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.

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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

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

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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