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

Advertisements

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.

WebBanner

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

kindly share with someone 🙂

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

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

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)

IMG_1740

  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

spare yourself a friend-ship wreck

As we begin our countdown to the end of another month and in fact another year, some persons perhaps are already thinking of some of the new year resolutions they’ll make as they appraise how this year have gone thus far.
One area often overlooked at seasons like this is the area of the relationships and associations we keep. Especially the people we call friends. Certain persons that are your friends this year don’t really deserve to be your friends next year.
A wise man once remarked that where a man would be 5years from now is a function of the books he reads and the friends he walks with. Another one boldly asked that show me your friends and I’ll tell you who you are. Not only who you are now but also what you’ll probably become. Our friendships indeed shape our lives.
If we take words like this serious, we’ll attach as much importance to making resolutions about our friends as we do about ourselves. After all we can’t move faster than the ship we are traveling in….especially when the ship is called friendSHIP!
However, I found that the concept of friendship is often times misunderstood and wrongly approached by most people. And because of this, it is often times abused. This has also resulted into scars of hurt and pain in the heart of several people in which case many find it very difficult to recover from. The bible says that faithful are the wounds of a friend, but from experience we also know that such wounds are quite painful as well. So it is advisable that we save ourselves such heartaches and approach friendship with true understanding. Experience might be a good teacher but its tuition are often too expensive to afford.
One of the most amazing poems I know I believe can be of great help here. It reads:
‘I went into the market to look for friends
I found none
Then I went into the market to be a friend
And there were friends everywhere’.
In this simple poem is summarized basically what friendship is really about and what approach we should have towards it.
Key qualities we tend to look for in friendship includes Availability, communication, attraction and agreeable ness. once we find this combo of qualities in a person, we tend to develop some kind of likeness for such a one. But like this poem rightly says, friendship shouldn’t be about finding and getting, but rather about being and giving. For instance, often times parents want their children to be pals with kids brighter than they are so that the good influence of the smart kid would rub off on their children. But that makes me wonder what we expect should happen to the rest of the kids in class; who then would be their friend and what hope do they have of a better life? And imagine if the smarter kid also has this same principle, then your lesser smart kid doesn’t even have a chance.
Of course I’m not saying parents are wrong for wanting their kids to benefit from associating with bright minds, but what I am saying really is that we shouldn’t look for friendships where we are just like parasites leaving our friends with no benefits at all while sucking everything we need from them. All that I look for in friends, I do my best to be to my friends. After all, that’s what the golden principle of love is all about. Treating others with the kind of treat we love them to give us. Approaching friendship like this will also save you lots of pain because you eventually don’t feel like anybody owes anything and when they eventually don’t turn up, you are simply not affected or at least less hurt.
Thats why I don’t really buy into the idea of best friend and BFFs. The word best is an ideal word. Its perfect. When we label certain people as this, we begin to feel like they owe us something. And when they don’t deliver, we feel the pain really bad. And same when the reverse is the case.
The word best eliminates room for improvement. It gives an ownership right and mentality to People making you feel like you own them. So they must call you and text you and when they don’t you get offended. You also get very jealous when they are getting close to others. It gets very worse when they don’t feel the same way about you. I’m just thinking……why all these stress?
A Best friend title kills the idea of friendship being a Privilege and responsibility. A privilege to be grateful for if received and a responsibility towards others. So I have quit looking out for best friends and I’ve keyed into being a best friend to anyone I’m privileged to have as a friend. For me, friendship is indeed about giving and being rather than getting and finding.
I do have some wonderful people I am privileged to call friends, and yes amongst them i have favorites who are closest to me and who have also contributed more to my life. yet, I indeed see it as my responsibility to be the best me to them and count myself really lucky, privileged, humbled and successful if anyone in return calls me a BFF. that in turn doesn’t stop me from doing my best to be a better me.