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

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

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.

What CRACKS have you adpated to?

Feedback can be either constructive or destructive depending on how it is either given and/or received. A feedback could be constructively given but wrongly received and as such be unproductive and another could be poorly stated and yet be productive in a case where it is properly received.

So this piece would be from two perspectives.

The first is that if you would give feedback, do it right. Lots of people give criticism just to feel better about themselves or worst still, to make other people feel bad and guilty. If your purpose or intention of giving feedback is any of these, you shouldn’t bother giving it. But if your motive is to help people get better, then you should ensure that your feedback reflects this intent. Your tone of voice, point of emphasis, manner of approach, delivery of information should all tilt and be constructed in a way that it is without doubt that you do not think less of the criticized person but rather you are only suggestive of ways things and he or she can be better.

The second is that when feedback is given to you, regardless of how impolite or unconstructive it may be, always seek to use that information to be better rather than be bitter and pick up fights. Even in cases where you feel that the criticism is unwarranted, there is a saying that there is always an iota of truth in every rumor, there would be one or two things to learn from the feedback. If at all nothing, you can at least decide not to give occasion for your work or person to be criticized again by doing your best work possible and be one step better than you are at the moment.

Feedback helps you see such cracks that you have adapted to and as such allowed to remain in your life and work.

When we first moved to our house, an incident occurred that led to a window getting cracked. For the first few weeks after the incident, the crack was all we could see when we entered that room. After a while, it became as if it was never there. We had become comfortable in our discomfort. Feedback helps you see such cracks that you have adapted to and as such allowed to remain in your life and work. It might not always be a good experience like a bank credit alert on your phone, but its benefits are without any doubt great! so give it well when you give it, receive it in good spirits when it is given to you. bottomline, be better and help others do so too.

Be Great!

 

Afolabi Soaga