Sunday, May 28, 2017
1. The vast majority of our struggles are self-created, and we can choose to overcome them in an instant.
2. We fear the judgments of others, even though their judgments about us are rarely valid or significant.
3. In many ways, our past experiences have conditioned us to believe that we are less capable than we are.
4. Real pain, heartbreak and failure are outcomes that can help us grow.
5. We have to give some things up to get what we ultimately want in life.
6. Passion is not something we find, it’s something we do.
7. There will never be a better time to start than right now.
Sunday, May 21, 2017
When he walked through the revolving doors at Stamford Bridge, few touted him as the real McCoy. Miles away, somewhere in Manchester, resided the main event. It was all about the ingenious tactician, Pep Guardiola, and the serial winner, Jose Mourinho. They were the dual box office beside which every manager and every other pre-season story had to pale in comparison.
Make no mistakes about it, Antonio Conte did not arrive in a quest to have a surgical operation on his ailing career. He had won three Serie A titles on the bounce and had led his team to a Champions League final. More importantly, he left Juventus in the best possible healthy state going into the future. It was Chelsea who needed an operation. A season of indescribable little but fatal foxes had led to a league season finish of 10th place, after being champions the previous. The reality was that Conte’s arrival to the Bridge inflated hopes but it was an appointment that still had its many critics. With player power being the crux of the matter in Jose Mourinho’s exit the previous season, the Italian had his job well cut out. He had to get the house together, steer a direction and lead them through. Reason demands that one mentions that despite the calamitous state of Chelsea last season, the team still had a fantastic squad. The spine of the victorious 2014/2015 team was still very much around. Having said that, Conte has done a fine job, and that is putting it mildly. Fourth place finish would have been good enough but to win the league at a canter, and achieve it in the manner he did makes him the real deal.
When the intoxication from a champagne-filled weekend gives way to some introspection for Conte, he will do well to pick the moments that made it a sublime year for him. The three nil defeat to Arsenal on September 24th will be the watershed in that inquest. It was mid-way into that match with Chelsea trailing three nil to the Gunners that Conte decided to discard the 4-3-3 formation for his more favoured 3-4-3. The immediate altercation did not change the outcome of that game, but it was to lay the platform for a 13 game winning streak; an amazing record run that meant the walk to the league was a procession (forget the Spurs challenge – it was a desperate fabrication of the media). Yet, there was more to his masterstroke than a formation switch. The revival of Victor Moses and his excellent man management of the Costa/China brouhaha in January were sterling examples of his brilliance.
The most beautiful thing about what Conte has done is the manner he went about it. When he was dragged into flimsy mind games, he looked away. When the media was beginning to ask questions on his tactics, he remained consistent. When the heat was partially turned on by a few blips, he stayed true to his methods. He was a fine man with a genuine passion. His intensity on the touchline on every match day was a joy to behold. He wasn’t a man to give away so much in his media conferences; a blessing partially inflicted by his lack of command of the language. In all, he was a good man. The gesture to applaud the Middlesbrough fans in the aftermath of their defeat at Chelsea with relegation sealed for the Riverside team, was a class moment. Whatever happens in the summer, he will be remembered and revered fondly. Abramovich’s revolving door have made the Russian some sort of a cult hero and ruthless owner to the Chelsea fans, but his method has brought immense success. 5 premier league trophies, 1 champions league, 1 Europa league, 4 FA cups, 3 Carling cups and 2 Community Shield medals makes for a densely populated cabinet for 13 years’ work. The last eulogy should fittingly go to John Terry. He has indeed been a captain, leader and legend. Anytime his name is mentioned, it will elicit a polarization of opinions, but no dissenting voice could deny that he was a great footballer. His longevity, one-club man status, achievements and shenanigans will forever make him a demi-god on Fulham road!
Sunday, May 14, 2017
(Excerpt from my book: The Path Less Travelled. Can be found on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Path-Less-Travelled-Reflections-Learning/dp/1540663507/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1494697301&sr=1-1&keywords=samuel+okonkwo)
You may think you have the will power and discipline to rise above the influence of your friends. You don’t. If you spend time with people who are in shape, you’ll be in shape. If you spend time with lazy people, you’ll be lazy. We all want to belong to a group and we do so by appearing similar to the group we want to belong to. Choose wisely who you spend your time with because it’s who you’ll become.
One conclusion I have come to today is that a large amount of how successful you will be in life comes down to the people you spend time with. This is why: ‘You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Jim Rohn. This quote is one of the most powerful ones that I keep reminding myself over and over again. I am the average of the five people I spend the most time with. Others around me determine how I think, how I act and ultimately how successful I will be. It is a huge determinant that is often undermined.
Whether you want it or not, this is how it works I believe. The people you spend the most time with make you. You are their average. Do you think that’s true? Who are you spending time with? Are they the people that you want to be the average of? Choose someone whose way of life as well as words, and whose very face as mirroring the character that lies behind it, have won your approval. Be always pointing him out to yourself either as your guardian or as your model. There is a need, in my view, for someone as a standard against which our characters can measure themselves. Without a ruler to do it against you won’t make crooked straight. Friends make us, friends break us; friends destroy, friends define. The good thing is that unlike the choice of family which is entrusted to us without our consent, friendship is solely up to us.
Don’t be afraid to lose some friends, support from your family or anything else if that means you start surrounding yourself with the right people. Instead of becoming the average of some average people, dip with the best. I will give the closing words on this to Frank E, who shared his personal story: ‘I believe I’m someone who took longer than most people to understand this concept. I clung onto relationships with people far too long. All of them were great people, people I respect like I want to respect every other human being. Yet, I always knew, these are not the people that are dying to be incredibly successful, incredibly happy and doing no matter what it takes to chase their dreams. Today, the people I spend time with are just 2 people. Joel and Tom. They are most likely the smartest people I have ever worked with before. Both have a focus and determination I’m constantly blown away by. I cling onto their enthusiasm, try to learn from their skillset as much as I can and get myself lifted onto the next level: purely by being in the same room with them whilst working away on buffer. There is no one else I spend as much time with, as Joel and Tom. That’s it, 90% of my daily interaction happens with these two guys. The power they have is therefore incredible. I’m highly influenced and seek to be from them and their input. I know, because of their actions, experience and daily work, the only impact this can have on me is a positive one. It is pushing me higher and onto the next level every day.’
Sunday, May 7, 2017
1. Too often we use “too busy” as an excuse for poor time management.
There’s a BIG difference between being busy and being productive. Don’t confuse motion with progress. A rocking horse keeps moving but never makes any forward progress. Don’t be a rocking horse! Truth be told, 99% of all your busyness is simply a mismanagement of your time. And at times, you have to say “no” to good things to be able to say “yes” to important things. You simply can’t do it all. So be mindful and choose wisely. Manage yourself! Focus on your priorities! What you focus on grows stronger in your life. At every moment, millions of little things compete for your attention. All these things fall into one of two categories: things that are top priorities and things that are not. You’ll never get more done by blindly working more hours on everything that comes up. Instead, you’ll get more done when you follow specific plans that measure and track top priorities and milestones. So if you want to be less busy and more successful, don’t ask how to make something more efficient until you’ve first asked, “Do I need to do this at all?”
The bottom line is that feeling like you’re doing busywork is often the result of saying yes too often. We all have obligations, but a comfortable pace can only be found by properly managing your yeses. So stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no.” You can’t always be agreeable; that’s how people take advantage of you. Sometimes you have to set clear boundaries. You might have to say no to certain favors, or work projects, or community activities, or committees, or volunteer groups, or coaching your kid’s sports team, or some other seemingly worthwhile activity. I know what you’re thinking – it seems unfair to say no when these are very worthwhile things to do. It kills you to say no. But you must. Because the alternative is that you’re going to do a half-hearted, poor job at each one, be stressed beyond belief, and feel like you’re stuck in an endless cycle of failure and frustration. You won’t be getting enough sleep, your focus will get worse and worse due to exhaustion, and eventually you’ll reach a breaking point.
2. We spend lots of time talking about our priorities, but not nearly enough time actually working on them.
When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done? Let that question sink in, and then remind yourself that the last six letters in the word “attraction” are “action.” If you want to attract positive changes into your life, you have to act accordingly. If you have an idea about what you want the next chapter of your life to look like, you have to DO things that support this idea every day. An idea, after all, isn’t going to do anything for you until you do something productive with it. In fact, as long as that great idea is just sitting around in your head it’s doing far more harm than good. Your subconscious mind knows you’re procrastinating on something that’s important to you. The necessary work that you keep postponing causes stress, anxiety, fear, and usually more procrastination – a vicious cycle that continues to worsen until you interrupt it with ACTION.
And remember, 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. You become highly skilled at whatever you do again and again. Every day offers you the opportunity to develop a ritual of success, regardless of your priorities or how you personally define success. So from this moment forward… 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.
3. We mistakenly prioritize near-term comfort over long-term fulfillment.
Think about the most common problems we deal with in our lives – from laziness to lack of exercise to unhealthy diets to procrastination, and so on. In most cases, problems like these are not caused not by a physical ailment, but by a weakness of the mind – a weakness that urges us to avoid discomfort. Most of us dream about the reward without the risk. The shine without the grind. But we can’t have a destination without a journey. And a journey always has costs – at the very least, you have to give up a little time and energy to take a step forward every day. So, instead of dreaming about what you want right now, first ask yourself: “What am I willing to give up to get it?” Or, for those inevitably hard days: “What is worth suffering for?” Seriously, think about it…If you want the six-pack abs, you have to want the sore muscles, the sweat, the early mornings in the gym, and the healthy meals. If you want the successful business, you have to also want the late nights, the risky business deals and decisions, and the possibility of failing twenty times to learn what you need to know to succeed in the long run.
If you want something in life, you have to also want the costs of getting it! You have to be willing to put in the effort and go all the way! Otherwise, there’s no point in dreaming. This could mean losing stability and comfort for a while, and maybe even your mind on occasion. It could mean not eating what you want, or sleeping in, for weeks on end. It could mean stretching your comfort zone so thin it gives you a case of the chills. It could mean sacrificing certain relationships and daring yourself to make new ones. It could mean accepting ridicule from people. It could mean spending time alone in solitude. Solitude, though, is a gift that makes great things possible – it gives you the space you need. Everything else is a test of your determination, of how much you want it. And if you really want it, you’ll do it, despite discomfort and rejection and the odds. And every step will feel better than anything else you can imagine.
You will realize that the struggle is not found on the path, it is the path, and it’s worth it! So again, if you really want it, go all the way! There’s no better feeling in the world – there’s no better feeling than knowing what it means to be ALIVE.
Monday, May 1, 2017
You don’t always have it together. Nobody does. So it’s fine to feel vulnerable at times, to seek help when required, to lean on a shoulder when you are exhausted. See, even the pope needs some words of encouragement for himself. No one has it all figured out. So, stop hiding your vulnerabilities so others don’t judge you. The truly successful men of our days have mastered the act of calling for help when they are clueless. The truth is that those friends you feel very obliged to hide your vulnerabilities around are probably friends you shouldn’t be around. If your friends intimidate you, put you down, lose respect for you because they see your nakedness, then it’s a true litmus test of whether they should remain friends in the first place.
What nobody told us is that there is actually a deep inner strength in vulnerability. This may sound contradictory at first – but vulnerability is actually strength in disguise. You know why? Because to be vulnerable you have to be honest; you have to be the real you. At times it may feel like the safer option is to hide your inner feelings in favor of an inauthentic, more confident exterior, but the truth is; people respect vulnerability so much more than faux-confidence. Plus, let’s face it – playing pretend doesn’t ever really make you feel that great on the inside; it only leaves you feeling like a fraud. As the visionary Apple founder, Steve Jobs once said: ‘It’s true: whether we like it or not, we are already naked and the sooner we learn to accept who we are and give ourselves permission to be vulnerable; the sooner we free ourselves from the chains of pretend-perfectionism.’
If you take anything from this point, let it be this: you don’t have to have your life together, in one piece of exquisite state. That is, at least for right now. Being a functioning adult is no joke, and it takes some work. Keep trying your best, and the rest will fall into place.
Penultimately, we are not perfect people. Most of us are a mess most of the times, but I believe that the best people are. I believe that the most successful people are the ones that make their fair share of mistakes. Every mistake we make is a learning experience, and there’s no better time than right now to be “figuring it out.” So, for now, embrace the struggle. The reality is that if you don’t allow yourself a chance at “figuring it out” now, when will you figure it out eventually? Own the fact that you probably haven’t brushed your hair in a week and that there’s a ginormous coffee stain on your t-shirt. Keep on telling yourself that you’ll get your life together eventually, because one day you will. Be unapologetically messy and remember that it’s okay to not have it all together. The point is that no one is going to have it all figured out right away; it takes experiences and plenty of mistakes along the way.
In summary, Life wants you to remember that you are not perfect and so is your life. You’re going to make thousands of mistakes in the span of your lifetime and that’s normal. You’ve done a lot of mistakes in the past and guess what? You’re going to make more mistakes tomorrow! But never lose yourself and make mistakes all the time. You have to learn from them and teach yourself not to make the same mistakes again. Always remember that your life should not be measured by the number of mistakes you’ve done but by the number of lessons you learn from these.
Culled from my book, The Path Less Travelled (Can be found on Amazon).