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.