Live & Learn II

There is this tale about a sage and his pupil who had sought him out from the big city in the secluded monastery to learn from him. After spending some time with the ancient sage, the pupil felt he wasn’t learning enough from the master. It didn’t seem like he was improving and so he sought to find out why.

Do you want a cup of tea?” the master asked as the pupil walked into his room that faithful day. “Yes sir I do!

The sage poured and poured, and kept pouring even after the cup was full. Soon the tea started to spill on the table. Irritated, the pupil drew the attention of the master to the tea that was beginning to waste.

Ha ah! Here is the answer you seek my child. This cup can’t take any more tea because it is full. To take more, we have to first empty it. There is no lack of new tea, but as long as the cup is full, nothing new will come in.”

Hmmn…There is no lack of new things to learn, however, if you remain full, valuable lessons will keep spilling off and you’d never grow. Your mistakes become wastes when they could have been useful tools for making better decisions.

There is no lack of new things to learn

And what makes our cups full? Assumptions!

Assumptions make our cups full. Our opinion on what is true and what works is not always correct. But as long as we hold on to them, they will take the space that knowledge is supposed to fill.

Therefore, to learn, you must be able to distinguish between an assumption and knowledge. Then you can know what to discard and what to keep; what to pay attention to, and what to let through the leaks.

Another tale worth sharing is about a man who one day eventually got frustrated with the amount of food his wife wastes anytime she needed to fry fish.

He noticed she’d always cut off the head and the tail of the fish before she fried it. He just couldn’t understand why.

One day he summoned courage (as I assume you would need courage to challenge your wife on delicate matters such as this. LoL) and asked her why she did so. “I don’t know” she replied. “But whenever my mother fried fish, she always cut off the head and the tail. This is how we do it in our family for as long as I can remember”.

Luckily, her mother was alive but she too gave the same reply when she was asked the same question. Then they found the grandmother and asked her the same question. This time, they found the knowledge they sought.

“I never had big pans to fry big fish back in the days. The only way the fish could fit in the pot was if I cut off the head and tail. But now that I have a big pan, I fry the whole fish. But you had left for your own home so you didn’t get to see me fry it this way”

If only someone had asked the right question much earlier. If only someone had challenged the status quo. If only someone had questioned the assumption. Many fishes would have nourished the bellies of many generations rather than waste.

Ask new questions and challenge old knowledge

The morale is this, to learn you must ask questions. Don’t just accept everything you are taught. Try to know the reasons behind the theories; know the background to the knowledge; Only then will you be wise enough to apply knowledge correctly.

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So two things I have said – You must learn to distinguish knowledge from assumption and allow assumptions leave so that new knowledge can come in. You must seek new knowledge by asking questions and challenging old knowledge passed down to you.

Life is really about learning. When we stop learning, we stop growing. When we stop growing, we invite decay and consequently death. You must understand that learning is deliberate. Being taught might not always be in your control, but learning is always up to you!

Cheers to a better you

Afolabi

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Live & Learn

Did you know?

The human mind is bombarded with as much as 32g of information every single day. A study, conducted by researchers at the University of California-San Diego, revealed this.

If it were a computer, it would crash in no time.

It is believed that man has never been exposed to this much information in all of his history. We are continuously exposed to data from our cell phones, computers, television, etc. Even face-to-face interactions leave the mind with several things to process.

That is why a proverb concluded that life is a teacher; the more you live the more you learn.

I have a slightly different opinion. I believe that the more you live, the more you are taught. Learning is optional.

This I believe is why history repeats itself in unpleasant ways. Experience teaches its lessons, but men refuse to take them.

Experience teaches its lessons, but men refuse to take them.

Ask yourself, of the 32g of information that you were exposed to yesterday, how many have you retained today? Of course, not all information is useful to you. But while you say that in your defense, again I ask, in sieving what is useful and what is not, how many valuable information have you allowed to slip through the cracks?

Many won’t have an answer to this. Why? What you don’t know, you don’t know that you don’t know it. But what you don’t know, you can know, if you will learn. Remember, life always teaches, but it is up to us to learn.

What then are the barriers to learning? How does knowledge slip through your ears? What is between the current you and a better you.? Your life is speaking, will you live and learn?

This and more in the concluding part of this series. But first, what are your thoughts on this. Lets have a conversation in the comment section.

Click here to read the concluding part of the series- live and learn

Afolabi

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The Brand YOU

Answer to your first opportunity with competence and consistently to the rest with character

The whole concept of you as a brand isn’t novel any more. Today, a good number of people understand that they have a reputation/brand that they have consciously or unconsciously developed and that this reputation to a large extent decides how much opportunities people throw their way and how much success they achieve in life. However, I have come to know that strong brands are built deliberately and on purpose and good success is always intentional.

How then exactly do you build a strong personal brand? How do you ensure that people know you for what you want to be known for? How do you make certain that you are not mis-communicating your brand and that your brand isn’t being misunderstood by the people who interact with it?

The place to start is to engage the power of focus. Focus isn’t just the ability to stick to one thing; it is likewise or even more importantly the ability to say no to everything except one thing. Strong brands are built on the significance of one; their ability to be the first associative name when that thing is mentioned. Let me give you examples, when I say nation building, Fela Durotoye comes to mind. When I say change (good or bad), APC comes to mind. When I say soft drink, your mind easily remembers Cocacola. That’s the power of one. So first, identify your one thing.

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After identifying that thing, build your expertise and make enough noise till someone gives you a chance. One grave mistake to do in life is to wink in the dark. You have both wasted your effort as well as denied others the opportunity to experience something good. Yes it’s true that opportunity eventually finds the prepared, but sometimes it finds the fool who isn’t ready for it first especially if the prepared does nothing to be noticed. You must be ready to do all it takes to promote yourself and whatever it is that you do. Stop at nothing to raise your voice; to raise your work!

When opportunity eventually shows up, make sure you exceed expectations. Surprise them and give them more than what they bargained for. One thing that would do is that it will bring them back again. The second time they come, show them they can trust you by being consistent with the experience you delivered the first time.

It takes character to treat every honour as a privilege

However, you can only achieve this if you understand that the first time you get an opportunity, it is a privilege; the second and subsequent time, it is an honour. You must nonetheless be willing to treat every opportunity as a privilege so that you always give your best, thereby always earn the right to more honor.

Obviously, it takes character to treat every honor as a privilege, and character is the end product of a life lived completely on values. Your values are the things that you stand for. They must be invaluable to you because once they have a price tag, someone will pay you to compromise. Do you have values?

So here is the flow of thought:  Values will form your character. Character will enable consistency and competence. But competence should be specialized. Specialized competence should be promoted so as to attract opportunity. When opportunity shows up, character must not die; answer to your first opportunity with competence and consistently to the rest with character.

Afolabi 2(1)

Stars not Kettles

Let me tell you a rather personal story about pots, kettles and stars.

I visited the Ikeja City mall recently. Like most days, a particular brand was having an activation to sell its products. They had mascots, models, video games, music and obviously dancers. The dancers I believe drew the most attention and even I was at some point carried away with what they were doing. But as I was about to step into the main complex, I heard the security lady say in vernacular about the dancers something along the line of “after all these, you will need to take Paracetamol for your headache. Better go find a better job for yourself”. Typing it in English makes it look like she gave a rather kind advice. But NO! This was no advice at all. It was a statement said to scorn the dancers who were doing a really good job at their own work.

 

I remember walking past her thinking to myself, what a classical example of a pot calling a kettle black. To be sure, I did a little research before writing this. The average roadshow activation dancer earns about N5,000 in a day as opposed to a security guard who earns an average of N40,000 every month which scales down to about N2,000 for a day’s job. But the wage difference isn’t really what concerns me, but that a person will look down at another person for doing excellently at a legitimate job is just rather obnoxious.

It leaves me certain questions I’d like you to think through. First, is it really wrong for a pot to call a kettle black? Has the pot that called a kettle black lied? Is there really anything wrong in being black? I am not providing answers to these here but i’d like you to take time to think about them.

So, this article would have had no proper end if not for another incident that happened just the next day. This time, I had just finished visiting my mother at her house and as I approached the bus stop I could hear someone shouting at the top of her voice, “wazo, wazo, fifty naira, wazo; if you love your husband wazo, fifty naira wazo”. As I moved closer to the bus stop, I could see the woman trying to sell her products and it turned out she was someone very familiar. But, as she saw me, she stopped shouting and so we exchanged pleasantries. However, she did not resume until I had left. I saw in her face that she wasn’t proud of the work she was doing and so waited till I left before she continued. That was sad! She should have been proud!! She should have seen that she was a star not kettle!!!

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Where is dignity in labor?

At her arrival in London, Princess Diana of the Hollywood Blockbuster movie wonder woman tasted the goodness of an Icecream for the first time ever. The ice cream was so well made that she turned to the seller and said, “this is really good, you should be proud of yourself”. That for me was very profound. If you are doing legitimate work and you are putting your best effort into it, then you should be proud too. We might not all do great things, but we can all do small things in a great way. And that’s what matters the most.

This is what i would like you to leave with – Don’t let anyone look down on you because of the work you do, and never look down on yourself either. As long as you put your heart into it and do it excellently, then you should be proud of yourself. President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time, in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.  The Janitor gave the most remarkable answer; “I am helping to put a man on the moon”. Now that’s whatsup! Be like that janitor!! See the bigger picture always and be proud of yourself. Even if you are black, you are a star not a kettle.

Ciao!

PS: Please remember to share this post with other people. I also look forward to your own kettle-to-star stories and feedback in the comment section.

Afolabi Soaga

 

WHO ARE THEY???

Fela Durotoye (FD), nation builder, leadership expert and CEO Gemstone group, shared an interesting story with me during our time together recently. The story was about “they” and the lesson in it was quite remarkable.

Who or what are ‘they’ you may ask? You just read on a little further and find out!

One time, he had arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos; and the place was really hot. He moved close to one of the air conditioning systems and realized that the temperature was set at an inappropriate 30 degrees.

FD recalled that he drew the attention of an airport official to this issue, saying: “Sir, this place is hot because the temperature is set at 30 degrees. If you press this button right here to reduce the temperature to about 16 degrees, this whole place will become more conducive for everyone”

The official however responded in our conventional pidgin English saying; “Oga, that is how ‘they’ set am”. FD wondered who the ‘they’ in question were, just the way you wondered when you started reading this piece.

I mean, if anyone was in a position to do something about the temperature inside the airport on that faithful day, the airport official was one such person and here he was practically refusing to do so because of some ‘they’ somewhere that no one knows about.

FD then went on to adjust the settings of the AC by himself. While he was at it, the official kept saying that ‘Oga, if it spoil, they go hold you o”.  Once again FD wondered to himself: “Who are they? Where are they? Why should ‘they’ stop you from doing what you ought to do?”

Most of us are like that airport official. There are certain things we have decided not to do anything about, not because we cannot, but because we are too concerned, we bother ourselves too much about “what ‘they’ would think, say, do, or how ‘they’ would react”.

You might wonder, “If I quit my job, ‘they’ would say I’m crazy?” “If I leave this abusive relationship, ‘they’ would think I cannot suffer long” “If I start my business, ‘they’ will not patronize me”. “If I forgive, ‘they’ would probably do it again”.

Now I ask you, who are ‘they’?

FD adjusted the AC that day and ‘they’ never showed up. ‘They’ didn’t show up because let me shock you; ‘they’ don’t even exist! Even if they do exist, they are never as powerful as we make them to be in our minds.

If there is something that needs to be done, go ahead and do it! Regardless of what others may do or think. For all we know, They are not real! They are not powerful enough to stop you!! You are the one stopping yourself. Only YOU can stop YOU!

This is to challenge you to just do it like Nike. (If you just pronounced that as Nike, the girl that sells Indomie down your street; please know that I am praying for you. LOL). But really, you need to rise above whatever is holding you back, above those things playing around in your heads.

You are powerful enough to make that change happen!

Go for greatness!

Afolabi.

Scars of War

I want to start by congratulating myself on finding such a dramatic title to this piece. Although it sounds like the title of a blockbuster Hollywood movie, this is far from fiction; this is everyday life; this is the story of my life.

Nod your head if you have never failed in life. If you didn’t just nod your head then please read on because you are exactly who I had in mind when putting this together.

My first year in the university was my most challenging one academically. I had the uncommon privilege of scoring all the grades possible in just my first semester. Once again, it felt like I was watching a movie every time I went to the result board those days. I told myself this just can’t be me. More annoying was that I scored an A in a 1 unit course while the F was in a 4 unit course; the way the grade system works, I would have just been better off with 2 Ds in both courses really.

After the first semester, I couldn’t just settle for the result. I am brilliant chap no doubt. My secondary school results were pretty good and I felt I deserved better. I spent some time attempting to contest the result but for the advice of concerned strangers who warned me against it. You have four more years in the university ahead of you, buckle up, do it again and you’d be just fine. I’m glad I took their advice

The real gist was an event that happened in my second year. I was placed in a position where I had to publicly declare what my CGPA was. Though I can’t remember why o was asked to, but I can’t also forget how miserable it made me feel.

This was church event and I couldn’t possibly lie.  I shared my poor 1.87 CGPA with everyone in attendance and that went down as one of the most embarrassing days of my life but also a very decisive one. Looking back, there are 2 quick lessons to pick

First is that one event that goes wrong in your life doesn’t define your life forever. Often I feel that all eyes are on me at all times and I know we all mostly do feel this way too. Note, this is 2pac and not scripture so it can’t be true. Even if it was true, after a while, people forget about your embarrassing moment because they have their own to remember and think about. So don’t go kill yourself over it. I still remember that day fondly but I doubt if many other people that were there that day do. And yet, as at then it felt like I had let the whole world in on my top secret at that time.

One event that goes wrong in your life doesn’t define your life forever

The second is the big idea of this article- if you don’t take responsibility for your failures; how on earth would you be responsible for turning things around.

I went on to graduate from that same school with a second upper division with every semester GPA surpassing the previous one back to back despite starting as a mere pass student. I believe that would not have been possible if I lived in denial all through my campus life.

If you don’t take responsibility for your failures; how on earth would you be responsible for turning things around.

The concept of failing forward is based on your ability to realize that failure is just an event as well as an opportunity to begin again more intelligently. If you have ever failed at a thing, you need to know that you didn’t fail, the thing did and if you can take responsibility for it then you also can rewrite your story and tell a testimony. Don’t play the blame game, don’t give excuses. Rather, own up, buckle up, and go at it again.

Failures are your scars of war. They show that you lost a battle. When handled properly, they can also become your mark of victory that will be proof that you won the war.

Selah,

Afolabi.

Dont just take NO for an answer, ask WHY!

Several research studies have revealed that most non-routine sales occur only after 5 follow-ups. This means that it takes at least 5 continuous and consistent follow up efforts after the initial sales contact, before a prospective customer agrees to patronize your product. That’s an equivalent of 4 NOs before you get 1 YES.

This highlights the importance of a list of things. Top of that list is persistence; but also important, though not often spoken about, is feedback.

Here is what I mean, 4 NOs don’t always ordinarily guarantee a YES at the 5th trial. It is foolish to do things the same way and expect a different result. What you do with rejection is what decides what happens at your next try. The issue is that often, people don’t make an effort to find out why they are being turned down. They just turn away without asking for feedback.

What we ought to do when a prospective customer refuses to patronize our business is to find out why he/she didn’t. You ought to take every rejection moment as a learning opportunity- What did I get wrong? What can I make better? What extras can give me an advantage in my next outing? What can I do to change this customer’s mind? Why do you prefer my competitors to me? Don’t just accept being rejected, ask why!

This finds its application not just in sales. Whether it is a prospective lover turning down your advances, or a prospective employer showing you the door after an interview, sometimes what you need to do to guarantee that you don’t get rejected again is to ask and receive feedback.

Don’t just accept being rejected, ask why!

In some cases, you’d find out that what asking that all important question does is to make the prospect see that they really don’t have a reason for rejecting you. Their inability to point you to your flaws could bring to the fore front their own bias and in certain cases cause them to rethink on their decision.

Whatever the case might be, whether there is a flaw identified, or a bias revealed, or even neither of the two, we are presented with a winning opportunity when we choose to ask questions rather than accept fate when faced with rejection.  This winning opportunity might perhaps be the reason why you don’t need to try 3 more times before you get your desired ‘YES’.

 

A Reason to Hope

I listened to Bernie Sanders speak in the days after the historic US election that saw the unlikely Donald J Trump emerge as the president-elect of the United States of America. I heard him say that he was very hopeful and optimistic about the future of their country even as he has written in his new best selling  book ‘Our Revolution’.

However, his enthusiasm has little or nothing to do with Trump’s election but everything to do with the young, vibrant, beautiful, and enthusiastic young individuals he met as he traveled across the United States during his own campaign to be the Presidential candidate for the Democratic Party.

Then I thought to myself, if Uncle Bernie is hopeful about America because of THIS reason, then we have even more reasons to be hopeful about Nigeria and Africa at large. Spread across our great land are young, energetic, dynamic and bright individuals who are passionate about the future of our country.africa-green-ring

Young men and women who are awaken to the fact that our leaders can do little to help us. Therefore, we must now take it upon ourselves to do everything we can to help them. We will hold them accountable on how they lead and govern us. We would participate as much as we can in the affairs of things. We would create businesses and opportunities for ourselves and the people around us. we would use whatever resource we have to build our nation.

Young men and women who are awaken to the fact that our leaders can do little to help us. Therefore, we must now take it upon ourselves to do everything we can to help them.

Consciously or not, we are beginning to see that we don’t need titles or positions to lead. We can do our own bit starting from where we are. If there is not so much our country can do for us, then there is so much we can and will do for our country.

We won’t relent till we see Nigeria become great again and Africa take a leading position in world affairs.

I am very hopeful about the future of Nigeria and you have reasons too.

Stay believing.

Afolabi

Why you should be a Futurist too

Without being too technical in my definition; a futurist is basically a thinker who plans for the future. He assesses the trend and situation of things today and with that make judgments and decisions that will position him to lead tomorrow.

Mary Kay Ash believes that there are 3 types of people- those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wondered what happened. Futurists belong to the group of those who make things happen.

Sometimes it feels like all the big things that will ever happen in the world has happened already and there is little or nothing more that we can do. The truth is that it felt that way a few hundred years ago and look at how far we have come since then. Yes a lot has been done but yet, a lot more can still be done.

The next Bill Gates wont likely built a software system nor will the next Mark Zuckerberg build a social network platform. What will they build? That’s the questions futurist try to answer and is one you should ponder on too.

Futurists belong to the group of those who make things happen.

Regardless of whatever industry you play in, there are 3 questions you can ask yourself if you want to be futuristic.

1.     What can I expect to happen in this industry? You can draw answers from this by considering certain industry historical data and trends and then drawing predictive inferences about the future from them.

2.     What other things could be made to happen? Not everything is captured in history and trends. You need to also be up to speed on current plans within your industry. What product line are your competitors planning? What government policies are in the pipeline and how can they affect things when they finally happen? How can you be innovative and be a game changer in your industry? What can your next big move be?

Sometimes it feels like all the big things that will ever happen in the world has happened already…… it felt that way a few hundred years ago and look at how far we have come since then

3.     What do I want to happen? What would I rather have happen in this industry and how can I make it happen. Are there things I need to stop or are there things I need to join. What are the resources I need and who are the people that can help me build that future that I desire.

Our ability to provide answers to these questions will go a long way in helping us take vantage positions in the future that is beginning to happen daily. Statements about the future describe possibilities, probabilities or preferences. They help with good planning and good planning is always a good way to go.

Story of Our lives

Sometimes we wonder, how did I get to this place? How did I miss my way? How did I end up this way? But that is usually where our problem begin. Because we stop at wondering and we never really find answers to that question.
Therefore, history repeats itself again and after a while, you begin to wonder if what you’ve become is who you really are.

A thief, a murderer, a liar, a prostitute, a sinner, broke, uninspired, and the list goes on. But that in itself isn’t a problem. The problem isn’t that we question our identity but that we believe the wrong things about ourselves.

It is then that we stop trying because we have accepted fate. We deny ourselves a reason to try- to make an attempt. We start living a lie when we accept that lie as truth. Our thoughts then become self-fulfilling prophecies when they never should have been.

Story of your life? Perhaps yes.

Take a step back to where we started from- your wandering thoughts.

What if you don’t stop at wondering how you got to where you are. What if you find out the answers. What if you identify where you missed the road and tripped to rock bottom.

What if things can be different. What if the power to change is in your hands.

Then I believe you can trace your steps back and pick yourself up again. You may then learn from the past and history never gets to repeat itself. And when the question of identify comes up, you then don’t have to believe a lie as there are reasons to believe the truth. As long as there is hope of a better, you therefore try. You try and try and try again. And soon you get it right because you were made to do so.

A righteous man will fall several times, and several times he would rise again.

Story of my life? Definitely Yes!!

This truth liberates! Sets free!! Makes whole!!!

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

This must be said.

It grieves me when I wake up early to go to work only to find another man who had woken up much longer than I did preaching to souls that need to be preached to.

I am not saddened that they preach, but I think that if you’d go through all that sacrifice to do a noble thing, then that thing should be done right.

Painting pictures of hell, creating awareness about the existence of demons isn’t what the gospel is about. In fact, a strong rebuke against sin isn’t what the gospel is about too.

All that will never CHANGE a man. Only the gospel is the saving power of God. Only the gospel CAN make men be BORN AGAIN.

Think about it…The only reason why a *danfo driver uses a seat belt is because he sees that he is approaching a Lastma official. The instance he gets past the checkpost, he throws it away like we dispose used toilet paper. The Fear of *Lastma bends him to use the seat belt, but as soon as the sight is gone, he returns to his posture as a non seat belt user.

All those sermons about hell and the rest only put fear in the hearts of men. Fear bends people’s will, it doesn’t change it. As soon as the picture you paint fades from their heart( and it will fade b’cos really, we’ve got important issues like fuel to think about too ‪#‎lol‬), they soon return to the very things you tried to save them from.600x600

The gospel is the GOOD NEWS. It is a story of LOVE and perfect love casts out all fear. The Gospel doesn’t DEMAND change from people who can’t even change in the first place, it OFFERS change to those who would BELIEVE. The gospel doesn’t say go to church, rather it says God is running back to you, open your heart to him. The Gospel doesn’t demand that you love God, it preaches that God loves you, has sent his son to die for you so you can be forgiven of ALL sins, and so you can receive NOW, eternal life.

Think of it, who wouldn’t love God back after he has received God’s love and forgiveness. And love is the fulfillment of all the Law. When we see the love God has for us, we are propelled to reciprocate the love to him and the people around us.

So the next time you decide to preach the gospel, ask yourself, is my message a GOOD news? If no, then it’s probably not news at all.

Before you repost that facebook message, will this sow the seed of LOVE in men’s heart? If it won’t, then it is probably not worth your time.

Selah

*A Danfo bus is a commercial peassenger bus popular in Lagos Nigeria

*Lastma is a traffic enforcement agency in Lagos.

AOC Generation

I don’t really know how it works these days, but I remember well that while I was in secondary school, we had a habit of always asking our teachers whenever exams were approaching for what we called an AOC.

AOC is acronym for Area of Concentration. The idea is that, if we were taught 8 topics during that term or semester, and the exam will only cover say  4 topics, the AOC tells us where to focus our reading efforts on such that rather than read the entire 8 topics, we can focus effort and attention on the 4 guaranteed exam topics.  Good way to save energy, focus energy and increase efficiency!

While AOC proved to be a good idea in some cases; in some other cases, it wasn’t. There were times when certain ‘wicked’ teachers decided to mislead us by giving us wrong AOCs. So he says read topics 1 to 4, and then he ends up setting topics 5 to 8 in the exam. I’m sure you know that the result of that is usually not pretty. Someone reading this must have had such nasty experiences too. So early enough, I’ve learnt not to be an AOC dependent student; when I have an examination, I leave no stone unturned, master all I should; and in retrospect, I think it is a good idea that has worked well for me.

Being an AOC person is too risky as a student in school and even more importantly, as a student outside school. Many people want to know that ONE thing that they can do to become successful, that ONE thing they can do to make a first class in school, that ONE thing they can do to make more money, that ONE thing they can do to land that dream job, that one thing that will make their marriage heaven; just that ONE thing!

Newsflash- there is hardly a one-thing-to-do! Instead there are usually SEVERAL things to do. Success in life and any endeavor is rarely an easy-one way-formula. If it were, everybody would be successful. Further still, what works at a particular level might not at another level. To crown it all, life as a teacher doesn’t give AOCs… it doesn’t even have an examination timetable. You have to ALWAYS be prepared and not only that, you also have to be FULLY prepared.

You have to ALWAYS be prepared and not only that, you also have to be FULLY prepared.

In conclusion, examinations in life and other specific circumstances are not just given so that you can pass them. There are there so that you can become something by reason of them. There are there to certify that you have learnt enough if not all of what they are about. AOCs are good, but they only make you half baked. Sooner or later, questions will pop from areas outside your AOC. The question then is- will you be able to tackle them?

Afolabi Soaga

Dont Let a Crisis go to Waste!!!

Crises are very important. As much as we don’t like them, we honestly owe many of the progress we’ve made as a people to it. The greatest things have happened when things got messed up. Necessity is reputed as the mother of creation and crisis I believe is the mother of necessity. A crisis reveals in clear terms that something needs to be done and that certain things need to change.

It is obvious that Nigeria and the world at large are in a crisis state. Economies are heading for recession, the climate keeps surprising us by making certain things we only imagined in Sci-fi movies our daily realities, terrorism is on a record high, and things are just not ideal as we’d have loved them to.

So what do we do with all these crises we have at hand? What do you do with the punches that life is dealing you? Do you just do so well to dodge as many as you can and hence survive; or do you learn from these crises and confront them and hence thrive?

Crises are no doubt opportunities in disguise. Though its good to pray for opportunities, but not this kind. They rarely respond to your wishes and prayers. They don’t need an invitation from you. They have their own agenda that they are running and sooner or later, it will be your own turn. They are like summer and winter; your opinion is almost irrelevant to them. You can curse, nag, complain, be bitter etc. but you’d still have to live with them.

What you can and should do really is PREPARE for them. If we save in the days of plenty, we won’t lack in the days of famine.

In confronting a crisis, there are 3 things that are needful.

The first is to change something; one of the worse things you could do is to try to act in denial by refusing to change when confronted by a crisis. What crises do is that they change things around you and when things around you change, you also have to change. Change requires change. In the face of a crisis you should ask yourself the big question-what do I need to change about myself? That’s where the solution starts from! Do I need to spend less, save more, work extra, change environment, beef up security, form new alliances, break off certain relationships, form new habits, play less, pray more, etc. What do I need to do differently? If you try to do it business as usual, you’d end up worse off. Those who insist on the status quo when change arrives will find themselves on the wrong page of history.

Change requires change

The second is to develop tough skin. Crises are like seasons, they come and go. So eventually, it will pass away but only if you hang on will you not pass with it. When the going gets tough, only the tough gets going. In tough times, you have to develop tough skin. You shouldn’t back down or break down at every sight of discomfort or challenge. You have to be resilient and tenacious. You have to engage active patience; a patience that doesn’t just wait for dawn to come but that fights darkness while it awaits a new day.

The third is to stay hopeful; Do not let the candle of your hope burnout. Always keep hope alive. When a cup is broken, it will struggle to hold water. At that point, It differs not from a basket. You are not a basket and you can avoid becoming one by keeping the bond of hope alive. Against hope, keep hoping. Believe that better days are ahead. Find that silver lining in your stormy days and hold on to it till it dispels the clouds and brings you the rain of abundance that you desire.

Believe that better days are ahead

A crisis is indeed a veritable tool of progress for those who can handle it. A crisis is raw material for greatness. Never let it waste, make the most of it!

Afolabi Soaga

Things you should know about People

Understanding people is key to life success. Money doesn’t make the world go round, people do. The world is no good with all the money in it if their are no people to use that money. So, i think the most important aspect of your life isn’t just your money but the people in your life.

So below are some of the things you should know about people:

People like to be treated with honor, value, and respect.  Even in cases where they don’t deserve it, people will still expect respect from you. You must understand that this is a fundamental human need for people.

Everyone has a price. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can buy them with money. Rather it implies that people can be reached, influenced, and won over. Whether its by affirmation, acts of service, gifts, or whatever else appeals to their interests and needs, everyone has stuffs they value and respond to.

People are ultimately insatiable. They are always looking for greener pastures. There is no way you can hold back a man who is convinced that there is better for him elsewhere. Sadly though, most people are too lazy to pay the necessary price for their advancement; nonetheless, the desire to improve our lives is an unquenchable thirst in each and everyone of us.

Everyone has the seed of good in them. You should never write a man off. As long as he has life, no matter how terrible his past or present is, he can construct an edifice of a future. Men are ‘illimitable’! limits only exist in our minds and when those minds are liberated by truth, nothing cant restrict the success and progress a man can make.

Human destinies are somehow connected. Those you treat badly today might be in positions to repay you in the same manner tomorrow. Even if they are not, your wrong seeds will catch up with you and someone else somehow will pay you back on their behalf (some call this karma). So it pays to treat people well.

Here is a conclusion you should hold dear- Dealing with people is like playing a video game. when you know rules and how to play it, it becomes fun and easy to do. Before then, it would just be a frustrating activity of nothingness.

Cheers!

Afolabi Soaga

Dealing with people is like playing a video game. when you know rules and how to play it, it becomes fun and easy to do.

 

Plans, Purposes, and Pursuits

imagesPlanning is so important that even God in all his might doesn’t fail to plan. He always has a plan- A plan for the whole world and a plan for you and i. That’s why he is way ahead of the adversary because the next set of moves he’d make are plain before him. He is never caught off guard. (Jer 29:11)

So if God makes plans, why don’t you?

Some take consolation in verses in Matt 6 which advices that we take no thought of what we will eat and drink and of our tomorrow. But really, that verse had no reference to planning! What Jesus was addressing in that portion of scripture is worry; and even though there is a thin line between both, there is also a huge difference between them.

So if God makes plans, why don’t you?

Worry is negative. It drains you. It is an abuse of your imagination and as such should be avoided. Planning is positive. It requires you to stretch yourself, task your imagination, and exercise your faith in God and his abilities in you and through you.

In Luke 14:28 Jesus advises that whoever who set out on a project must first sit to count his cost to see if he has enough to complete it. He said that whoever fails to do so is at risk of failure and shame. Planning is a preparatory act that can’t be ignored. Opportunity only favors the prepared; the man who has planned.

Many people refuse to plan because they don’t want to risk failure. They have probably set goals in the past that they failed to meet and are afraid to repeat the same. I heard once that If you aim at nothing, you will hit it a 100% of the time. Refusal to plan and set goals for those people will never make them better. If you refuse to take risks, you might not fail, but you’d definitely not win. So I advise that you set those goals. Really, you have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

Opportunity only favors the prepared; the man who has planned.

When you make plans and set goals properly, you’d most like succeed at them. Properly means that you set appropriate and worthy goals and that you map out strategies to score them.

Other people fear making wrong plans that are contrary to what God has planned for them. In someone’s opinion, why make plans for myself when God has already made some for me? My question to that is- is that a submission to fate or a confession of faith? The former I dare to say. God indeed has plans for you but he won’t force them on you. He needs you to take those plans for yourself and work them out through his help. Proverbs 16:3 (GNB)- Ask the LORD to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.

is that a submission to fate or a confession of faith?

My plans? I want God plans! So do I. Nothing stops you from making God’s plans for yourself. God is always trying to let us on in on the plans he has for us. Php 2:13(GNB) says God is always at work in you to make you willing and able to obey his own purpose. Isa 55:8 wasn’t referring to you. It is the wicked man that God asked to forsake his ways. Yes, God’s thoughts and plans are higher and better than the ones we can make for ourselves. But God wants us to know that we can attain those thoughts (1Cor2:9-10). He has no glory in hiding them from us but takes all glory in us living them out.

So, don’t be afraid to make plans for your life. Set BHAGs and pursue them. Commit your desires to God who is able to do immeasurably than you can plan for yourself and watch him do wonders through you and for you. You’ve got nothing to lose!

 

Afolabi Soaga

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Dont be all about the money

money.jpgA lot of businesses are not successful and profitable in Nigeria because those who run them are going about their business the wrong way. Statistic says that only 1 in about 3 startup businesses in the country lives longer than 5 years. This shows that there is something wrong with the way our entrepreneurs exercise their entrepreneurship.

I have found that most business owners in Nigeria are all about the money. They are only in business just to make money from people and enrich their pockets. They really don’t have long term commitments to the business or the people they serve. They just want their business to cater to their various needs and luxuries now.

I am of the strong opinion that meeting needs ought to be the priority of any  business venture; solving problems and not making money. I don’t like the idea of starting business just because you have to make ends meet or simply because you cant find a job. That’s the reason many people start businesses in Nigeria. These are good reasons to launch into the waters of entrepreneurship but they should not be your only and or leading reason.

I don’t like the idea of starting business just because you have to make ends meet or simply because you cant find a job. These are good reasons to launch into the waters of entrepreneurship but they should not be your only and or leading reason.

This is not to say that making healthy profits in business is wrong because right next to meeting needs is making profit. But never before it. You can make profits without meeting needs; it won’t just be sustained. And yes, you can meet needs without making profit too; but that is hardly the case except you are running a charity.

The point however here is that your chances of making sales, increasing returns, and making healthy profits are enormous when you are focused on meeting needs rather than on making money.

We don’t have strong brands in Nigeria. A strong brand is one that resonates both functionally and emotionally with its customers. No brand will promise to just make money off its customers although many act just like that. They don’t promise that because it is common sense to know that people are not looking for people to give their money to; they are seeking people who will solve their problems and they will pay sufficiently for such help.

It is said about God, that we shouldn’t go after his gifts but rather after him, the giver of the gifts. Likewise, businesses shouldn’t go after the money of their customers but rather the customers themselves. When you have me, you have all that I have (my money inclusive). Even in cases where repeat business isn’t possible, the moment you win me over, you can be sure I’d replicate myself to patronize you through friends, associates and family.

Businesses shouldn’t go after the money of their customers but rather the customers themselves.

Businesses ought to be in the business of sweeping their customers off their feet, taking their breathe away, blowing them into unprecedented ecstasy. You should be trying to win people and not make money. Because money is temporal, always moving places, but people are always there. Because money is owned by people and not people by money; it is wise to be after them than after their money.

You cant make real money in life if you are all about money. You have to be about several other things. You have to be about service, about giving, about management, deferring gratification, making sacrifices and investments, making wise decisions, etc. Money alone doesn’t make rich, these other things do.

Afolabi Soaga

 

A Christmas day Speech

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Our Christmas barbecue in church was tagged ‘Jesus’ birthday’. And like some other birthday parties we attend, folks were given the chance to talk about the celebrant. How they met him and how their relationship has been thus far. I didn’t get passed the mic and so I’ve decided to recount my own story here.

*coughs*

As much as I’d have loved to, I can’t remember the exact day, hour and second I met him. Like I can’t remember the exact day, hour or second I met my other friends. Maybe it’s because it wasn’t a ceremonious meeting, or maybe it’s because our love happened softly. They say it’s wise to choose good friends; in my case, the best friend there can ever be chose me and I’m glad I agreed.

in my case, the best friend there can ever be chose me and I’m glad I agreed

I’ve always been a ‘Christian’ for the most part of my life that I can remember. I did everything the average Christian does. I attended church services as often as I could, I argued about religion at every slight opportunity, gave my own share of N5 when it was offering time, slept through sermons only to be tapped out of it rudely by ushers, etc. it’s a good thing to have been raised up a Christian. But I find that all my parents did was introduce me to a religion and that helped me find faith and Jesus. You don’t find Christ until you believe him and his gospel. And that didn’t necessarily happen at an instance for me really, it was a gradual deepening process that I went through over time. That’s partly why I don’t have a date I can name. All I can say Is that I have come to believe on him and I always re-affirm this faith as often as I have needed to.

And that didn’t necessarily happen at an instance for me really, it was a gradual deepening process that I went through over time

Now to how our relationship has been thus far…

The first thing that strikes me about the lord is his love for me. Ours has so far been a truly true love story. Countless times I have failed and disappointed him; countless time he has forgiven. Why and how he does it, I can’t exhaustively explain, I don’t even try to reason it out, I just enjoy and bask in it. Jesus’ love has never been conditional. He’s loved me at my best and at my worst. When the feeling was mutual and when it wasn’t. Whether I felt like it or not. His love has been that constant ‘X’ in my life’s mathematical equation.

His love has been that constant X in my life’s mathematical equation.

His loving me has taught me what love really means and has led me to love him much too. It has also taught me to love others; to be tolerant of their faults, to always look for the best in them, and to always offer to help bring out their best at all times.

His faithfulness is epic. Just when you think he’d leave you, there he remains with you. Through thick and thin, he’s never ashamed of you even when you are ashamed of yourself. His loyalty is legendary. He has been faithful to me and the things that are important to me.

Then there is his grace. I like to call it my shine. Prior to our relationship, I was pretty much average. There was no boldness, no confidence, no uniqueness; or maybe they were all there, but I never found them. Christ has helped me see my best self and attain it. Of course this is a process; I keep getting better and better, brighter and brighter, smarter and smarter, wiser and wiser, richer and richer, finer and finer, every day and in every way. God’s grace has made and is continuing to make all the difference in my life.

And lastly, he gives me hope. That hope is why I’m always joyful, positive and full of life and energy. I truly understand what it means to have life and have it abundantly. I am truly alive. Not that I don’t have bad days, but through it all I shine. Nothing ever keeps me down. I’m aware that he’s always got my back. I know that in the end, it will all be alright; and that if it isn’t, then it is not the end. No matter how today seems my future here on earth and hereafter is never bleak. His hope brings this boundless excitement into my life. And this means a lot to me. It allows me fly without wings, be free just as the wind; it allows me to be me and to enjoy the process of living life.

His hope brings this boundless excitement into my life. And this means a lot to me. It allows me fly without wings, be free just as the wind; it allows me to be me and to enjoy the process of living life.

There are countless other things to write, but I’ll save ink and paper for another day. This has not been an attempt to get you to believe in Jesus and start your own relationship with him (if you don’t already do so); it has only been an attempt to share my overwhelming experience with my savior. I’ve only written as much as words and talent can permit me, there is so much more to our relationship than I can find words to express. If this moves you to want to have this same experience too, then I’d be glad it did, and I’d be happy to help out.

Compliments of the Season.

Have a prosperous new year!

 

 

 

Our Wrong Approach to Innovation

In our quest as a nation and continent to stop being BUYERsellers but rather SELLERbuyers, the drive and push to create and innovate things is greater now than ever. People are being encouraged to look past the theory they are being taught in school and get practical with the knowledge they get; to look past seeking jobs where there are none to creating jobs others can find. We are in the long awaited era of creative and innovative African entrepreneurs.

We’ve gone past the period where we thought that creativity and innovation was a white man’s thing; that the answers to our problems will only come from outside our shores as a nation and continent. We now know that it is our duty to take responsibility for our growth and development and that it is dutiful for us to contribute to world development for we have the capacity to do so.

Yes we now know, but knowledge has never been enough. How do we then make the change, what course of action should we take? What is our strategy? If we have a strategy, are we doing it the right way and what are our chances of success with our present direction?

Yes we now know, but knowledge has never been enough

Typical innovation news we hear in Nigeria goes like this- 7 Unizik students produce automobile bus with local material; Enugu boy builds airplane without engine, 3 Kwasu students built a rocket prototype, etc. while these are all credible achievements that are perhaps worth celebrating, they are still a far cry from the best we are capable of. They are good enough, but good enough they say is never good enough. Those stuffs are good enough for museums but not real life markets.

Innovation-Africa

A good footballer doesn’t go to where the football is; he goes to where the football is going. The problem with those inventions we are celebrating is that they are not even where the world’s ball is at the moment, the world has far gone past those things. It’s like we are playing catch up with the past. How are we ever going to make progress that way?

It’s like we are playing catch up with the past.

We need to stop creating what others have created and stop solving problems that have already been solved. That is not innovative, it is only being re-inventive. While that isn’t a bad thing, I believe that we are capable of better things. Worse still, these catch-up products of ours are still of no quality based advantage when in comparison with the originals we copy.

Our university system also has a similar problem. Final year students are encouraged to work on thesis other people have worked on before. So it’s a copy-and-paste exercise for them. They are not encouraged to champion new frontiers and make new discoveries. They are trained to follow rather than lead. (Again, most of these research works end up in shelves somewhere not really contributing to global knowledge or advancement in their field)

Africa has unique problems; Africa can produce unique solutions

All these can change. Africa has unique problems; Africa can produce unique solutions. To really get to the level we are capable of as Africans, we need to do these things

  1. Stop playing catch up with the past– We need to be charge up our curiosity and ask questions- questions about the future; the future of any field we are playing in. We need to figure out where the ball is going and map out ways and means of getting there before the ball does. Only then can we be reckoned with as good players and only then can we score innovative goals
  1. Even if we’d tackle the same problems that others are tackling; We should do it better. I understand that some needs are universal and generational. People would always have to eat, move around, shelter and cloth themselves. But we don’t have to solve these problems the way they have always been solved. We can solve them in a more distinctive, efficient and timely manner. Our offerings become more valuable that way.

Great new innovations are usually high on two things. The first is the solution or value they provide; second is their divergence from the norm. You and I are capable of creating such solutions; we are capable of delivering on our duty towards world development and prosperity for all of mankind.

Be Great!

Afolabi Soaga

 

 

 

The 1 thing all creatives have in common

A study of the top 50 game-changing innovations over a 100 year period is reported to have shown that nearly 80% of those innovations were sparked by someone whose primary expertise was outside the field in which the innovation breakthrough took place.

Post-it notes, Xray, penicillin, saccharin, and even cornflakes are all stumbled-upon inventions; some of which were done by someone completely outside their field of expertise. Firework for instance, is believed to have been invented by an unknown cook in china…do your research 😉creativity-1452t3r

That says a lot to me about creativity. So imagine yourself teaching in a secondary school somewhere In the north for NYSC and then you stumble on an engineering breakthrough innovation while at it.

‘lol’. You say. ‘That rarely happens’. True! But it could happen. That’s what that study I started with tells us- that you can find the most amazing things in this most unexpected places. I’ll now tell you how you can make such happen.

you can find the most amazing things in this most unexpected places

The one important key to unleashing creativity and creating innovations is resourcefulness. Resourcefulness doesn’t necessarily mean having so many resources but rather being able to make useful whatever resource you have available.

Sticking to our example of a teaching role during your NYSC program – Yes you won’t have access to technological labs or resources; but you’d have access to other resources like textbooks, rudimentary tools, local technologies, and people with unique problems. Resourcefulness asks you a question of what you can do with what you have at hand!

Resourcefulness asks you a question of what you can do with what you have at hand!

To be resourceful, you’d have to look beyond what your resources can do and has done to what they haven’t done but can possibly do. You’d have to THinK- Think possibilities. Think function and not reputation; think ‘CAN’ and not ‘HAS BEEN’.

I recently boarded a bus for a long distance journey. Sitting beside me was an elderly woman. She sat close to the window and had to deal with the problem of the harsh sun rays which fell directly on her through the window. What she did was remarkable. She pulled out her scarf from her bag and made it into a curtain. Problem solved!

Think function and not reputation; think ‘CAN’ and not ‘HAS BEEN’.

That looks like a no brainer right? But I think it really illustrates my point. She was resourceful with what she had. She looked beyond the reputation of her scarf which has always been that thing she ties on her head for fashion sake to some function it could perform. She looked beyond what it has always done to what it could possibly do. She looked beyond the rules, broke them, and created new rules and that solved her problem.

Creative people have little regards for reputation and status quo. They think little of what can’t be and what has always been. They think more about what can be and what hasn’t yet been. They are futurethinkers; possibility-makers. They are resourceful and you can be too.

They think little of what can’t be and what has always been. They think more about what can be and what hasn’t yet been.

BE Great!

There are 2 types of people

There are two categories of people in the world- The BUYERsellers and the SELLERbuyers. Everyone buys and sell. The difference between both categories is that the BUYERseller buys more than he sells while the SELLERbuyer sells more than he buys. The BUYERseller doesn’t necessarily buy more than the SELLERbuyer does, he/she only buys more than he/she sells.

Countries can also be grouped in a like manner. While some countries are BUYERsellers, others are SELLERbuyers. Nigeria for instance, belongs to the former. We import more than we export. As a result, we run a deficit balance of trade, and hence, we have an economy that could be doing far better than it currently does. We are not alone. Most third world countries also belong to the BUYERseller category and they’ll remain third world until that change. Developed countries on the contrary are SELLERbuyers; and as long as they remain that, they’d continue to be ahead.

It’s important to note also that the country a man lives in doesn’t necessarily decide which category he falls into. There are SELLERbuyer Nigerians as much as there are BUYERseller Americans. So neither race, background, gender or any other caste can be used to predict the market category a person falls into. So at every level and in all cases, it’s all about personal choices. If you seek more value than you add, then you are a BUYERseller and if you choose to give more value than you seek, then you are a SELLERbuyer.

A BUYERseller is primarily selfish. He cares basically about himself only. He isn’t bothered about what other people need. As long as his needs are being met, he’s good. A SELLERbuyer on the other hand is selfless. He is so concerned about the needs of others such that sometimes he even places that before his own needs. His satisfaction isn’t in having his needs met, but rather in meeting needs.

A BUYERseller searches for people who have the supplies he requires. He is willing to devote his brain power, energy and resources (money) towards meeting his needs. He works because he needs to; because that’s the only way he can pay for his needs. He is typically the kind of person that can’t wait for the closing hour. He’s not concerned about doing his best job, he just wants to get through the day.

A SELLERbuyer is consistently looking for people who needs what he has on offer. He devotes his brain power, energy, resources and his whole self towards meeting the needs of others. He doesn’t just work for the money, he works because he is passionate about what he does; about the change he is making in the world and he is simply glad he is being paid handsomely for it. He is never a part of the problems of the world, he is the solution to them.

 

A BUYERseller is a consumer. He places premium on liabilities (things you spend money on) while a SELLERbuyer is a producer. He places value on assets (things that fetch you money) instead. One would expect a BUYERseller to have more liabilities than a SELLERbuyer but NO! that’s not the case. Although a BUYERseller has more liabilities than he does assets and a SELLERbuyer has more assets that he has liabilities, SELLERbuyers generally have more liabilities than BUYERsellers could ever have because they usually have more money.

 

The situation we have in the world today is such that we have more BUYERsellers than we have SELLERbuyers. By effect, it is safer and more convenient to be with the BUYERseller group but it is far better and profitable to be in the SELLERbuyer group.

 

 

Although a BUYERseller has more liabilities than he does assets and a SELLERbuyer has more assets that he has liabilities, SELLERbuyers generally have more liabilities than BUYERsellers could ever

It’s basic simple economics; value is directly proportional to rarity. The world has more consumers than producers; that means more problem owners than solution givers. So there is a greater demand for solutions than the supply of it. Money usually flows in the opposite direction of value; those we seek it will pay those who give it. Inherently, solution is more valuable than problem; because it is rare. And the fact that there are more people seeking it than people giving it means that a producer gets to deal with more consumers than consumers get to deal with producers.

rich-man-poor-man

 

What should you do with all these terminologies and stuffs I’ve said?

 

Make a change if you are a BUYERseller. You were not born that way; you became it by reason of the choices you have been trained to make. Now you can renew your mind and fix things. You can decide that you’d give more value than you’d ever need. That’s the only way to getting paid more than you’ll ever pay.

That’s the only way to getting paid more than you’ll ever pay

And beyond the promise of wealth that this change offer; the joy of seeing yourself change the world by solving its problem is extraordinary. Nothing can be compared to it!

 

Be Great!

 

 

 

Forging your Business Ahead (a tale on opportunities)

One thing that aspiring speakers look forward to is an opportunity to speak at events. The bigger the crowd, the bigger the excitement; the higher the caliber of people you have in the audience, the better the opportunity.

I recently turned down one such opportunity. It was at an event that had one of Nigeria’s foremost and most notable speaker and consultant in attendance. Okay, maybe I didn’t turn down the opportunity per se, but I didn’t push for the chance even though it was somewhat presented to me.

The decision could have been motivated by either of 2 things- fear or wisdom.

The prosperity of fools will destroy them (Proverbs 1:32). I wasn’t prepped to make a presentation that day. If I had decided to just wing it, I feared that I’d flop it and make a mess of myself. I believe that It is somewhat wise to turn down opportunities you are not prepared for.

I believe that It is somewhat wise to turn down opportunities you are not prepared for.

A take home from that however is to always be ready. Wiser is the man who is ready for his opportunity when it comes. Like the 5 wise virgins in the bible, don’t wait for opportunity before you get ready, instead be proactive; be always ready!

**

Maybe I was ready; I was simply also afraid. Fear is a dangerous enemy. I have found it to be more dangerous than whatever caused it in the first place. Fear is a fierce thief that steals your willpower and prevents you from achieving things that aren’t beyond you. Often it starts little, but the more you tolerate it, the stronger it gets and the weaker your will becomes.

Fear is a fierce thief that steals your willpower and prevents you from achieving things that aren’t beyond you

A take home is that one should be ruthless when dealing with fear. Because fear never goes easy on you, don’t go easy on it. You’ve got to kill it before it kills you. How? Take courage. Courage they say isn’t the absence of fear, but taking action despite of it.

**

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Image Credit: Google

Bringing it home, how can you relate this to your brand or business?

Never be in a haste to get publicity. Always note that a good service will bring 3 more customers while a bad one will chase 3000. Make sure you have all angles covered at all times; you can’t afford to be scrappy. Soon your chance to showcase your brand big time will come; will the chance make you or ruin you? Preparation + opportunity (publicity) = success

failure is often a stepping stone on your way to success

Also, believe in your brand and the experience you have to offer. It is only then that others are permitted to believe in it too. Don’t be afraid to fail; failure is often a stepping stone on your way to success. Believe in yourself enough to share your gifts with the world. Many rewards await you.

Be great

Afolabi Soaga

Increasing your influence Level

What is Africa’s biggest problem? If you are thinking its poverty you are wrong. What is Nigeria’s biggest problem? If you are thinking its corruption, once again you are very wrong. You see most of those stuffs you might be thinking about are not the real problems we have. They are products of it. And like someone said, if you don’t like the mangoes a mango tree in your yard is producing, rather than pluck off all the mangoes, get rid of the tree.

Quite frankly, Africa has a leadership problem. Unlucky the land whose king is a young pup – Eccl 10:16 (MSG). In other words, poor leadership often leads to calamitous consequences for a nation or people.

ERFA-Logo-no-backgroundWe often debate why the youths today aren’t allowed to take active part in governance in this part of the world. Fixed in this article is a picture of former Nigerian head of state, General Yakubu Gowon exchanging a handshake with young Justin Trudeau in the 70’s. Today Justin is Canada’s Prime minister.  But from the picture, Gowon was quite young then; but his fellows from that generation have remained in power because we have a cultural problem that attaches more importance to positions and titles than to leadership via influence. This is proved in the recent drama that happened in the Nigerian Soccer team. See my post about it here

we have a cultural problem that attaches more importance to positions and titles than to real leadership

So moving forward, how do we change this? Starting with you and I, we need to start modeling the LWT principle. To do that, we need to build influence.

There are two broad routes to building influence. The first is respect and the other is likability. Which of the two is more important? Perhaps none. The good news is that, unlike what many people may want you to think, you don’t have to substitute one for the other. You don’t have to sacrifice being liked for respect and vice versa.

Neither is gotten on a platter of gold. You’ve got to earn being respected and being liked.

4 ways of earning respect and building influence thereby are

  1. Respect others: Respect is reciprocal. This is so true. Some call it the yellow rule of life. Respect is like a two way street, it usually flows in both direction. So wherever it seems like respect is lacking, you open up a way for it by generously giving it to others and it will make sure it finds its way back to you. So have good manners, say thank you, don’t use curse words, value people’s personalities, choices and opinions.

    12105974_1058114634231340_3100945207053990519_n
    photo credit: Google
  2. Respect yourself: Quite honestly, people won’t treat you any better than you treat yourself. Likewise, you are not capable of treating people any better than you treat yourself. So before you can truly respect others, you’ve got to have some respect for yourself. So value yourself; celebrate yourself. Funny thing is that self-respect isn’t earned, it is deserved. Also, it is a choice. choose it because you deserve to be respected.
  3. Exhibit Integrity: Integrity is a social capital. Basically it means you being true to your words; being somebody people can vouch for. This isn’t so hard to be. Its as simple as not promising what you can’t deliver and you delivering whatever you promise. If that is hard, then don’t make promises. Simple!
  4. Achieve Greatness: This is key. Once you are a person people can identify with success, they won’t find it hard to pay you respect. The point is, for every success you achieve, every victory you get, every breakthrough you make, you earn the right to people’s respect. They owe it to you and in most cases, they wont be able to help but respect you. The only other option they have is to hate and that will age them faster. That’s a greater loss than paying respect to who it is due.
self-respect isn’t earned, it is deserved. Also, it is a choice. choose it because you deserve to be respected.

So in this link you’d find the other part to this post. They are 4 things that will get you to be liked and thereby build influence. I hope you find time to read it too.

Be great

Afolabi Soaga

Oliseh, Enyeama and Captainship

The recent drama that ensued between the new Nigerian soccer team head coach, Sunday Oliseh, and the ex-captain of the team, Vincent Enyeama, who also announced his retirement afterwards, is nothing short of epic as far as I’m concerned. One can create a multiple award winning movie out of it but then, I’d just stick to making this article around it.

To Summarize the whole story from at least one party’s point of view, the new coach wanted a new team captain because he believes that’s what works best for him. The then present captain, who also is the most experienced and capped member of the team didn’t like the idea. He wanted to remain captain. Conflict arose and someone had to leave the team for the other to remain. end of story

One can understand the ex-captain’s position a little bit. Being stripped off the captain band after committing no offense could be a little hard to deal with. Nevertheless, its no reason to cause drama or react aggressively.

It all boils down to one thing. Misplaced values.OLISEH-ENYEAMA

Here is what I mean.  There is a philosophy called the LWT. LWT stands for Lead Without a Title. The center idea around this philosophy is that you don’t need a title or a position to lead a group of people.  That means you can lead from wherever level or position you are in any unit od society you find yourself.

To do this however, one would have to have influence. Influence is the ability to sway a person or group of person’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions towards achieving a goal. According to Leadership expert John C Maxwell, Leadership is influence (and consequently, influence is leadership).

There are two routes to ‘affecting’ people’s decision and actions. One is through authority/position/title. The other is through influence and charisma. Our society today places more value on the former than the later. That’s why we have people jostling hard and doing everything possible to get into positions without realizing that in leadership, authority without influence will fail, while influence without authority will succeed; The reason why the same old people who have led our country in the yesteryears are still the same people running for political positions today. Its because we think that there can be no leadership without a title. We think that we lose leadership and relevance once we lose position. This is false.

In leadership, authority without influence will fail, while influence without authority will succeed

They say musicians don’t retire; they only stop singing when there is no more music in them. By reason of being an ex-captain, and the team’s most capped player; I have no doubt about the fact that Enyeama had a level of influence in that soccer team that he could have leveraged on. But because he valued the position than his influence, he felt he just had to hold on to it. That of course has caused him an early retirement despite he still having a lot of music in him.

We must learn to have our values in order and give more importance to what is more important. Young men and women should not necessarily kill themselves over positions and titles which will not always go round, when they can spend that time and effort building influence. Influence can fetch you more authority and positions than positions can fetch you influence. Often time, other people decide what positions we are picked for, but no one can place a limit to what extent of influence you can build and have.

Influence can fetch you more authority and positions than positions can fetch you influence

Be Great!

Afolabi Soaga

PS: You can learn all about the LWT principle from robin sharma’s book -“the leader without a title”

Image Source: Google

L.O.V.E

I have heard a lot of people say that there is no such thing as true love. I completely disagree.

Quite evidently, there is a lot of falsehood and deceit everywhere. In many cases, counterfeits are usually produced in larger quantities than the original because they are cheaper and easier to make; but the existence of fakes isn’t disproof of the existence and reality of an original, as a matter of fact, it proves it.

When Jesus hung on a tree on our behalf, he proved and preached 1 Corinthians 13 in its truest and purest form. No greater love than this, than a man should die for another, and Jesus did die for us. Even in fairy tales, the greatest expression of true love is painted as when a man sacrifices his life for his lover.

How then does this relate with your search for true love or the existence of it.

In several places, the bible relates the love Christ has exemplified for the church with the same a man should have for his wife. A husband is required to love his bride as purely, deeply and intimately as Christ loves the church. That love should be so strong that it makes him one with his wife such that he loves her no less than he loves himself.

This Christ-like love is God’s expectation and requirement of us as men. We are not expected to give anything less. God won’t ask us to give something we are not able to afford. For every expectation God places on a man, he accompanies with it the capacity to fulfill it.4199531-you-are-in-love-normal

photo credit: Google

I therefore have no doubt about man’s ability to love his spouse truly and deeply, or on the existence of pure and true love.

We all just need to come to that point where we decide that we won’t give anything less nor settle for anything not true.

It is equally important that we don’t succumb to the idea of the non-existence of true love as claimed by several people who have probably had bad episodes in their lives’ drama.

It’s a lie you and I shouldn’t believe nor accept. Because our beliefs are simply thought patterns we have dwelt on for so long and have accepted as truth. As a result, they become self-fulfilling prophecies of our fate. The realities of our thoughts soon become the realities of our lives. If we choose to join the band wagon of people who claim and believe that only fake love is obtainable, then fake love would be all you can attract to yourself and give to others.

We must come to terms that true love isn’t just a fairy tale fantasy that is possible only in Disney movies, but rather a present day reality of a wise few who dared to believe in its possibility. We must believe that pure love is attainable even in this degenerated generation of ours.

We must believe that love is indeed beautiful and that we have the capacity to give and receive it in its whole, pure and best form; and that even if the true love doesn’t become everybody’s reality, it can and will be ours especially if we commit ourselves to giving it.

When you think this, that’s just what you’d get.

#IBelieveInLove

Soaga Afolabi

IWrite, ISpeak, IINspire

Relationship and Emotional Status: COMPLICATED 1

So many young people when asked about their relationship status will tell you it’s complicated. some say it just or fun, others mean it. i’ve been in complicated modes at several times in my life. sometimes its because you are not sure if what you have with a person is a relationship, or sometimes you are not sure what type of relationship you have with a person. at other times, its because you are at a cross road of deciding who to commit to between two people you are attracted towards. this could be a really tough position to be in and i’d be saying one or two things about this.

You dont need a rocket science to convince you not to commit to a relationship if you don’t love the person; and its rational and relatively easy to opt for a person you love more than the one you love less. But at times, we honestly cant tell who it is we love more or less and we sometimes cant categorically say whether it is really love we are feeling.Stressed-Out-Woman

So lets answer this question- is it really possible to be in love with two different people?

To start off, we need to be clear on what love means. Love is probably one of the most complicated thing to define. At times, the best people can do is describe it; and many people have varying descriptions for love. One thing however many people will describe their ‘in love’ experience as is is a passionate attraction to someone else. Love is defined by the dictionary as a strong feeling of affection and sexual attraction for someone.

From this definition and description, one thing is clear, and that is- love is at its basic form- a feeling.

Like every other feeling, it is stimulated by some sort of stimuli, which in the case of love could be appearance, intelligence, wealth, or some other thing that a person finds valuable and attractive. This stimuli/feature is what attracts us to people. Love doesn’t just happen; something makes it happen. Whether you can identify what attracted you to a person or not is subject for another day. But like every other feeling, i believe love is a cause and effect phenomenon and most people will agree with me on that.

The bone of contention however is if one could have this special feeling for more than one person.

In response to that, someone queried once that if it is possible to have the feelings of empathy, sympathy, anger, and any other emotionally feeling people have that you can think of, for more than one person, why should love which is also a feeling be any different? If you can love your parents and also your siblings truly, why cant you also be ‘in love’ truly with multiple people ?

I believe that nobody is a monopolist of all the qualities we desire in a partner. Even if one person has all the qualities you have on your list (imaginary or written), he is definitely not the only one in the world that does so. So it is often possible that we meet several people over the course of our lifetime that possess these qualities and we will be as such drawn towards them.

This dilemma as i have found is often more prominent when we are single and searching. Its a bit different for people who have committed themselves into a relationship with someone they’ve identified that they love.  such people also do find people that they are drawn towards but usually have the luxury of being able to ignore those feelings as they distract themselves with their present romantic commitments. Since such people are no longer looking for a partner they perhaps see potential spouses a little differently, and so they label what they’d have called love as something else because they know they don’t want to jeopardize their existing love affair by contaminating it with feelings they aren’t even sure is mutual. Some are even too busy with the feelings they share with their present spouse or partner to notice another which might be building up while some just like being bad and so they ‘have an affair because life is short’. sometimes those affairs survive and replace existing relationships, sometimes they dont. but no matter how shallow the feeling that led to the affair might have been, they cant deny that the feeling was real and present at some point.

So from the ongoing, i dont think it is grossly impossible to have feelings for more than one person. i think that the idea of it being impossible to be in love with different people simultaenously  stems from our society’s decision to associate exclusivity with love, hence the concept of true love and fake love. We say true love isn’t just any feeling, its a special one; and so it is only possible to share it with one person. We see it as magic that happens once in a blue moon and as such cant be trivalised with other feelings such as fear, anger, or even happiness. i do not dispute the fact that untrue love exists. But the existence of feelings for a person no matter how deep doesnt always mean that the feelings for another person is fake no matter how shallow it is. feelings are feelings; they are really neither fake or real. they are just feelings.

The truth is, love is special only when you make it so. Love is exclusive only when you make it so.

Perhaps you cant love two people at the same level or with the same intensity, but i think you can love them both all the same. And that love no matter how little it is, it is real and it is true. as a matter of fact, in my case i found that there were times it looked like i loved woman A more, and at other times, i loved woman B more. i am certain i was attracted to both but at different times was more conscious of one than the other. Feelings are just so unstable, like fuel price. lol

An anonymous quote says that there is nothing worse that meeting the perfect person at the wrong time. Many people have had to deal with such hard feelings; some succesfully and others badly. I guess thats what led to some other person concluding that some people are meant to fall in love with each other, but not meant to be together.

So as far as love being a feeling, i do agree as i have experienced, that you can have such feeling of attraction and affection towards more than one person at different or same period of time. You could love them differently and for different things, you could love them at different degrees or extent; but what is true is that you love them all the same.

Add this to note, that two almost negating feelings can exist within you…like having two brutal dogs in the same cage. The one that wins and survives over time is the one you feed the most.

 

Good. Now here is the twist to this topic. read on here.Woman Staring Out Window --- Image by © Rick Gomez/Corbis

PS: lets have a discussion aboput this. write comments and share your experiences in the comment box below. you can also follow this blog to make sure you dont miss any of my posts. You can also like and share with people in your network.

Soaga Afolabi

IWrite, ISpeak, IINspire!!!

Image source: google

 

Super Mario

It is said that the greatest loss in life is not when we die, but rather what dies in us while we are yet alive. The graveyard is reputed to be the wealthiest place on the earth because it is home to a lot of dreams unachieved, potentials unprocessed and possibilities unattained.

Its that time of the year again, the EPL has started! Boys in town are breaking up with their girlfriends to rekindle that passionate affair with their various teams and leagues. There are so many talks about the big money transfers, the exciting fixtures, who is going to win trophies and individual glories, and who the losers would be. There are several names making the headlines these days but one person that seems to be absent from the whole party is BALOTELLI!BALLOTELLI

The Italy international who has played for top sides such as Manchester city, AC Milan and currently plays for the Merseyside team, Liverpool isn’t making headlines as he use to. When he makes the headlines these days, he does it for ‘pitiable’ reasons.

Some few years back, one could have bet his life on the fact that Balotelli was the next biggest thing in football. He has the skills, the strength and the platform. He can shoot from almost impossible positions, he is aggressive and is no doubt a threat to any defense in the world…or maybe i should have said was.

Recent report says Liverpool are supposedly interested in selling balottelli off. I heard they placed a figure of about 7 million pounds (which is less than half of what they paid for him) on his head but couldn’t get any offer for him  despite. The only team that looked interested is a second division team and even they were not willing to pay that much. Its funny how a chief corner stone of yesterday can become a reject today. selahmario_growth

Amidst the several points that could be raised to be responsible for Super Mario’s woes; one i count highly significant is his ATTITUDE.

That is one thing Balotelli hasn’t gotten right in his career. As a result, he has become another testament to the fact that skills and abilities can take you to the top; but they cant keep you there; That effort will beat talent when talent refuses to work hard; That your attitude indeed will determine your altitude in life; and that anyone who stands should take heed lest he falls; and that super mario isnt super if his attitude sucks.

One could make a list of the several things in life that are beyond our reach and control and our attitude will never make the cut. However, the recompense of our attitude might do so, but our attitude itself will never. You can choose to be optimistic, positive, full of life, hope, and passion, or you could choose to be otherwise. You can choose to be enthusiastic which in the original greek rendition means to be full of God or you could choose to be moody, lethargic and drawn-back. What is however out of your control is what your attitude rewards you with.

In conclusion, potentials and abilities mean nothing if you dont have the right attitude to combine them with. Attitude indeed is everything. You might not have control over everything that happens to you, but you can always choose to respond appropriately to whatever life throws at you. And with the right attitude to all circumstance, you will always hit the sky flying.images (2)

I sincerely hope things get better for Mario especially now that he has rejoined AC Milan, but first, its important he improves his attitude.

PS: Please remember to share with your network if you like and also follow this blog so you don’t miss any of my posts. Thanks!

Soaga Afolabi

IWrite, ISpeak, IInspire!!

BE BETTER

Lets kick off this piece with one of my favorite wisdom from the scriptures.

Answer a fool not according to his folly, lest you be like him; answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.

I’d like to say two important things about handling offenses.

First, not every word spoken to you deserves a response. Not every action taken against you deserves a reaction. Sometimes, silence is the best answer. The bible tells us that when a fool keeps quiet on a matter, then he is considered wise. Wise men know when speech is silver and silence gold. As a rule of thumb for me, if your speech or response to a matter won’t improve your value or the other person’s value, its best you keep your opinion to yourself.Meek-Mill-Drake

Taking into perspective the book of proverbs, 26th chapter which was earlier quoted; one thing is clear, the only time a response is required for a fool is when the response will help set the fool straight. If you are replying just to defend yourself or to hurt the enemy, you’d be either wasting energy or worst still doing yourself harm as well. Of course there would be cases in which a response should be given especially when the claims in question could affect your reputation, but even then; the availability of an appropriate answer, that won’t reduce you to level of your offender, should be considered before you respond.

Picture this, imagine me, a guy dressed up in a white shirt as i am as at the writing of this piece, and then imagine another person walks up to me and starts screaming at the top of his voice at me saying “hey, woman!, woman in pink!!”. Then imagine he persists at this to a point that he commands the attention of people around.

It would be a waste of my energy to get into a war of words with him. If i do, i would have only certified myself a candidate of yaba-left just like him. I am obviously a man and i’m wearing a white shirt. Such shenanigan behaviour doesn’t require a reply.

Whatever i say shouldn’t be said with an intention to hurt him. An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind. If he is saying what he is saying to hurt me and i decide to reply just to hurt him, proverbs 24 says we are both fools and I’m no better than he is. Before God and man, we are both guilty of the same thing.

So summary of point one is this, in essence, what should decide whether you answer a fool is your intention for answering. Am i answering to clear my reputation? or am i answering just to get on level terms? Do i even have to answer? To whom is my answer due? Will my answer add value to me or him or will it just keep as both in the gutter? All these questions i believe are the silent questions embeded in between those two seemingly conflicting statements of that verse of scripture in proverbs 26.

Secondly, it is best to resolve a conflict than to dissolve a relationship. Of course the terms of the relationship could change, you don’t have to be jolly good friends with everyone especially when they have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are foolish; but Jesus did make it clear that as much as it depends on us, we should be at peace with ALL men.

There is no wisdom really in making enemies or increasing the number of people that hate you. Hatred has no good to offer anybody. And so even if you believe a man isn’t qualified to be your friend, you don’t have to make him an enemy.

What does this imply? Same thing brother! Just give a wise response to the query of a fool. Dont give a response that will stir up more resentment and strife. A soft answer, the bible admonishes, turns away wrath. This is key! There is no point adding fuel to a fire a person set just to prove a point. Two wrongs can never add up to a right.adr

So folks, dont be quick to give a response at any time. Be sure, infact, be very sure that your answer either in words or deed will add value to you or in the least keep you where you were before you gave it. But the way words are, they never leave us the same way. They are that powerful. Once a word is spoken, it can’t be taken back; and the damage or beauty it creates is seldom easily reversed.

Have a great life people; be better!

*yaba-left is a popular psychiatry centre in lagos

 

Afolabi Soaga

IWrite, ISpeak, IInspire!!!

 

 

 

 

Auto Pilot: how to crash a life.

I once saw a funny picture captioned- ‘dear lord, can you please borrow me 5 million Naira from my wealth in the future ‘cos i kinda have some things to sort out right now’. If i didn’t know better, that would have been my kinda prayer today.

Have you ever wished just like me that you have a remote control in your hands that could just fast forward your life 5 years into the future, into that time when you have that beautiful wife, and drive that expensive car, and live in that elegant mansion, and into when you are signatory to that robust bank account and have that good life of your dreams. Sometimes i wish i could just cut through the bullshit of the present time and live the reality of my dreams and i bet we all do.

A thought line of this nature i believe led to the production of the 2006 hit movie ‘click’. The producers of the movie clearly played out the fantasy of a lot of us and like they showed in the movie, this kind of idea is quite lofty as it is also costly.click-50eae812b84e8

Here is what i mean.

In the movie, Michael Newman played by Adam Sandler was fortunate to meet an eccentric inventor who gave him a universal remote that allows him to control time. With that remote, Michael could pause, Play in slow motion or fast forward time. It looked like the perfect solution to his life problems as he could easily skip the boring moments of his existence and move into the exciting periods of his future.

There was one problem as he soon found. Skipping time meant he had to operate on auto pilot and that was costly. Let me tell you a bit about auto pilot and airplanes.  I might have not flown in a plane before, but I know quite a few things about airplanes. One of such is auto-piloting. I can credit this knowledge to movies like snake on a plane, passenger 57, soul plane, Airforce one, etc.

The Auto-pilot is a device for controlling an aircraft or other vehicle without constant human intervention. From what I’ve noticed in movies, it is basically used most often to relieve the pilot during routine cruising. It  maintains an aircraft in straight and level flight.  Since we are not engineers or aspiring pilots, we basically don’t need to know more than that. So how does this apply to life and Michael’s story?

Airplane-1300x724Lets take our lives to be airplanes that we are pilots of. Auto-piloting refers to when you are in a hands-off mode with regards the direction of your life. You are just auto-cruising and taking life as it comes. You are not putting much thought or efforts to the way you do things or respond to situations. You are not being innovative about your challenges and aspirations and you are just relying on your reserve abilities and tendencies to get through life. You are not proactive about the happenings in your life, you have become a master of the sentence ‘any how God wills it’. You are not creating the future you desire and could have but rather you are settling for a future that would be if all things remain equal. Sadly, all things are never equal. Your response to everything that happens in your life is “God wanted it that way”. When you are retired to fate in this manner, then you are on autopilot!

Auto pilot is quite fun and easy. No efforts required. Just a button and then you can go to sleep. With it you get to enjoy the luxury of selective participation.

But it is hella dangerous.

No good pilot dares switch to autopilot in the face of a storm. That’s a guaranteed suicide mission. You need all hands on deck when the slightest of storms show face. And here is the thing, life’s cruise is never without storms and challenges.

Everyday has its own challenge, every success its own joy, and every failure and pain with its lesson and wisdom. And to get the best of every passing moment of your life, you have to live through them. There is just no room for autopiloting in real life unless you want to crash.

You have to be observant, learning everything you can from every challenge faced whether you succeeded at it or failed. You have to be proactive to decide what course your life flies towards. There would be avoidable storms but only when you are on manual pilot can you avoid them or maneuver your way out of them.

The truth is that if there really is a remote that could fast forward time and you use it; you wont find yourself where you’d love to be. The future you’d find yourself wont be the one you dreamed of before using that remote. I have found that the best way to live your dreams is to create it and that can only be done through active participation in the process of you life.

I once told my younger brother something wise and i believe is quite applicable here…that the only change that occurs with time is decay. For growth and beauty, right effort must be combined with time.

In conclusion, be proactive about your life. Put thought and effort into your decisions and actions, understand the usefulness of every moment of your life and of every circumstance you find yourself in and with courage and determination, stride your way out of every storm life throws at you and come out on top like an eagle that you are.

Amour,

Afolabi Soaga

Be These (transcript)

 

Remember Guinness made of Black?

So, what are YOU made of?

Black? Green? Wine?

Wait!!!

Before you answer that…

Let me ask a bigger question

What are YOU made for?

Singing? Dancing? Teaching? Pastoring?

What if i tell you…

That you are worth more than that

That you can do more than that

That YOU are….

As powerful as the sun

And as important as the air

What if i tell you…

That you can be the super hero the world needs

Do you know?

You are the light of the world

You are the salt of the earth

Regardless of your specific profession and talents

You are always these- salt & light.

Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavors of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage.

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven. Matt 5:13-15 (MSG)

Salt;

…preserves

…Sweetens and adds flavour

Light;

…Shows leadership

…Provides solution

And lights up the world!!!

And so

Where ever you are

And in whatever you do

Be these.

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see videoclip here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DVrTcm4TpI.

kindly share with someone 🙂

In the face of Disappointments

Depressed Person

Everyone gets their own dose of it at some point in their existence on the earth. Disappointments in the story of our lives are like Snow fall in winter, you can bet on it. For some people it could be a failed examination, interview, business contract or relationship; or even the betrayal of friends and family; everyone of us at some point in life set our hearts on certain things and we just don’t get them while some others get certain things they never really wanted.

In a good number of cases, we don’t get what we want because we are not qualified for it or because someone else was more qualified than us. Relationships fail because people who were not ready for it delved into it. Interviews fail because people don’t prepare adequately and so goes the same for examinations.

Solution to this isn’t difficult to see. You don’t need to understand rocket science or see a prophet to know what to do here. If its qualification, get it. If its preparation, get it! If its timing, wait and be patient till you are ready. Whatever the case maybe, keep a positive attitude and try again more intelligently and appropriately.

But at times, the disappointments we face are entirely not our faults. There are times you felt that you’ve covered every possible angle and done all you can do and in all honestly feel you deserve the government contract or the A grade in that course but you still don’t get it. You’ve done your best and maybe didn’t even leave any ‘rest’ to God and yet still got disappointed. Such was my case in a recent project I embarked upon; uhm…..I did leave a ‘rest’ to God though 😀

The question then is, what do we do next after such?

Every disappointment poses a question to you. What are you gonna do next? You’ve got only 2 options. React or respond.

People that react either over react or under react. Hardly can anyone ever find balance when they are reacting because reaction is often outside your control. It is you taking action based solely on what occurred to you- in other words you become a thermometer whose results are influenced by external conditions. You are not in control, you are controlled and so you most likely act out-of-control. When the query is the right you also become right, but when its wrong like a disappointment then you become wrong too.

Responding to issues on the other hand is bringing things under control. It is you being a thermostat which regulates external conditions. It is you giving a reply based on the quality of yourself and not the disappointment of the stimuli. It’s is you being the influencer and not the influenced. You don’t just get to do what is normal or what you are expected to do; rather you do what is better, sometimes abnormal and most times extraordinary or what you ought to do.

See Proverbs 25:4-5. Don’t answer fools according to their folly, or you will become like them yourself. Answer fools according to their folly, or they will deem themselves wise.

Don’t the two statements sound contradictory to one another? Maybe not if you put sequence and scenario to it. The author there was saying that you shouldn’t hastily react to a fool’s utterance; you should respond to it. Hence, first it says don’t answer/react, then it says answer/respond.

Now lets talk about answering disappointments.

Its a mind thing. Disappointment troubles your mind. It tries to reconfigure your heart status. Hope took you on a high and reality is pulling you back…..managing the instability of this process is what dealing with disappointment is.

How do you win?

Stay hopeful by keeping your eyes on the bigger picture. Give substance to your hope by having faith and faith is a product of a belief in certain things like ‘all things are working together for your good’; ‘God loves you and wants the best for you’; ‘You are God’s investment in the world and his attention is on you as he is interested in every detail of your life’. He won’t let you fail.

He is able to do exceedingly and his plans are always better. And as he has begun a good work in your life, he is faithful to complete them. You didn’t come this far to lose.

When you shift focus from the disappointment of the hour to the bigger hopeful picture of life, then there becomes no challenge greater; no valley too deep and no mountain too big. We draw strength from our knowledge that the adversary has been defeated and so we are victors through God. And though a chapter of our lives may contain pain, suffering, and disappointment; we know that this book has a happy ending.

I’ll end on this note is stumbled upon once. It read “Sometimes when we don’t get what we want, it is because we are about to get better things”.

Soaga Afolabihopeful__always_by_sweetxxxgirlxxxjo-d4u7nxw

photo credit: Google

Two classes of people.

The other afternoon I was all by myself in my big little world and in front of me was this huge audience comprising people of all age, race, class and sizes. This is what I said to them.

There are certain things I want you all to know today. Very important things I should add. People go all around not knowing who they are or what they are worth. And so they end up living life as it is rather than how it ought to be. They play with the cards they are dealt without knowing that they could be served better ones. They settle for less when they could be having much more.

Today is correction day! If you fall into this category of people, do not be dismayed b’cos that is changing today. If you’ve ever felt bad about yourself or felt like life is not worth it or that you are not worth it. If you’ve ever felt like throwing in the towel, giving up or thought death to be better than life….then this is for you.

Let me show you who you are.

You are not a biological mistake or the worthless product of a failed abortion. You are not a mere offspring of a rape incident, one night stand, or someone’s uncontrolled lust and passion. You are way more than that.

You are created by a God of love. You are his investment in this world. A gift from him to mankind. You are a masterpiece. Carefully and thoughtfully put together. Another wonder of the world. And you are loved by him and priced far above iphones, Ferraris, private jets, and exotic vacations.

You are not just God’s investment, God also invested in you- talents, abilities, gifts, beauty, life, a mind with imagination, a spirit with resilience, a smile that inspires hope in you and others. He also invested in you people and quality relationships, and very importantly Dreams! You are a man/woman loaded and filled with substance. You have worth and value beyond what you can ever imagine. More still, you have all it takes to be all God has made you to be.

You are not just 1 of the 7 billion people in the world; you are 1 in 7 billion- Special, divine, unique and one-of-a-kind.

But I hear you say ‘I’m not fabulous’; I’m not fantastic and do not have greatness in me. Note this….we are not who we are, who we are, we ought to become. Man was not made a finality but rather a possibility. You can decide to be better than your present state……you can best your life!

That same creator that formed you also created the sun in all its efficiency, the stars in all their beauty, the moon in its tranquil, the ocean in its massiveness, the fishes and the birds and the entire universe and all its simple complexities. And so just like them, you are efficient, beautiful, and yes you are a BIG DEAL.

Hear this….

He also made the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and the whole of time. He is creator of time and seasons and though he is not in it, he made them all. And all the things he made he did for a purpose for he is a producer with intent.

He made you; he made them, and made all things for a reason. the question then is, what is that reason? this is the question many people seek answers to but not many people find. so today we have 2 types of people- those who know what purpose is about  but not what it is (purpose seekers), and those who know what it is and are living it (purpose doers). the difference between them is questions they seek answers to.

A lot of people chase after purpose all their days when those days ought to be spent living that purpose.

But you won’t be a part of that crowd anymore because now you know what purpose is. you know that purpose is a question of:

  • What are the things that I have at hand?
  • What is the best use of these things?
  • How can I profit with them and how can they profit other people?
  • What is the best use of my time NOW?

The answers to these questions are what you should find out. Find them out and let them be your daily guide.Let them decide what you pursue and how you spend your time. Its time you quit the race of people who are searching endlessly for the reason for their existence…people who in the quest to find a life for themselves have stopped living the life they have only to merely exist. Purpose isn’t something you merely ought to know, its something you should be constantly aware of; it is not something that will happen, but something that is happening.

I’m challenging you to live life, unleash potentials, and make impact every day, anywhere and in anyway. Each day has a purpose it ought to fulfil. If you can help each day of your life find its purpose…..then you would have fulfilled the purpose of your life.

Soaga Afolabi

The Uncle stereotypes.

Hey! Did I share the good news that my only sister (elder) just gave birth to a bouncing baby boy recently. If I didn’t do that before, I am doing it now. So writing this piece today is a proud uncle of a wonderful child of promise.

The first visit I made to my sister at the hospital after she put the bed was quite an epic one. It was my first hospital visit in a long while. I hate hospitals despite the fact that I kinda work in one. They do a good job though, but the smell of it irritates me. And to think that as a fresh secondary school grad I had intentions of studying medicine. Thaaar! Anyway, this isn’t about me and my hate of hospitals so let’s move on to other things.

As I stared into his glittering eyes that faithful day, it dawned on me afresh what a baby represents which is Responsibility. Having a child is a great task and so is being an uncle (he’ll soon start asking for candies and biscuits you know). It is infact one of the greatest responsibilities that exist because you are responsible for a whole and complete new life apart from yours. That’s much! And to whom much is given, much more is expected (parable of the talents).

So all these got me thinking about all the various types of uncles that exist and the type I’d want to be to my brand new nephew. Some uncles are good for nothing, some good for somethings, and others are adorable and fabulously good for ‘everythings’.

Let’s look at them one after the other.

Stereotype1: The uncle that stays with us. This kinda describes me right now because I currently stay with my sister and her husband for reasons I won’t disclose. Not for long though, my escape plan is in order *winks*. This kind of uncle falls into the category of good for somethings. They’ll help with house chores, if smart help with school work, and sometimes pass their undersized shoes and clothes to you. They can also become your confidant, cover up, and first line defence against parental discipline and attacks. But I can’t be this uncle! They really don’t have a life of their own as they truly can’t stay on their own. Simply put- they are over aged dependants!!

Stereotype II: The uncle that lives away but is always coming back. This one is like a step ahead of stereotype I because he has an apartment of his own. But he is always coming back because he needs one favour or the other from your parents. The good thing is that he buys you biscuits whenever he visits. Apart from that, everything else is same as stereotype I.

Stereotype III: The uncle that still is still a bachelor at 40. This reminds you of that your player uncle right? LOL. These are the lover boy uncles. He is not married, neither is he single. He just doesn’t want to make commitments and as soon as his present girl starts pressurizing him to pop the question he runs! He is likely to have a nice apartment, good car, good job but still thinks he is a kid and lacks the idea that he is getting old and time is going. This kind wont give you cousins or at best he’ll make you a ‘uncle-cousin’ i.e. cousin to people you can father. By the way, he is a bad example for you despite the huge influence he is likely to have on you during your teenage years because of his flashy lifestyle. The countless tales and pictures of the uncountable beautiful women he has dated is no good for the mind of a growing boy.

Stereotype IV: The uncle who is a wife in his house. For some reason there is a husband in his home but its not him. This type doesn’t even encourage any family member to visit him except those that like house chores and doing laundry. They get to assist him with his house work. The real issue isn’t that he isn’t winning the bread for his family (some stay home dads do), but that he lacks a sense of purpose for his life. He is a bundle of wasted potentials.

Stereotype V: The uncle who is rich and famous, but who you have never met. I hate this type. They are only good for when you want to feel important amongst your friends and so you start bragging about how related you are to someone important. He is consumed by work and has forgotten that family comes first. He has no time for even his wife and kids so…hello, who are you? Nobody should have success that comes at the expense of the people you love because in the end you’d only find loneliness and dissatisfaction there. By the way, most of them end up being suicidal and unfulfilled.

Stereotype VI: The uncle your dad hates receiving calls from because he’s always asking favours. Oh, he is also like stereotype II but this one doesn’t really visit. He is probably in a distant city just like stereotype V but this one is poor and not famous. Worst thing is that he is proud and egocentric and also feels your family owes him the favours he is always asking for. He’ll also accuse you of being proud when you don’t call him or send those ‘happy-new-month’ texts his fellow strugglers send monthly. (that was a joke. lol)

Stereotype VII: The uncle who is a model of all round success. My last but in no way the least stereotype falls into the category of the good for everything. Good family life, thriving business and/or career, great personality, awesome spirituality. Infact, your parents would regularly recommend that you go spend time with him and his family of which you yourself wont try hesitating because you know it would be fun and worthwhile. You find it easy to call him Dad because he is in many ways like a father too. He is a type of uncle you can call when you need money, need advice, need a proper scolding or when you just need to feel important amongst your friends. Now that’s me briefly described 😀

This is the kind I’d love to be to my nephew. But I cant just wish it, I have to become it. All we potential uncles will fall into one of these categories. As much as we would prefer one to the other, it is our actions and decisions today that will eventually choose for us which category we fall under.

The best way to predict the future is to create it. My nephew represents to me responsibility. I owe it to him, to myself and the whole to be the best me possible. I need to take responsibility for that today if I will become it tomorrow. In the meantime, I’m presently stereotype VIII- the uncle that drives him around and takes his pictures. Ciao

Soaga AfolabiIMG_20150608_085136

Those annoying Bc’s

Have you also received a Whatsapp message from Jesus in which he threatened to kill all your family members and destroy your life if you don’t re-post the message?  Or a BBM Bc from God in which he promised that you’ll received an unexpected breakthrough if you send the message to 16 other people? Or seen a Facebook wall post that promised you supernatural money once you type amen or liked the prayer?IMG_20150603_133458_edit

Chances are YES! We all have received these annoying messages from well-meaning friends of ours on different social media platforms.

Now what’s my problem with these people?

They don’t self-evaluate to check what works and what doesn’t. They are just like dead fish that always goes with the flow. They’ll do anything and everything they are told to do and are thus ineffective in life. They are usually ordinary people who do not stand for anything and thus fall for everything. My take is- they are ambassadors of mediocrity. No offense intended.

It’s just a lazy attitude to keep doing certain things over and over without checking to see the rewards or consequences. I mean, if someone promises you that if you do a certain thing you’ll get a certain thing; it’s only responsible that after doing that thing, you check to see if you actually got what was promised. That’s how to be purposeful about life. If you don’t see what was promised then you ask questions. Did I do it right? Should I have done something else in addition? Or was I just fooled and simply added up to someone else’s numbers.

Someone noted once that life is too short to be fooled over and over again. The first time fell for it, you were exploited, the seIMG_20150603_132954_editcond time you were foolish.

These Bc people are the same set of people that will pray for something and then forget that they prayed for it. So the next time they go to church, they are praying for the same thing. They forget simply because they are not really expectant which also means they lack faith. They are luck depending prayerists who hope to get lucky with God soon. It’s that same attitude of doing things and not checking for effectiveness they put on the social media that they also take to the house of prayer and other aspects of their lives.

If you pray for a thing without result, ask questions. Did I pray right? Is there something I’m missing? I’m asking for the wrong things? Or is it just an issue of timing?

All I’m trying to say is simple. Live a CEL– consistently evaluated life. Question your actions and inactions. Seek out your bc1most effective activities and dump the rest. Focus on the things that bring you most profit and reduce those that waste your time and yes megabyte.

I’ll end on this note; the purpose of activity isn’t activity, but rather to generate results. A method should be justified by a positive result; the end should justify the means. When it doesn’t, the means should be dropped and effort stop being wasted.

Receive wisdom! LOL

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun  download (1)

Get real! is your life really a music video?

Music videos…..fine cars, big mansions, exotic locations, money, drugs, beautiful women without clothes, booze, and the list is endless. They are pictures of a non-existent life; Pure fantasies; Lies creatively put together to entertain people just like the movies we watch.

Social media……selfies taken in front of fine cars in public parks and others in Ikeja city mall restroom, selfies with celebrities we were only fortunate to meet for 1 minute 25 seconds at events we crashed on, personal status of pursuits and dreams we are not chasing, quotes from authors we didn’t read (we simply just repost what someone else did), semi-nude Dps because you want to look like Riri (even she doesnt dress that way in her regular life), images of fun and laughter, and the list is also endless.propaganda

Real life………. Guys trekking from one place to another because they cant afford the hiked fares, girls hustling for fuel at the filling station to run their Generator so they can charge their phones, man soaking garri after work because dinner isn’t ready yet, people concerned about surviving today and not their dreams tomorrow, and the list is also endless.

it seems our social media personality looks more like a music video than it does our real life.

People post pictures and quotes of things they are not just so that some random person out there could doubletap on instagram, like on facebook or follow on twitter. Sad thing is that most of the things we post are falsehoods or at best partial truths.

Journalist Shauna Niequist wrote, “The danger of the internet is that it’s very, very easy to tell partial truths—to show a fabulous meal but not the messy clean up afterward. To display the smiling couple shot, but not the fight you had three days ago. To offer up the sparkly milestones but not the spiraling meltdowns.”

I recently stumbled upon an observation someone made recently also that there existed an era when people kept diaries and got mad whenever anybody read them. But today, people post their entire ‘false’ life on social media so that every tom, Dick, harry, and binta can read it. (paraphrased)

The reason is quite obvious. The diary was a book of secrets. Their real lives are recorded there. Their true thoughts and feelings, real emotions, challenges and difficulties, sincere hopes and aspirations; basically it was a record of real stuff; a mix of life’s good, bad and ugly. But on the contrary, everybody is perfect on social media. Nobody has pimples or tribal marks again, nobody fails at anything, everybody is on a luxurious vacation 24/7,  the girls wear makeup to bed and look fabulous all day all week, And we all have no worries!

I can reason with the fiction of music videos and reality TV shows. They are serving the purpose of entertainment and somebody is getting paid for it. But living a fictional life on social media is quite disturbing. Why go through the stress?

Indeed, imagery is very important and it’s good to always project the best things about ourselves but the problem with our generation is that we pay too much attention to the cover and do that usually at the expense of its content. We want to look good rather than LeadDoubleLife_Home_340be good

For us it’s all about making people think stuffs!

So we just want to look rich to make people think we are rich when we could have put maybe a little more effort and become really rich. We spend time trying to make people think we are having fun when we ought to spend that time having the fun (that 20 second selfie with a celeb could have gone into networking with him). We create an image of what we want to be on social media but then fail to put efforts into being that in reality. We interrupt the whole process, pause life, just to take that one selfie that will tell the story of events that didn’t take place. The way I see it, if some people’s social media personality meets their real self, it wont recognize him or her.

The problem is not that being on social media and looking fabulous there is wrong, but that our purpose and intentions are faulty and our priorities are mixed up. The social media is a platform to socially interact and connect and not one for self-deceits and idolization.

Your life isn’t supposed to be a music video that entertains people especially when you are not getting paid for it.

This is intended to be a wakeup call to all persons concerned. Its time we grow up and quit the acting and fronting; the deceit and lies. Its time to get Real.

Stop trying to make people think things. Start becoming things. That’s waaaay better and more rewarding.

music

Post-Eden experience: GERMAN MISTAKE II

We understand from scriptures that the first man Adam was created and placed in a garden called Eden. Eden was the perfect place. Imagine the most luxurious getaway tourist spot that exists today and even that isn’t half of what Eden felt like. one thing I’m quite sure of is that unlike most of us today who can’t wait to just leave this ‘earth’ and go to heaven; Adam had no need for such thoughts because his Eden was just like heaven already. Why seek a greener pasture when your pasture is greenest!

just about when Adam was starting to get his groove on, life happened!

In a twinkle of an eye, Adam lost everything. Talk about having serious problems….that was what Adam was having here. You know, there is nothing you and I can face today that someone else hasn’t faced before. But for Adam, life outside Eden was a completely new experience and there was really nobody around that had experienced such before. No manuals, no history, no experience or anything of such to consult. All he had in the midst of that problem was uncertainty!

But Adam survived!

He did because he could ADAPT. One of the very first inherent ability man had to exhibit outside Eden was the ability to adapt to his new and hostile environment. And over the years as he conquered new territories, mankind has had to re-exhibit that God-given ability.

So despite the hostile conditions of cold, heat, hunger, pain, need, danger, uncertainty, insecurity, etc, that  he faced outside Eden, though he wasn’t used to such conditions, Adam could live through them because of his adaptive ability. He was naturally resilient

You and I are naturally resilient too.  We just need to reach within ourselves and tap into that ineffable quality. And so in the face of a seemingly overwhelming challenge, its important to remember that we have what it takes to exhibit this ability and live through our storms also. Rather than being defeated by the challenges we face, we can live through them- we can adapt to survive.

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Then Adam moved past surviving. He started to thrive!

He did this by unleashing his creativity through the power of thought. As Adam started getting used to his new environment, he soon discovered that resilience and adaptive ability won’t be enough to guarantee his survival in the long run; he needed to be more than that. He knew deep within that there was more to him than all he was experiencing!

The first rain experience for Adam came shortly after he vacated the garden. The waters came pouring like they were purposefully sent to torment Adam. Adam noticed there and then that the animal skin clothing he was wearing wasn’t sufficient to shield the cold or keep him from the rain. stage one of dealing with this was to cope by adapting to the cold and rain and survive while it rained on him. But after that rain, he sought how to make himself a shelter or at least a place he could hide when next the waters came pouring from the sky.

Soon he discovered he could make fire. With two stones and a stick from a tree, Adam could create this magic called fire that would provide him heat for those cold days. More so, with the fire he could roast his hunted game which tasted far better than when he had to maybe eat it raw.

however, It wasn’t just nature that was giving him a tough time. The wild animals started getting actually wild. All the while in Eden they all lived together as happy little friends in their fairy tale existence. But outside the garden, the animals were totally different. They had started eating themselves and man reasoned that sooner or later, they’d come after him. it was either they get him, or he gets them……it was a jungle mehn!! Eureka! Weapons came into existence. From simple wooden spears to the more complex bows; Man had invented something he could use to defend himself.

Decades upon decades, centuries upon centuries; and today we have a fast paced high technology world. We have cars, airplanes, escalators, sky scrapers, phablets!, internet, and every other invention that makes life comfortable today because mankind is naturally creative…. because you and I can create things! We can create to thrive

God didn’t create finalities; he created man and then he created possibilities. Its man’s saddled responsibility to turn potentials into realities and his dreams into his history. Your challenges and problems are also not finalities, they are just opportunities. You only need to see the possibilities!

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From Adam’s post Eden experience, we see two things. One is that we can adapt to any condition no matter how strenuous it may be. We have the impeccable ability to live through any storm that comes our way and come out of it victoriously. Two is that beyond that, we can create lemonades from our lemons; you can take the stones life hurls at you and build yourself a castle with them. With creative thinking we can figure out an escape road out of any difficulty or better still, convert our challenges into opportunities.

There is no problem or challenge that can survive the continuous assault of deep thinking. Your imagination and creativity is your ticket into your dreams. No condition has to be permanent, you can change things; you can improve your life. You can do better than adapting and surviving; you can create and thrive!

PS: You don’t have to be content with living in a world that has been created by others, good or bad; you also can create a better, a world others can live in.

Bye!

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German mistake

While i was younger, my dad used to be a fan of the German national football team. They were called the German machines because of their efficiency on the pitch. They never tire, always relentless, full of energy.

I suppose that’s the nature of most things German. Unlike their Chinese counterparts that have a notorious reputation of not lasting long, German products tend to have the never-say-die nature and the cat-with-nine-lives mentality. It is in line with this that a nickname was coined for the Mercedes Benz 200 model produced in the 1980s. Back here in Nigeria, we call it the German mistake. THIS CAR NEVER SPOILS. It can burn, crash, fall into a ditch or whatever but it just doesn’t quit like my friend Ayo wrote. It is bad news to auto mechanics and car sellers because it hardly gets a fault and most people that buy it often see no reason to buy another; at least not for utility purpose.

The one my Dad bought years ago is still very alive in the city of Ibadan in the care of my meticulous uncle Lati. Although quite evidently, it can be seen that the car has been dealt the heavy knocks of life, but the fact that it still lives and serves purpose is a testimony that it is a survivor.

I might be Nigerian but I’m also in many ways like the German mistake.

I’m a survivor and so are you. Life hasn’t been a bed of roses for me and I doubt if it has been for anyone. We all face challenges of different types and nature. Everyman has his own burden he or she has to deal with. But the point is that we are created and built up to overcome whatever dart life throws at us.

Being wonderfully and fearfully made goes beyond beauty and looks. You have the makeup of a conqueror- A man who can always win.

There is no challenge greater than us. Inherent in every one of us is the capacity to overcome. Those that get beaten by life are those that just never fought enough. They had every potential to live through their storm, but they probably quit fighting too early.

So, is it your academics that is having issues? Or is it a relationship that has been a pain in the backside? Or are you having a bad financial episode of your life, whatever the case maybe; just note that it doesn’t have to be your end. Like they say, you are only passing through it and sooner rather than later it would become history- the type you laugh at when recounting your experience.

All you need to know is that you have what it takes to win. You are just way too loaded to fail. Yes there are hard knocks here and there, but that doesn’t change the fact that greater is what lies within you than what attacks from outside.

In the sequel to this, I’d write about two major mechanisms we have as tools for surviving and thriving in this jungle world we live in. I’d explain how they have been used and how you also can use them to your benefit.

o daa bo!

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Draw your lines!

What makes a man fulfilled?

Towards the end of his life, Apostle Paul made an incredible statement not many people are able to make in their lifetime. He said “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2Tim4:7). That’s an example of a man who was fulfilled with the life he lived during his active years on this planet.

So the question is- how do we get to that fulfilling point where it’s no longer scary to face death? Where we can really say that we have done all that needs to be done and we have become all we were created to be? How do we get to that place where it is certain that the world has nothing else to offer us and we also have nothing left to offer the world? How do we find fulfilment?

In my opinion, fulfilment is all about pursuits. Life is like a standard 400m metre Olympic race course. We all are in this race not necessarily against other people; sometimes it’s just a race between your realities, potentials, and opposing possibilities; a race against life itself. (Your reality is where you are now, your possibilities is what you can become; good or bad, depending on how well you run the race; or if you choose not to even run at all. See next paragraph)

In life, its either you are chasing something or something would be chasing you. A man who is not in pursuit of success will have failure catch up with him. A man who is not interested in greatness only needs to look at his back to see mediocrity trying to catch up with him; a man who is not in pursuit of abundant prosperity would have to rub shoulders with poverty. That’s just how life is designed. There is no point questioning it, its best you just get to running your own race.

But you see, there is a way to go about our pursuits; there is a way to run your race.

2 Tim2:5 puts it this way: “Also if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not win the prize unless he competes according to the rules”. From this verse of scripture, we can refer to the prize as fulfilment. Thus, there is a right way to find success, greatness, prosperity and fulfilment and there is also an incorrect route to reaching the end. Thirdly, there is also a way that guarantees that you don’t finish the race at all.

Here is what I mean.

Life is like a complex system of greed, need, contentment, and ambition. One has to draw his lines between greed and need; contentment and ambition. It is how well that line is drawn that decides if a man will end up being fulfilled or not.

I will not go into definition of terms but take a look at this.

Our goals/targets/dreams can fall into needs or ‘greeds’. Greed will help you reach targets and goals but it will take you through the wrong routes. It will push you to a world of envy, jealousy, crime, hatred, loneliness etc. Our goals are genuine needs and our dreams are indeed valid. There is absolutely nothing wrong in going after them. But however important, is the way we go about them.

Does achieving your goals come at the expense of other people? Does the pursuit of your dream take away your peace and rest? Does the success and progress of people around you bother you to a point of envy and jealousy? Do the things that make you happy come at the price of the things that make you sad? If your answers are yes, then your goals have turned into greed and not needs.

 

Greed can never be met. Or better said, a goal greedily met can never bring fulfilment. Rather, it will create a bigger hole within your heart longing for more of that thing or anything else. The accomplishment of one greed will ultimately lead to the desire for another.

It is important to say that people tend to move faster at times when they are greedy. It will look as if they are doing better than others because they are cutting corners and using illegal shortcuts ….but it’s eventually always too costly. Usually more than they can afford.

However, when our goals and desires remain harmless needs; needs we are only interested in getting through appropriate and decent means, then we can reach them and also have with them fulfilment that can’t be taken away from us. Real joy and happiness comes when we get the right things the right way. But you see, the only way your goals will remain at the level of need and not greed is when you have contentment in your heart.

Contentment is all about being satisfied with what you have and where you are. It takes recognition of how far you have come and an inner assurance of how far you’d still go to remain contented with where you are or what you have.

The mark of contentment is gratitude. A man who’s grateful is content. He knows that grace has brought him thus far and that grace will take him further. It is a virtue that is built also on the foundations of patience and faith.

A thin line exists between contentment and mediocre satisfaction of easy comfort (which is also known as a lack of ambition). The feelings are similar.  Both send signals of fulfilment down your spine. But the thing is, when that feeling is not connected to the foundations of gratitude, patience and faith which we talked about, then you should recognize that you have left the realm of contentment and are entered into that of mediocrity and lack of ambition.

In other words, if you are a satisfied grumbler and complainer, or a satisfied risk averse and fearful person, then you are not a content man; you only simply lack ambition.

That’s how to never find true fulfilment because you’d never reach all that you were created to reach or become all you were created to be. You’ll only be basking in pseudo-fulfilment which is nothing compared to true fulfilment. We need that holy dissatisfaction like Apostle Paul had in Philippians 3:13-14 where he said:  “ I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,  I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us”.

That kind of dissatisfaction that is not based on greed but rather that is equipped by faith and a sense of responsibility towards all we are created to be; will push you out of your comfort zone of mediocrity and make you reach out to the good possibilities that still lies ahead. Don’t forget, this dissatisfaction is to be co-habited with true contentment.

In conclusion,

Life can be likened to a race; there is a starting line and a finishing line. We can find fulfilment at the end of the road, but we can also enjoy the journey to that place. Holy dissatisfaction or ambition is what will keep you in pursuit and guarantee that you finish the course, on your heels reaching for what is achievable, but contentment will keep you happy all the way and make sure that you strive lawfully to gain the prize. (see 2Tim2:5)

All these things are interwoven: Greed, goals, needs, contentment, fulfillment, dissatisfaction, ambition, mediocrity etc.  The wisdom to blend it all together neatly, putting everything in its place and drawing the lines where they need to be drawn is what separates the men who become fulfilled and those who don’t.

It is my prayer that you find the wisdom to draw your own lines, blend your juice neatly and enjoy the taste of fulfillment   that comes from it.

Ciaobusinessman-feeling-fulfilled

Soaga Afolabi

Baby Again: the future of the African child

Fear and the inability to take risks are man created. We were not born that way. We were informally trained to be afraid, to lack courage and to avoid risk. We were brought up to think that it’s best to always play it safe. But I have come to realize that although a ship in the harbor is safe; that’s not what ships are made for. They are designed and purposed to sail the high seas and surf through the turbulent storms; and they are specially designed to serve that purpose.

Risks are a part of life; boldness i  s often essential and it is innate. Fear though seems natural, it isn’t our default setting. We picked it up along the way and dropped the courage we were born with not realizing that although fear will take us to a destination faster and safer; often it leads to the wrong one and at when best, to a destination far lesser than where we ought to and could reach.

Take a look at a baby. Regardless of who her father is or how uneducated his mother is. Even if the baby is an orphan from theimages (1) poorest of families; when you place him or her in a room filled with the most honourable and noble dignitaries of the world, the baby would still end up doing whatever it is it wants to do. If it wants to cry, cry it would; or smile or make noise or cause trouble. A baby acts without inhibition and without fear. They are a great example of courage and boldness.

And each and everyone of us was once like that baby. We were all born that way. And that’s what we need to get back to being. Fear is a habit we learnt while unlearning courage and we need to reverse that to unlearn fear and relearn courage.

We were born that way for a reason. The world we are in is one filled with opportunities. But despite the huge opportunities that lie around, what we find also is great inequality.  The resources available are not equally distributed and no matter the kind of socialist system any government tries to run, they can never be. Resources are not necessarily scarce; or let me say scarcity is relative. Resources can go round but it just won’t.  I believe that an interplay of fear, faith, courage and boldness is what decides who gets what and how much of the resources available gets to a person.

It takes the bold and courageous to stretch forth and reach for his own share. It takes a lion heart to have a lion’s share. And that courage lies within your heart. You just need to find it.

And to young parents and intending parents especially my fellow African people i have this to add: We tend to teach our children not to speak where elders are instead of teaching them how to speak where elders are. We teach our daughters to be subservient to their male counterparts rather than making them know how to be achievers in themselves as well as humble afterwards. These are the things that sniff out the boldness and courage we were born with. Little wonder we are the way we are. I believe it is important that we change some part of how we train our children. No doubt our system has given birth to really strong and defiant people and time won’t permit me to name examples, but like always said, there is always room for improvement.  Ability to adapt and to survive are not the only things we can have. images (2)Courage, confidence and boldness could be added to the character of the African child.so we need to adopt systems that would model these traits in our kids. We need to make them start seeing that the white man isn’t better and that the foreign land isn’t more blessed. That they can compete against anyone in the world because they are equally as good as anyone else of any skin type. Our children must see beyond their immediate environment; beyond their history, they must see their future. The must see that they also have a role to play, an impact to make ; a contribution to give towards making the world a better place. They have a share in greatness, and we must show them the path that leads there.

I believe in the future of the African child. I see a future where we also contribute positively to the growth and development of this world. Where we are not just a spectator as to what happens; but rather active partners in change. But to reach that future, we must re-become what we were; re-discover the baby in us and find that boldness, faith and courage God equipped us with for the prize of greatness he has destined us for.

O dabo

Soaga Afolabitumblr_ngbu62KOXQ1rrnn7po1_1280

my pursuit of perfection and the fear of counter success 2

In my previous post, i started a discussion on the pursuit of a perfect life. in summary, i wrote that the perfect life isn’t a life without flaws but rather a ‘flaw-overcoming’ life. i also stated that nobody was born with imperfections and flaws but that we all picked those bad habits here on earth just the same way we pick up clothes; and that if we can change the clothes we wear, then we can also change our habits and inadvertently best our lives. i concluded on why a luxurious life isn’t evil; but that our pursuit and need of it shouldn’t be allowed to turn into greed. The full article can be read here: http://bit.ly/194si5D.

Now to the fear of counter success

People have different kinds of fears in life. A common one is the fear of failure(a.k.a atichyphobia), and a less common one is the fear of success(achievemephobia). Neither of this have really haunted me. The fear I had to deal with was the fear of counter-success. Becoming successful has never really been the problem for some people, staying successful has been falling-save-mewhere the challenge lies. The world is full of ‘used-to-be’s’ and ‘formers’. its common to hear stuff like “he used to have a great marriage”, ” he is the former world champion”, “he used to drive a nice car” or “she used to have a great body”.  Counter success has plagued many people both in biblical days and even in our contemporary age.

Two quick examples off my head are Rehoboam in the bible and Tiger woods of 2009. Both didn’t really have issues making it to the top. But when they both got there; with their own hands they pulled themselves down. So they did achieve success, but they pulled a counter success stunt successfully as well. While Rehoboam misused power, Woods’ case was in the abuse of sex.

Abuse of power and sex are not the only two things that lead to counter success, money is another major counter success causative. it must be noted just like in the earlier article that these things in themselves are not bad. Man was created to have ‘dominion’ and not be dominated and that’s why there is an unquenchable desire in every one of us to have some sort of power and authority. Money is good and necessary for survival. Sex is a physiological and sometimes psychological Albert-Florence's-Missteps-Colorneed in us. thus, If these things can be identified as needs, then they ought to be met. And there are legal and appropriate ways to go about it. But when the need for them turns into greed, then we have a problem in our hands because it will cause us to take the back door to achieve them. And there are always consequences for that- counter success!

Someone said once that the secret to success in life is to find one’s weaknesses early enough and deal with them. I believe that this is ideally the antidote to counter success. we all have our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. our strengths and talents regardless of our weaknesses and flaws can help us achieve success of some sort, but what will make us maintain that success is our ability to manage our flaws, weaknesses and excesses.

The first step towards solving a problem is usually identifying it. I like to say that a man who has a problem and doesn’t know that he has one, has the greatest problem in life. It is when we find those areas of vulnerability that we can take appropriate measures to resolve them.

For identified negative habits, its been suggested that what we consistently do for 21 days becomes a part of us. Recent research is proving to disprove that but then I still believe it could work. So we can start up personal campaigns against bad habits or pro good habits campaigns in an attempt to put off the ‘bad habit clothes’ and put on the good ones.

If you spend poorly, you can decide to watch how you spend for the next 21 days. If you desire to be chaste with the opposite sex, you can ‘fast’ them (i.e avoid them or circumstances that put you in an uncomfortable position) for that period. Conscious efforts such as these can rewrite the conduct code in our systems and over time change our habits. Practice they say makes perfect and repetition is often the key to mastery.

you don’t have to be an example of a man who rose to the top only to later plummet. you don’t have to take a nose dive after attaining the success you worked hard for. you can be successful and stay successful. You don’t have to fear counter success, you can prevent it while you work towards your success.  Find that Achilles heel and work relentlessly to overcome it. As you improve on your strengths, also take out time to work on your weaknesses too.

love you

Soaga Afolabi achilles' heel 2

my pursuit of perfection and the fear of counter-success. 1

Is the habitperfect and ideal life really an unattainable fantasy? Well I believe the answer to that would be based on our individual definitions of what the perfect life is.

To me, the perfect life isn’t the life without problems and challenges, but rather it is the life of a man who has learnt to overcome them when they come his way. Is it a life without flaws? I don’t think so. I believe it’s the life of a man who is consistently improving on himself and besting his life daily. In short the perfect life is not the one situated in a perfect world for such world remains evidently physically un-existent today, but rather it is the life of a man who is committed to being his best self daily.

By my definition, is the perfect life an attainable goal? Yes, most certainly. Not only is it attainable, it is a noble pursuit.

We live in an imperfect world and the imperfection of this world tends to rub itself on us from time to time. Nobody is born a thief, a murderer, a harlot, a liar, or a fraudster. People who become this were influenced at some point or the other. The negative influences from society and media makes it difficult for us to be our best self.10-habits

Change they say is inevitable. You can’t fight it; it will always occur. Wherever change isn’t found, death has found an abode. however, automatic change I have come to find, is never positive. The only change that ordinarily occurs with time is decay. So the best way to relate with change is to be proactive about it. As life is trying to rub all its imperfection on you, you should also be putting efforts to find your perfection back. There is no getting defensive about this by attempting to ‘avoid’ being corrupted by the world’s negative influences. That has never worked and it never will. The best form of defence is attack!

So just like clothes we wear, so also are norms and bad habits we pick up. The same way we can decide to change clothes, we can also decide to change habits. We can choose what we become just as we can choose what we wear. No character came with us from the womb, we picked them all up thereafter.habits

The pursuit of a good life is also a pursuit to meet needs; material and non material needs. Some of those needs are necessities while some others are luxuries. As you go about them, it’s important to ensure that we don’t allow society’s influence on us turn our needs to greed and like earlier said, this we need to be proactive about .

A wise man named Rajinikanth said ‘whether you have a maruti or a BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel economy class or business class, our destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a titan or a Rolex, the time is the same. Whether you have apple, Samsung or lava, people who call you remain the same.
There is nothing wrong in dreaming a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is to not let the need become greed because needs can always be met but greed can never be fulfilled’.

the concluding part of this would be posted soon. watch this space for it.

love ya dearly!_IL_OMOIKE George Osabuohien_NG__301641

friends, lovers, and the friendzone.

It’s another season of love. Saturday Fe-buhari 14, couples all over the world celebrated Valentine’s Day.

Love is a serious thing and romance is deep. Although some say it’s overrated……but I guess it’s probably because they haven’t experienced it yet. Love is so serious that it was been the motivating factor behind several success stories or fairy tales and at the same time it has also been behind some tragedies. Love has been the reason why people have died for others and has also been the reason why some have killed people as well (at least that’s what they claim in their defence).

Love makes us vulnerable. It makes us soft. Even the strongest of men like Solomon can be defeated by the weakest of things when they are in ‘love’. But love is a good thing. Because despite the vulnerability involved, inside weakness sometimes lies the greatest strength. A man in love and alone is weak, but when he finds a right partner, together they are stronger.images (4)

Love as the world knows it however is not enough reason to start a relationship (see proverbs7). The fact that you are single and sooooo attracted to another single person doesn’t mean you both have to mingle. A friend of mine usually says that although love could be a commandment, relationship is a choice. And if you are going to make that choice, make sure it’s the right one.

So before one gives himself into a romantic commitment, it is always wise that one gets a full or at least a good idea of what he is going into and build the relationship on strong foundations so it would last and stand the storms that always rock the ship called relationship.

Many people have gone into relationships very ignorant of things and those relationships have ended up in heartbreaks, abuses, breakups and worse still divorces. Leaving the contributing parties heart broken and incomplete……which they carry over into their next relationship and thus creating a self-sustained cycle of Hook ups and breakups for both parties. Such is the reality we see in Hollywood.

That I can say has been one of the reasons why it is advised that we build friendships before starting relationships. By starting from the foundation of a friendship, you get to see the person you are interested in for who he/she is and your choice of either moving on to a more serious relationship would be better informed and the risk of things turning bad reduced.

But then, initiating the friendship phase does have its own challenge and threat. One is the likelihood of being locked in the friend zone. I speak from experience! download (1)

When you stay too long in the zone, you become a friend that is now like a brother. And any attempt to woo the girl could be graced with disappointment from her and further tear you two apart and ruin even the pleasant friendship which you have successfully built which also although was at the beginning only a side quest.

The Friendzone could also prevent you from making a move when due. This is because at times the friendship becomes so sweet you don’t want to risk losing it by asking her out.

There is also the issue of ‘assuming the role’. The zone comes with some benefits- Tight hugs, daylong texting, week long hangouts, frequent phone calls, and many more privileges that come with being a couple (I’m talking about a church endorsed kind of couple-hood of course. From what we’ve been told, you don’t go beyond this point). And so you could get so comfortable in the friendzone that you just begin to assume the role. Somewhere in your heart because of all those privileges, you begin to think and feel like you are the man when you are not. Voicing out further interest becomes unnecessary or at least that’s how you feel.

But the tragedy is that when someone else comes with a stronger and more direct approach and steals the love of your life away, there is usually little you can do about it.

images (3)So how do we avoid being condemned to the friendzone.

My approach is this…..while we are building the friendship, as early as possible, I start suggesting to the person that I could be wanting more. I look out for their response to what I say. Does she welcome it, or does she despise the idea? I use jokes to suggest that I want more and sometimes I just bring up discussions that will put me in positions to tell them about my strategy of ‘building friendships into relationships’ and then indirectly suggest it to them using tactics such as using them as direct examples. I highlight their qualities that make them not just good friends but potential girlfriends/spouses. From there on you can start building the Mo. till it climaxes into a serious proposal.

Has it worked so far? Well I just started this technique and you’d have to give me a little more time to know. If it doesn’t, I’d definitely let you know.

You-think-being-friend-zoned-is-bad-gale-hawthorne-32219045-444-536

PS: This article was originally written in September 2014….strategy execution has been poor from my side….so I’ll just say that I am still building my Mo. lol

every life needs the REFRESH button.

A very dear friend of mine called in recently to have a talk with me. ‘have you ever felt dissatisfied with yourself such that you feel that there are certain things you need to change about yourself  but then you don’t know what those things are nor how to change them?’ ‘Yes certainly’ I replied with a little bit of caution (because you can never really know how much the shoe pinches unless you are the one wearing it; even if you had worn that shoe before, you can only have a rough idea because our legs are shaped differently).refresh

It is my belief that most ‘serious minded’ people will have at some point or the other feel that way. The desire to live a meaningful life of purpose will sometimes cause us to feel dissatisfied with where we presently are and seek to improve on ourselves, achieve more than we are presently doing, and thereby maximize the potentials that we know that we have upon our lives.

Now this is a good way to feel because it will push you to improvement. It was the kind of feeling Apostle Paul talked about in the 3rd chapter of Philippians, verses 13 and 14. We can’t make progress so long as we are satisfied with where we are. We need this kind of ‘holy discontentment’ at times that will make us reach beyond our realm of convenience or comfort and convert our potentials into realities as we best ourselves.

The truth is this: we are never who we think we are; who we are we ought to become. Our best is always ahead of us and that best we need to dig within to reach. I tell folks sometimes that you don’t need to change who you are, you just need to be a better version of yourself. And we must see and feel the need for that change if we are to make that change.

Having said that, there is still more to be said on this issue. Just like my friend, at times this desire can become a problem. It becomes so when it becomes so consuming to a point that it takes away our peace and leaves us almost restless. At this point, the fire that is meant to refine has now turned devilish and is beginning to devour. now this one is not a good thing to feel. At this point, the desire rather than fueling our passion and strengthening our pursuit begins to drain our strength and overtime weaken our will. Rather than encouraging our faith and belief in ourselves, it begins to suggest fear to us and magnify our in-competences. Therefore we spend more time worrying and being disgruntled; the very same time we could have spent being creative and making progress. In other words, the desire begins to do a counter job of drawing us back rather than propelling us forward.

What do we then do?

Do we kill the desire and submit to being satisfied with where we are and who we are now (this by the way is the formula for mediocrity) or do we allow it to keep burning us until there is nothing left of us. While option A seems better as it is better to stagnate than regress which is the ultimate end of option B; there is however an option C.

While we are pushing and pressing towards what’s ahead, we need to learn to mix that with the ability to accept ourselves for who we are today and appreciate that level we are at. Yes we are not who or where we want to be, but look closely, we are not what or where we used to be. Somehow, slowly or rapidly, we are making progress. Although there is still much ahead, we can however also learn to appreciate and enjoy what we’ve got now and celebrate what we have achieved so far.

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“Take a break pal and live life!”. While we are longing for tomorrow we must live today. And if a desire is not allowing us to do that, we then should consciously ignore it for a while and give ourselves a break. I am not saying you should abandon it; I’m saying you should ignore it and give yourself space to breathe. Spoil yourself a bit; indulge yourself and enjoy a little bit of life. You need that space!

Go to the movies, go skydiving, go swimming (if you can. Drowning won’t solve your problem. Lol), climb a mountain, go for a joyride, fill your phone with good music and spend time listening to them, go to the gallery and appreciate good art, take out time to laugh and release those wonderful endorphin hormones the doctors have been talking about. Do anything fun and just ‘care less’ about life and purpose a bit and celebrate what and who you are today. One of the principles of motivation is celebrating past success. Celebrating yesterday’s victory today can reinforce good performance tomorrow.

What you are doing by this is creating a relaxed atmosphere where you can release your inhibitions and allow your creativity to flow. Under the no-pressure condition, we can think better and see clearer. We can see the things that we need to change and also see how we need to change them.  It’s a retreat and in it you’d find ideas and lessons that will help you carve your path better into that future the burning desire is pushing you towards.

You should also use the break to strengthen your faith by saying simple prayers that requests God’s help and taking time to confess great things about your future. Something as simple as “God has great plans for me and he is working in me to fulfil them” (see Php23) will do. You need to also assure yourself of the father’s love and that will help you find rest and peace and at the same time strengthen your faith.

Now what I am suggesting won’t be easy. Fun is not supposed to be difficult to catch, but when you have a consuming desire to do something else; it would be hard to play. You’d feel like you are wasting time but then you should remind yourself that you are spending it not wasting it. The Yoruba’s have a saying that the retreating of the bull during a fight is not an act of weakness or cowardice, it is simply withdrawing to gather more momentum for a smashing hit that will knock down its opposition. So your decision to catch fun when you could have been working might look like you is regressing but no, you are gathering momentum and absorbing energy to make your quantum leap.images (1)

Remember, you need to know where you are going to get there. Zeal without clear knowledge could be destructive (see Roms 10); Zeal that steals away peace and rest is already catastrophic. So create an atmosphere where you can breathe and be at peace. Find that thing you enjoy doing and do it. Do what you love to so that you can do what you need to well. And all the while, never forget that it’s only a break, a retreat, so as to see things better, and gather momentum for a quantum leap and so at the right time, get back to working; to putting those lofty ideas the retreat must have given you to work…this time better because you are now refreshed.

You tomorrow is filled with great things. Today is the bridge that will take you there. If we burn that bridge, we’ll never get there. So live your life today and enjoy your journey into tomorrow. Leave no room for fear but rather create space for faith; let God’s love and peace garrison your heart and guide you into that delightsome future you’ve always dreamt about.

Love,

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

proverbs 26: Make sense or Shut Up

Shut-up

Pro 26:4-5         Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him.

                                      Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

It takes wisdom to discern when speech is silver while silence is gold. It is not every word spoken to you that deserves a response; and not every action (in most case offensive) towards you that requires a reaction.

Wisdom will teach you to be still when need be; and it will also teach you when plus ‘how-to- speak’ where it is necessary. The how-to-speak in any situation is of utmost and critical importance because it decides and says a whole lot of things.(see prov29:20)s-COMMUNICATION-SKILLS-large

The grace of a man’s speech can attract kings and noble men to him (pro22:11); likewise the disgrace of his speech can and will also repel mere men from him.

The entirety of what a man is made of can be discerned from the words of his mouth for we can only speak out of the abundance of our heart. Therefore a wise man knows that when how-to-speak isn’t known, silence is essential. Even a fool is counted wise when he simply shuts up! (pro 17:28)

So rightly put; what decides which is a better option between speaking/replying and silence is the availability of a proper/correct reply or answer. That means that the how-to-speak is what determines the when-to-speak. if you cannot make sense with your words, you can do so with your silence.

So the messagEmilysQuotes.Com-silence-fool-relationship-wisdom-advice-Imam-Alie is this: THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK. A word spoken can’t be taken back. There is no point in saying or doing things that will make you worse off. Two wrongs have never added up to one right. If your words or actions won’t solve problems or make things better, then it’s better you keep that ‘piece of your mind’ to yourself. if you must respond to situations and offenses in words or action, make sure you are giving a proper and appropraite response that will make both and your hearer/receiver better off.

In conclusion, it is worthy to note also that sometimes silence speaks louder than noise and inaction achieves more than wrong action. Selah

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

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just try again?

Just try again?

I have heard it being said several times that if you try out something and it doesn’t work, just try, try again! As good and encouraging as this may sound, it is not always the best option. History as a matter fact has a reputation of always repeating itself simple because a lot of people choose to just simply try and try again.

There are no failures or mistakes in life; only lessons.

So when something doesn’t work out as you plan ,don’t just go out in haste to do the same thing. You need to go back to the drawing board and ask questions. Why exactly didn’t this work? what did i do wrong? what should i do next?That’s how you get answers and that’s how you learn.

I have always told folks that life indeed is a teacher, the more you live the more you are taught. However,learning is entirely up to you. You can choose to learn from your actions or just foolishly repeat them.

When something doesn’t go right, there are two basic action points to follow after you’ve gone to your thinking room to ask questions.

1. Quit- Certain things ought not to be done in the first place. Why waste time on irrelevances? Many people for ‘ego’ reasons keep trying to succeed in areas they need not be in the first place.

Distraction isn’t always a lack of focus; it sometimes having the wrong one. wasted efforts on task A could have been used productively on task B.

Moreover, my sister said something that is quite true once that “there is nothing more stupid than doing something absolutely well that need not to be done in the first place”. (Her opinion not mine)

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  1. Try again. But not just like that. Only a fool does the same things the same way and expects a different result. 

You need to do things differently the next time you are trying again. Thomas Edison who is reputed to have failed 999 times before finally inventing the light bulb remarked that all his previous attempts were not failures but lessons because in them he learnt how not to create a light bulb. In other words, every new attempt had a different formula.

So if what you failed at is something that needs to be done, then you need it get better and learn how it ought to be done before taking it head on.

Llast year might have been rough for you. You probably set some goals at its beginning but failed to reach them at the end. And you have perhaps set those same goals again maybe with more resolve to achieve them this year. I believe that determination and will isn’t always enough to get results; right knowledge, attitude and methods are usually necessary as well.

So friend, don’t just try, try, try those stuffs again. Ask questions- should I really be doing this. Quit if no; but if yes, then ask, how can it be better done? Where did I miss it the last time? Put things right before you try again.

Ciao

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

that stroke of luck

I am from a country in which a poor boy several years ago was christened Goodluck at his birth. Strange name right? Today, that boy serves as the president of our country. When he told us his story, he attributes part of his success today to that little stroke of luck. As a boy he had no shoes, as a man he rides a presidential jet. His name has truly been a prophecy for his life. Little wonder today we have had many more parents name their child Goodluck because they are also searching for that stroke of luck that would make all the difference in their life.

Of course, not all these children bearing that name today will be presidents tomorrow. Moreover, President Jonathan was not the only person to have been named Goodluck the year he was born. Where are the other Goodlucks today? You can’t really blame our people though; who doesn’t want to be the father of the president of the giant of Africa?

I’d be discussing luck today and I’ll take my observation from Hollywood stories to drive home a point. Let me start by painting the regular scenarios we find in movies.

The good-guy-bad-guy fight. This is usually reserved for the last part of the movie. Almost always, the bad guy is usually more than enough for the good guy. So he beats him up pretty bad such that the good guy is bleeding all over. Then at that instance that he is about to deal the good guy the last blow, the good guy manages to reach a gun that is left with just 1 bullet which was some time ago out of reach but now that he is about to die is now somehow near enough for his dramatic full arm stretch to reach. And so before the bad guy can finish him off, he gets the gun, shoots the bad guy dead and the good guy wins.

My next scenario is from the amazing spider man 2 movie released earlier this year; two planes were just about to collide into each other because electrode who is the bad guy here had tampered with the electricity in the city. The planes were flying blindly because they could not communicate with the control room at the airport and Just when they were about to collide, someone somewhere pushed a button just as someone else somewhere else connected some wires together and that led to the electricity being restored back in the city. If all that process had been delayed by a fraction of a second, the two planes would have ran into each other and spider-man would not have saved the day.

Or, you must have seen instances in action movies where several bad guys are shooting at just one good guy and then they all miss. The bullets would be seen to literarily touch everything else apart from the good guy and then with just 1 round of ammunition, the good guy kills all his enemies.

Then there is the common classic bad guy error in which he has the good guy cornered into a place and when he ought to just finish him off once and for all, he begins to tell a tale nobody is interested in #story4thegods. and while he is still explaining away his plans and un-gotten victory, the good guy gets some weapon somewhere and strikes him dead.

I could give countless of similar scenarios from Hollywood movies I’ve seen. The end is always similar. The good guy wins but then when you look at it closely, you can see that they always attribute his victory to some stroke of luck. I mean those bad guys might be wearing dark shades but they are certainly not all blind. If that is not luck, I wonder what it is.

Every action hero or movie star character has his or her own story of luck. Of how they were close to losing and then suddenly they won.

However, life funnily is very different from hollywood stories where there are always happy endings because not everyone always gets lucky. In real life, good guys die, planes crash, full sighted people don’t all miss their target at the same time, and bad guys don’t talk before shooting (they do it after the kill), people stay divorced, and some things you find kevin hart do won’t be seen as funny but rather stupid. Reason like I said before again is that not everyone gets lucky.

Luck I have come to see only finds those who needs it the least. There are plenty people who have been playing the lottery for years and have never stroked a jackpot even once. Even Hollywood tells such stories. People who hit luck in casinos were usually the un-expectant. It just happened when they weren’t counting on it.

So even though you can count on luck to save you if you were a character in an Hollywood movie, you can’t do so in real life. Mother luck is just so not dependable.

In real life, though not everyone gets lucky; but everyone gets an opportunity. A 1st century roman philosopher named Seneca remarked that luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation. So what we should be on the lookout for is not luck itself but rather opportunity.

The way you look out for opportunities and make the most of them is to be prepared for them. George clason said that opportunity doesn’t waste time on the unprepared. Remember the story of the 10 virgins and the oil from the bible. The five that got picked were not just lucky. They were prepared for the opportunity of luck.

If you look more intently at even those scenarios I’ve even painted from the Hollywood stories, you’d still see some trace of interplay between opportunity and preparation. Someone did some hard work to get lucky. The truth is that a man who is not prepared for luck won’t even see it when an opportunity presents one to him.

In conclusion, let me just say for the record that I am also a kind of believer in luck. But like Thomas Jefferson observed, I also find that the harder i work, the more i have of it.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun.

purposeday

If there is something that is often spoken about and generally agreed upon by motivational speakers, pastors, life coaches, etc., it would be the subject of purpose. The reason isn’t farfetched. It is one of the most important concepts of life. It is its discovery that gives meaning and focus to our lives. And that is why it is said that a man who is yet to find that one thing he is willing to die for is not fit to live.
It is an obvious fact that we are created beings and not biological or evolutionary accidents like some would argue. Neither is the world. The bible gives credible accounts in the book of genesis of how we and our world came to be and even though it’s not a firsthand personal witness account……something deep down within us agrees with its facts that there is a supreme being somewhere who made all these happen.
Therefore, like every other created thing. We are created for a purpose. There is a reason God created every one of us. Every product before its manufacturing has an intended need it is produced to solve; so do we. And it’s said that when the purpose of a thing isn’t known abuse (abnormal use) is inevitable. Invariable thus, the key to maximizing our lives and potentials; to making impact and achieving greatness is in discovering and attaining purpose.
Among more enlightened circles the pursuit of purpose is a common goal. But I discovered something funny from a recent peak performance class I attended. The facilitator spoke about purpose. He then decided to ask some people in the audience which claim to have discovered what their purpose is. Many people were very proud to say theirs. ‘I am created to shine light for the whole world to see” said one. “I am called to draw people out of darkness and show them the part God wants them to play in life” said another. Many others too were said but just like the first two I’ve given….they were all saying the same thing using different words. I dare you to try the exercise as well……your findings are 85% certain to be the same.
This could only mean either of two things. First is that we all have the same purpose in life. Or second, most people who claim to have discovered purpose really don’t have yet a clear grasp of it. The former when looked from a perspective is very true. There is a general purpose to every man and is along the line of the examples I’ve given. (there are scriptural references to back this up); and the latter isn’t too far from the truth as well maybe because the term purpose is a very broad and sometime ambiguous concept for which most of the time we might only know in part (1cor 13:) .
Either way, this led me to seeking a different perspective and approach to the pursuit of the purpose of our lives. Now I need you to pay attention here. Most of time when we are asked what our purpose is…..our minds often tend to fly over many years into our future..10, 20, 40, and sometimes even 60 years down the line. We think about what God wants us to be doing then and where God wants us to be then.
While that is not wrong or false, a lot can happen within one year that could be the very reason on why you won’t find yourself where you have dreamed of.1 year is too long a period for us to just fly over just like that. The question I ask is:
What happens before the future….what comes before tomorrow? The answer is now; today!
Like said, today is the gift from God so that we can live the tomorrow we’ve always dreamed of. Tomorrow is but a product of the thoughts and actions of today.
A famous bishop in Nigeria is noted for saying when asked about the level of success of their ministry that “I am not surprised about where we find ourselves today, if we were not here at this level, I’d have been surprised”. Why would he have said such a thing?
First is that success isn’t something that accidentally jumps on you; second would be because they walked in light of what I’m sharing about the subject purpose.
I believe purpose isn’t just what God will have you do in the future; it was rather what God will have you do per time. Your life isn’t composed of your future alone; it is composed of every single day of your life. And since God didn’t create a purpose of your future alone…he created a purpose for your life. Therefore pursuit of purpose shouldn’t be about what I will be dong in the future…but about what you ought to do per time.
Life is lived one day at a time. The same God who created you and I created also the times and seasons. He creates the day and the nights. I believe each day has its own God ordained purpose for us. It day; we would also be fulfilling the is my submission therefore that if we can be diligent enough to discover and fulfill the purpose of the day each day; we’d also be fulfilling the purpose of our lives. And then, 10, 20, 50, or 60 years down the line, when we loo and examine our lives, we’d be able to say just like that bishop that I am not surprised at my success or where I am today….if was not here, then I’d have been surprised.
Live each day of your life purposefully. Do what you are required to do. Wherever you find yourself per time, make sure you do to our best ability whatever you find in your hands. Gradually and steadily, bigger opportunities will come your way and the days will take you further towards the big dreams that have always lingered in your heart. Remember, this is only a perspective to examine your life’s purpose from…..it’s not all there is to it to purpose. But I believe its basic and simple enough to help you discover and maximize your God ordained purpose in life. Purpose is not something that will happen; it is something that is happening. So whether today is Monday, or Friday, or Wednesday; don’t forget that every day is purposeday. Succeed! It’s in you.
Soaga Afolabi O

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the blessing of a disability: a fable!

Everyone I’ve had to share this story with had a good laugh and also a great lesson to go home with. Today, I want you also to have a taste of it. Its source is not known but its morale is similar to what the bible teaches when it tells us in Rom8:28 that we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good(MSG).
The story starts with a powerful king of an ancient city and his faithful friend who seemed to have a quite disturbing problem. This friend that I’d today call tony for the sake of identification, had a problem of not being able to see anything bad in any situation. To every event and occurrence in his life, tony would always respond by saying “It is good; it is in fact very good”. This had always disturbed this powerful and sometimes irrational royal friend of tony, but he never paid any attention to it until one faithful day.
Tony on that day crossed the limit of his friend’s patience while they were on their usual hunting spree in the thick of the forest. A wild beast attacked the king and bit off his right thumb. The king struggled to deliver himself from the beast’s grip with little or no help from tony but had to settle with his thumb forever gone, and his blood spilling all over the place…. To his great displeasure, all tony responded with was his usual saying “my king and friend, this is good; it is in fact very very good”.
Not the kind of thing anyone would want to hear after losing a member of the part of his body, the king got a little infuriated rebuking his friend and his comment for as far as he was concerned, there is nothing good about losing one’s finger. But like I said, this is something Tony seemed unable to help. So he maintained his position. “This is good my king” he kept on saying.
By the time they got back to the city, the king had it full and was fed up with his very uncompassionate and unreasonable friend and so ordered him to be locked away in the dungeon till further notice. Anything to keep his friend’s constant ‘it-is-good’ nagging would be fine he thought especially when this friend has refused to be unrepentant about this.
And so many months passed, perhaps even years. Many waters passed under the bridge and the king had gotten used to being without his friend. Deep hunting was the king’s hobby and was ingrained in his character and so in the absence of his imprisoned friend, the king had to do it all by himself.
On one of those faithful days, the king encountered yet another misfortune. This time not with a wild beast, but rather with people of his own kind but who had a habit of eating people. We call them cannibals. The brave king could not fight himself out of this one and so he found himself in the cannibal’s tribe camp in front of this massive pot about to be cooked.
As they stripped him of his hunting costume and dressed him like a Christmas or thanksgiving chicken about to be launched into the cooking oven, one of them noticed that the king was thumb-less. The unfortunate day turned out to be fortunate for the king because it was an abomination for the people of that tribe to eat anything that was not whole or complete. To their greatest disappointment, they had to release the naked man to go. The king managed to cover his nakedness a bit and made his way back to his palace.
After such a dramatic near death experience, understandably, the next few days were ones of deep reflection for the king. As he settled back to his daily routine, the king remembered again his old friend whom he threw into prison. He remembered the circumstances that surrounded that and remembered his famous words that made him irrationally lock up his friend. He had now come to agree with his friend that losing his thumb that day was a good thing because that singular ‘lil-evil’ prevented him from the greater evil of losing his whole life.
With deep remorse, he asked that his friend be released from the prison for he had treated him unjustly. While the king was still contemplating in what manner he’d apologize and try to make it up to his old friend, tony sprang in once again shouting and screaming what has become his trade mark saying “it is good, it is very good”. Neither the sight nor demeanour he expected from his friend whom the king knew had by now heard of the story of how he was saved by his ‘prophecy’ years ago; tony whom the king expected to be angry and gloomy was bubbling with sincere joy and happiness. ‘My dear king, it is good!!!” he kept on saying.
“I can understand that you are happy that I’m alive and well and that is good. But it is certainly not good that I locked you up all this while for saying something that turned out to be true after a long time”. This time around, the king would demand an explanation from his friend.
Like someone who had thought well about the question while spending his lonely days in the dark dungeon where he had been locked up all these while as if he were expecting the question, tony responded with a spontaneous sporadic but yet sound answer.
“Well my king, it is good that you lost thumb that day because clearly it has saved your life this time. Also, it is also good you locked me up because that also has saved my life. If you hadn’t, it would have been both of us hunting that day….they would have captured us both. You are incomplete, I am not….they would have released you while me…….uhmmm, you know what would have happened to me!” then he added, “my king, it really is good……in fact, very, very good.”
The morale of this interesting story is this. There is always something good about everything that happens to us. In comming to terms with this truth, we’d learn to be more grateful and appreciative of the situations that life throws our way. Even when we can’t seem to see any good in those things in the present, we can believe this that good can and will come out of them in the future.
This helps us live life enthusiastically. Enthusiasm stems from the greek word entheous; which means God within. That’s the kind of force and spirit we need to live the God life here on earth and secure the God-kind of victoty over our adversities.
Let me leave you with what joseph said in Gen 50:20. “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now–life for many people.”
It’s possible that Joseph probably heard this fable too, or maybe it was tony that read the bible. But they both were able to see and focus on the silver lining in their dark skies and were both successful at the end. You too should. Have a blessed week!

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the noble impossible duty

IN PURSUIT OF TRUTH
Who is a complete failure? A man who in his quest to please everybody by doing anything and everything fails to do anything and everything right and at the same time, he fails at his original intent/goal of pleasing everybody because everybody cannot be pleased. It is simply impossible! I have reached a conclusion that one of the necessary requirements for victory and success at any task is to know one’s limit and limitations. Knowing what can’t be done would save you time and energy such that you rather focus that time and energy on tasks that can be achieved rather than one the ones that are completely outside your reach. In the field of project management, this is termed the scope of your work. Pleasing everyone is certainly one task better not pursued because it simply cannot be achieved.
Nevertheless, the bible does say that we should follow after peace with all men(Heb12:14)…..by implication, do what pleases all men because that’s how you get to be at peace with men. When a man does what pleases you, you don’t have qualms with him. When he does otherwise, you relationship together will most likely experience a strain. So by asking as to be at peace with all men, the bible was saying that we should do what we can to please those people we come in contact with. It is asking us to be pleasant and likeable people.
But notice the bible did say that as much as it depends on you……because really all doesn’t depend on you. You can only do a part. So the bible was saying here that do your part to please as many people as possible and be at peace with them. No matter how hard you try, you simply cant win some people over. But you can win others….. you can in fact win most others. And this is what that verse of the bible and this piece of writing is about.
One point I’m trying to establish in essence is this: quite alright, we cant win everybody over to ourselves…we can win some over. But what does the bible say we should do? It says its best to win everybody over. Even if we eventually don’t, we should have tried and done our best. Also you can’t please everyone, but you can and should try to. And therefore, despite it being an impossible task, it is yet a noble one.
What are the benefits of getting along with everybody (or more realistically, with most people)? First is that you’ll have fewer enemies and more acquaintances. That’s more peace and rest for yourself. Peace is one of man’s deepest need and its so scarce these days. The less enemies you have, the more peace you can get both without and more importantly within your heart. Also, one of our psychological needs as humans is acceptance. That need is hugely met when you please people. And thirdly and probably most importantly, we would be sowing profitable seeds and obeying the golden rule of doing unto others what we want to be done to us. In every conversation and contact with people that we meet, one thing we look out for is to leave better off….pleased……happy; not angered, frustrated, despised or any of those negative feelings. So also does everyone else. And so by giving this to everyone that meets you, you are sowing good seeds for yourself in this regards towards everyone you’ll meet.
Nonetheless, despite how noble this responsibility is, we need to recognize that a line needs to be drawn. Pleasing people might bring all those benefits at times but at a greater cost. i.e there times when such deal could be likened to you giving up your heart and collecting needed blood in the process. Blood without heart can’t be useful in your body and so such a deal shouldn’t be agreed to. Remember the condition the bible gave in Heb12. “As long as it depends on you.”
We draw the line where the norm contradicts the truth. The norm is what people want and accept. The truth is what ought to be; which in more religious term could be termed what God wants. These two we have been made to believe always contradict. In most cases, they do…..but not in all cases. For example, society today smiles at homosexuality and gives an approving nod to it. God doesn’t! so if being gay or approving it will please your neighbour and make you get along, should you do it? NO. Because it contradicts truth. But on the flip side, being rich is also generally acceptable and celebrated in the society and God has no ‘ish’ with it. In fact, he desires that we prosper. So should I pursue financial success? YES!
To know our limits when it comes to pleasing people and the society, we should line whatever they require with the standard of truth. If they flow together, then strive to get it done. If they don’t, you have no obligation to please them. Always do what is right over what is said to be right….because society’s norm is its truth and so it will tell you that it is right. However, society can sometimes be wrong.
In conclusion, how do I separate what is true from what isn’t. Society has its own rules and methods these day many of which are wrong and anti-truth. How do I distinguish a false norm from God’s truth. The first is through God’s word. Let it be your standard. Leverage your decisions on it and you won’t be wrong (see Gal5:23). Secondly, listen to the voice of your spirit which is your conscience. In every man’s conscience is a written set of truth codes. When we go or are about to go against those truth codes our conscience rings an alarm bell so that we can return to the path of truth. Learn to listen to that bell and follow its direction. Note that the more you ignore it, the less clearer and louder it gets.
So it is noble to get along with all people. It could be said to be quite impossible, but it is something we should do our best at. The rule of playing this game however is this: when truth contradicts norm….go for truth. Eventually, therein lays true success.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun.

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diversity of failure

In joshua 1vs8, the bible made mention of the compound word ‘good success’. Thanks to many charismatic preachers, we have been able to establish that if there is good success, then there must be other types of success.
Failure could be said to be the opposite of success. And if what is good for the goose is also good for the gander, then failure too could be said to have various forms.
Below are some. They could be more and with time I would update the list. But these few should suffice for now and pass a message across.

1. Successful failure:(noun) a man who fails to plan, plans to fail. Such a man succeeds well at his failure.

2. Complete failure: (noun)a man who because he is trying to please everybody fail at his task and also at his desire and intention to please everybody because everybody can’t be pleased.

3. Renowned failure: (noun)a man who is known for his failure by himself and sometimes by others simply because he fails to learn from them and as such, continues to repeat them. Such a man could also be called A fool.

That would be all for now. You could add your own in the comment space below. The message here is to not be any of the stuffs described above.

So plan so you don’t end up being a successful failure, realize all men can’t be pleased so don’t live life solely to please people so you don’t end up a complete failure and learn so you don’t earn yourself a name as a renowned failure.
Succeed!
Soaga Afolabi O.

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the maximin approach to the start small theory

Ever had anyone advice you to always start small and then build whatever project or business you have into a big deal. Well I have… and for a long while even though I see sense in what they are saying, I have always struggled with settling with that in my mind. Some may call it greed, others ambition, all I can say is that I like big stuff, I have big dreams and I serve a big God too( and he does things big). So an advice to do anything small is usually a bit difficult for me to accept or settle for.
So today, I wanna do a little challenging of this ancient advice. I’m not really disputing its credibility because for as long as I know, many big things today started small; but then I want to take a more critical and analytical look at the theory so as to come to terms with what it really means. I’m gonna take a differing perspective looking at the same concept and draw up possible new (innovative and not necessarily inventive) meanings from it.
This is my take:
The idea behind the theory I believe is that there is and should always be room for improvement. What this implies is that things can grow and would grow; all things being equal, if given time. Therefore, size shouldn’t stop you from starting a business project or acting on your idea because when you launch out and do what you are supposed to do, in time it would grow.
The other idea behind this wisdom is to prevent people from procrastination. You should begin with what you have and from where you are. The need to have it big usually prevents people from starting and if you don’t start, how can one achieve anything or succeed?
Its 3rd emphasis I also belief is contentment. Ambition without contentment is what births greed. Ambition I would call a virtue but without any form of contest, greed is obviously a vice. So by starting small, it shows that while in pursuit of the big things ahead, one can be contented enough with whatever he has no matter how small and thus not despise the days of little beginnings. Contentment always holds great promises for us but greed sooner or later fails. Just like impatience, it may work for you at some point and earn you things, but one day, sooner or later, it will be the source of trouble, delay, and problems for you if you keep it at it.
Small is a relative term. You’d agree with me that what bill gates will call ‘chicken change’ is no chicken anything to most of us. So what qualifies a thing as small isn’t the thing itself but rather the person qualifying it. So if you are starting a business, your starting capital could be a million dollars or just a thousand naira….both could be small or big depending on who’s looking at it. Likewise when you are searching for your first employment; small could be a 6 digit salary or a humble 4 digit figure.
In the same vein, ‘big’ which is what small is supposed to grow into is very relative. So the guy who started ‘small’ by earning N150,000 could say in 5 years grow into earning N5,000,000(which we will now call big) while the other one who started with just N9500 could grow big and start earning N120000 in 5 years. They both started small and grew big but the terms small and big are relative.

And so I believe that starting small shouldn’t be an excuse to justify and glorify mediocrity or non-excellence like most people nowadays do. Under the cover of starting small they refuse to maximize opportunities and potentials. So they believe (or at least act as if they do) it has to be bad first before it gets better forgetting that the true trend and flow of things is good-better-best and not bad-better-okay. Like it is usually said, good is usually the enemy of best and we have seen people abandon the best to settle for just good just because they want to start small.
My question to you today is this. Who says your first job as to be a crappy one? Or that your first car must be a jalopy? Can’t your small be so good and yet still get better?
My submission basically is this: yes, it is good to start small and to always begin with what you have where you are; but while starting small, make sure you adopt what we call in risk assessment the MAXIMIN approach. i.e. go for the best among the least. Start small, but make sure it is your best small and not just any small. Since the goal is to eliminate procrastination, ensure you do just that. While seeking out your best-small; avoid or reduce procrastination to the bearest minimum and while eliminating procrastination, keep in mind the consequences of undue haste and so balance up your planning, targeting, and timing between undue haste and procrastination.
In all you do, never lose sight of the need of excellence. A famous movie I watched some yearsback had this to say about excellence- pursue after excellence and then real success will chase you all around. Shun mediocrity with all your heart. If you wanna dream, dream big, start the biggest you can. Aim for the moon because even if you miss it, you’ll land among the stars. Never settle for anything less than what you could have had or been
And regardless of where you start, keep striving to grow bigger and bigger because there is always room for growth. When we stop growing, we start dying. It is the nature of life to grow if the right conditions are available…so keep creating the right atmosphere and conditions for growth. When that is in place, growth is always automatic regardless of size and level.
Truth is, if 2 different people start the same business, with the same set of skills and management strategy; all other things kept equal, the person with better capital for instance, 10yrs down the line probably has a better chance at more success than the other guy. I believe it’s better to start from 100 than to start from 1. If you can start from 100, it is laziness and mediocrity to be satisfied with 1, but if all you have is 1 and if that’s truly the best you can do, then 1 is the golden number for you to begin from.
With this, I hope I’ve been able to convince and not confusr you about the start small theory. I hope to develop this into a mini e-book soon. You guys would be the first to hear if I do. Any questions or comments could be directed to me via the reply feature underneath. Also please endeavour to share this link with your other friends and colleagues. Thanks and God bless!
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

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Footprints behind us

This is gradually becoming a ritual for me. Every year on my birthday, I like to share thoughts and ideas that have shaped me and are continuing to do so in the hope that someone who reads it can learn a thing or two on how to move their lives forward.

This year, my thoughts have been around the footprints we make and leave on the surface of the earth. These prints are our legacy. They are the things that the world would remember us for. They are also the things we will be defined by and it is important to pay attention to them.

When Alfred Nobel’s brother died, a local newspaper mistakenly published Albert’s obituary instead. That allowed Alfred the dread of coming face to face with his own obituary. He was confronted with what his legacy was but was also presented with an opportunity to change it.

From a man who was to be remembered as a merchant of death who became wealthy by finding ways to kill many people fast to one remembered as the creator of the prestigious Nobel Prize. Alfred Nobel rewrote his own history.

Two ready lessons from Alfred’s story are these. First, consciously or not, we are all leaving behind a legacy either good or bad. More interesting is that many of us are unaware about what type of legacy we are leaving behind. Second and perhaps more importantly is that it is never too late to decide what we would be remembered for. We can take conscious steps today and rewrite the stories that would be told of us.

I have found that our lives are really a sum total of the decisions we make. We are no better than our daily decisions and actions. The question then is- what informs our decisions?

I believe that a proven answer to that are the values you hold. These are the things that decide what decisions you go with and the ones you discard.  They are the unseen litmus test that validate the actions we take. We are just as good as our values. Therefore, to leave behind a great legacy, we must first live out great values.

Your values are things that you must continually do and think to become the person you have envisioned yourself to be. They have such a compelling influence over your actions that they practically define who you are. They are the things you stand for and they are the things that will keep you standing.

To leave behind a great legacy, we must first live out great values.

Note that your values don’t necessarily have to be ‘natural’ to you. Why this is important to know is that we are likely to fall into the danger of thinking about our values based on our past experience- on what we currently are, both good and bad. While that is helpful, it is also important to know that we can also be forward looking when thinking about our values. In other words, they are not necessarily what you’ve always been or done; but could rather be what you will start doing and being.

It is never too late to decide what we would be remembered for. We can take conscious steps today and rewrite the stories that would be told of us.

So you see, leaving a conscious and deliberate legacy starts with identifying and committing to a set of values that align with that legacy. By committing, I mean that you take ownership of those values and you start defining yourself by them. This might require that you recite it over and over again until it becomes internalized like a software that runs your life.

You don’t have to pick every good trait you can remember, you could just pick a few that you can really commit to, and that also best align with your vision and goals. If you work well at those few values, you’d be greatly amazed at how such singular action can transform your life.

My own identified values are Growth, Love, Faith, Patriotism, Humility, Generosity and Service. What are yours?

Cheers!

Afolabi

Life On Purpose (My 7.125 Billion Story)

As at 2013, the estimated population of the world was placed at 7.125 Billion. That’s a massive lot of people.

If you believe like i do, that the true wealth of the earth is not in the abundance beneath the ground but rather in the people who live in it; then that would mean that the earth is a super rich billionaire! But if so, why is there still suffering and poverty? why is there still decadence in the society? why aren’t things the way they ought to be?

This might explain it- a 7.125 billion Dollars man and a 7.125 billion Naira man are not equal. What both can do and achieve differs greatly. The figures are the same but what they can do differs. So it is not enough to look at the numbers, you must also look at the quality of the numbers.

The problem the world has is not numbers but rather quality. If there were better people, like better currency, we can achieve better results.

Quality of life begins when purpose of life is established. When the purpose of a life is unknown that life becomes a loss to all its stakeholders. A life is fulfilled and optimized when lived primarily for the purpose it was wired.

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On the 19th of November, 2016, LifeOnPurpose Conference (LPC) would be holding right here in Lagos Nigeria. LPC is a faith-based and nation building initiative aimed at positioning the lives of young adults towards living a life of purpose and impact.

It is highly recommended for teenagers and young adults who would want to improve their worth and lives. It would be a blend of learning sessions on various topics and skills facilitated by some of the country’s finest minds and hands.

You can REGISTER for it by clicking here. It promises to be all that it promises and even more.  See poster for more details.

PS: You can catch me live at the event too. Look forward to seeing you

Cheers

Afolabi

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If you can remember the hit tv series 'superstory', then you should also remember her sister tv show 'this life'. You may not remember any of the dramas in that show, but I can bet that you remember their famous proverb that says that-

life is a teacher, the more we live, the more learn. 
If true, why are we not all wise. Why are we not always wise?

I believe that life is indeed a teacher, the more we live, the more we are taught. Learning is a whole different ball game.

A short post discusses that ball game.

see link in bio

Or visit 
www.inspireda4.wordpress.com
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