Sunday, January 24, 2016

Short Story: Smidgen of Hope

It was a smidgen of hope. The type that flickers with false wonder and melts away like the wax of a ferociously burning candle. Nkem thought he had seen the sign when he first met Amara. It was a meeting scripted by the sleight of hand. It was something more mysterious than love at first sight. It almost felt like he was hypnotized the first time he met Amara, the type you call sweet obsession. But even life plays pranks with our emotions and seamlessly toils with our feelings.

Amara had just walked out on him after what can only pass as a proper dress down of his life. She was not one to suffer fools gladly and after seeing the signs in his inability to keep up with paying monthly for her inexpensive hair cream, she proactively heeded to the red lights and halted the relationship. Amara had the kind of demeanor that endears. Her teasing eyes and meandering fingers will mistake her as a flirt, but she held a powerful spell in the intricacies of her soul. She had a golden heart, the type that hates to see people in pain, massive or mild. The type that will give up its last 500 naira, and rather starve all day than see a friend suffer. However, times have changed, and Amara, now conditioned by the crassness of society and the sullen economic sufferings that came with it, had now grown thick skin and fresh eyes. A rich man has now become the new objective.

As the reality of his new life settled into his heart, Nkem cursed everything his mind could conjure. He blamed the government of the day for making him economically impotent. He cursed his parents for giving him one hell of a path to follow. He blamed nature for planting him in this herculean dungeon called Nigeria. Nkem was lost in the leech of his thoughts. He was browbeaten by all that was happening around him. As he sat on the ailing tree just outside his parents’ house, he contemplated the future with Amara that was now an illusion. However, he allowed himself the euphoria to reel in this imagination. For if he could not get Amara in the real world, at least she will not deny him the pleasure of making out with her in his mind. He was on the verge of reaching climax when Emeka, his younger brother called 'Uncle Nkem, daddy is calling you.'

Sunday, January 17, 2016

20 Quotes to Help You Follow Your Passion

1. The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.
2. I have found that one thing that helps me to live peacefully and mindfully on this glorious planet is successful engagement in meaningful work, keeping my mind where my hands are.
3. Your work is to discover your work and then, with all your heart, to give yourself to it.
4. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write. This concept can be universally applied.
5. Everything worthwhile in life is work. But if it puts a smile on your face, it doesn’t feel like work.
6. Hard work becomes easy when your work becomes your play. Never underestimate the value of loving what you do. Read The 4-Hour Workweek.
7. Continue to work hard at what you love no matter what the odds are. Eventually, someone will praise and appreciate what you do.
8. It’s not how much money you make that ultimately makes you happy. It’s whether or not your work fulfills you.
9. The best feeling in the world is getting paid to do what you love.
10. Don’t be normal. Sadly, normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work and driving through traffic in a car that you financed, in order to get to the job that you don’t really like, but that you need, to pay for the clothes and the car, and the house you leave vacant all day so you can afford to live in it.
11. Often people attempt to live their lives backwards. They try to acquire more things, or more money, in order to do more of what they want, so they will be happier. The way it actually works is the reverse. You must first be who you really are, then do what you need to do, in order to have what you want.
12. The secret to success regardless of your passion is no secret. Just work hard and add real value to people’s lives.
13. When we focus on leading a passionate, meaningful life, we are also inadvertently creating a spectacular ripple effect of inspiration in the lives around us. When one person follows a dream, tries something new, or takes a daring leap, everyone nearby feels their passionate energy; and before too long, they are making their own daring leaps while simultaneously inspiring others.
14. Be the kind of person others admire, can count on, trust, and enjoy spending time with. After you have developed that reputation, people will start to ask you what you do, and you will be amazed at how many people will want to work with you on the things that matter to you.
15. Never make up excuses, because excuses are lies confirming that you are not being true to your heart. And don’t look for shortcuts in life either, because if you do you are only fooling yourself. Simplify your life, work toward your goals, show respect and be true to yourself and others. There is only one ‘you;’ reinvent the very best of ‘you’ every chance you get.
16. There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living
17. Purpose is the reason you journey. Passion is the fire that lights your way.
18. Only passions, great passions, can elevate the soul to great things.
19. If you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.
20. Neglecting passion blocks creative flow. When you’re passionate, you’re energized. Likewise, when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive. Energy is everything when it comes to being successful.


Sunday, January 10, 2016

20 Ways to Get to End of the Year Without Regrets

1. Be right where you are. Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like right now and appreciating it for everything that it is.
2. Consider how incredibly fortunate you are to be here in this moment. Then get going and make the very best out of that good fortune.
3. Tell yourself, “I am ENOUGH!” anytime you begin to feel like you aren’t. What you do in life ultimately comes out of who you believe you are. In other words, it’s not what you say to everyone else that determines your life; it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the greatest power.
4. Whatever you do, do it with love and passion, with full attention and awareness. Be present and put all you have into even the smallest of acts.
5. Avoid sinking into the comfortable mediocrity of doing nothing (which is always the easiest option). Challenge yourself to live with the passion and richness you deserve.
6. Say “no” to good things when you must, so you are able to say “yes” to important things. We can’t do it all. Be mindful and choose wisely.
7. Again and again, remind yourself why. With a strong enough reason why, you’ll be able to do what’s required at any time and in any circumstance.
8. Doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith. How disappointed would you be to get to the end of your life and discover you were made to enjoy life while all you did was doubt it?
9. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and start thinking about what could go right. Remember, even the wrong choices can bring us to the right places. When you fail to get what you want, consider that it just might be a blessing in disguise.
10. Stop focusing on how inconvenient life is, and start focusing on something positive you can do in response.
11. Give yourself some extra space. Take a deep breath when you need one. Sometimes you need to distance yourself for a while to see things clearly again. Don’t make a permanent decision for your temporary emotion.
12. Be mindful. Stress comes from the way you react, not the way life is. Adjust your attitude and the stress is gone. You control the way you look at life. Right this moment, your thoughts are setting the direction for your day. Choose thoughts that lead to the day you most desire to live today.
13. Let things be less than perfect. Do not dwell so much on creating your perfect life that you forget to live a great one.
14. As much as feasibly possible, enjoy yourself every step of the way. It’s not selfish to enjoy life. What’s selfish is to insist on being negative despite all the positive possibilities available to you.
15. Set an example. Treat everyone with kindness and respect, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are. In other words, don’t be lazy and make judgments about people. Be kind. Ask about their stories. Listen. Be humble. Be open. Be teachable. Be a good neighbor.
16. Pay attention to people’s actions. People may not always tell you how they feel about you, but they will always show you.
17. Spend a lot more time with those who make you smile and a lot less time with those who you feel pressured to impress.
18. Walk away from drama gracefully. Wherever there’s lots of drama, there’s usually lots of lying and manipulation.
19. Simplify wherever and whenever possible. Clear the clutter in your physical and mental space. Instead of figuring out how to make ends meet, work on having fewer ends.
20. If all else fails, the best advice I’ve found is still just to “sleep on it.” Everything changes in the morning.


Sunday, January 3, 2016

Take Ownership Of Your Year

As is customary, a new year is ushered in with renewed zeal and uncommon enthusiasm. For many, an opportunity of a new beginning, for some, a chance to consolidate on the feats of the preceding year. However, in the final analysis and as far as day and night theory go, there is really no difference between December 31st and January 1st. The only smidgen is in what the calendar suggest. A new year.

Whatever your propositions for the new year is, there is a need to start early. Life has dealt to everyman equal measure of time and what each man does with his is entirely his prerogative. What might not be entirely up to him is the consequence of his actions. Starting early means turning those earmarked plans and resolutions you have written down to granular every day to-do list. in addition, there is the need to also learn from the past. It is a cliché but one laden with truth, that what got you here might not take you to the next level. Look at the past, review the past three years, seek a pattern of actions you have been taking that have not yielded desired result and alter the dynamics. Try something new. Realise that part of trying something new might be throwing caution to the wind and drowning those familiar voices of conservatism. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You have to buy the ticket to win the lottery. This is what it means to take ownership of your life.

Something you must remind yourself upon the dawn of everyday is that your life is slowly but surely ebbing away and you have to make it count. You only live once. This is a call to review your habits, friends, network, dreams and ask yourself if you are settling for less or giving this life a big wag. More than ever before, it is a time of inquisition. You must tell yourself the home truth and be sincere enough to make a call. When all is said and done, it's your life. Minutes quickly become hours, hours into days and days into weeks. Weeks metamorphosis to months and before you can say Jack Robinson, you have a year. It is quicker than you think and it is with this sense of urgency that you have to chase your dreams like never before.

And then, there will be the inevitable. Brace yourself for it. No matter how you painstakingly orchestrate your year on paper, life will happen. There will be blockers on the way. People will throw trash at you, doors will slam closed before your face, some of your plans will crumble like a pack of cards, there are nights you will wonder if all the hustle is worth it. When those moments come, remember why you started. Remember your dream. Let perseverance be your engine and hope your fuel. Find strength from the prospect of your goal. Find strength from friends who have walked same path and survived. Find strength from God. Make no mistakes about it, it is not going to easy. If it was, there will be no struggles in life. In the words of Hark Markham, “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Happy New Year!