Monday, May 26, 2014

How Will History Remember Jonathan?

Amidst the cloud of uncertainties, the carnage of terror and the myriad of plagues currently confronting our nation, one will hardly envy or inordinately covet the position to be the number one man in the country. That Mr. President has not done enough in the war against the insurgents is one subject in the overall discourse. However, whether he would have taken us to the Promised Land without the heavy distraction of Boko Haram, is entirely another bone of contention. Whichever side of the divide you decide to pitch your tent, it goes without saying that the incessant scourge of Boko Haram has been the greatest misery bestowed on our nation since the 30 months Nigeria Civil War. However, while we can say that the modus operandi of the insurgents is alien to us, we can’t deny that this was a trouble brewing for the past two decades. That the monster has eventually snowballed into this evil is a sad reality. When you have millions of unemployed youths for decades, perennial inept leaders, a misnomer political class and a vicious culture of ‘dog eat dog’ for years, this is what you get: An untamed monster.

It must be a hard time being President Goodluck Jonathan at the moment. The lucky man of Nigerian politics has seen days he might not have anticipated. His itineraries have become clogged with writing statements of condemnations. If it is not a statement at the wake of a bomb blast, it is a press release on the NIS recruitment exercise or a marathon meeting with Security Chiefs. Will he dare to still contest for president in 2015? Believe it or not, this answer might not entirely be dependent on him. There are power mongers in Aso Rock who care less on whether we all eat ourselves, as long as their daily bread does not seize coming from the national coffers. Late president Umaru Yar’Adua and Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba state, are vivid examples of men who despite their positions, were puns in the hands of the power mongers. However, the only difference between the pair and President Jonathan is that while the former were sick, the later is hale and hearty. It will require some confidence for President Jonathan to seek another term in office. However, over the last few days, his statements and body language suggest he might be coming to the weighty decision that the trouble might afterall not be worth it. If Jonathan resigns today, or steps down in 2015, or is disposed from office soon, how will posterity etch his name in the annals of our history? Some will say, and not without reason that if president Jonathan steps down, it will mean that he gave up at the peak of the carnage; that he succumbed to the vicious opposition, the harsh realities and to men who Reuben Abati once described as ‘Shoe-Givers.’ However, if Jonathan decides to step down in 2015, will it be a resignation of defeat? An admittance that he has reached a dead end? A confirmation of cluelessness? Or a brave step to let another man, with fresh eyes and a different gusto, steer the wheel? These are questions that will continue to polarize opinions.

Having said that, let us not gloss over the fact that President Jonathan still has in his hands, at least one year to make history. Franklin Roosevelt seized the moment after the dreadful World War 2, to become one of America’s greatest leaders. Despite the rigours of the times, he was still able to mastermind the New Deal that navigated America out of the Great Depression. Winston Churchill is forever remembered in UK’s folklore for the immense role he played in steering Britain through the Second World War. Fidel Castro equally became a Cuban legend for the tough choices and decisive steps he took in the Cuban revolution of 1959. President Goodluck Jonathan might not have anticipated such fate while he was opting to be president, but these are telling moments that defines leadership. He might not have created the monster called Boko Haram, but he must realize he was elected for such times like this for a purpose. He can still be a hero. However, the choice is entirely his. Tough choices, hard decisions, a break from the norm, unconventional steps, concerted efforts, honest and sincere actions are steps that will easily put the name of President Goodluck Jonathan upon the sands of time. Thus, it is left to Goodluck Jonathan to decide how Goodluck Jonathan will be remembered!

Monday, May 19, 2014

20 Tiny Thoughts Crushing Your Biggest Dreams!

1.“My dreams and goals can wait.” – Live a life you are proud of. In the end, your greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things that don’t matter to you. We never tell ourselves that we will never live our dreams. Instead we just keep talking about how we will start living our dreams tomorrow.
2.“I don’t have time.” – Bottom line: “I don’t have time,” is really just another, perhaps politer, or perhaps naive, way of saying, “It’s not that important to me.”
3.“I’m not talented enough.” – Learn the value of work and practice – just the repeated concerted effort to get better at things. Forget the notions of talent and genius. I can hear you thinking, “Oh, these other people, they just have something that I don’t have.” When really, they are just people who work and practice more. Understand this. Work and practice are the keys to anything you want to do. If you want to play the guitar – anybody can learn to play the guitar – you can be good at it. Maybe you won’t be Jimi Hendrix, but you could be really good. You can be good enough to write good songs or make music with others or whatever. There’s no such thing as not having enough talent to get to that level. Because persistence is talent, really. Just sticking with it. Talent is not stopping.
4. “This problem is too big to solve.” – The problem is not the problem. The problem is the incredible amount of over-thinking you’re doing with the problem. Let it go and be free.
5.“I’m not ready yet.” – The truth is nobody ever feels ready when an opportunity arises. Because great opportunities in life force us to grow emotionally and intellectually. They force us to stretch ourselves and our comfort zones, which means we won’t feel comfortable at first. And when we don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel ready. But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes the course of our lives depends on what we do or don’t do in a few seconds, a heartbeat, when we either seize an opportunity, or just miss it. Miss the moment and you may never get a chance again. So in case you never get a second chance, don’t be afraid! And what if you do get a second chance? Take it! It’s as simple as that.
6.“I knew I wasn’t good enough.” – Your struggle is part of your story. Being rejected from something you want often means you are being directed toward something you need.
7.“I’m a failure.” – Not trying is failing. Everything else is just practice. It’s OK if you mess up, that’s how you get wiser. Give yourself a break. And don’t give up! Good things take time, and you’re getting there, one step at a time.
8.“I just want everything to be easy.” – In every adversity there is a message. Struggles and crises are nature’s way of forcing change – breaking down old structures, shaking loose negative habits so that something new and better can grow in their place. So remember, just because you are struggling does NOT mean you are failing. Every great success requires some kind of struggle to get there.
9. “They have it so much easier than me.” – No one has it easier than you. Every one of us is fighting our own private battles. The strongest among us aren’t those who show strength we can see, but those who have won incredible inner battles we know nothing about.
10.“I have nothing to be thankful for.” – Choose positivity today. If you’re struggling to be thankful for what you have, think for a moment and be thankful for what you’ve escaped. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter if your glass is half empty or half full. Be thankful that you have a glass and that there’s something in it.

11.“I have too many flaws.” – Wrong. When you’re comfortable in your skin, even your flaws look beautiful. And once you’ve embraced your flaws, no one can use them against you.
12.“They don’t have what it takes either.” – We have enough critics. Be an encourager. One sincere word of encouragement after failure is worth more than a day of praise after success. So start cheering for the people around you. Not only will they feel empowered, but also what goes around comes around, and sooner or later the people you’re cheering for will start cheering for you too.
13.“I don’t have time for anyone else.” – One of the most spiritual things you can do is embrace your humanity. Connect with those around you today. Say, “I love you,” “I apologize,” “I appreciate you,” “I’m proud of you”… whatever you’re feeling. Send random emails and texts, write a friendly note, embrace your truth and share it. Create a smile today for someone else… and give plenty of hugs. This connectedness will strengthen you.
14.“My closest relationships can wait.” – If you never stop to enjoy who’s beside you, someday you’ll realize you’ve wasted all your years looking for something, a sort of trophy you think you’ll get only if you really, really do enough to deserve it. But then one day you’ll wake up and not want it anymore; you’ll want something else, something warm and sheltering, something you can turn to, regardless of what you do, regardless of who you have ultimately become. Something that will just be there, always, like tomorrow’s morning sky. And the only way to create this “something” is to nurture the amazing people in your life.
15.“I can break my promise just this once.” – Be committed. Commitment means staying loyal and keeping your promises, long after the time and mood you made the promises in has left you. Doing so is vital to relationships and long-term success in every imaginable walk of life.
16. “One little lie couldn’t hurt.” – Lying is a vicious disease. It spreads quickly. And liars are the only people who expect acknowledgment for being honest. Don’t be one of them. Don’t lie. Do the right thing, even if you are the only one who knows.
17.“They care about me, but they are just too busy to keep their promises.” – It may be hard to accept, but when you are important to another person, they will always find a way to make time for you – no excuses, no lies, and no broken promises.
18. “I refuse to cry.” – We need never be ashamed of our tears. Do not apologize or feel ashamed for crying. Without this emotion, you are only a robot. Crying is one of the highest devotional songs. The ones who know crying, know what it means to be spiritual. If you can cry with a pure heart – through forgiveness and acceptance – nothing else compares to such a prayer. Crying includes all the core principles of humanity.
19. “I refuse to forgive.” – Forgive the past. It’s over. Learn from it and let go. People and situations are constantly growing and changing. Do not cling to a limited, disconnected, negative image of a person or time in the past. See your life now. Your relationships and circumstances are always alive and changing.
20. “My heart has been broken too many times to take new risks.” – Sometimes it takes a heartbreak or a major letdown to shake us awake and help us see we are worth so much more than we are settling for. Will letting go be hard? Sure, but not nearly as hard as holding on to something that wasn’t real. You have to put your heart out there. Because the emotions that can break your heart are oftentimes the very ones that heal it and help it grow.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Nigeria: How Did We Get Here?

The litanies of ill fated news that have oozed out of our shores in the past few months have finally caught the eyes of the entire world. The global outcries currently witnessed with the Chibok misdeamour have been absolutely astonishing. Suddenly, we have become the Iraq of Africa, who can no longer help themselves.

It beggars belief how we have turned into a nation were school children are massacred in the middle of the night. How do we explain that twice in a month, there was a bomb blast at the Nation’s capital, without a trace of the perpetrators? Yet, as our leaders, championed by the ‘Okonjonomics’ of Africa will make us believe: We are the largest economy in Africa. Let no one bamboozle us with figures, the everyday realities tells the true story. It is not growth when a vast majority of the youths are without jobs. It is not growth when millions of Nigerians live in untold penury. It is not growth when we are still grappling with basic social and economic infrastructure. While it is true that Aliko Dangote has emerged as a glitter of light in a perilous dark nation, his tale should not be used to gloss over the stark reality that we have lost both the economic and political plot as a nation.

Save for the senseless 30 months Civil War we fought as a people, one can unequivocally say that it has never been this bad for us as a nation. What began as a group of moderate radicals under Mohammed Yusuf has snowballed into an inferno that even the initiators can no longer salvage. The collective grief that the Boko Haram scourge has enmeshed us all in is not only regrettable, but sickening. While it is true that terrorism is a global plague, the frequency and sheer flourish that plague is currently having in our country leaves one dumbstruck. It is certainly not an illusion. We have descended to atrocious levels.

Some have erroneously blamed our current imbroglio on religion; others have faulted our dire leadership, while a few have thrown stones to other factors. However, while the foregoing might have an iota of truth in them, it is perhaps sickening that we are a nation that plays politics with everything. It is saddening that our politicians and their gullible followers never know where to draw the line in their inordinate political pursuits. I have always been of the opinion that we should never play politics with everything. Alas, ours is a chronicle of a dog eat dog. The collective good is often been sacrificed for selfish personal greed.
It says a lot that while Nigeria was playing host to the World Economic Forum, the attention of the global world remained on the Chibok scenario. Slowly but surely, we are getting the kind of media attention that is not only skewed, but undesired. We are suddenly being portrayed like another Sudan, or for want of a crisper analogy, Afghanistan. How we have never learned that Western support often comes with its own price, is beyond me.

It is salient that the movement to salvage our hapless and innocent girls continues. However, it is high time we take a moment and ponder on how we have suddenly degenerated to a savage society, a beehive of miseries. Until we begin to find sincere answers to this question, we will continue to meddle in the dark. We can pass the blame to any one we like, but it is often said that a nation gets what it’s deserve. My penultimate conclusion is this: We put ourselves in this current menace, and until we discover that only concerted, sincere and dogged efforts by all of us can salvage us, we will continue to wallow in the mess.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

18 Reasons to Give Up Trying to Live Up to Everyone’s Expectations

1.First and foremost, you are not obligated to live up to everyone’s expectations. – Life is under no obligation to give us what we expect. And you are under no obligation to give others what they expect. Period. Do things because you care. Do things because you know it’s right. Don’t just do things because everyone else expects you to.

2.Expectations just get in the way of great life experiences. – Don’t let expectations (especially other people’s expectations) get in your way. Truth be told, the unexpected is often better than the expected. Our entire lives can be described in one sentence: It didn’t go as planned, and that’s OK.

3.You don’t need others to hold your hand every step of the way. – Be willing to go alone sometimes. You don’t need permission to grow. Not everyone who started with you will finish with you. And that’s OK.

4.You get to learn from your mistakes without unnecessary third-party pressure. – You’re going to mess up sometimes. But the good news is, as long as you’re listening to your intuition, you get to decide how you’re going to mess up. Which means you get to decide how you’re going to live and what you’re going to learn along the way.

5.No one knows you better than you know yourself. – How you seem to others and how you actually are, rarely match. Even if they get the basic gist of who you are, they’re still missing a big piece of the puzzle. What other people think of you will rarely contain the whole truth, which is fine. So if someone forms an opinion of you based on superficialities, then it’s up to them, not you, to reform those opinions. Leave it to them to worry about. You know who you are and what’s best for you.

6.Only YOU can define what’s possible for you and your life. – Some people will kill you over time if you let them; and how they’ll kill you is with tiny, harmless phrases like, “Be realistic.” When this happens, close your ears and listen to your inner voice instead. Remember that real success in life isn’t what others see, but how you feel. It’s living your truth and doing what makes you feel alive.

7.In the end, happiness is simply living your life your own way. – There comes a time when your back is up against the wall and you realize all you can do is say, “Screw it, I’m doing things my way!” That’s the earth-shattering moment you stop planning for someone else’s expectations, and start making progress on what’s truly important to YOU. That’s when you begin to live life according to your own morals and values. That’s when you can finally be at your happiest.

8.You can best serve yourself and others by giving yourself what YOU need. – Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive, and pursue it at all costs. That’s what this world needs – people like YOU who come alive. Which means your needs matter; so don’t ignore them. Sometimes you have to do what’s best for you and your life, not just what seems best on the surface for everyone else.

9.Rather than being confined by opinions, you get to create your own reality. – If J.K. Rowling stopped after being rejected by multiple publishers for years, there would be no Harry Potter. If Howard Schultz gave up after being turned down by banks 200+ times, there would be no Starbucks. If Walt Disney quit too soon after his theme park concept was trashed by 300+ investors, there would be no Disney World. One thing is for sure: If you give too much power to the opinions of others, you will become their prisoner. So never let someone’s opinion define your reality.

10.You allow yourself the freedom to speak your truth. – Yes, speak your truth even if your voice shakes. Be cordial and reasonable, of course, but don’t tread carefully on every word you say. Push your concerns of what others might think aside. Let the consequences of doing so unravel naturally. What you’ll find is that most of the time no one will be offended or irritated at all. And if they do get upset, it’s likely only because you’ve started behaving in a way that makes them feel they have less power over you. Think about it. Why lie?

11.The wrong people won’t be able to tamper with your standards. – Remember, failed relationships aren’t designed to encourage you to lower your standards, but to raise them and keep them up. So while you’re out there making decisions instead of excuses, learning new things, and getting closer and closer to your goals, know that there are others out there, like me, who admire your efforts and are striving for greatness too. Bottom line: Don’t let the wrong people bring you down.

12.The haters will have less of an effect on you. – Don’t worry about the haters, ever. Don’t let them get to you. They’re just upset because the truth you know contradicts the lies they live. Period.

13.Your individuality can be openly celebrated and enjoyed. - Constantly seeking approval means you’re perpetually worried that others are forming negative judgments of you. This steals the fun, ingenuity, and spontaneity from your life. Flip the switch on this habit. If you’re lucky enough to have something that makes you different from everybody else, don’t be ashamed and don’t change. Uniqueness is priceless. In this crazy world that’s trying to make you like everyone else, find the courage to keep being your remarkable self. It takes a lot of courage to stand alone, but it’s worth it. Being unapologetically YOU is worth it!

14.There will be less drama to deal with. – Forgo the drama. Ignore the negativity around you. Just be sincere and kind, and promote what you love instead of bashing what you hate.

15.You will have more time to socialize with the right people. – When you’re feeling insecure, you typically don’t notice the hundreds of people around you who accept you just the way you are. All you notice are the few who don’t. 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 negative minds out there who criticize you. Smile, ignore them, and carry on. You might feel unwanted and unworthy to one person, but you are priceless to another.

16.Great relationships are not governed by one-sided expectations. – When it comes to your relationships, don’t keep everything you need to say to yourself. Let it out. Express your point of view. Communication is not just an important part of a relationship, communication is the relationship. Communicate even when it’s uncomfortable and uneasy. One of the best ways to heal and grow a relationship is simply getting everything on the inside out in the open. Compromise. That’s how good people make great things happen together.

17.You get to be YOUR best, without competing with everyone else. – When you are happy to simply do your best and not compare or compete, everyone worth your while will respect you. Here’s some healthy food for thought: Always… Be strong, but not rude. Be kind, but not weak. Be humble, but not timid. Be proud, but not arrogant. Be bold, but not a bully.

18.You are not obligated to anyone more so than you are to yourself. – Your relationship with yourself is the closest and most important relationship you will ever have. So don’t forget about YOU out there, and don’t be too hard on yourself either. There are plenty of others willing to do both for you. And remember, if you don’t take good care of yourself, then you can’t take good care of others either; which is why taking care of yourself is the best selfish thing you can do.