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Showing posts from 2018

Short Reflection: Light and Shadow

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One of the greatest lessons we learn in life is that we are often attracted to a bright light in another person. Initially, this light is all we see. It’s so bright and beautiful. But after a while, as our eyes adjust, we notice this light is accompanied by a shadow… and oftentimes a fairly large one.

When we see this shadow, we have two choices: we can either shine our own light on the shadow or we can run from it and continue searching for a shadow-less light.

If we decide to run from the shadow, we must also run from the light that created it. And we soon find out that our light is the only light illuminating the space around us. Then, at some point, as we look closer at our own light, we notice something out of the ordinary. Our light is casting a shadow too. And our shadow is bigger and darker than some of the other shadows we’ve seen.

If, on the other hand, instead of running from the shadow, we decide to walk towards it, something amazing happens. We inadvertently cast…

Mental Health: The Need To Talk

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Thomas (not real name) had not been himself for the last two weeks. Though he often responded with ‘I’m fine’ when asked ‘How are you?’ every morning, his countenance was what gave him away. He wasn’t looking the part and the weak signals were glaring by the day. Yet, where Thomas worked, his friends and colleagues hadn’t picked up the weak signals. He had often wore a smile which was a complete façade that masked his misery, cleverly. I stumbled upon Thomas one day, when I discovered he was suicidal and had been on pills. He was going to take his life in twenty four hours. Every one of us has a ‘Thomas’ we know, that lives with us or that is among us. They are often normal people with seemingly no issues until they do the ‘unthinkable.’ Put more succinctly, you might just be a ‘Thomas’ yourself. Many of us are simply oblivious.

In this part of the world, we like to feign alien to some subjects. It is common place to hear people say things like ‘Suicide is not a Nigerian thing,’ ‘Les…

10 Truths to Keep You Going When Everything Goes Wrong

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1. What happened to you in the past is not happening now. – In the present moment, we all have some kind of pain: anger, sadness, frustration, disappointment, regret, etc. Notice this pain within yourself, watch it closely and see that it’s caused by whatever story you have in your head about what happened in the past (either in the recent past or in the distant past). Your mind might insist that the pain you feel is caused by what happened (not by the story in your head about it), but what happened in the past is NOT happening right now. It’s over. It has passed. The pain, however, is still happening right now because of the story you’ve been subconsciously telling yourself about that past incident. It’s simply a process of your thinking. Do your best to see it for what it is.

2. Life changes from moment to moment, and so can you.
– When hard times hit there’s a tendency to extrapolate and assume the future holds more of the same. For some strange reason this doesn’t happen a…

We Are The Choices We Make

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“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” — Stephen Covey

Our existence comprises of choices that we make. From drinking milk in the morning to attending your least favorite lecture, from buying a blue shirt instead of a green shirt at your favorite store to adding an extra spoon of sugar in your coffee, from painting your bedroom wall pink to finding the balls to speak to your crush — you take a plethora of decisions, make choices, and bear the consequences. Choices are everywhere. Despite our parents making most of our decisions for our better and brighter future when we’re very young, we start learning how to choose between the options placed strategically in front of us and make decisions. Every man fortunately or unfortunately goes through the fate of decisions.

The choices you make and the decisions you take have a long lasting impact on your life. This is cliché but it doesn’t diminish the truism in that statement. Our lives are a series of choic…

5 Hard Things You Need to Start Doing for Yourself on Hard Days

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1. You need to start shifting your focus.

“I’m exhausted and so very tired of all the anxiety, negativity and stress. Too often my mind is consumed with draining thoughts, and every muscle in my body seems tense. It hurts. I don’t want to feel this way anymore. I don’t want to feel like I live in a whirlwind of constant pressure and exhaustion. I don’t want to just ‘get by’ day to day…”

You may not be responsible for everything that happened to you in the past, or everything that’s happening to you right now, but you need to be responsible for undoing the thinking patterns these circumstances create. It’s about thinking better so you can ultimately live better.

The key is to understand that no matter what happens, you can choose your response, which dictates pretty much everything that happens next. Truly, the greatest weapon you have against anxiety, negativity and stress is your ability to choose one present thought over another—to train your mind to make the best of what you…

Who is Paddling Your Canoe?

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We are in an age where the pressure to be something and 'keep up with the Jones' is alarming. Everyday, we get subtle pressures the moment we open our social media accounts or speak to that friend on the 'goings-on' in his life. Unconsciously, our life choices are impacted by what society and friends call important or pronounce as success. Individual's dress patterns, hair styles, choices, relationships and habits are increasingly being reinforced by what society call trendy and acceptable. Only few step back and ask themselves the question: 'What will it mean for me to have succeeded?'

More than ever before, we are losing our authenticity and more pathetically, following paths in life out of sheer pressure. A recent study in the United States showed that one of the core reasons for the spike in gun violence in America today, has to do with mental health issues by young people who have come to a point of depression because they felt they couldn't live …

5 Ways to Quiet the Negative Voices in Your Head

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1. Watch your tendency to over-generalize the negative (and minimize the positive).

Ask yourself: “If something negative unexpectedly happens, do I over-generalize it? Do I view it as applying to everything and being permanent rather than compartmentalizing it to one place and time?”

For example, if someone rejects you or turns you down for a date, do you spread the negativity beyond that person, time and place by telling yourself, “I’m just not good at relationships; they never work out for me, ever”? If you fail an exam do you say to yourself, “Well, I failed that exam; I’m not happy about it, but I’ll study more next time”? Or do you over-generalize it by telling yourself you’re “not smart enough” or “incapable of learning”?

Remember, negative thinking stops us from seeing and experiencing positive outcomes, even when they happen often. It’s as if there’s a special mental block filtering out all the positives and only letting in data that confirms the negative biases we have. …

Nigeria and The Urgency of Now

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Credit to Pastor Poju Oyemade. The Platform, an annual conference centered around conversations and thoughts on forging ahead the Nigerian project has reached its eleventh year. In a nation where many things that take flight do not see its second year anniversary, the consistency is worth commending. The May 1st edition was themed 'Get Involved.' The crux of the discourse was for majority of Nigerians to snap out of their apathy and be a player in the Nigerian project. The array of speakers all made the point in succinct and vivid manner.

It is almost cliché but it remains true that a good number of Nigerians do not care beyond social media vitriolic. Some Nigerians have gained minor stardom and some sort of notoriety from being internet warlords and keypad mongers. While ‘the conversation’ is sacrosanct in our strive for a better nation, it is foolhardy to expect that it should end there; and that that alone is enough to alter our collective inimical plight. The reality is …

10 Hard Things You Need to Hear About Your Attitude

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1. Your attitude often reflects a certain level of self-centered self-victimization. – We all have the tendency to put ourselves at the center, and see everything—every event, conversation, circumstance, etc.—from the viewpoint of how it relates to us and only us. And this can have all kinds of adverse effects, from feeling hurt when other people are rude, to feeling sorry for ourselves when things don’t go as planned, to doubting ourselves when we aren’t perfect. Obviously, we are not really at the center of everything. That’s not how the universe works. It just sometimes seems that way to us. So, be sure to shift your focus when it makes sense. When you catch yourself feeling like a singled-out victim, think about other people you might help. Finding little ways to help others can snap you out of your self-centeredness, and then you’re not wallowing in self-pity anymore—you’re starting to think beyond yourself, for your own good.

2. Your attitude is still greatly affected by …

Poetry - You are in my thoughts

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You are in my thoughts on difficult days.
In my heart in happy moments.
And on my mind everyday.

You are in my thoughts on my best days.
Flashes and memories of you, extant on my mind.
Your absence still plagues me.
Your departure still breaks me.
The wound has remained fresh.
The tears have gone on, unabated.
At times I pray it is a long horror dream.
I still wish it is a mirage; the kind that fizzles away.

You are in my thoughts today.
You are in my thoughts always.
Till we meet again, I will keep hurting.
And you will forever be in my thoughts.

You can’t Un-Live the past. You just choose to forget

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To change something is a choice - Unknown

Some memories can be so painful that you just want to forget them. While it is not possible to erase memories from your mind, there are strategies that you can use to make a memory less prominent. You can also do things to change the way a memory makes you feel and to replace unpleasant memories with new pleasant ones. Keep in mind that it is not always possible to forget a memory, so you may want to consider changing a situation if unpleasant memories are interfering with your life.

Think about what bothers you the most about the memory. Your next step is to pinpoint the most upsetting parts of the memory. Getting to the root of what bothers you the most will help you figure out what you need to forget. Write these specific things down so that you can work on forgetting them.

Are you determined to forget the past? I know many people don’t fully understand what that means. They wonder, “How can I forget something that’s happened to me?” But on…

10 Great Truths My Grandmother Told Me on Her 90th Birthday

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1. There are thousands of people who live their entire lives on the default settings, never realizing they can customize everything. – Don’t settle for the default settings in life. Find your loves, your talents, your passions, and embrace them. Don’t hide behind other people’s decisions. Don’t let others tell you what you want. Design YOUR journey every step of the way! The life you create from doing something that moves you is far better than the life you get from sitting around wishing you were doing it.

2. The right journey is the ultimate destination.
– The most prolific and beneficial experience in life is not in actually achieving something you want, but in seeking it. It’s the journey towards an endless horizon that matters—goals and dreams that move forward with you as you chase them. It’s all about meaningful pursuits—the “moving”—and what you learn along the way. Truly, the most important reason for moving from one place to another is to see what’s in between. In b…

It Is Tough To Stay Successful

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It is more difficult to stay on top than to get there - Mia Hamm

There is nothing more challenging in business and in life than maintaining success – it is far, far harder than achieving success in the first place. Companies that are able to align their capabilities and build distinctive advantages to perfectly meet current market opportunities cannot necessarily adapt to meet tomorrow’s. Time and again once exemplary companies are relegated to also-rans by their failure to respond to changes in customer need, technology or competitor set. Companies such as Netscape, Kodak, The Gap and IBM (maybe you want to add Nokia to the list) have all suffered this fate and of the top 100 US firms from 1917 only one had outperformed the market average over the subsequent 80 years, while 61 had ceased to exist.

How confident are you that today’s market leaders will still be at the top, or even around, in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time? There is nothing written in stone to suggest that Apple, Tesco, Wal…

One Insanely Popular Reason So Many of Us Are Unhappy

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A Lack of Self-Discipline

Many of us lack the self-discipline skill set required to make consistent, meaningful progress.

Think about the most widespread sources of unhappiness we deal with in our lives—from laziness to lack of exercise to unhealthy vices to procrastination, and so on.

In most cases, problems like these are not caused not by a physical ailment, but by an conditioned weakness of the mind—a weakness that persistently urges us to avoid discomfort.

Too often we 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, we 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 sacrificing for?”

Seriously, think about it…

If you want the six-pack abs, you have to also want th…

The Art of Governance is not Rocket Science

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They say time reveals everything, and nothing can be truer. As the last days of President Buhari pitters out, majority of Nigerians are reeling from almost four years of botched promises. For some, it was a complete fraud while for the unrepentant opposition, it was a confirmation of what they hoped. There are certain presidential dispensations that require a thorough retrospective work to determine their success or failure; the sense you get for the Buhari dispensation is that it has already judged itself and there might be no need to keep the jury out.

It is important to unequivocally state that anyone that dare say that our lot as a nation would have been better if the administration of president Goodluck Jonathan got a second chance, is either deluded or ignorant of the issues. The startling revelations uncovered by the Buhari administration simply showed that the nation was being raped, and it was only a matter of time before we self-implode. Yet, it wasn’t enough that the Buhar…

10 Ways to Handle Stressful Life Transitions

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1. MINDSET. MINDSET. MINDSET! Even in the middle of uncertainty you’ve got to continuously tell yourself that somehow, some way, “I will figure this out and make this work.” You’ve got to believe in yourself and your abilities and keep the positivity flowing through your mind.

2. Gratitude. During this transition, it’s so important to practice gratitude. Remember that no matter what you’re going through there is always something to be grateful for, somebody is always in a far worse situation, with a much better outlook on life. So why can’t you do the same?

3. Be vulnerable (in a good way).
Being vulnerable does not mean you let people kick you when you’re down or take advantage of you. It means that you understand that feelings of fear, anxiety or sadness may come with the stress of transition and that it’s okay to talk about these things. Keeping them bottled up will only hinder you.

4. Get out there and be proactive!
Try to be in control as much as you can of your transition, if yo…

9 Mindful Ways to Remain Calm When Others Are Angry

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1. Get comfortable with pausing.

Don’t imagine the worst when you encounter a little drama. When someone is acting irrationally, don’t join them by rushing to make a negative judgment call. Instead, pause. Take a deep breath…

Sometimes good people behave poorly under stress. Don’t you? When you pause, it gives you space to collect your thoughts and it also allows the other person the space to take a deep breath with you. In most cases, that extra time and space is all we need.

2. Respect people’s differences.

Learn to respect the opinions of others. Just because someone does it differently doesn’t make it wrong. There are many roads to what’s right in this world. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

So choose your battles wisely. And just agree to disagree sometimes.

It is absolutely possible to connect with, and even appreciate the company of, someone you don’t completely agree with. When you make a commitment to remain neutral on matters that don’t matter that muc…

Of Snakes and Monkeys: The Joke is on Us

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It is one of the hallmarks of our coping mechanism as a people that we find the funny side of every inimical event. Yet, there comes a time when we need to behold our collective sensibility and tell ourselves some home truth. At a time when high school children in the United States are standing up to President Trump, Congress and the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) in the wake of the 17 kids killed at Stoneman Douglas in Florida, we in Nigeria are seeing the funny side of our quagmire and sorry state. It was a thing of cruel joke when the news broke that snakes had carted away a whopping 36 million naira from the headquarters of the Joint Admission Matriculation Board. While we regurgitated on the madness, news filtered through on the real reason why Abdullahi Adamu (Nasarawa – APC) was removed as chairman of the Northern Senators Forum. According to the maverick, Shehu Sani, about 70 million naira belonging to the group was claimed to have been carted away by monkeys in a …

15 Tiny Stories for Those Who Have Lost Their Motivation

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1. “Today marks a full year that I’ve been eating right and working out daily. This time last year I weighed 301 pounds. When I saw my weight on the scale at the doctor’s office I knew it was time for a change. Now, after a year of exercising my will power, and using no dieting pills or gastric bands, or anything artificial, I went back to the doctor’s office for my annual check-up. “172 pounds,” my doctor said. “You know, your positive lifestyle changes just added roughly 10 years to your life expectancy.” My 11-year-old daughter, who came with me, grabbed my hand and said, “I look forward to spending those extra years with you, mommy.”

2. “The drummer in our local jazz band, Nick, is legally deaf, and has been since he was born. But he can still hear low bass tones and feel the vibrations from the drums and other instruments. Honestly, he’s such an incredible drummer, most people don’t believe he’s deaf. Sometimes I can’t believe it myself.”

3. “This morning, on my 47th bir…