Stars not Kettles

Let me tell you a rather personal story about pots, kettles and stars.

I visited the Ikeja City mall recently. Like most days, a particular brand was having an activation to sell its products. They had mascots, models, video games, music and obviously dancers. The dancers I believe drew the most attention and even I was at some point carried away with what they were doing. But as I was about to step into the main complex, I heard the security lady say in vernacular about the dancers something along the line of “after all these, you will need to take Paracetamol for your headache. Better go find a better job for yourself”. Typing it in English makes it look like she gave a rather kind advice. But NO! This was no advice at all. It was a statement said to scorn the dancers who were doing a really good job at their own work.

 

I remember walking past her thinking to myself, what a classical example of a pot calling a kettle black. To be sure, I did a little research before writing this. The average roadshow activation dancer earns about N5,000 in a day as opposed to a security guard who earns an average of N40,000 every month which scales down to about N2,000 for a day’s job. But the wage difference isn’t really what concerns me, but that a person will look down at another person for doing excellently at a legitimate job is just rather obnoxious.

It leaves me certain questions I’d like you to think through. First, is it really wrong for a pot to call a kettle black? Has the pot that called a kettle black lied? Is there really anything wrong in being black? I am not providing answers to these here but i’d like you to take time to think about them.

So, this article would have had no proper end if not for another incident that happened just the next day. This time, I had just finished visiting my mother at her house and as I approached the bus stop I could hear someone shouting at the top of her voice, “wazo, wazo, fifty naira, wazo; if you love your husband wazo, fifty naira wazo”. As I moved closer to the bus stop, I could see the woman trying to sell her products and it turned out she was someone very familiar. But, as she saw me, she stopped shouting and so we exchanged pleasantries. However, she did not resume until I had left. I saw in her face that she wasn’t proud of the work she was doing and so waited till I left before she continued. That was sad! She should have been proud!! She should have seen that she was a star not kettle!!!

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Where is dignity in labor?

At her arrival in London, Princess Diana of the Hollywood Blockbuster movie wonder woman tasted the goodness of an Icecream for the first time ever. The ice cream was so well made that she turned to the seller and said, “this is really good, you should be proud of yourself”. That for me was very profound. If you are doing legitimate work and you are putting your best effort into it, then you should be proud too. We might not all do great things, but we can all do small things in a great way. And that’s what matters the most.

This is what i would like you to leave with – Don’t let anyone look down on you because of the work you do, and never look down on yourself either. As long as you put your heart into it and do it excellently, then you should be proud of yourself. President John F. Kennedy was visiting NASA headquarters for the first time, in 1961. While touring the facility, he introduced himself to a janitor who was mopping the floor and asked him what he did at NASA.  The Janitor gave the most remarkable answer; “I am helping to put a man on the moon”. Now that’s whatsup! Be like that janitor!! See the bigger picture always and be proud of yourself. Even if you are black, you are a star not a kettle.

Ciao!

PS: Please remember to share this post with other people. I also look forward to your own kettle-to-star stories and feedback in the comment section.

Afolabi Soaga

 

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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 🙂

Two classes of people.

The other afternoon I was all by myself in my big little world and in front of me was this huge audience comprising people of all age, race, class and sizes. This is what I said to them.

There are certain things I want you all to know today. Very important things I should add. People go all around not knowing who they are or what they are worth. And so they end up living life as it is rather than how it ought to be. They play with the cards they are dealt without knowing that they could be served better ones. They settle for less when they could be having much more.

Today is correction day! If you fall into this category of people, do not be dismayed b’cos that is changing today. If you’ve ever felt bad about yourself or felt like life is not worth it or that you are not worth it. If you’ve ever felt like throwing in the towel, giving up or thought death to be better than life….then this is for you.

Let me show you who you are.

You are not a biological mistake or the worthless product of a failed abortion. You are not a mere offspring of a rape incident, one night stand, or someone’s uncontrolled lust and passion. You are way more than that.

You are created by a God of love. You are his investment in this world. A gift from him to mankind. You are a masterpiece. Carefully and thoughtfully put together. Another wonder of the world. And you are loved by him and priced far above iphones, Ferraris, private jets, and exotic vacations.

You are not just God’s investment, God also invested in you- talents, abilities, gifts, beauty, life, a mind with imagination, a spirit with resilience, a smile that inspires hope in you and others. He also invested in you people and quality relationships, and very importantly Dreams! You are a man/woman loaded and filled with substance. You have worth and value beyond what you can ever imagine. More still, you have all it takes to be all God has made you to be.

You are not just 1 of the 7 billion people in the world; you are 1 in 7 billion- Special, divine, unique and one-of-a-kind.

But I hear you say ‘I’m not fabulous’; I’m not fantastic and do not have greatness in me. Note this….we are not who we are, who we are, we ought to become. Man was not made a finality but rather a possibility. You can decide to be better than your present state……you can best your life!

That same creator that formed you also created the sun in all its efficiency, the stars in all their beauty, the moon in its tranquil, the ocean in its massiveness, the fishes and the birds and the entire universe and all its simple complexities. And so just like them, you are efficient, beautiful, and yes you are a BIG DEAL.

Hear this….

He also made the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and the whole of time. He is creator of time and seasons and though he is not in it, he made them all. And all the things he made he did for a purpose for he is a producer with intent.

He made you; he made them, and made all things for a reason. the question then is, what is that reason? this is the question many people seek answers to but not many people find. so today we have 2 types of people- those who know what purpose is about  but not what it is (purpose seekers), and those who know what it is and are living it (purpose doers). the difference between them is questions they seek answers to.

A lot of people chase after purpose all their days when those days ought to be spent living that purpose.

But you won’t be a part of that crowd anymore because now you know what purpose is. you know that purpose is a question of:

  • What are the things that I have at hand?
  • What is the best use of these things?
  • How can I profit with them and how can they profit other people?
  • What is the best use of my time NOW?

The answers to these questions are what you should find out. Find them out and let them be your daily guide.Let them decide what you pursue and how you spend your time. Its time you quit the race of people who are searching endlessly for the reason for their existence…people who in the quest to find a life for themselves have stopped living the life they have only to merely exist. Purpose isn’t something you merely ought to know, its something you should be constantly aware of; it is not something that will happen, but something that is happening.

I’m challenging you to live life, unleash potentials, and make impact every day, anywhere and in anyway. Each day has a purpose it ought to fulfil. If you can help each day of your life find its purpose…..then you would have fulfilled the purpose of your life.

Soaga Afolabi

my pursuit of perfection and the fear of counter success 2

In my previous post, i started a discussion on the pursuit of a perfect life. in summary, i wrote that the perfect life isn’t a life without flaws but rather a ‘flaw-overcoming’ life. i also stated that nobody was born with imperfections and flaws but that we all picked those bad habits here on earth just the same way we pick up clothes; and that if we can change the clothes we wear, then we can also change our habits and inadvertently best our lives. i concluded on why a luxurious life isn’t evil; but that our pursuit and need of it shouldn’t be allowed to turn into greed. The full article can be read here: http://bit.ly/194si5D.

Now to the fear of counter success

People have different kinds of fears in life. A common one is the fear of failure(a.k.a atichyphobia), and a less common one is the fear of success(achievemephobia). Neither of this have really haunted me. The fear I had to deal with was the fear of counter-success. Becoming successful has never really been the problem for some people, staying successful has been falling-save-mewhere the challenge lies. The world is full of ‘used-to-be’s’ and ‘formers’. its common to hear stuff like “he used to have a great marriage”, ” he is the former world champion”, “he used to drive a nice car” or “she used to have a great body”.  Counter success has plagued many people both in biblical days and even in our contemporary age.

Two quick examples off my head are Rehoboam in the bible and Tiger woods of 2009. Both didn’t really have issues making it to the top. But when they both got there; with their own hands they pulled themselves down. So they did achieve success, but they pulled a counter success stunt successfully as well. While Rehoboam misused power, Woods’ case was in the abuse of sex.

Abuse of power and sex are not the only two things that lead to counter success, money is another major counter success causative. it must be noted just like in the earlier article that these things in themselves are not bad. Man was created to have ‘dominion’ and not be dominated and that’s why there is an unquenchable desire in every one of us to have some sort of power and authority. Money is good and necessary for survival. Sex is a physiological and sometimes psychological Albert-Florence's-Missteps-Colorneed in us. thus, If these things can be identified as needs, then they ought to be met. And there are legal and appropriate ways to go about it. But when the need for them turns into greed, then we have a problem in our hands because it will cause us to take the back door to achieve them. And there are always consequences for that- counter success!

Someone said once that the secret to success in life is to find one’s weaknesses early enough and deal with them. I believe that this is ideally the antidote to counter success. we all have our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. our strengths and talents regardless of our weaknesses and flaws can help us achieve success of some sort, but what will make us maintain that success is our ability to manage our flaws, weaknesses and excesses.

The first step towards solving a problem is usually identifying it. I like to say that a man who has a problem and doesn’t know that he has one, has the greatest problem in life. It is when we find those areas of vulnerability that we can take appropriate measures to resolve them.

For identified negative habits, its been suggested that what we consistently do for 21 days becomes a part of us. Recent research is proving to disprove that but then I still believe it could work. So we can start up personal campaigns against bad habits or pro good habits campaigns in an attempt to put off the ‘bad habit clothes’ and put on the good ones.

If you spend poorly, you can decide to watch how you spend for the next 21 days. If you desire to be chaste with the opposite sex, you can ‘fast’ them (i.e avoid them or circumstances that put you in an uncomfortable position) for that period. Conscious efforts such as these can rewrite the conduct code in our systems and over time change our habits. Practice they say makes perfect and repetition is often the key to mastery.

you don’t have to be an example of a man who rose to the top only to later plummet. you don’t have to take a nose dive after attaining the success you worked hard for. you can be successful and stay successful. You don’t have to fear counter success, you can prevent it while you work towards your success.  Find that Achilles heel and work relentlessly to overcome it. As you improve on your strengths, also take out time to work on your weaknesses too.

love you

Soaga Afolabi achilles' heel 2

just try again?

Just try again?

I have heard it being said several times that if you try out something and it doesn’t work, just try, try again! As good and encouraging as this may sound, it is not always the best option. History as a matter fact has a reputation of always repeating itself simple because a lot of people choose to just simply try and try again.

There are no failures or mistakes in life; only lessons.

So when something doesn’t work out as you plan ,don’t just go out in haste to do the same thing. You need to go back to the drawing board and ask questions. Why exactly didn’t this work? what did i do wrong? what should i do next?That’s how you get answers and that’s how you learn.

I have always told folks that life indeed is a teacher, the more you live the more you are taught. However,learning is entirely up to you. You can choose to learn from your actions or just foolishly repeat them.

When something doesn’t go right, there are two basic action points to follow after you’ve gone to your thinking room to ask questions.

1. Quit- Certain things ought not to be done in the first place. Why waste time on irrelevances? Many people for ‘ego’ reasons keep trying to succeed in areas they need not be in the first place.

Distraction isn’t always a lack of focus; it sometimes having the wrong one. wasted efforts on task A could have been used productively on task B.

Moreover, my sister said something that is quite true once that “there is nothing more stupid than doing something absolutely well that need not to be done in the first place”. (Her opinion not mine)

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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

pathway to fulfilling your financial fantasies

The 2 paths to Financial Freedom.
On the mind of mind of most people I know, we are constantly asking ourselves, how can I make more money? For many of us in school that are about to graduate or have just graduated from college, we are pondering what next. We all want to find that path that leads to our land of freedom. Where we can maximize life and find happiness.
This perhaps prompted a classmate to ask me which category I fall under. Job/career seeking or business starter. That got me thinking about which one is better. Is it Finding a good paying job or risking suffering loss or gain in Business. Well these are my thoughts:
A job gives you security, a business Gives you opportunity. If you have a good job and you are doing your job, you can be rest assured that regularly you’d have something to fall back on. Something steady you can plan on. And always rely on.
A business however is quite different. When you about to start, it doesn’t give you security, only. Promises. Its like planting a seed today. It might germinate and it might not. If it doesn’t, its your big loss and you might have to go hungry tomorrow for it. But then, just as a seed. planted poses a risk of not germinating, it also avails you great opportunity. You can count the number of seeds in a fruit, but cannot count the number of fruits in a seed. There is usually opportunity at the other side of the coin of risk. And starting a business offers you that. Businesses are often possibilities rather than final-ities. They have potentials of helping you fulfill your greatest financial fantasies and desires. A quick look at the richest men you know, and you’d see that they all run businesses that one day was only like a seed- risk and opportunity.
For a young person about to enter the adult world of self dependency and responsibility, or someone else who is contemplating quitting his job or starting a business, you must recognize that both are quite important.
There are times when being secured and ensuring your family’s security is all that matters. But there are other times when we need to seek something better than being safe. Things like experiencing the world that is more than ourselves and probably creating security for others other than ourselves are very commendable and self rewarding.
My answer to my dear friend was this- I am for both. I’m in school to get a degree and I intend to pursue a career I’m passionate about but also well keen to have my own business. I take one of my biggest learning on earning from billionaire investor warren Buffet: don’t put all your eggs in one basket; always have a multiple stream of income.
On whether it is possible to combine both effectively? Answer is yes. At least for a start. Till your business can effectively provide you the kind of security any job could. You only need to set your priorities right. Getting a new job will require you. To focus on it and make it a top priority. So if that’s your option A, nothing stops you from having an option B. Afterall there are 26 letters in the english alphabet. Only remember that A always comes before B.
There is a great world of opportunities waiting just for you. Take it! Go for the best and never settle for less. There is not a scarcity of money, only of men who REALLy have it. Do more than wish to be one of them, become it.
Job seekers seek to play it safe but business owners are risk takers. When we only play safe, we deny ourselves the opportunity to live. While we strive to make a honest living, we must however ask ourselves whether we are honestly living or just bearly existing and surviving.
Man was not created to just survive, he was created to live; he wasn’t created to simply manage life and its resources, he was designed to rule over them. Always remember, no matter how crowded the top seems to be, there is always an extra space to accomodate you….only be interested enough to go for it.
Much love!
Please feel free to share this and drop your comments too. I would really appreciate it.