Monday, July 25, 2016

16 Quotes that Show Us Life from a Different Perspective

1. Happiness escapes from those who refuse to see the good in what they have. When life gives you every reason to be negative, think positive. Let go of what you think your life is supposed to be like right now and sincerely appreciate it for everything that it is.

2. The richest person isn’t the one who has the most, but the one who needs the least. Wealth is a mindset. Want less and appreciate more today. Be thankful for your life. For your health, your family, your friends, and your home. Many people don’t have these things.

3. It takes courage to grow and become who you really are. Don’t fear change. You may lose something good, but you may also gain something great.

4. Most of your fears are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality. You’ll see this for yourself as soon as you face them.

5. If you’re lucky enough to have two good options, always go with the one that scares you the most, because that’s the one that is going to help you grow.

6. Don’t stress about the closed doors behind you. New doors are opening every moment and you will see them if you keep stepping forward. And as you’re stepping, also keep in mind that we often waste too much of today by worrying about tomorrow. Just be present. Tomorrow will reveal itself exactly as it should.

7. Every difficult situation can be an excuse for poor performance or an opportunity for excellence, depending on the perspective you choose.

8. Even when it’s tough, wear a smile anyway. Smiling doesn’t always mean you are happy, sometimes it simply means you are strong. And YOU ARE.

9. Growth is painful. Change is painful. But in the end, nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you do not belong. It’s always better to be exhausted from meaningful work than to be tired of doing nothing.

10. Appreciate the gift of being able to work hard for what you want most. And remember that nothing is really “work” unless you tell yourself that you would rather be doing something else.

11. Do what you have to do, but leave space too. Be flexible. Don’t overbook your life with rigid plans. Sometimes great moments happen unplanned and big regrets happen by not reaching exactly what was planned.

12. Instead of getting angry over the words of others, choose to listen, be mindful, and grow stronger one way or another, because of them.

13. Life doesn’t always give you the people you want, it gives you the people you need… to learn, to grow, and to fall in love.

14. The strongest among us aren’t those who show strength you can see, but those who have won incredible inner battles you know nothing about. So be kind. You can’t always see people’s pain, but they can always feel your kindness. Being kind to people is a peaceful way to live, and a beautiful legacy to leave behind.

15. Three things ultimately define you: Your patience when you have nothing, your attitude when you have everything, and who you help whenever you are able.

16. Be humble. Be teachable. The world is bigger than your view of the world. There’s always room for a new idea, a new step, a new perspective… a new beginning.


Monday, July 18, 2016

The U.S and the Black Man’s Albatross

As the dust begins to settle over the brouhaha that has engulfed the United States in recent weeks, questions remain unanswered, wounds stay unhealed and there is a sad taste that remains in the mouth suggesting that things might remain the same. The episodes in Louisiana, Minnesota and Dallas has gotten sufficient airtime already that to rehash it here will be attempting a broken record. However, in the midst of the plethora of rhetorics, it is sacrosanct to unearth the real issues.

America as a nation has its history enmeshed in a fight for freedom. When Christopher Columbus stumbled upon what was then called the new world it became a haven for persecuted Europeans and maligned people of different colours. It was this need to create a new world that birthed the American revolution of 1776-1783, with George Washington emerging as it first president. The revolution followed a civil war between 1861-1865 under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln. It was a battle to abolish slavery in the Union; a system that had the blacks at the receiving end of an unequal society. Months of unrest culminated in relative peace. History holds too many instances of Black oppression in America. The resistance against this oppression has come at a price for many but have also made heroes such as Rosa Parks in December 1955 when she refused to give up her seat to a white man in the Montgomery bus, and Martin Luther King in August 1963, when he gave his famous ‘I have a dream’ speech.

Many have asked how the United States with its chequered history is still grappling with the subject of race. The events of the past few weeks have made a nonsense of the optimists believe that a black man at the white house has put paid to the issue of race. Black oppression remains common place in the United States and continue to be an everyday experience for many. Except when the cameras are present, there are lots of untold stories of inequality in a nation that ironically was built upon the very tenant of equality. Years after the abolition of slavery in America, the menace have taken on a new form and the division remains. The killings of black Americans, Alton Sterling and Philando Castile by police officers sparked off what appears to be a reprisal action by Micah Johnson who killed five white Dallas police officers. The aftermath of these vents have been a renewal of racial tensions with many around the world wondering how Americans are still in the doldrums of racial acrimony.

The truth is that race in American never quite died with the Civil war or the ascension of Barack Obama as president. It took on a new form and nomenclature and as far as the subject goes, the issues remain prevalent. Barack Obama has been criticized by a section of the white population in the wake of his speech at the Dallas Memorial. Their gross was that he turned a memorial in honour of the five slain police officers into a litany on race. This complain is the very bedrock of the issue. A vast majority of Americans don’t like to talk about the race subject. For many in the white population, they prefer to be elusive when the issue is being discussed; they’d rather pretend it is a non-issue. However, the stats suggest that it isn’t. Black discrimination is manifested every day in the work place, at pubs, churches, justice system and at other places. To live in denial about the plight of the black man in America is to be the problem yourself. There are real issues that needs to be unearthed; and it is a conversation that must be forced if a reasonable progress will be made. The point has been elucidated in several quarters that we are first humans before the subject of colour comes in, and nothing can be truer. There are no textbook solutions to outrightly solving the racial question in America today but forcing the conversation and resetting innate notions is surely a right step in the right direction.

Yet, while the travails of black Americans will easily whip out sympathy, there is an issue concerning the group that needs to be addressed. There is something there that makes police officers be trigger-hungry at the sight of a black man. While colour plays a part, there is also a reputation that the young black American has built and inherited over the years. It is cliché in the United States that an African American is more likely to end up in prison than at college. In many quarters, the blacks have earned a reputation of thugs, street urchins and miscreants. Indeed, they are traditionally known to be of greater menace to society than their white counterparts. There is an issue here. It appears that there is a parental and societal malfunction with the way black children are brought up in America and this too needs to be addressed.

Having said all the foregoing, there is a bigger issue of proliferation of guns in America that requires salient attention. The subject is one that have been with the American nation for so many years; and while the almighty National Rifle Association of America (NRA) will do anything to ensure that this right is not taken away, it constitutes a lingering societal misdemeanor. For all the media war against guns in the hands of civilians in American, none has been successful. Rather, the issue has had many media casualties, chief of whom was popular British T.V anchor, Piers Morgan, who lost his CNN show primarily because of his verbal criticism against guns proliferation in the U.S. The records are scary. There were 372 mass shootings in the US in 2015, killing 475 people and wounding 1,870, according to the Mass Shooting Tracker which catalogues such incidents. This is in addition to 64 school shooting incidences in 2015. There is a debacle with the gun laws in America and while some apologists will call it their fundamental rights to bear arms the reality is that it has turned the nation to an ‘arms state’ with everyone leaving under the cloud of fear and potential violence.

Racial tensions in America will persist until the real issues are brought to the surface and everyone of different colour commits to the reality that this is a big subject that has everyone culpable and no one vindicated. That will be the starting point in the quest to curtail the menace of racial tensions in America.

Monday, July 11, 2016

7 Mantras that Will Stop You from Taking Things Personally

1. You can’t take things too personally, even if it seems personal. Rarely do people do things because of you. They do things because of them.

2. You may not be able control all the things people say and do to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

3. There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you detach from other people’s beliefs and behaviors. The way people treat you is their problem, how you react is yours.

4. Take constructive criticism seriously, but not personally. Listen, and then operate with your own intuition and wisdom as your guide.

5. You are GOOD enough, SMART enough, FINE enough, and STRONG enough. You don’t need other people to validate you – you’re already valuable.

6. If you truly wish to improve your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth, stop allowing other people to be responsible for them. Stop allowing other people to dominate your emotions.

7. All the hardest, coldest people you meet were once as soft as a baby. And that’s the tragedy of living. So when people are rude, be kind, be mindful, be your best. Give those around you the “break” that you hope the world will give you on your own “bad day” and you will never, ever regret it.


Monday, July 4, 2016

It Could Still Be A Great Year!

The cliché never wears out: ‘It’s mid-year already!’ With the first day of January still extant in the mind, it is no gainsaying that the year has simply flown by. A year that arrived pregnant with great tidings, expectations and hopes is already mid-way and the soul searching question is ‘How far have you gone?’ For those who believe in resolutions, it is that time of the year to dust the old dairy and tick the boxes on how far you were faithful with your commitments. For the realist who simply penned down a couple of headline feats to achieve, it is also time to take stock. No doubt, a re-evaluation for many will be a rewarding experience as the mileage that would have been covered gives unquantifiable joy and renewed zeal for the rest of the year. However, for those with a heave of sadness with how the first half of the year has panned out, I have got word for you.

The year in itself is a marathon, and a lot depends on how much you have paced yourself. Perhaps, the lack of adequate mileage has a lot to do with the unrealistic ambitious targets you had set for yourself in the first place. Truth is you must pace yourself rightly, considering the plethora of factors, both pros and cons. Having said that, with a risk of sounding like a broken record one cannot overemphasize the point that ‘Plans only attain meaning when they are broken down to granular and tangible actions.’ It is time to work the plan and work it well. Ask yourself: what is it within your control? What are the factors you have the say on? These are places to focus your energy. For all the doom and gloom story about how bad the current national conditions are, it is a familiar creed. It has always been bad and truth is with population explosion and a vast majority of our leaders determined not to shed their old feathers, it will only get worse. If ever there is a time to think outside the box, here is the moment. It is not conventions that stands out today; it is the unfamiliar, the slightly out of place, the odd one, and the out-of-the-box ideas that will win today.

As July ushers in the last two laps of this marathon, you must do things differently to have a different outcome. It is worth saying here that success is not found in the big things, it is a set of routine, a pack of habits and an aggregation of lifestyle that snowballs into success. More than ever before we must reassess what we spend our gift of 24 hours doing. When all is said and done, the daily pattern of your life is the fine line on which success or failure hinges. For all its advantages, one must say that usage of social media has not just become a lifestyle but an obsession for many. The mantra is simple; if you derive your daily bread directly or indirectly from social media frenzy, by all means live in that space. However, if all you do on the platform is get a dose of news, fun, and reconnect, then moderation has to be applied. Overtly retweeting hashtags and putting Linda Ikeji Blog on a permanent refresh tab for one who visits social media for pure fun might be stretching it. It is worth saying that in an age where proliferation of blogs have become a venture for many the smacking reality is that only few will attain a Bella Naija or a Linda Ikeji status. This reality speaks to the point that it is time to do things differently. Make no mistakes about it, opportunities still abounds. A familiar story that drives home the point is that of LinkedIn. In the days when Reid Hoffman tinkered with the dream of an online platform solely for professional basis, the sceptics and even well-meaning friends advised him that the idea was a dream that will be dead on arrival. Their advice was hinged on the premise that with Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Empire and Jack Dorsey’s Twitter dominance, the world has no place for LinkedIn. But, nothing can be more inspiring. Today, Linkedin has membership strength of about half a billion users and the stats say that the growth today is such that two new users sign up to the platform every second. The morale of the story is simple: Carve a niche for yourself and pursue it wherever it leads.

Indeed, not for the lack of trying, many have stayed in same spot in this first half of the year and their cadence of hope is gradually giving way to the open hands of frustration and bitterness. It should never get to this. It has been said and not without reason that the moment you lose your hope, you lose your appetite to try. In the midst of a militating socio-economic and political environment, you must keep the faith; and like the old tale of Robinson Crusoe instructed us, we must make necessity the mother of invention. Never let anyone tell you otherwise ‘It could still be a great year.’ Geloven!