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

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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!!!

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!

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

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

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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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

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

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

coded tunes2:my tale of the modern day slaves

In my recent post ‘coded tunes’, I wrote about music; the songs, singers and their effect on the people who listen to them which is perhaps everybody. I’ve seen people who don’t like watching tv, some detest video games, others can’t stand the boredom of movies, and most people can’t even finish a reading a short piece like this. But world-over, I’m yet to find someone who doesn’t have ears for music. In fact to some laudable musical production, even deaf men would tap their feet and move their hips. Music is a part of our makeup. Its something we can’t survive without…well said, someone called it the food of the human soul. Quite obviously, some of us have more affinity for it than others; some will object to some genre or type of music, but we all have love for one type of music or the other.
The major theme of my last post is that what determines the appropriateness of a song is its lyrics because lyrics are composed of words and words are containers that transfer certain stuffs that have the ability to influence the course of our lives…and I’m glad many of my readers agree with me.
Today, I write a part 2 to that. Please don’t get offended at my strong ‘churchy’ disposition in this article if you are of a different faith. I’m simply communicating what I strongly believe, and I believe also that regardless of your religion or faith, you can learn one or two things from here too.
Some people believe the days of slavery are long past. They think it is something deposed to just the history books but some few others majorly those that have broken out of it or those that are what I call the modern-day-slave-masters themselves, are very aware of its existence. The unfortunate thing about this tale is that the slaves are the ones who are totally ignorant of their predicament. Hold up….don’t exempt yourself yet. True facts like this are not to be fought or denied, but rather addressed.
No slave puts his head voluntary under the yoke, God made mankind for dominion and anything that opposes that natural order of things will be by all means resisted. But like in all cases, this modern day slavery is usually forced upon men or subtly suggested or imposed on them. When the slaves don’t know they are in bondage, then they don’t know they ought to fight it or how. A man who doesn’t know he has a problem has the greatest problem. Such a man will always insist he doesn’t have that problem, and that exactly is the problem. Their insisting they don’t have the problem doesn’t make the problem go, but rather creates for them an even bigger problem. This is the case of the music slaves. They are the 21st century modern slaves and sadly majority of today’s young population are.
There is a huge hypothetical 80% chance that you’ve heard about NWO. It means the new world order. Even if you haven’t, there is at least a 90% probability that you’ve heard about the illuminati. Both refer to a particular group of people with a plan to control the entire world. Control here isn’t the same as governance. It’s not a democracy, neither is it a socialist system. It’s a plan to make all others subservient while they rule. It is a plan to form a government outside the government that will govern the government and control all people of the world.
There are countless materials about this conspiracy out there and you have probably seen a few. Well, I don’t think everything everybody is saying is true like I noted in my preceding article, but i do believe some are. It is said that in every rumor, there exists an iota of truth. It will do you good to take some of it serious.
These people already occupy top positions in major systems and industries in the world and have been there for ages. The truth is that they have actually been controlling things for a while now. The scripture confirms it. The bible says that the world is controlled by the prince of the air which is the devil(john16:11). It is his will that is being carried out here on earth. That explains why we have all the wars and death and terrible ungodly bills being passed into law. Jesus asked that we pray that God’s kingdom comes and that his will be done here as it is in heaven. That clearly suggest that there is a difference between how God’s will is being carried out here and over there in heaven. What he therefore meant is that we should pray for a time when the systems of this world will be in full subjection to God’s word and will. It is a gradual plan that God is working out through the church, and the devil with his agents (like sects and gangs like this and some others) are going to try to resist. They want to run the world for as long as is possible and scripture advises that we shouldn’t be ignorant of how they do and intend to operate. For if we, the salt of the earth are slaves of their systems, how then can we save the world. If we are under their yoke, then what hope does the world have? Because for a Moses to save the Israelites, he has to stop being an Egyptian.
So, when God wants to recruit his own generals, he changes first their citizenship. That’s why the bible reminds us that our citizenship is in heaven; that we are in this world, but are not from it. We are from a different country, sent here by God to repossess the land that is rightfully ours and that we will do, as God helps us. But to do this, one of our primary assignments and goal is to stay clear of their control.
The first strategy of any battle camp is to control the enemy before destroying them. That explains why Satan asked Jesus to bow to him first before later crucifying him. He sought to make him subject to his authority, before attempting to eliminate his existence. So gradually, subtly, they will come to you and try to control you too. In fact, they will enter the church too, become pastors, teachers and leaders just to carry out this plan. But Jesus warned us already to watch out for them and this we must do with all diligence.
They will not just infiltrate the church and the government but every industry and systems of the world. They’ll try taking over the banks, the school, the military, and of course the entertainment industry.
It must be said, music is important to us just as it is to God. It is said to be food for the soul. Imagine the world without music; the earth will probably stop spinning round its axis! Not everyone watches TV, not everyone plays video games, but hardly will you find someone without ears for music. Those that can’t afford to buy for themselves CDs from notable artistes, create music for themselves no matter how terrible it might sound. That need for the melody must be met one way or the other.
Especially we young people. We seem to love songs more. We don’t just love music, we love those that create it for us. We don’t just love them, we idolize them. We don’t stop at downloading their songs from the internet; we download their pictures too and make it our wallpaper. We follow their stories and lives in the news. We argue about who is better and some even go to the extent of fighting over them. We play all sorts of genre of music at our parties, hangouts, clubs, etc. There are few better ways to entertain us apart from music and there are also few better ways to control us apart from it. And this is a fact devil knows well.
I am sure like earlier said that it is no news that this powerful sect controls the music industry. We hear tales of how every major player in the music industry has sold his/her soul to the devil. (Most of us don’t really understand what this really means. In simple terms, it is just the same way you sold your soul to Jesus by confessing him as lord; that is if you are a christian. It is very serious. Its implication is that he owns you; you have a covenant with him. You’ve pledge allegiance to his army, he is your general and you are bound by oath to follow his orders). We have heard these tales over and over again such that it is already stale in our minds. In fact many of them have by themselves openly admitted to this fact that they are devil worshipers and are under his influence. Many of us too claim to believe these things, but we act as if we don’t. It startles my mind that despite all these facts on the ground, we still listen to their music, attend their concerts, follow them on social media, and celebrate these so called celebrities. We know they are of the devil; we know they have terrible plans; we hate the devil and don’t want to have anything to do with him; yet we follow these people almost blindly. Many of us don’t want to listen to them anymore, but we just can’t help it. “After all, that is the only music available” we say. So majority of us just choose to either deny or ignore the obvious so far the harm it is doing is not easily seen or noticed.
The reason is not far fetched. There is no better way to define slavery than this. Anything that rides upon your will, or that you don’t have absolute control over is your master, and you are his slave. If, you don’t have absolute will-power over the music you listen to, then you are a slave to that music. If you deny your conscience by listening to what somewhere deep in your heart you know is wrong, or if you say, well I know all these things and it is my absolute choice to listen to them, you are still a slave. Reason is because the strategy of slavers is to either suppress the will of their subjects while imposing theirs or them, or to suggest their will to their subjects through diverse manipulations and make them willfully adopt it in ignorance. In whichever case, there is an exchange of will with one party oppressing and the other being oppressed, knowingly or unknowingly.
This is not a campaign to change your playlist but rather a challenge to examine your life. Are you in really in control or is some other force outside yourself doing the controlling for you. If it is the latter, then you obviously got to do something about it.
I encourage you to re-examine your life….is it what you dreamt about years back? If yes, big congratulations. If otherwise, then you might need to retrace your steps and one area you might need to make serious adjustments in is in what and who you listen to. Don’t settle for less, you deserve the best life possible.
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

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But when they see your good works and ask you how you did it.
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Keep your answer simple....
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100% JESUS
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But with him, ordinary men do extraordinary things and natural men get supernatural results.

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