Plans, Purposes, and Pursuits

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

So if God makes plans, why don’t you?

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

So if God makes plans, why don’t you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Afolabi Soaga

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BE BETTER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have a great life people; be better!

*yaba-left is a popular psychiatry centre in lagos

 

Afolabi Soaga

IWrite, ISpeak, IInspire!!!

 

 

 

 

Be These (transcript)

 

Remember Guinness made of Black?

So, what are YOU made of?

Black? Green? Wine?

Wait!!!

Before you answer that…

Let me ask a bigger question

What are YOU made for?

Singing? Dancing? Teaching? Pastoring?

What if i tell you…

That you are worth more than that

That you can do more than that

That YOU are….

As powerful as the sun

And as important as the air

What if i tell you…

That you can be the super hero the world needs

Do you know?

You are the light of the world

You are the salt of the earth

Regardless of your specific profession and talents

You are always these- salt & light.

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

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

Salt;

…preserves

…Sweetens and adds flavour

Light;

…Shows leadership

…Provides solution

And lights up the world!!!

And so

Where ever you are

And in whatever you do

Be these.

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

kindly share with someone 🙂

In the face of Disappointments

Depressed Person

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now lets talk about answering disappointments.

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

How do you win?

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

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

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

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

Soaga Afolabihopeful__always_by_sweetxxxgirlxxxjo-d4u7nxw

photo credit: Google

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

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

friends, lovers, and the friendzone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

proverbs 26: Make sense or Shut Up

Shut-up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

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purposeday

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

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