing to do for YOU.

26.Let go of needing everyone to like you. – Everyone doesn’t need to like you, and some people won’t no matter what you do. Try not to take the things these people say about you personally. What they think and say is a reflection of them, not you.

27.Let go of all negative influences. Period. – You can’t expect to feel good if you surround yourself with negativity. Be with those who bring out the best in you, not the stress in you.

28.Let go of thinking that giving up the wrong things (and relationships) means failure. – Giving up and moving on are two very different things.

29.Let go of the idea that it’s too late to start over and get it right. – Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.

30.Let go of putting things off for one more day. – Stop procrastinating. Stop wishing for it and start working for it. Do what you have to do today so you can do what you truly want to do, and be where you truly want to be, tomorrow.


Monday, November 24, 2014

30 Books Everyone Should Read Before Their 30th Birthday

1.Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – A powerful story about the importance of life experiences as they relate to approaching an understanding of reality and attaining enlightenment.
2.1984 by George Orwell – 1984 still holds chief significance nearly 60 years after it was written in 1949. It is widely acclaimed for its haunting vision of an all-knowing government which uses pervasive, 24/7 surveillance tactics to manipulate all citizens of the populace.
3.To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee – The story surveys the controversial issues of race and economic class in the 1930’s Deep South via a court case of a black man charged with the rape and abuse of a young white girl. It’s a moving tale that delivers a profound message about fighting for justice and against prejudice.
4.A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess – A nightmarish vision of insane youth culture that depicts heart wrenching insight into the life of a disturbed adolescent. This novel will blow you away… leaving you breathless, livid, thrilled, and concerned.
5.For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway – A short, powerful contemplation on death, ideology and the incredible brutality of war.
6.War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy – This masterpiece is so enormous even Tolstoy said it couldn’t be described as a standard novel. The storyline takes place in Russian society during the Napoleonic Era, following the characters of Andrei, Pierre and Natasha… and the tragic and unanticipated way in which their lives interconnect.
7.The Rights of Man by Tom Paine – Written during the era of the French Revolution, this book was one of the first to introduce the concept of human rights from the standpoint of democracy.
8.The Social Contract by Jean-Jacques Rousseau – A famous quote from the book states that “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.” This accurately summarizes the book’s prime position on the importance of individual human rights within society.
9.One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez – This novel does not have a plot in the conventional sense, but instead uses various narratives to portray a clear message about the general importance of remembering our cultural history.
10.The Origin of Species by Charles Darwin – Few books have had as significant an impact on the way society views the natural world and the genesis of humankind.
11.The Wisdom of the Desert by Thomas Merton – A collection of thoughts, meditations and reflections that give insight into what life is like to live simply and purely, dedicated to a greater power than ourselves.
12.The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – Gladwell looks at how a small idea, or product concept, can spread like a virus and spark global sociological changes. Specifically, he analyzes “the levels at which the momentum for change becomes unstoppable.”
13.The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham – Arguably one of the best children’s books ever written; this short novel will help you appreciate the simple pleasures in life. It’s most notable for its playful mixture of mysticism, adventure, morality, and camaraderie.
14.The Art of War by Sun Tzu – One of the oldest books on military strategy in the world. It’s easily the most successful written work on the mechanics of general strategy and business tactics.
15.The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien – One of the greatest fictional stories ever told, and by far one of the most popular and influential written works in 20th-century literature. Once you pick up the first book, you’ll read them all.
16.David Copperfield by Charles Dickens – This is a tale that lingers on the topic of attaining and maintaining a disciplined heart as it relates to one’s emotional and moral life. Dickens states that we must learn to go against “the first mistaken impulse of the undisciplined heart.”
17.Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot – Probably the wisest poetic prose of modern times. It was written during World War II, and is still entirely relevant today… here’s an excerpt: “The dove descending breaks the air/With flame of incandescent terror/Of which the tongues declare/The only discharge from sin and error/The only hope, or the despair/Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre–/To be redeemed from fire by fire./Who then devised this torment?/Love/Love is the unfamiliar Name/Behind the hands that wave/The intolerable shirt of flame/Which human power cannot remove./We only live, only suspire/Consumed by either fire or fire.”
18.Catch-22 by Joseph Heller – This book coined the self-titled term “catch-22” that is widely used in modern-day dialogue. As for the story, its message is clear: What’s commonly held to be good, may be bad… what is sensible, is nonsense. Its one of the greatest literary works of the 20th century. Read it.
19.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald – Set in the Jazz Age of the roaring 20’s, this book unravels a cautionary tale of the American dream. Specifically, the reader learns that a few good friends are far more important that a zillion acquaintances, and the drive created from the desire to have something is more valuable than actually having it.
20.The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger – This novel firmly stands as an icon for accurately representing the ups and downs of teen angst, defiance and rebellion. If nothing else, it serves as a reminder of the unpredictable teenage mindset.
21.Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky – A smooth-flowing, captivating novel of a young man living in poverty who criminally succumbs to the desire for money, and the hefty phychological impact this has on him and the people closest to him.
22.The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli – This book does a great job at describing situations of power and statesmanship. From political and corporate power struggles to attaining advancement, influence and authority over others, Machiavelli’s observations apply.
23.Walden by Henry David Thoreau – Thoreau spent two years, two months and two days writing this book in a secluded cabin near the banks of Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. This is a story about being truly free from the pressures of society. The book can speak for itself: “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”
24.The Republic by Plato – A gripping and enduring work of philosophy on how life should be lived, justice should be served, and leaders should lead. It also gives the reader a fundamental understanding of western political theory.
25.Lolita – This is the kind of book that blows your mind wide open to conflicting feelings of life, love and corruption… and at times makes you deeply question your own perceptions of each. The story is as devious as it is beautiful.
26.Getting Things Done by David Allen – The quintessential guide to organizing your life and getting things done. Nuff said.
27.How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie – This is the granddaddy of all self-improvement books. It is a comprehensive, easy to read guide for winning people over to your way of thinking in both business and personal relationships.
28.Lord of the Flies by William Golding – A powerful and alarming look at the possibilities for savagery in a lawless environment, where compassionate human reasoning is replaced by anarchistic, animal instinct.
29.The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck – Steinbeck’s deeply touching tale about the survival of displaced families desperately searching for work in a nation stuck by depression will never cease to be relevant.
30.The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – This anticommunist masterpiece is a multifaceted novel about the clash between good and evil. It dives head first into the topics of greed, corruption and deception as they relate to human nature.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Letter from the Nigerian Politician to all Nigerians

Fellow Nigerians,

I hope this letter meets you well. Don’t ask me what well means though; because you lot have a way of always having problems.

Anyway, it’s been almost four years since I got in touch with you. I suppose you will be wondering why I have not stayed in touch with you for a while now since you voted me into office (And I say ‘voted’ with reservations). The thing is I have been too busy. Too busy siphoning public funds for life after office. You will agree with me that it can be very tough for us politicians after office. So, it is only sensible that I stuck up enough for the uncertain days after my tenure is over.

Fellow Nigerians, as you are well aware of by now, your constitution does not allow for more than two terms in office, so that means I have to bow out in 2015 (If only those dumbasses have allowed the third term agenda to be realized). Anyway, as a great leader I am, I have re-strategized to ensure I don’t lose out entirely. Very soon, I will be letting you know my next political move. What will I expect from you then? Just break your heads to ensure I get what I want. That is political loyalty, and that is the reward I ask from you for eight sterling years of good governance and democratic excellence.

For the main time, what do I ask? All I want from you is to support my anointed successor. He is the one to lead us to the Promised Land and perhaps even take us to Eldorado. Support him with all that you have. Fight, and if it comes to that, kill! That’s my charge to you. Even if you die for this cause, your name will remain etched upon the sands of time. You will forever be remembered for such a priceless loyalty to a just cause. I am sure that even my unborn grandkids when they read of your heroics while studying in Harvard or Stanford, they will be so proud of you. By the way, word has reached me that INEC said you should register and get your voters card, please get it o, even though we know those things won’t matter eventually. Just get it, let it be like we are committed to a free and fair election.

Again, let me ask that you continue to turn out in your numbers in all our political rallies. We spend a lot to organize those rallies, and I believe you have been getting the ‘little appreciation’ we have been showing you for turning up. Remember, you are our rented crowd, and we have to continue to show the world that we are on top. And trust me; many of them will fall for it.

As a way of reaffirming my commitment and that of my party to you, I promise you plenty in reward for your votes and support. I hear that a political party (Or was it mine?) offered some of you small bags of rice at an election recently. In truth, I was really ashamed that you accepted such a petty offer. How could you have sold your conscience that cheaply? Well, I will more than better that effort. I have made arrangement already for an international food dealer to supply you bags of rice in their litanies. Trust me, I will feed you. In addition, I have concluded plans for you to be provided with enough salt. Afterall, you won’t eat boiled rice like that na. So, trust me, the package we have for you is mega.

Finally, thank you for your mandate in this past eight years (Though I am not sure why I should be thanking you, as I am unsure if it was your mandate that really gave me power). All the same, thank you. For all of you who carried guns, stole ballot boxes, wreaked havoc for my two terms in office, I salute you for your uncommon courage. And I ask you to show the same gusto and unrelenting sagacity to see that my anointed successor wins the next election. Whatever it will take, please do.

You will hear from us more frequently these days till we get the issue of 2015 elections out of the way. After then, will I let you have some peace till 2019.

Thank you once again, and talk to you again very soon. I have to take a break now to attend to my busy schedule of saving for the rainy days.

With love,
Your great leader!

Monday, November 10, 2014

18 Great Reminders When You’re Having a Bad Day!

1.The right attitude is the one thing you need right now. – What you focus on changes everything. Don’t look back when you know you shouldn’t. Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Don’t stress over unimportant things. Be positive. Seriously, the most underrated trait of all successful people I’ve ever met is positivity. Your attitude directly determines how well you live your life. You simply can’t live a positive life with a negative attitude. Don’t let mental blocks control you. Set yourself free. Confront your negativity and turn the mental blocks into building blocks.

2.You can’t be truly happy unless you’re unhappy sometimes too. – If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome. Feelings, good and bad, always come and go. The trick is to be grateful when your mood is high and graceful when it is low.

3.You still have many blessings that you can make count. – Yes, always count your blessings, but don’t forget to make your blessings count too. There’s no good reason why you must settle for anything less than the very best life has to offer. Start now by sincerely appreciating the things you have and making the most of them. Happiness and success in life are not the byproducts of limitless resources. Happiness and success stem from stretching the limits of the available resources.

4.You can learn something important from any situation, if you want to. – Experience is not what happens to you; it is what you do with what happens to you. Take everything as a lesson learned. You are the books you read, the films you watch, the people you meet, the dreams you have, and the conversations you engage in. You are a combination of what you take from these. You are the sound of thunder, the breath of fresh air, the brightest light and the darkest corner. You embody every experience you have had in your life. You are every single day, even the bad ones. So drown yourself in a sea of knowledge. Let the experiences run through your veins, and let the lessons grow your mind.

5.Your best bet is to take a chance on the present moment. – Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending. Be thankful to start from where you are now. Wishing for a different past will only waste your energy. If you’re feeling down right now, each second that passes is another moment to turn it all around.

6.You are not a victim. – You have an interesting life and it is magnificent, even during the toughest times. Keep this in mind, and live it accordingly. You are in control. Change your thoughts. As long as you think that the cause of your problem is “out there” somewhere else – as long as you think that someone or something else is responsible for your suffering – your situation is hopeless. It means that you are forever in the victim role, that you’re suffering even in paradise. Don’t do this to yourself. Be your hero, not your victim.

7.You are not who you once were, but who you believe you can become. – You ultimately become what you believe yourself to be. If you keep on saying to yourself that you are incapable of doing a certain thing, it’s likely that you will end up becoming incapable of doing it. On the contrary, if you have the belief that you can do it, despite your struggles and frustrations, you will likely acquire the capacity to do it, even if you can’t do it right now.

8.You CAN move forward from here. – Even the darkest night will eventually end and the sun will rise. Remember this. If you take another step, and another, you’ll be surprised to know how far you can go from the point you thought was the end. So say this to yourself, and mean it with all your heart: “I just need you to never give up on me, no matter how hard things get.”

9.The best way to move forward is one tiny step at a time. – You can’t lift 1,000 pounds all at once. But you can easily lift one pound 1,000 times. In repetition, your little actions have great power.

10.What others think about your situation is not important right now. – If you really want to be happy again, then stop being afraid of being yourself, and stop thinking about what others think of you every second.

11.In relationships, agreeing to disagree is sometimes the best solution. – Be selective in your battles. Sometimes peace is better than being right. You simply don’t need to attend every argument you are invited to.

12.It’s OK to give yourself some space to breathe and regroup. – Sometimes a short break is the best step.
Sometimes you need to pause so you can move forward – you need to turn away from something for a while so you can see why you fell in love in the first place.

13.There’s so much you can let go of in life, without losing a thing. – It’s called growth. Letting go of the old, makes way for the new. Letting go of what isn’t working, makes way for what will. So remember, when the pain of holding on is worse than the pain of letting go, it’s time to let go and grow.

14.There’s no shame in starting over again, and changing things up. – When things aren’t adding up in your life, it’s time to start subtracting… the habits, routines, and circumstances that are holding you back. Sometimes you’ve got to create what you want to be a part of from the ground up – you’ve got to work harder than ever before to get more than you ever dreamed of. Be a dreamer. Be a doer. Know what is truly important to you and why. Then act on it with all your might.

15.The struggle isn’t found on the path, it is the path… to greatness. – There will be big mistakes and heartbreaking surprises along the way. Learn from them, adapt and grow. If you want the benefits of something in life, you have to also want the costs. If you want a fit body, you also have to want the sweat, the sore muscles, the early mornings at the gym, and the low-fat meals. If you want a successful business, you have to also want the long days, the late nights, the risky business decisions and deals, and the possibility of failing fifty times to learn what you need to know to succeed.

16.A little extra effort always pays off in the end. – Even when things aren’t going your way, don’t slack off. Never skimp on that extra effort, that additional few minutes, that soft word of praise or thanks, that delivery of the very best that you can do. It doesn’t matter what others think, it is of prime importance, however, what you think about you. You can never do your best, which should always be your trademark quality, if you are cutting corners and ducking responsibilities. You are special. Act like it. Never neglect the little things.

17.Be a little kinder to yourself than you have to. – Yes, be extra kind to yourself today. Accept who you are, and revel in it. Treat yourself with love and respect. The better you feel about YOU, the more value you can create for your world. If you can’t do a lot for yourself right now, do a little. These small moments of joy will add up. They will keep you pointed in a positive direction.

18.Because of today’s pain, you can feel the tenderness, beauty and freedom of healing. – Pain feels like a fast stab wound directly to the heart sometimes. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air. As humans, we may not have wings like a bird, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that soothing sensation of wind against our faces.


Monday, November 3, 2014

The Ominous Signs Of 2015

It is that time of the year when all Nigerians can go to hell and allow the mechanism of politicking and electoral maneuvers to begin. This is officially the period when the wheels of governance takes a break for electioneering that has become a jamboree and farce in this part of the world. Even with the blind seeing clearly that President Goodluck Jonathan harbors a reelection dream, some senseless groups still insist on making his declaration some sorts of charade.

To put a perspective on the unfolding drama, elections in Nigeria have always assumed some sorts of war, with all the attendant upheavals that follows a watershed. Political prostitution, war of words, mindless killings among others are features of our eternal nascent democracy at times like this. However, there is a premonition about 2015 that makes the omen even more ominous.

The defection of the Speaker of the House of Reps to the main opposition is definitely not going to be the last of many such moves; but this is only a small tip of the iceberg that gives credence to the fears of many. The elections next year is setting up to be the most gruesome in the country’s history. The untold general insecurity wrecked by the Boko Haram insurgents has added a fearsome dimension to the elections. One must also remember that the over 200 girls kidnapped in Chibok, are still in captivity. What is more? Never in our democratic history since 1999 have we had an opposition that is truly worthy of the name in all ramifications. The All Progressive Congress (APC) might be a conglomerate of strange bed fellows, but it will be foolhardy to dismiss the threat that they carry. While rivalling PDP is a big ask, the possibility should not be dismissed. And it is also for this reason that the 2015 elections look messy indeed. Particularly, in states like Rivers, Lagos, Adamawa, Nassarawa and Oyo among others, the elections will be a fierce battle.

Perhaps, as the bickering continues the clear message from the politicians, governors, legislature and the presidency is simple, ‘Until the elections are over in 2015, do not expect governance to function anymore. We are currently facing a more serious battle than thinking of your warfare now. We are fighting for our lives. However, don’t forget to give us your votes or we take it in our own way.’ May God help us!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

9 Warning Signs You’re in Bad Company

1. They only make time for you when it’s convenient for them.

It’s obvious, but any relationship without regular interaction and communication is going to have problems, especially when there’s a lack of commitment.

Don’t waste your time with someone who only wants you around when it’s convenient for them. You shouldn’t have to force someone to make a space in their life for you, because if they truly care about you they will gladly create space for you.

Being in a relationship with someone who overlooks your worth isn’t loyalty, it’s stupidity. Never beg someone for attention. Know your self-worth, and move on if you must.

2. They hold your past against you.

Some people will refuse to accept that you are no longer who you used to be – that you’ve made mistakes in the past, learned from them, and moved past them. They may not be able to stand the fact that you’re growing and moving on with your life, and so they will try to drag your past to catch up with you. Do not help them by acknowledging their negative behavior. Keep moving forward.

Holding on to the unchangeable past is a waste of energy and serves no purpose in creating a better day today. If someone continuously judges you by your past and holds it against you, you might have to repair your future by leaving them behind.

3. You feel trapped.

Healthy relationships keep the doors and windows wide open. Plenty of air is flowing and no one feels trapped. Relationships thrive in this kind of unrestricted environment. You can come and go as you please, but you choose to stay because where you are is where you want to be.

If you want to be a part of someone’s life, all the open doors and windows in the world won’t make you leave. If someone has closed them all in an effort to trap you into something you don’t want to be a part of, it’s time to find the strength to kick down the door.

4. They discredit your dreams and abilities.

If you allow others to define your dreams and abilities, then you enable them to hold you back. What you’re capable of achieving is not a function of what other people think is possible for you. What you’re capable of achieving depends on what you choose to do with your time and energy.

People will throw all sorts of assumptions your way about what is possible and what is impossible. Look beyond the presumptions and mental limitations of others, and connect with your own best vision of how YOUR life can be. Life is an open-ended journey, and what you achieve comes from what you expect to achieve and what you work to achieve.

So don’t worry about what everyone else thinks. Keep living your truth. The only people that will get mad at you for doing so are those who want you to live a lie.

5. They have lied to you more than once.

Love is a verb, not a noun. It is ACTIVE in all relationships. Love is not just feelings of passion and romance between lovers; it is also a behavior among friends and family. If someone lies to you, they are unlovingly disrespecting you and your relationship.

When you keep someone in your life who is a chronic liar, and you keep giving them new chances to be trusted, you have a lot in common with this person – you’re both lying and being unloving to you!

Bottom line: Those who avoid the truth and tell you only what you want to hear do so for their own benefit, not yours. Don’t put up with it.

6. Their negativity is rubbing off on you.

The negative people in your life don’t just behave negatively towards you, but towards everyone they interact with. What they say and do is a projection of their own reality – their own inner issues. Even if they say something to you that seems personal – even if they insult you directly – it likely has zero to do with you.

This is important to remember because what these negative people say and do shouldn’t be taken to heart. Although you don’t have control over what they say and do; you do have control over whether or not you allow them to say and do these things to you. You alone can deny their venomous words and actions from invading your heart and mind. If you feel like these people are getting to you, take a break and give yourself some space to breathe.

Positive things happen when you distance yourself from negative people. Doing so doesn’t mean you hate them, it simply means you respect yourself.

7. They are excessively envious of what you have.

A little bit of envy is OK, but when someone is excessively envious of what you have, there’s a good chance what they really want is to take it from you.

Excessive envy doesn’t tell you how much someone admires you, it tells you how much they dislike themselves. If you can, try to help lift them up, but also be careful that they don’t pull you down. Oftentimes no amount of love, or promises, or proof from you will ever be enough to make them feel better about themselves. For the broken pieces they carry, are pieces they must mend for themselves. Happiness, after all, is an inside job.

8. They motivate you to be judgmental or hateful.

Truth be told, no human being is superior. No faith, race, size or shape is inferior. All collective judgments about others are wrong. Only judgmental hypocrites make them.

If you judge others by their skin color, their body size, and their outer beauty, you will miss EVERYTHING about who they really are. It is amazing the quality of people you will learn about and meet in this world if you can simply get past the fact that lots of people are not dressing and living the way you do.

People who motivate you to judge or hate others are as bad as bad company gets. Avoid them at all costs.

9. They want you to be someone else.

Spend time with people who see you the way you are, and not as they wish to think you are. Spend even more time with those who truly know about you, and who love and respect you anyway.

If someone expects you to be someone you’re not, take a step back. It’s wiser to lose relationships over being who you are, than to keep them intact by acting like someone you’re not. It’s easier to nurse a little heartache and meet someone new, than it is to piece together your own shattered identity. It’s easier to fill an empty space within your life where someone else used to be, than it is to fill the empty space within yourself where YOU used to be.

Culled from Marc and Angel.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Poetry- A Milestone Cast In Stone

They say some are born great, others achieve greatness, while some others have greatness thrust upon them.

Today, we celebrate excellence,
We celebrate a legend of unqualified feats.
We adore a life laden with tremendous

In moment of chaos, like a bolt in the blue, you flash your brilliance.
Like an actor in his element, you ooze out excellence in the stage of life.
Like a tale conjured by the gods, your life story is a beacon of hope for many.

You did not have the painting fingers of Leonardo, but you possess the infinite mind that spurred Leonardo
You do not have the audacious tongue of Martin Luther King, but you are graced with the conviction that can unlock any ambition
You do not have the literary hands of Chinua Achebe, but your creativity and mindas touch is priceless
We celebrate you today, not just because you are our boss, but because you have become a part of our lives. That part that inspires, that motivates, that teaches, that stirs our minds to aspire.
We celebrate you because in an age where power has intoxicated men, you have remained true to all, remaining yourself. For this, we admire you.

You are a bundle of greatness
An effulgence of humility
A cynosure of leadership
An epitome of perfection
An Index for excellence

A man with whom there is no lacuna for mediocre
A plethora of wits
A man whose sense of humor is peerless

A father of distinguished heights
A husband of unfettering prowess
A GM per excellence
A colleague of magnificent breed
A friend of sterling qualities
A mentor that even the legendary Aristotle will be proud of
In sum, a man of Olympian heights

And while words might not be enough
While our eulogies might be fleeting, our hearts revere you today and for all time

And when the eulogies fade away
When our days in Shell shall elapse
When time catches up with our agility
When nature forces us to retire from the 7 to 4 routine
When our body whispers rest to us
We will never forget you
For our friendship shall never wither
Our bound shall grow tighter
Our fondness shall linger
Our relationship shall never flounder
And you shall always remain in our minds.

Poem dedicated to my mentor and boss on the occasion of his birthday

Sunday, October 5, 2014

9 Signs It’s Time to Take a Step Forward

1. You’ve spent lots of time recently thinking you aren’t good enough.

Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place.

A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind. Know this. There will NEVER be a perfect time to pursue your dreams and goals. You will never feel 100% ready, because you will never be 100% complete. You’re growing every day. You just have to find faith in yourself right now. Faith means living with uncertainty, feeling your way through life, letting your intuition guide you like a flashlight in the dark.

What if, for today, you choose to believe that you have enough, you are enough, and that you’ve come far enough to be worthy? What if, for today, you choose to believe that you are strong enough, wise enough, kind enough, and loved enough to move forward? What if, as the sun sets on today, you choose to believe that you did a pretty good job? And what if tomorrow morning, you choose to believe it all over again?

2. You’ve been busy trying to satisfy everyone else’s expectations.

Way too many people are living a life that’s not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them… they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them… to what their friends, their enemies, their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice and intuition. They are so busy pleasing everyone else, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need… and eventually they forget about themselves altogether.

You have one life – this one right now. You must live it, own it, and above all, NOT let other people’s opinions distract you from your truth.

3. You catch yourself complaining about things constantly.

Your constant need to complain about those many, many, many things – people, situations, events, etc. – is doing nothing but making you unhappy and depressed.

Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. This may be hard to accept, but it’s the truth. Your life is as YOU see it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

4. You have a habit of blaming everyone else.

Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your power away and start taking responsibility for your life.

Either you own your problems and deal with them, or they will own you. Period.

5. You’ve been more focused on not failing than actually succeeding.

You are comfortable with mediocrity – you choose not to try. Because it’s safer. Because it’s easier to talk about learning that new skill as opposed to actually learning it. Because you think everything is too hard or too complicated so you will just “sit this one out,” or maybe you’ll “do it someday.” Because you hate your job but won’t apply for a new one – because it’s easier to reject the possibility of rejection.

Snap out of it!

While you’re sitting around failing to try, you really need to be out there trying to fail, challenging yourself, learning new things and failing forward as fast as possible. Your desire to succeed must overpower your fear of failure. Because if you are too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful.

6. You are stuck on wanting to be right.

There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong, wanting to always be right, even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain in our personal and professional lives. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the burning desire to jump into a fight over who’s right and who’s wrong, ask yourself these questions:

“Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?”
“What difference will it make?”
“Is my ego really that big?”

Bottom line: You are an ever-changing work in progress, and so is everyone else. You don’t have to always be right, you just have to not be too worried about being wrong. Screwing up, for all of us, is part of the growth process. Being wrong and looking like a fool sometimes is the only path forward.

7. You keep letting your fear decide your future.

Fear is a feeling, not a fact. It’s just an illusion that doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt so profoundly said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Know this. Never let your fear decide your future. Let your dreams be bigger than your fears and your actions louder than your words.

No risk, no reward. No pain, no gain. You’ve heard this before.

Human beings don’t become wise by reading books and thinking about things – they become educated. Living out experiences firsthand in the real world, one day at a time, is what gives birth to wisdom. Ultimately wisdom is what you get when you test out the waters for yourself. This kind of life experience is the most valuable asset you own.

Sometimes on the road to acquiring wisdom life will beat you down, but you have to stand back up. Because nothing is more beautiful and powerful than a soul who has weathered and grown through life’s difficulties. Don’t regret your time, even the moments that were filled with hurt. Smile because you learned from it all and because you gained enough strength to rise above it all. In the end, it’s not what you have been through that matters; it’s how you got through it that defines your life and your legacy.

8. You believe the best is behind you.

You have to let the past GO! I know, I know… it’s not easy. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present, and the future looks so uncertain. But you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. And the past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was mostly ignored by you when it was present. Don’t do this to yourself again.

Don’t waste your present with a past that has no future.

9. You’ve been actively resisting change.

As Oscar Wilde so profoundly said, “To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.”

Living a positive life hinges on your ability to accept the fact that everything is constantly moving forward, away from everything that previously existed. Not only do you have to emotionally detach from the past, but you also have to willingly thrust yourself forward into the unknown. You have to open yourself to trying new things, especially those that you may previously never have thought of doing, or had been too hesitant to attempt. This is how you open doors of opportunity for positive growth.

So many people live within the confines of unhappy situations and yet refuse to take the initiative to change their circumstances. They are conditioned to believe that the only choice is the current choice, because it’s the life they know. Their comfort zone blinds them from the truth – that nothing is more damaging to the human spirit than a mind that resists progress and change.

All of your personal growth and much of your joy in life will come from your encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater commitment than to embrace an endlessly changing horizon.


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Stomach Infrastructure: An Apt Reflection of the Nigeria Story

The concept of politicians in our clime doling out fleeting incentives on Election Day is not a novel idea in our polity. History holds it in numerous stead of how the Nigerian Politician in all his untold impunity will siphon, embezzle and divert public funds while in office, yet, when elections come around, he remembers there is such a thing as the grassroots. True to the script, he becomes philanthropic with public funds and doles out merchandise on Election Day in exchange for the peoples’ mandate. The coinage ‘Stomach Infrastructure’ assumed viral usage in the just concluded Ekiti state election that held on June 16th. As we were aware, the PDP in all its scheming displaced the APC; thus, Fayose assumed governor-elect of the state. A lot have been attributed to the odds that favoured the PDP by commentators, cynics and political observers. One of such reason, as the story goes, was the distribution of little bags of rice and other food items by PDP cohorts to many of the electorates in both the rural and urban centers. While this might not be the sole reason why they won the election, many observers are of the opinion that it was a pivotal hatching.

And just before we start to pour aspersions on the electorates in Ekiti for selling their souls for a pot of porridge, it is apt to first situate the gravity of their actions. This anomaly is indeed the most demeaning act ever witnessed on the conscience of the electorate. That something as defining as deciding the kind of life one and his future generation will live can be traded for a day’s meal is atrocious in itself. Some say it’s poverty that have left them with option, but in truism, this malady transcends poverty. Something has gone wrong with the minds of many Nigerians. That we always think of ‘what we will get today’ at the expense of tomorrow wrecks belief.

Pathetic to note, this tale of ‘Stomach Infrastructure’ has become manifest in diverse forms in our country today. As a people, quick fixes are always what we yearn. We might not all be guilty of accepting a cup of rice to buy our votes, but we are guilty of simply letting such an anomaly go unhindered, and we move on. In many ways than one, that a politician and his schemers can conceive such measures in their thoughts and have the temerity to execute it, is a collective insult to every electorate. It is true that many Nigerians suffer from selective amnesia, but how we allow politicians thrive with impunity is a wonder. Today, youths are conscripted into several electoral induced groups, famous among which is a group that call themselves Transformation Ambassador of Nigeria, TAN. While I am not a big fan of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, I accept the reality that he is my president. However, I find it disturbing that the primary aim of millions of people under the aegis of TAN at a time when our fledgling democracy is bedeviled with a plethora of issues is to make GEJ to recontest elections in 2015. It is also not a coincidence that groups like TAN, Friends of Jonathan and the likes takes prominence and form during the electoral era. At times I wonder, what makes people, young and old, dissipate so much energy in clamoring, supporting and even killing themselves for politicians, who only comes around during elections? What have this people been told that made their convictions unswerving?

Many of us are guilty of simply accepting who our politicians have become. At best, we whine about them on social media, but we always tend to move on. They sting their venom on us, we cry, threat ourselves of the diseases they infected us, and wait for the next bite. Perhaps, our understanding of governance and what it represents have been chequered by the cruel reality of our polity. It wasn’t for nothing that the late Chinua Achebe was insistence that the fundamental problem with Nigeria is ‘Leadership’. This was and still remains the bane of our predicament. And if we all know this, how is it that ‘We the People’ who determine who these leaders are cannot do anything about it?

The parable of stomach infrastructure is not just a tale that resonates with the 65 year old man in Ado Ekiti, who voted for Fayose because of the half bag of rice he was given on that election day, it is a story that lives with us all; the sad reality of the Nigerian People.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

12 Promises You Should Make to Yourself and Keep Forever!

1.“I will not hold the past against myself.” – Your problems, your weaknesses, setbacks, regrets and mistakes teach you if you’re willing to learn, or they will punish you if you’re not. So let them teach you, every day. Take everything as a lesson learned. If you regret some of the decisions you have made in the past, stop being so hard on yourself. At that time, you did your best with the knowledge you had. At that time, you did your best with the experience you had. Your decisions were made with a younger mind. If you were to make these decisions with the wisdom you have today, you would choose differently. So give yourself a break. Time and experience has a wonderful way of helping us grow and learn to make better choices today, for ourselves and those we care for.

2.“I will own my life and never deny responsibility for it.” – Through the grapevine, you may have learned that you should blame your parents, your teachers, your mentors, the education system, the government, etc., but never to blame yourself. Right? It’s never, ever your fault… WRONG! It’s always your fault, because if you want to change, if you want to let go and move on with your life, you’re the only person who can make it happen. It’s YOUR move to make. It’s YOUR responsibility. Own it!

3.“I will speak kindly and consciously to myself.” – Wait, what did you just say to yourself? Were they the inspiring, encouraging words you would speak to a friend? Or were they the belittling remarks you might shout to an enemy if you had no heart. Or the negative assessments about life you would utter if you had no faith? All day long we speak silently to ourselves, and a part of us believes every word. So stay mindful, and ask yourself, “If I had a friend who always spoke to me in the same way that I am speaking to myself right now, how long would I allow that person to be my friend?”

4.“I will listen to what my heart and soul is telling me.” – When something feels right, that means it is right for you (at least it is worth looking into). And if you genuinely feel deep down that something is wrong, it probably is. Pay attention to your authentic feelings, and follow where they lead. When you’re following your inner voice, doors tend to eventually open for you, even if they mostly slam at first.

5.“I will live a life that feels right to me, not one that looks right to others.” – Give yourself permission to follow the path that makes YOU happy. And realize that some people in your life will refuse to walk beside you as you embark on this journey; they simply won’t approve no matter what you say, and that’s OK. Sometimes when you commit yourself to creating your own happiness, it clashes with the perceptions of others. Sometimes when you gain something great, you have to let go of something else. And sometimes this ‘something else’ is a relationship that only wants you to do what they want you to do.

6.“I will let go of relationships that are obviously not meant to be.” – Most people come into your life temporarily simply to teach you something. They come and they go and they make a difference. And it’s OK that they’re not in your life anymore. Not all relationships last, but the lessons these relationships bring to you do. If you learn to open your heart and mind, anyone, including the folks who eventually drive you mad, can teach you something worthwhile. Sometimes it will feel weird when you realize you spent so much time with someone you are no longer connected to, but that’s exactly how it’s supposed to be. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be. We all are.

7.“I will not let any situation permanently steal my smile.” – Even when times are tough, take a moment to pause and remember who YOU are. Take a moment to reflect on the things that have real and lasting meaning in your life. And then smile about how far you’ve come. Honestly, nothing in this world is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears. Any fool can be happy when times are easy. It takes a strong soul with real heart to develop smiles out of situations that make us weep. No matter how long it takes, it will get better. Keep going. Tough situations build strong people in the end.

8.“I will celebrate and appreciate the life I have.” – Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are. Don’t be one of them. Take a breath of fresh air. The past is behind you. Focus on what you can do today, not on what you could’ve or should’ve done yesterday. Remember, for everything you’ve lost, you’ve gained something else. Appreciate what you have and who you are today. Life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful. Count your blessings, not your troubles. It costs nothing to be positive, and it changes things for the better. Your thoughts are yours to control, so make good use of them to give your actions and your life a powerful advantage.

9.“I will realize and use my power to make a difference.” – The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any. Don’t do this. The world needs you. In a world filled with doubt, you must dare to dream. In a world filled with anger, you must dare to forgive. In a world filled with hate, you must dare to love. In a world filled with distrust, you must dare to believe. And once you do, I promise, you will find that power you once thought you lacked.

10.“I will dedicate myself to personal excellence.” – Anything worth doing, is worth doing right. And excellence is never an accident. It’s the result of high intention, focused effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities. It’s also important to note that excellence cannot be judged by looking at where you are at any given point in time, but by measuring the distance you have traveled from the point where you started. It’s about being diligent and making progress – either a step forward or a lesson learned – day in and day out.

11.“I will keep stretching myself beyond my previous level of comfort.” – Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Every great success requires some type of worthy struggle to get there. Know this! When you’re struggling, that’s when you’re growing stronger and smarter. The more time you spend there, the faster you learn. It’s better to spend an extremely high quality ten minutes growing, than it is to spend a mediocre hour running in place. Every day, you want to practice at the point where you are on the edge of your ability, stretching yourself over and over again, making mistakes, stumbling, learning from those mistakes and stretching yourself even farther.

12.“I will embrace the changes I know I need to make.” – Life is a balancing act of holding on and letting go – of staying put and moving on. We strive to make the right choices, but how do we know when it is truly time to move forward with our lives? The signs aren’t always easy to accept, but they are there and you know it. Relationships, jobs, and even the cities we live in have expiration dates. Sometimes we hold on to what’s not working out of fear that we won’t be able to adapt to necessary changes. And thus, the outcome is always the same: more pain, immense frustration, and lasting regret. Be smarter than that. Embrace the changes you know you need to make.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It Was September 16th!

It was September 16th that year. The sun was prodigal and the wind, nauseating. There was nothing in the air that suggested the impending doom. It was a casual air that held no malice. Children playing with vehement passion and traders hauling their wares to your face. She had been on her selling spot that day, before her body began to itch. The kind of itching that puzzles. She was not the type to give in to illness. Somehow, her mortal spirit had infected her body. She was immune to the kind of illness that perplexes common men. And even in those seldom days when sickness caught up with her, she barely showed it. She will conceal her pain from our bare eyes. Her tears were shrouded in her dazzling smile. In times of pain, she will fight to hold up the tears, and while we look away, she will give it up, swiftly.

And so on this day, only the gods will recollect what took us away from the house. She came to meet an empty house. In the obvious itching that brought her home, she relieved the agony. We returned. From whatever venture conspired to take us out, and then she put up that cloak again. Hiding the pain she currently felt. However, this time, the pain was so grueling that she couldn’t do an exquisite job of concealing it. And then, we were beginning to sense, to feel, to decipher, that all was not well with our Jewell. She was not the same. Her beauty was extant, but there was a cankerworm eating her up. We could see by the way she placed her face, the tilting of her head, her now foisted step. Something was wrong.

Her language began to change. She spoke in pregnant words, coded gestures, and her silence became her loudest voice. And I remember, the days we will fight as kids, she will caution us, warning us to be at peace, as days will come when we will no longer have her. I remember, the times we will go wasteful on the meal her ailing body prepared, she will admonish us, on the virtues of prudence as we may not have her forever. Her silence became her default. Words began to fail her. The cankerworm was eating her up, slowly but surely.

So we were all journeyed to our hometown, in roads synonyms with death-traps and in a bus that can better be described as suicidal. On this journey, she was not with us. Word was that she had gone ahead of us for something urgent. Going to the village was a yearly ritual, but there was something unusual about this. It was too sudden, too unprepared, too hurried. The swiftness suggested trouble, but juvenile us, we couldn’t have imagined. And so we arrived. Men in black, gloomy, sullen and quiet. They welcomed us, with more precarious tenderness. Their voices were stammering. And I remember, how one of them saw me and in a despair that will rival that of judgment day, shook his head. ‘Strange old men and women,’ we thought. Perhaps, we thought too quickly. As we got in, we asked of our beauty, and as is always the case with lairs, we got a varying reply, that she travelled. We marveled! How does travelling for something urgent coincide with travelling back to Lagos? In trademark style, we bulldozed our way before these men of sorrow into the room, and there she was, beaten, fallen and defeated by the cold hands of death. We tried to cry, but we couldn’t find the tears. We tried to shout, but our voices failed us. We tried to wail, but anguish deserted us. We simply stirred at her body, wrapped in a cloth. And indeed, she was gone. We gazed at one another, and sudden maturity and realization dawn on us. This was it. We all knew that we had to chart our course in life alone. We had to fight this alone. Without her, it was us against the world.

It was September 16th. We have moved on, but we have not forgotten. Each time we remember, a part of us simply die. It was a callous departure; the type that words cannot aptly explain. And today, we wished she was around. After God, she is the first benefactor of everything we have become. The one most entitled. But alas, she cannot reap what she has sowed. But we are encouraged. Buoyed by the knowing that she sleeps well. She must have feared when she left 19 years ago on what will become of us. But today, she will be proud. Not because we have made all the riches in the world, but because we have made something with our lives. We have hoped against hope. We have survived 19 years of turmoil, of her absence. We have not broken before life’s storm. We are still standing, and we have become the proverbial stone that the builders rejected. Today, we have become the cynosure of the eyes that wished us doom. Today, under God, we have become something.

Sleep on, our queen. Certainly, we shall reconvene to depart no more. We will continue to remember you. In this journey, we will always cherish those moments, and keep living the future you always had in mind for us.
Ura na, ju afo, nyeju afo, amaka!

Monday, September 8, 2014

10 Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon

1. The average human life is relatively short.

We know deep down that life is short, and that death will happen to all of us eventually, and yet we are infinitely surprised when it happens to someone we know. It’s like walking up a flight of stairs with a distracted mind, and misjudging the final step. You expected there to be one more stair than there is, and so you find yourself off balance for a moment, before your mind shifts back to the present moment and how the world really is.

LIVE your life TODAY! Don’t ignore death, but don’t be afraid of it either. Be afraid of a life you never lived because you were too afraid to take action. Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside you while you’re still alive. Be bold. Be courageous. Be scared to death, and then take the next step anyway.

2. You will only ever live the life you create for yourself.

Your life is yours alone. Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you. They can walk with you, but not in your shoes. So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.

Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t. Be productive and patient. And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in. This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices. May your actions speak louder than your words. May your life preach louder than your lips. May your success be your noise in the end.

And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it. Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.

3. Being busy does NOT mean being productive.

Busyness isn’t a virtue, nor is it something to respect. Though we all have seasons of crazy schedules, very few of us have a legitimate need to be busy ALL the time. We simply don’t know how to live within our means, prioritize properly, and say no when we should.

Being busy rarely equates to productivity these days. Just take a quick look around. Busy people outnumber productive people by a wide margin. Busy people are rushing all over the place, and running late half of the time. They’re heading to work, conferences, meetings, social engagements, etc. They barely have enough free time for family get-togethers and they rarely get enough sleep. Yet, emails are shooting out of their smart phones like machine gun bullets, and their day planners are jammed to the brim with obligations. Their busy schedule gives them an elevated sense of importance. But it’s all an illusion. They’re like hamsters running on a wheel.

Though being busy can make us feel more alive than anything else for a moment, the sensation is not sustainable long term. We will inevitably, whether tomorrow or on our deathbed, come to wish that we spent less time in the buzz of busyness and more time actually living a purposeful life.

4. Some kind of failure always occurs before success.

Most mistakes are unavoidable. Learn to forgive yourself. It’s not a problem to make them. It’s only a problem if you never learn from them.

If you’re too afraid of failure, you can’t possibly do what needs to be done to be successful. The solution to this problem is making friends with failure. You want to know the difference between a master and a beginner? The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried. Behind every great piece of art is a thousand failed attempts to make it, but these attempts are simply never shown to us.

Bottom line: Just because it’s not happening now, doesn’t mean it never will. Sometimes things have to go very wrong before they can be right.

5. Thinking and doing are two very different things.

Success never comes to look for you while you wait around thinking about it.

You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do. Knowledge is basically useless without action. Good things don’t come to those who wait; they come to those who work on meaningful goals. Ask yourself what’s really important and then have the courage to build your life around your answer.

And remember, if you wait until you feel 100% ready to begin, you’ll likely be waiting the rest of your life.

6. You don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive.

Life gets much easier when you learn to accept all the apologies you never got. The key is to be thankful for every experience – positive or negative. It’s taking a step back and saying, “Thank you for the lesson.” It’s realizing that grudges from the past are a perfect waste of today’s happiness, and that holding one is like letting unwanted company live rent free in your head.

Forgiveness is a promise – one you want to keep. When you forgive someone you are making a promise not to hold the unchangeable past against your present self. It has nothing to do with freeing a criminal of his or her crime, and everything to do with freeing yourself of the burden of being an eternal victim.

7. Some people are simply the wrong match for you.

You will only ever be as great as the people you surround yourself with, so be brave enough to let go of those who keep bringing you down. You shouldn’t force connections with people who constantly make you feel less than amazing.

If someone makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure every time you’re with them, for whatever reason, they’re probably not close friend material. If they make you feel like you can’t be yourself, or if they make you “less than” in any way, don’t pursue a connection with them. If you feel emotionally drained after hanging out with them or get a small hit of anxiety when you are reminded of them, listen to your intuition. There are so many “right people” for you, who energize you and inspire you to be your best self. It makes no sense to force it with people who are the wrong match for you.

8. It’s not other people’s job to love you; it’s yours.

It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. So make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth, even if they don’t.

Today, let someone love you just the way you are – as flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you sometimes feel, and as incomplete as you think you are. Yes, let someone love you despite all of this, and let that someone be YOU. (Read Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It.)

9. What you own is not who YOU are.

Stuff really is just stuff, and it has absolutely no bearing on who you are as a person. Most of us can make do with much less than we think we need. That’s a valuable reminder, especially in a hugely consumer-driven culture that focuses more on material things than meaningful connections and experiences.

You have to create your own culture. Don’t watch TV, don’t read every fashion magazine, and don’t consume too much of the evening news. Find the strength to fill your time with meaningful experiences. The space and time you are occupying at this very moment is LIFE, and if you’re worrying about Kim Kardashian or Lebron James or some other famous face, then you are disempowered. You’re giving your life away to marketing and media trickery, which is created by big companies to ultimately motivate you to want to dress a certain way, look a certain way, and be a certain way. This is tragic, this kind of thinking. It’s all just Hollywood brainwashing. What is real is YOU and your friends and your family, your loves, your highs, your hopes, your plans, your fears, etc.

Too often we’re told that we’re not important, we’re just peripheral to what is. “Get a degree, get a job, get a car, get a house, and keep on getting.” And it’s sad, because someday you’ll wake up and realize you’ve been tricked. And all you’ll want then is to reclaim your mind by getting it out of the hands of the brainwashers who want to turn you into a drone that buys everything that isn’t needed to impress everyone that isn’t important.

10. Everything changes, every second.

Embrace change and realize it happens for a reason. It won’t always be obvious at first, but in the end it will be worth it.

What you have today may become what you had by tomorrow. You never know. Things change, often spontaneously. People and circumstances come and go. Life doesn’t stop for anybody. It moves rapidly and rushes from calm to chaos in a matter of seconds, and happens like this to people every day. It’s likely happening to someone nearby right now.

Sometimes the shortest split second in time changes the direction of our lives. A seemingly innocuous decision rattles our whole world like a meteorite striking Earth. Entire lives have been swiveled and flipped upside down, for better or worse, on the strength of an unpredictable event. And these events are always happening.

However good or bad a situation is now, it will change. That’s the one thing you can count on. So when life is good, enjoy it. Don’t go looking for something better every second. Happiness never comes to those who don’t appreciate what they have while they have it.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Why The Fuss About Nuhu Ribadu?

As news went viral that former ACN (Now APC) presidential candidate has dumped the so-called progressive party for the often declared sinister PDP, the national political space went agog. For many of his loyalists, it was a blue day murder, a rape of morals and a betrayal of the principles that they claim Nuhu Ribadu believe in. In his article titled ‘Nuhu Ribadu and the Rest of Us’, Dele Momodu laid bare the hurt that must be felt by his many supporters. He lamented ‘Politics have destroyed too many of our finest brands…a man of Nuhu’s caliber would now have to bow to gods with feet of clay or get hacked down to miniature size.’ Momodu’s epistle was one in a litany of commentaries that decried the decision of the former crime fighter and mourn at the new marriage, as if to say flirting was ever a new word in such marriage.

So much have been suggested as to what demons must have led Ribadu to dine with the party he has so associated with evil in the past. A school of reasoning is of the opinion that this might be a ploy in the grand scheme of the APC to infiltrate the PDP ranks, and wreck havoc. Their thinking is that if Ribadu succeeds in the PDP, it will be a launching pad for APC and the Northern elite to then bite the PDP in the long run that is with the assumption that Ribadu will then forsake the PDP to his first love. In the minds of those that hold this rational, no one is more skilled and poise to carry out this plot, than a man like Nuhu Ribadu. However, the other school of thought differs. For them, Ribadu is simply a fiercely ambitious man who will trample upon principles and break hearts to achieve his dream. With the luxury of relative youth on his side, this school of thought is convinced that this was an obvious story of a man seeking power by all means.

While there is some rational to the two schools of thought, for the political neutrals, Ribadu’s action was simply a great shame, for a man so highly referred as a beacon of principles and ideology. It is to this thought, I wonder. People make it sound like the APC which he left, is a party of saints and men of high principles. Sadly, this is far from the reality. It is worth mentioning that the seemingly moral standing and sentiments that makes the APC more appealing to the average Nigerian, is due mainly to the fact that the alternative, PDP, is a peerless evil. For those of us that have not been too gullible in the face of these recent sub-plots to 2015, we can surely see that the APC clearly thrives on PDP’s failure, without it being able to clearly define what it has to offer Nigerians. If PDP is renowned for electoral malpractices and lack of internal democratic processes, the APC is no exception. The same national decay in the PDP is prevalent in the APC, albeit, at different variance and forms. Thus, all those that claim that Ribadu betrayed principles will want to check again. What principles? Our political parties are not built on principles and ideologies. Moreover, it is a season of political prostitution, retargeting, political scheming and positioning for maximum impact. Perhaps, Ribadu was only doing this. He might be ambitious, but when did that become a bad thing? It is sickening that when people like Rotimi Amaechi are rumored to abhor presidential ambition, we treat them with disdain and contempt, as if this is an acrimonious ambition to have. Perhaps, our basterdized rational is ‘Why should he want to be president, when his brother is there already. It is betrayal.’ Little wonder our politics is still at its teething and elementary level.

However, the trouble for Ribadu is what might be, in his new political voyage. We know that his first port of call will be to win the PDP primaries to earn the right to fly the party’s flag in the upcoming governorship election in Adamawa state. Such battle will never be easy. His name might be the most recognizable among the other candidates with same goal, yet, he needs to still fight some vehement detractors within and outside the party. Many believe and rightly so, that the PDP is wise (If wisdom is the word) enough to know the underlying motives if ever he carries some, of Ribadu’s latest political move. For some of the PDP stalwarts, Ribadu is a man to be handled with caution. His antecedents suggest that he might be too hot to handle. They believe that trust is not a word to be associated with him. In sum, he might have an agenda. And even if he does, who doesn’t?

Perhaps, the greater danger for Ribadu is this: What if his PDP sojourn ends in doom. As one commentator remarked: ‘While it is always easy to move from the right to the left, it is not usually simple to move from left to right.’ What if this adventure ends up being a charade? The editor-in-chief of ThisDay newspaper, Simon Kolawole, in concluding his beautiful piece titled, ‘The trouble with Nuhu Ribadu’ wrote ‘A humorist once said this about relationships “Love is ideal, marriage is real. Any confusion of the two shall never go unpunished” That is the trouble. If the PDP adventure turns out well for Ribadu, he could be an Oshiomhole. If not, the ridicule will be unbearable.’

While I largely agree with the foregoing, somewhere in my left hand column, I think that irrespective of the ridicule that might be if this doesn’t go well for Nuhu Ribadu, he will simply move on. I have never known dignity and reverence to be associated with our politicians, and I somehow think this is a win-win, at least in Ribadu’s mind.

Monday, August 25, 2014

7 Things You Have To Stop Expecting From Others

1. Stop expecting them to agree with you.

You deserve to be happy. You deserve to live a life you are excited about. Don’t let the opinions of others make you forget that. You are not in this world to live up to the expectations of others, nor should you feel that others are here to live up to yours. In fact, the more you approve of your own decisions in life, the less approval you need from everyone else.

You have to dare to be yourself, and follow you own intuition, however frightening or strange that may feel or prove to be. Don’t compare yourself to others. Don’t get discouraged by their progress or success. Follow your own path and stay true to your own purpose. Success is ultimately about spending your life happily in your own way.

2. Stop expecting them to respect you more than you respect yourself.

True strength is in the soul and spirit, not in muscles. It’s about having faith and trust in who you are, and a willingness to act upon it. Decide this minute to never again beg anyone for the love, respect, and attention that you should be showing yourself.

Today, look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you, and from now on I’m going to act like it.” It’s important to be nice to others, but it’s even more important to be nice to yourself. When you practice self-love and self-respect, you give yourself the opportunity to be happy. When you are happy, you become a better friend, a better family member, and a better YOU.

3. Stop expecting (and needing) them to like you.

You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another. Don’t ever forget your worth. Spend time with those who value you. No matter how good you are to people, there will always be one negative person who criticizes you. Smile, ignore them, and carry on.

In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, the toughest battle you’ll ever have to fight is the battle to be yourself. And as you’re fighting back, not everyone will like you. Sometimes people will call you names because you’re “different.” But that’s perfectly OK. The things that make you different are the things that make YOU, and the right people will love you for it.

4. Stop expecting them to fit your idea of who they are.

Loving and respecting others means allowing them to be themselves. When you stop expecting people to be a certain way, you can begin to appreciate THEM.

Pay close attention, and respect people for who they are and not for who you want them to be. We don’t know most people half as well as we believe we do; and truly knowing someone is a big part of what makes them wonderful. Every human being is remarkable and beautiful; it just takes a patient set of eyes to see it. The more you get to know someone, the more you will be able to look beyond their appearance and see the beauty of who they truly are.

5. Stop expecting them to know what you’re thinking.

People can’t read minds. They will never know how you feel unless you tell them. Your boss? Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet. That cute guy you haven’t talked to because you’re too shy? Yeah, you guessed it, he hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given him the time of day either.

In life, you have to communicate with others regularly and effectively. And often, you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words. You have to tell people what you’re thinking. It’s as simple as that.

6. Stop expecting them to suddenly change.

If there’s a specific behavior someone you care about has that you’re hoping disappears over time, it probably won’t. If you really need them to change something, be honest and put all the cards on the table so this person knows how you feel and what you need them to do.

For the most part though, you can’t change people and you shouldn’t try. Either you accept who they are or you choose to live without them. It’s might sound harsh, but it’s not. When you try to change people, they often remain the same, but when you don’t try to change them – when you support them and allow them the freedom to be as they are – they gradually change in the most beautiful way. Because what really changes is the way you see them.

7. Stop expecting them to be “OK.”

Be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle, just like you. Every smile or sign of strength hides an inner struggle every bit as complex and extraordinary as your own.

Remember that embracing your light doesn’t mean ignoring your dark. We are measured by our ability to overcome adversities and insecurities, not avoid them. Supporting, sharing and making contributions to other people is one of life’s greatest rewards. This happens naturally if we allow it, because we all share very similar dreams, needs and struggles. Once we accept this, the world then is a place where we can look someone else in the eye and say, “I’m lost and struggling at the moment,” and they can nod and say, “Me too,” and that’s OK. Because not being “OK” all the time, is perfectly OK, in as much as you don't stay there.