WHO ARE THEY???

Fela Durotoye (FD), nation builder, leadership expert and CEO Gemstone group, shared an interesting story with me during our time together recently. The story was about “they” and the lesson in it was quite remarkable.

Who or what are ‘they’ you may ask? You just read on a little further and find out!

One time, he had arrived at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport in Lagos; and the place was really hot. He moved close to one of the air conditioning systems and realized that the temperature was set at an inappropriate 30 degrees.

FD recalled that he drew the attention of an airport official to this issue, saying: “Sir, this place is hot because the temperature is set at 30 degrees. If you press this button right here to reduce the temperature to about 16 degrees, this whole place will become more conducive for everyone”

The official however responded in our conventional pidgin English saying; “Oga, that is how ‘they’ set am”. FD wondered who the ‘they’ in question were, just the way you wondered when you started reading this piece.

I mean, if anyone was in a position to do something about the temperature inside the airport on that faithful day, the airport official was one such person and here he was practically refusing to do so because of some ‘they’ somewhere that no one knows about.

FD then went on to adjust the settings of the AC by himself. While he was at it, the official kept saying that ‘Oga, if it spoil, they go hold you o”.  Once again FD wondered to himself: “Who are they? Where are they? Why should ‘they’ stop you from doing what you ought to do?”

Most of us are like that airport official. There are certain things we have decided not to do anything about, not because we cannot, but because we are too concerned, we bother ourselves too much about “what ‘they’ would think, say, do, or how ‘they’ would react”.

You might wonder, “If I quit my job, ‘they’ would say I’m crazy?” “If I leave this abusive relationship, ‘they’ would think I cannot suffer long” “If I start my business, ‘they’ will not patronize me”. “If I forgive, ‘they’ would probably do it again”.

Now I ask you, who are ‘they’?

FD adjusted the AC that day and ‘they’ never showed up. ‘They’ didn’t show up because let me shock you; ‘they’ don’t even exist! Even if they do exist, they are never as powerful as we make them to be in our minds.

If there is something that needs to be done, go ahead and do it! Regardless of what others may do or think. For all we know, They are not real! They are not powerful enough to stop you!! You are the one stopping yourself. Only YOU can stop YOU!

This is to challenge you to just do it like Nike. (If you just pronounced that as Nike, the girl that sells Indomie down your street; please know that I am praying for you. LOL). But really, you need to rise above whatever is holding you back, above those things playing around in your heads.

You are powerful enough to make that change happen!

Go for greatness!

Afolabi.

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Two classes of people.

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

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

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

Let me show you who you are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hear this….

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Soaga Afolabi

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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clutter: guttermost or uttermost

What we call store room in most homes and offices is actually where we have chosen to keep all our clutters. Clutters refer to those numerous possessions we have but don’t really need, or those we no longer use but then for some strange reason or the other, have simply refused to dispose.
In elementary science, I remember being taught that matter is anything that has weight and occupies space. Well, I have reached a conclusion that this definition applies to our subject matter today. Clutters have weight and occupy precious space; Space that ought to be used for something else is what most of us use to store up unnecessary clutter. One obstacle to progress and increase in life I believe is clutter. Clutter isn’t meant to be kept, but rather thrown away. And the following few paragraphs will attempt to convince you on why you clear your homes, offices and yes heart of all that is unnecessary.
Although, Clutters generally refer to materials and stuffs, but in the context I am writing from, it could also mean habits, character behaviour, desires, goals and ambitions. The morale and what needs to be done is the same. Whether it’s an idle ambition or an old skateboard, or some familiar habit, or that old shirt in your wardrobe; all clutter pose the same problem and so require the same type of counter measure.
You have probably heard about the sermon on the old wine bottle and new wine (Luke 5). These 2 Jesus taught are non-compactible. They simply can’t go together. If new wine is gonna come, old wine bottle must go. And this applies also to other life in general because if new stuffs will come in, old stuffs must go. Unaware to most people, the Clutters we keep prevent new stuff from coming in. if new stuff meets clutter inside your home, there would be chaos everywhere. And so the new prefers to stay away until you make room for it.
But then, have you ever wondered why do people tend to keep clutter? I learnt something called the revealed preference hypothesis in micro economics. Basically, this says if the new is better, the new is preferred. And this is the psychological reasoning of every rational person. So everyone wants better and everyone wants the new. So if clutter keeps stuff from coming in, why do people still keep it? The great rabbi Jesus also reasoned along this line and proffered some answer to this. He explained that no one who takes the old wine straightaway desires the new because he will feel the old is better. This is a classical problem of the human mind.
This is what I call an illusion of abundance. It has been our general assumption that having is always better than not having and that half bread is always better than none. But in reality, half bread at times is what keeps full bread from coming in. our human nature of always wanting and acquiring has mis-programmed us such that we are deceived into thinking we have abundance when we don’t dispose unnecessary stuff away. But then, it is only an illusion because that abundance is of little or no use and so doesn’t profit or bring gain. The truth however is that plenty doesn’t always represent prosperity and there are times when less is more.
There is a law that says until there is a release, there can’t be an increase. Jesus told his disciples that there is a man that scatters and yet increases but another that gathers and yet tends to nothing. The illusion that this false abundance brings is only temporary because we soon discover (even though we mostly choose to disbelieve) that the clutters we have refused to let go of so it can cause new to come in soon becomes so stale that without choice it has to go but this time it is without the ability to reproduce and cause new things to come in.

Change is not always without pain and sacrifice but still yet it is one thing I life that is inevitable. Everything changes with time either for the better or the worse. When we don’t allow for positive change that though painful, makes us better; then negative change which is even more painful would be imposed on us.
A seed needs to be killed for it to reproduce. A seed not released and sowed (killed) cannot reproduce itself. And seed just like opportunities have life span. When stored longer than necessary, they become stale and unable to reproduce. When your seed goes stale, it becomes a total loss. You can make that clutter a seed. Its your choice; will you rather sow it and let it multiply or keep it while it decays and rusts away.
In conclusion, your old wine or clutter are not necessary bad things or spoilt things nor are they bad habits or failed goals and ambitions. They could be good stuff. They don’t just refer to obsolete possessions of yours; in fact at times they might still very useful stuff. Yet, we still need to let them go. Realize this, the best enemy of the best at times is the good and so if we let go of these good stuffs, better ones can come.
The message here is to clear our clutter. Get rid of the unnecessary and stale. Give away the ones you can, sell some and others are best in the dustbin. Check your habits too. Some don’t make for greatness. Get rid of them too. Re-examine your vision, goals and ambition. Some of them need to be re-casted; others are just not in tune with what God as revealed to you as his intentions for you. No matter how wonderful they are, let them go. Re-appraise your knowledge base. The illiterate of this century are not those who can’t read or write, but rather those that can’t learn, un-learn and re-learn. Equip your mind and be willing to let some things go so that better ones can come in.
To go up, we need to give up. When we release we increase. When we clear our clutter, it moves us from the gutters to the utters of life. It teleports us from the lowest grounds we might have been struggling in to life’s peak and zenith. It’s your time to shine. Succeed
Soaga Afolabi

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shift: from backseat to center stage

I recently told a friend that if people tell you after seeing you for the first time after a long while of no contact that you haven’t changed, you shouldn’t regard it as a compliment but as a remark of failure. Abraham Lincoln said once that “I don’t think much of a man who isn’t wiser today than he was yesterday”. And so in the church I attend, it’s our custom to conclude each service by saying to ourselves ‘every day and in every way, I’m getting better and better’.

I pleased to say that this has been the testimony of my life. I’ve moved from being that guy that sits at the backseats of meetings to the man who owns the centre stage. You might have heard me say it before that there was a point in my life I could barely speak to one person, talk less of addressing a crowd, but today I look forward to opportunities to speak before multitudes of any size. In fact the bigger the crowd, the more excited I am about speaking. I’d love to share some of the keys that helped me practically break out of that limitation timidity placed on me. If you want to build your self-esteem, confidence and move from back seats to having the spot light on you, you could also adopt them.

First, solve your identity crisis and come to terms with who you are. When a man identifies the purpose for his life and the reasons for his existence, then and only then can he move from merely existing to really living life. To solve this crisis, ask yourself the following questions.
Who am I?
Why am I here?
What do I have?
What can I do?
Where am I going to?
Providing answers to this both spiritually and otherwise will start you along the path of self-confidence. There is something that makes you unique and special, when you find it, it will transform the way you view yourself and view things and people around you. Discover your purpose

Second, build your knowledge base. One of the reasons why some people can’t face a crowd is usually because they don’t have anything to say. A lot changed for me when I started reading books. Even the bible tells us plainly, that knowledge puffs up (1cor8:1).i.e. It has the inherent ability to make proud and boost confidence. Pride is evidently not a good thing but confidence is a quality characteristic to develop. Seek to know; when you know, you’d be known. Not because you’d be shouting your name on the rooftop, but there is a way knowledge announces itself. Remember, when the clouds are full, they empty on the earth. In the account of job, Elihu was too loaded with sound knowledge to be timid in the presence of Job and his friends.

Thirdly, work and earn yourself some cash. If you aren’t already doing this, you need to start planning to. There is something money being in your Pocket does to even the way you walk. It just has a way of influencing you and boosting your confidence. Being rich even has a way a people and crowd respond to you. Trust me, there is no easier audience to face than a willing and receptive one.

Fourthly, make impact. Do something with your life and touch someone’s heart no matter how little that touch is. There is a kind of feeling that helping someone especially when they can’t repay you gives you that nothing else does. It could be of your knowledge, skill, substance, time or whatever it is that you can use to be a blessing. I can assure you that as you do your confidence and esteem would grow and grow.

Last but not the least is to know God. This has worked wonders for me. In all sincerity, life really started for me when I got to know God for myself. Not just knowing about him like I did all my life, I got to really know him. Not as what the pastor or books said, nor what friends suggested, but what my spirit came to understand. I came to a realization of his plans for me, his will, and his love and that revolutionized the way I perceived myself. I’m not talking mere religion as I do not regard myself a religious fellow but a personal deep rooted knowing of who your creator is to you.

A mixture of these 5 keys alongside some other principles that time, space, and purpose will not permit me to tell here was my recipe for breaking out of timidity into the realm of good esteem and confidence. It basically moved me from the backseat to the centre stage. With this basic 5, I’m sure any timid man can be transformed. If I who was the least of timid people could get over it, so can you. I charge you to go for it, do what you’ve gotta and be what you ought to. Don’t be satisfied with the status quo timidity and shyness limits you to. Remember, our greatest fear isn’t that we are inadequate, but that we are more powerful, beyond what we can phantom. Be the best you. Succeed!

Afolabi Soaga.

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AP: lincoln’s real secret to success.

Probably the greatest example of persistence is Abraham Lincoln. If you want to learn about somebody who didn’t quit, look no further. But is persistence the only lesson we can learn from one of the greatest presidents america has ever had? I don’t think so.

Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House and underneath it is a brief comment on some other things I think we can learn from him.
1816: His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818: His mother died.
1831: Failed in business.
1832: Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832: Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833: Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834: Ran for state legislature again – won.
1838: Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840: Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843: Ran for Congress – lost.
1846: Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
1848: Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854: Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856: Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – got less than 100 votes.
1858: Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860: Elected president of the United States.
 
Lincoln himself once said “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure” For a man who lived the life just narrated above, its clear he was speaking from experience and that he lived his own advice. I however believe that his discontent with failure not only moved him to try again, but also to learn, un-learn and re-learn certain things.

Ordinarily, we’ve been taught that persistent was the major tool he used in his life and somehow we have believed it was the only tool. But I discovered that persistence alone can’t achieve much. A wise man commented once that “it is foolishness to do the same thing the same way and expect a different result”. If you persistently do things the wrong way, you’ll consistently be wrong and you’d consistently fail.

I discovered that lincoln was a progressive learner. He learnt new strategies and increased in wisdom. And though he was persistent in his pursuits, he understood the importance of growth. He didn’t allow failure at one exam stop him from preparing for another. He kept on advancing and progressing, seeking greater things. Contesting for higher positions showed that he didn’t remain at one level of development as what is required to contest at stage 2 is always higher than that at stage 1.

We need opportunities for success; and opportunity comes to everyone. But opportunity alone is not enough, as opportunity without corresponding strength, ability and preparation would end up being a waste. Benjami disreali said that “the secret to success is for a man to be ready for his opportunity when it comes”.

There is such a thing as active patience(AP). Its something we all have to learn. It is what makes persistence profitable. It means doing the required things while being persistent. It is taking the bull by the horn and not just waiting for life to swing luck your way. It is understanding that opportunity is attracted like a magnet to those actively positioned for it. This is what distinguished lincoln and what made him a success. Whether you fail or succeed, there is always something you need to do to maintain or repeat success. Success is never automatic.

So the message today is this: keep learning, growing, and improving. Acquire new strategies, there are times when winning strategies fail (for the first time). Don’t just relax and call it persistence. Great men who make impact and register themselves in life’s history books are always on the offensive. Lincoln was a learner; you should be too.

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value: the eliab concept

Imagine yourself lost in the desert for like a week with no food no water and nobody to talk to; Just you and this vast expanse of dry land. And then maybe somewhere along the way you get to a junction that leads to two different destinations. You can only make one option and so choosing one is forgoing the other. In taking option A you are sure to find a million dollars in cash along the way; while in option B you’d find a store where you could get water and food and people to talk with (remember you have been lost for like a week with no food or water). Well, I believe the obvious option most people will go for is the latter. Reason is because, of what use is a million dollars if there is nobody to sell stuffs to you and nothing to buy. Moreover, if you choose the former option and go for the money, what use is money to a dead man (Just in case you don’t know, they don’t spend dollars in heaven). So to a man near death who is lost in the desert, a cup of water to revive his thirsty self is of more value than a million dollars that can’t buy him anything. Of course if he wasn’t near death and if he had hope of one day surviving through the desert without that water, his option would have been totally different. In fact, if we add an additional clause to the previous scenario saying that if he walks just a little further down that million dollar road, he’d find a place where a glass of water sells for $1000 and an helicopter for hire to fly you anywhere in the world for say $100000; even if he was near death, some would probably still go for the money.
This illustration points us to the fact that value is a very relative term. One man’s meat is indeed another’s poison. What is termed valuable to one man, might be perceived worthless to another. Beauty in life is always in the eyes of the beholder; the woman who one man would die for, another might not even wish to be sick for.

I have come to discover that value is seldom a function of the object in question but rather it is more about the subject. In the example used in the first paragraph, the object is the cup of water or million dollars while the subject is the pathetic fellow who was lost in the desert. What that means is that what determined the value of the object wasn’t the object in itself but rather the person who wanted to acquire it. And so what person A might be willing to pay 1000 bucks for, person B might feel it isn’t worth more than 200bucks. A real life example was the case with the recent signing of soccer player Gareth Bale by giants Real Madrid FC for £100 million. The transfer caused a lot of bubbles in the media with all sorts of person giving their own opinion on the matter. Most people said he’s not worth that much but as far as the Madrid guys were concerned, it was the right price and they paid it.

However, despite value being more dependent on the subject than on the object, the object however can influence the subject’s opinion of it. This implies that a lady that is not getting noticed by a guy she has a crush on can hit a bit of luck and get that guy to notice her if she can invest little bit more into what I call ‘the magic of cosmetics’(there are always exceptions to this. No amounts of makeup or make-down make some people change their minds. A friend recently described it as “the kind of ugly that makes ordinary ugly people feel like prom kings and queens” just kiddingJ). In Madrid’s case, though they were the ones who placed such huge figures on Bale, there must have been something they saw in him or saw him do that probably other teams didn’t and so they valued him more than other teams were willing to.
What all this is about is how to influence anybody or any subject to place as much value on you as you desire or probably deserve or how to sell yourself well to any individual or organization. In this season of valentine and love, this might be a life saver for some persons.

First thing to do is to pay attention to your image. Many Christians refer to the story in 1Sam16 to imply that God looks at the heart. True! But often we neglect what God was also trying to communicate which is that men look at the face and so we fail to take wisdom from that. I believe this was one of the secrets to joseph’s success story as recorded in the famous book of Genesis. When he was going to appear before Pharaoh, he shaved his beards so as to make a solid impression on the king. If he was just looking like a prisoner with all the beards and all, all Pharaoh would have probably had for him was pity and so the best he would have gotten from that encounter would have been a royal pardon and a release from jail but definitely not an appointment as prime minister. But he shaved and cleaned up, he looked like he could be a prime minister and so he was appointed the prime minister. My pastor will always tell you, men look on the outward, and so if you’ll be dealing with men, it’s always important to make a good impression there. In Malcolm Gladwell’s blink, the chapter ‘the Warren Harding error- why we all fall for tall and handsome men’ discussed this a little further. If not for God’s special intervention because of his special purpose and intention for Israel, even the mighty Prophet Samuel would have fallen like most men do and Eliab (king David eldest brother) would have charmed his way into being king!
Pay attention to the way you look even in pictures. The way you dress is the way you’d be addressed. But not only dressing because that’s just one part of your image. 3 places where you need to make a statement of a good image include your face, body and voice. So the way you walk, talk, smile, smell and even sit in a chair matter. Prov22:11 says , ‘for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend’. So just by talking, a king can value a mere man enough to want to be his friend. Eccl 9 tells of a wise man (i.e. he had substance) who wasn’t paid attention or justly rewarded because he was poor. Joseph could have been that man but thank God he was smarter…..he paid attention to his image.

Let’s look at the part B of this ‘value’ thing. A Russian proverb says that when you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes but when you leave a man, you’ll judge him by his character. Image without substance is like death cased in a medicine. A medicine is supposed to administer health but this one will ultimately steal health away. This was the error of the fig tree in mark11 (you can do a little study of it). It is said that one good service will bring you 3 customers but 1 bad one will drive away 30. The emphasis of this is that for a greater good, we must place character over beauty i.e. more emphasis on content than the packaging. We have established why beauty and image is very important. But beauty can only attract people and value to you, what sustains that is substance. While beauty is a necessary condition for patronage, it is usually not a sufficient condition. Value not deserved but gotten is soon so easily lost. So having said that you should pay attention to the way you are perceived by people by looking convincing on the outside, make sure you don’t do that at the expense of your quality on the inside. Perhaps if Eliab had the kind of heart David had, the value and respect Samuel placed on him would have been sustained and God would have allowed Samuel to crown him king.
And so although the value people attach to us is entirely their opinion which they are very entitled to, there is still something we can do to influence their opinion and thus a part to play in how people perceive and respond to us. The strength of any brand is 2 ways: quality on the inside; quality on the outside. Do your best to have both, when you do, people will see your outstanding-ness and how you are truly a one-in-a-million.
Have a splendid week.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

value: the eliab concept

Imagine yourself lost in the desert for like a week with no food no water and nobody to talk to; Just you and this vast expanse of dry land. And then maybe somewhere along the way you get to a junction that leads to two different destinations. You can only make one option and so choosing one is forgoing the other. In taking option A you are sure to find a million dollars in cash along the way; while in option B you’d find a store where you could get water and food and people to talk with (remember you have been lost for like a week with no food or water). Well, I believe the obvious option most people will go for is the latter. Reason is because, of what use is a million dollars if there is nobody to sell stuffs to you and nothing to buy. Moreover, if you choose the former option and go for the money, what use is money to a dead man (Just in case you don’t know, they don’t spend dollars in heaven). So to a man near death who is lost in the desert, a cup of water to revive his thirsty self is of more value than a million dollars that can’t buy him anything. Of course if he wasn’t near death and if he had hope of one day surviving through the desert without that water, his option would have been totally different. In fact, if we add an additional clause to the previous scenario saying that if he walks just a little further down that million dollar road, he’d find a place where a glass of water sells for $1000 and an helicopter for hire to fly you anywhere in the world for say $100000; even if he was near death, some would probably still go for the money.
This illustration points us to the fact that value is a very relative term. One man’s meat is indeed another’s poison. What is termed valuable to one man, might be perceived worthless to another. Beauty in life is always in the eyes of the beholder; the woman who one man would die for, another might not even wish to be sick for.

I have come to discover that value is seldom a function of the object in question but rather it is more about the subject. In the example used in the first paragraph, the object is the cup of water or million dollars while the subject is the pathetic fellow who was lost in the desert. What that means is that what determined the value of the object wasn’t the object in itself but rather the person who wanted to acquire it. And so what person A might be willing to pay 1000 bucks for, person B might feel it isn’t worth more than 200bucks. A real life example was the case with the recent signing of soccer player Gareth Bale by giants Real Madrid FC for £100 million. The transfer caused a lot of bubbles in the media with all sorts of person giving their own opinion on the matter. Most people said he’s not worth that much but as far as the Madrid guys were concerned, it was the right price and they paid it.

However, despite value being more dependent on the subject than on the object, the object however can influence the subject’s opinion of it. This implies that a lady that is not getting noticed by a guy she has a crush on can hit a bit of luck and get that guy to notice her if she can invest little bit more into what I call ‘the magic of cosmetics’(there are always exceptions to this. No amounts of makeup or make-down make some people change their minds. A friend recently described it as “the kind of ugly that makes ordinary ugly people feel like prom kings and queens” just kiddingJ). In Madrid’s case, though they were the ones who placed such huge figures on Bale, there must have been something they saw in him or saw him do that probably other teams didn’t and so they valued him more than other teams were willing to.
What all this is about is how to influence anybody or any subject to place as much value on you as you desire or probably deserve or how to sell yourself well to any individual or organization. In this season of valentine and love, this might be a life saver for some persons.

First thing to do is to pay attention to your image. Many Christians refer to the story in 1Sam16 to imply that God looks at the heart. True! But often we neglect what God was also trying to communicate which is that men look at the face and so we fail to take wisdom from that. I believe this was one of the secrets to joseph’s success story as recorded in the famous book of Genesis. When he was going to appear before Pharaoh, he shaved his beards so as to make a solid impression on the king. If he was just looking like a prisoner with all the beards and all, all Pharaoh would have probably had for him was pity and so the best he would have gotten from that encounter would have been a royal pardon and a release from jail but definitely not an appointment as prime minister. But he shaved and cleaned up, he looked like he could be a prime minister and so he was appointed the prime minister. My pastor will always tell you, men look on the outward, and so if you’ll be dealing with men, it’s always important to make a good impression there. In Malcolm Gladwell’s blink, the chapter ‘the Warren Harding error- why we all fall for tall and handsome men’ discussed this a little further. If not for God’s special intervention because of his special purpose and intention for Israel, even the mighty Prophet Samuel would have fallen like most men do and Eliab (king David eldest brother) would have charmed his way into being king!
Pay attention to the way you look even in pictures. The way you dress is the way you’d be addressed. But not only dressing because that’s just one part of your image. 3 places where you need to make a statement of a good image include your face, body and voice. So the way you walk, talk, smile, smell and even sit in a chair matter. Prov22:11 says , ‘for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend’. So just by talking, a king can value a mere man enough to want to be his friend. Eccl 9 tells of a wise man (i.e. he had substance) who wasn’t paid attention or justly rewarded because he was poor. Joseph could have been that man but thank God he was smarter…..he paid attention to his image.

Let’s look at the part B of this ‘value’ thing. A Russian proverb says that when you meet a man, you judge him by his clothes but when you leave a man, you’ll judge him by his character. Image without substance is like death cased in a medicine. A medicine is supposed to administer health but this one will ultimately steal health away. This was the error of the fig tree in mark11 (you can do a little study of it). It is said that one good service will bring you 3 customers but 1 bad one will drive away 30. The emphasis of this is that for a greater good, we must place character over beauty i.e. more emphasis on content than the packaging. We have established why beauty and image is very important. But beauty can only attract people and value to you, what sustains that is substance. While beauty is a necessary condition for patronage, it is usually not a sufficient condition. Value not deserved but gotten is soon so easily lost. So having said that you should pay attention to the way you are perceived by people by looking convincing on the outside, make sure you don’t do that at the expense of your quality on the inside. Perhaps if Eliab had the kind of heart David had, the value and respect Samuel placed on him would have been sustained and God would have allowed Samuel to crown him king.
And so although the value people attach to us is entirely their opinion which they are very entitled to, there is still something we can do to influence their opinion and thus a part to play in how people perceive and respond to us. The strength of any brand is 2 ways: quality on the inside; quality on the outside. Do your best to have both, when you do, people will see your outstanding-ness and how you are truly a one-in-a-million.
Have a splendid week.

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

turning threats into opportunity: a simple strategy

In the 1960s and 1970s, Albert Humphrey using data from Fortune 500 developed a technique that involves specifying the objective of a business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieving that objective. His technique is called a SWOT analysis. It is an analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture. Although it was primarily applied to businesses, its principle could also be applied to products, places, industries and very importantly, people.
As humans we all have our SWOTs. Your strengths are those things or areas you can do better than others while your weaknesses are the reverse of that. Your opportunities are those things that you can explore to your advantage while threats are those things or situations that can cause you trouble. Peak performance in life requires that you seek ways to perfect and sustain your strengths, deal with your weaknesses, maximize your opportunities and protect yourself from your threats.
However, Eccl9:11 talks about the fallibility of strength. Strength without corresponding opportunities is a waste and likewise opportunities without strenght(empowerment/preparation) is also a waste. Benjami Disrealli said that the secret of success is for a man to be ready for his opportunity before it comes. But for the sake of today’s discourse, I’ll stick to talking about opportunities with an underlying assumption that we all have strengths of some sort that God has equipped us with. What many people lack is not ability, but rather a platform to exhibit it. All men are born equal, but differing opportunities come our way. The difference often time between the successful and the unsuccessful is what kind and amount of opportunity that life serve them. As it were, even strenght, skill and ability are sometimes the product of opportunity. If there is thus a way one could increase his opportunities, I believe such a one could also increase his success and one way we can do that is by turning your threats into opportunities. Stated below is a strategy anyone could apply.

CONFRONT YOUR FEAR.
We have earlier defined a threat as something that possess danger to us. They come in different forms to different people. What constitute a threat to a shy person might not be what is a threat to an extrovert. But whatever personality type we call ourself or whatever situation we find ourselves in, one thing common is that whenever a threat confronts us, our default response to it usually is fear. Fear is one of the most common and regular emotion in people. Though it looks normal to be afraid when faced with a threat but in truth, it’s the worst thing we do to ourselves. Because although a threat is what introduces fear, the fear it introduces is a greater threat than whatever threat introduced the fear in the first place. A man who is afraid is half defeated before the battle even begins. Have you noticed that champion boxers are usually good talkers? This is because they understand that if they can talk fear into the heart of their opponents, then their victory is half won already.
The first thing you should always bear in mind when faced with a threat of whatever kind is that whatever you are confronting is a lesser enemy than the fear it introduces. In fact, its strength is the fear. And so as it were, the strength of your enemy is usually within you. This is what made me come to a conclusion that whether I win or lose a battle is not of how strong my opponent is but rather how strong I am or can be before the match. And so If you can deal with your fear( which is your weakest link) and retain your peace, then there is really nothing you can’t overcome.

Confronting fear: become the boss
Fear exists in the common room of our mind. It is not real. Like defined in the movie ‘after earth’, it is False Evidence Appearing Real. You can confront fear by seeing things differently and taking a proper perspective to the situation you find yourself. What this means is that a student about to write an examination shouldn’t see an examination as an avenue schools use to fail their students but rather as an assessment of what they’ve been taught and thus an opportunity to show them what he has learnt. A shy person shouldn’t see addressing a crowd as a suicide mission but rather as chance to show the world what he’s got. Personally, I noticed that when I stand before a crowd with a mentality of being examined, I get frightened and nervous and that always affect my performance. But when I stand before a crowd with the mindset that they want to hear me speak and learn from me, I do it very differently and more excellently. The difference is not what I’m sharing; nor the crowd size or type; but rather on what grounds am I standing before them. So if I can programme my mind to think in a particular way about the challenge I’m facing, then I can decide what level of performance I’ll operate in. As a man thinks, so is he. And so even if I am standing before a panel which obviously means that I am to be examined, we have the ability to switch the scenario in our heads and act like we are not to be examined but rather to perform and that gives us a chance to show the great stuff we are made of. Once you can take control of the environment of your mind and customize the conditioning of it to suit your objective and not the objective of your opposition or whatever is confronting you, then you’d have turned what seemed like a threat into an opportunity.

This could be applied to almost anything. For me, I apply it to get over my shyness, others could apply it to a difficult examination Or any other challenge you might face. A crowd by default possess a threat to me. But when I’m faced with such as I do often these days, I remember quickly that I can turn any threat into an opportunity by ceasing the fear it introduces, gaining mastery over it, counter it with boldness and then release myself for a great performance. I urge you to try it out as well. Multiply your opportunities, multiply your success.
God bless.
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

identity crisis: chasing shadows

It’s a funny world we are living in. Most of us will laugh at a kid chasing his shadow without recognizing that as grown-ups we pretty much do the same. Let me paint a scenario of how most of us live our lives using a fictional classroom. Its worthy to note that although this exact case may be a pure product of my imagination, it is however the true life scenario of most classrooms around the world.
My story is about Taye. He is a young bright kid but he is somehow dis-satisfied with his life and is always trying his best and doing all he can to be like david his class mate. David is a cool boy, but he believes sam is ‘cooler’ and so he is trying to be like sam. Sam hasn’t been having the best grades in school and his parents are not too pleased with him. In fact, just the other day his mom compared him with his classmate Biodun who happens to live 2 blocks away. Ever since then, it has been Sam’s life goal to be like biodun. Biodun on the other hand is not the smartest in the class. Though his grades have been high, they are still nothing compared to Mofe’s grades. Mofe is the class leader. He always wins the prize but seems to be nothing more after that. He craves to be more sociable and so he is trying hard as well to be like Taye who in Mofe’s opinion seems to have a good balance of a social life while doing well on his academics.
Well, most people would probably not get the gist of the story here but if you followed the story well to the end without getting lost with the names and all, you’d notice that we began this story with taye and ended the story with that same taye. The point here is that Taye, the dis-satisfied boy who was trying to be like somebody else was all along only trying to be himself because down the line those he was trying to be like were all trying indirectly or directly to be like him. The disastifaction he felt indicates that he wass failing terribly at it. He was chasing his own shadow!
Truth is God made everyone of us as originals but many people die trying to be fakes; who we are not. The easiest thing to be in the world should be ourselves but ironically it is the singular thing many people fail at. The problem with trying to be what we are not is that we do a really poor job at it. And the problem with trying to be ourselves( by looking at our shadow) is that we end up being someone else. The best we can be in being someone else is second best.
One thing I’m absolutely sure you can do better than everyone else in the world and everyone that has ever lived is being yourself. And we should not struggle to do it. Once it becomes a struggle, then you’ve probably gone off course. What I’m trying to get across is- just be yourself. Don’t try to be yourself; just be it. Its the best thing you could be. At the peak of maslov’s theory of human need is self actualization. Its everyone’s basic goal. However, Foundational to that is self discovery and self expression( being one’s self and nt someone else). Without these, self actualization is totally imposible. Your life is a gift from God. Accept it, embrace it and treat it as such. Succeed!
Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.