Footprints behind us

This is gradually becoming a ritual for me. Every year on my birthday, I like to share thoughts and ideas that have shaped me and are continuing to do so in the hope that someone who reads it can learn a thing or two on how to move their lives forward.

This year, my thoughts have been around the footprints we make and leave on the surface of the earth. These prints are our legacy. They are the things that the world would remember us for. They are also the things we will be defined by and it is important to pay attention to them.

When Alfred Nobel’s brother died, a local newspaper mistakenly published Albert’s obituary instead. That allowed Alfred the dread of coming face to face with his own obituary. He was confronted with what his legacy was but was also presented with an opportunity to change it.

From a man who was to be remembered as a merchant of death who became wealthy by finding ways to kill many people fast to one remembered as the creator of the prestigious Nobel Prize. Alfred Nobel rewrote his own history.

Two ready lessons from Alfred’s story are these. First, consciously or not, we are all leaving behind a legacy either good or bad. More interesting is that many of us are unaware about what type of legacy we are leaving behind. Second and perhaps more importantly is that it is never too late to decide what we would be remembered for. We can take conscious steps today and rewrite the stories that would be told of us.

I have found that our lives are really a sum total of the decisions we make. We are no better than our daily decisions and actions. The question then is- what informs our decisions?

I believe that a proven answer to that are the values you hold. These are the things that decide what decisions you go with and the ones you discard.  They are the unseen litmus test that validate the actions we take. We are just as good as our values. Therefore, to leave behind a great legacy, we must first live out great values.

Your values are things that you must continually do and think to become the person you have envisioned yourself to be. They have such a compelling influence over your actions that they practically define who you are. They are the things you stand for and they are the things that will keep you standing.

To leave behind a great legacy, we must first live out great values.

Note that your values don’t necessarily have to be ‘natural’ to you. Why this is important to know is that we are likely to fall into the danger of thinking about our values based on our past experience- on what we currently are, both good and bad. While that is helpful, it is also important to know that we can also be forward looking when thinking about our values. In other words, they are not necessarily what you’ve always been or done; but could rather be what you will start doing and being.

It is never too late to decide what we would be remembered for. We can take conscious steps today and rewrite the stories that would be told of us.

So you see, leaving a conscious and deliberate legacy starts with identifying and committing to a set of values that align with that legacy. By committing, I mean that you take ownership of those values and you start defining yourself by them. This might require that you recite it over and over again until it becomes internalized like a software that runs your life.

You don’t have to pick every good trait you can remember, you could just pick a few that you can really commit to, and that also best align with your vision and goals. If you work well at those few values, you’d be greatly amazed at how such singular action can transform your life.

My own identified values are Growth, Love, Faith, Patriotism, Humility, Generosity and Service. What are yours?

Cheers!

Afolabi

AOC Generation

I don’t really know how it works these days, but I remember well that while I was in secondary school, we had a habit of always asking our teachers whenever exams were approaching for what we called an AOC.

AOC is acronym for Area of Concentration. The idea is that, if we were taught 8 topics during that term or semester, and the exam will only cover say  4 topics, the AOC tells us where to focus our reading efforts on such that rather than read the entire 8 topics, we can focus effort and attention on the 4 guaranteed exam topics.  Good way to save energy, focus energy and increase efficiency!

While AOC proved to be a good idea in some cases; in some other cases, it wasn’t. There were times when certain ‘wicked’ teachers decided to mislead us by giving us wrong AOCs. So he says read topics 1 to 4, and then he ends up setting topics 5 to 8 in the exam. I’m sure you know that the result of that is usually not pretty. Someone reading this must have had such nasty experiences too. So early enough, I’ve learnt not to be an AOC dependent student; when I have an examination, I leave no stone unturned, master all I should; and in retrospect, I think it is a good idea that has worked well for me.

Being an AOC person is too risky as a student in school and even more importantly, as a student outside school. Many people want to know that ONE thing that they can do to become successful, that ONE thing they can do to make a first class in school, that ONE thing they can do to make more money, that ONE thing they can do to land that dream job, that one thing that will make their marriage heaven; just that ONE thing!

Newsflash- there is hardly a one-thing-to-do! Instead there are usually SEVERAL things to do. Success in life and any endeavor is rarely an easy-one way-formula. If it were, everybody would be successful. Further still, what works at a particular level might not at another level. To crown it all, life as a teacher doesn’t give AOCs… it doesn’t even have an examination timetable. You have to ALWAYS be prepared and not only that, you also have to be FULLY prepared.

You have to ALWAYS be prepared and not only that, you also have to be FULLY prepared.

In conclusion, examinations in life and other specific circumstances are not just given so that you can pass them. There are there so that you can become something by reason of them. There are there to certify that you have learnt enough if not all of what they are about. AOCs are good, but they only make you half baked. Sooner or later, questions will pop from areas outside your AOC. The question then is- will you be able to tackle them?

Afolabi Soaga

Auto Pilot: how to crash a life.

I once saw a funny picture captioned- ‘dear lord, can you please borrow me 5 million Naira from my wealth in the future ‘cos i kinda have some things to sort out right now’. If i didn’t know better, that would have been my kinda prayer today.

Have you ever wished just like me that you have a remote control in your hands that could just fast forward your life 5 years into the future, into that time when you have that beautiful wife, and drive that expensive car, and live in that elegant mansion, and into when you are signatory to that robust bank account and have that good life of your dreams. Sometimes i wish i could just cut through the bullshit of the present time and live the reality of my dreams and i bet we all do.

A thought line of this nature i believe led to the production of the 2006 hit movie ‘click’. The producers of the movie clearly played out the fantasy of a lot of us and like they showed in the movie, this kind of idea is quite lofty as it is also costly.click-50eae812b84e8

Here is what i mean.

In the movie, Michael Newman played by Adam Sandler was fortunate to meet an eccentric inventor who gave him a universal remote that allows him to control time. With that remote, Michael could pause, Play in slow motion or fast forward time. It looked like the perfect solution to his life problems as he could easily skip the boring moments of his existence and move into the exciting periods of his future.

There was one problem as he soon found. Skipping time meant he had to operate on auto pilot and that was costly. Let me tell you a bit about auto pilot and airplanes.  I might have not flown in a plane before, but I know quite a few things about airplanes. One of such is auto-piloting. I can credit this knowledge to movies like snake on a plane, passenger 57, soul plane, Airforce one, etc.

The Auto-pilot is a device for controlling an aircraft or other vehicle without constant human intervention. From what I’ve noticed in movies, it is basically used most often to relieve the pilot during routine cruising. It  maintains an aircraft in straight and level flight.  Since we are not engineers or aspiring pilots, we basically don’t need to know more than that. So how does this apply to life and Michael’s story?

Airplane-1300x724Lets take our lives to be airplanes that we are pilots of. Auto-piloting refers to when you are in a hands-off mode with regards the direction of your life. You are just auto-cruising and taking life as it comes. You are not putting much thought or efforts to the way you do things or respond to situations. You are not being innovative about your challenges and aspirations and you are just relying on your reserve abilities and tendencies to get through life. You are not proactive about the happenings in your life, you have become a master of the sentence ‘any how God wills it’. You are not creating the future you desire and could have but rather you are settling for a future that would be if all things remain equal. Sadly, all things are never equal. Your response to everything that happens in your life is “God wanted it that way”. When you are retired to fate in this manner, then you are on autopilot!

Auto pilot is quite fun and easy. No efforts required. Just a button and then you can go to sleep. With it you get to enjoy the luxury of selective participation.

But it is hella dangerous.

No good pilot dares switch to autopilot in the face of a storm. That’s a guaranteed suicide mission. You need all hands on deck when the slightest of storms show face. And here is the thing, life’s cruise is never without storms and challenges.

Everyday has its own challenge, every success its own joy, and every failure and pain with its lesson and wisdom. And to get the best of every passing moment of your life, you have to live through them. There is just no room for autopiloting in real life unless you want to crash.

You have to be observant, learning everything you can from every challenge faced whether you succeeded at it or failed. You have to be proactive to decide what course your life flies towards. There would be avoidable storms but only when you are on manual pilot can you avoid them or maneuver your way out of them.

The truth is that if there really is a remote that could fast forward time and you use it; you wont find yourself where you’d love to be. The future you’d find yourself wont be the one you dreamed of before using that remote. I have found that the best way to live your dreams is to create it and that can only be done through active participation in the process of you life.

I once told my younger brother something wise and i believe is quite applicable here…that the only change that occurs with time is decay. For growth and beauty, right effort must be combined with time.

In conclusion, be proactive about your life. Put thought and effort into your decisions and actions, understand the usefulness of every moment of your life and of every circumstance you find yourself in and with courage and determination, stride your way out of every storm life throws at you and come out on top like an eagle that you are.

Amour,

Afolabi Soaga

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

Those annoying Bc’s

Have you also received a Whatsapp message from Jesus in which he threatened to kill all your family members and destroy your life if you don’t re-post the message?  Or a BBM Bc from God in which he promised that you’ll received an unexpected breakthrough if you send the message to 16 other people? Or seen a Facebook wall post that promised you supernatural money once you type amen or liked the prayer?IMG_20150603_133458_edit

Chances are YES! We all have received these annoying messages from well-meaning friends of ours on different social media platforms.

Now what’s my problem with these people?

They don’t self-evaluate to check what works and what doesn’t. They are just like dead fish that always goes with the flow. They’ll do anything and everything they are told to do and are thus ineffective in life. They are usually ordinary people who do not stand for anything and thus fall for everything. My take is- they are ambassadors of mediocrity. No offense intended.

It’s just a lazy attitude to keep doing certain things over and over without checking to see the rewards or consequences. I mean, if someone promises you that if you do a certain thing you’ll get a certain thing; it’s only responsible that after doing that thing, you check to see if you actually got what was promised. That’s how to be purposeful about life. If you don’t see what was promised then you ask questions. Did I do it right? Should I have done something else in addition? Or was I just fooled and simply added up to someone else’s numbers.

Someone noted once that life is too short to be fooled over and over again. The first time fell for it, you were exploited, the seIMG_20150603_132954_editcond time you were foolish.

These Bc people are the same set of people that will pray for something and then forget that they prayed for it. So the next time they go to church, they are praying for the same thing. They forget simply because they are not really expectant which also means they lack faith. They are luck depending prayerists who hope to get lucky with God soon. It’s that same attitude of doing things and not checking for effectiveness they put on the social media that they also take to the house of prayer and other aspects of their lives.

If you pray for a thing without result, ask questions. Did I pray right? Is there something I’m missing? I’m asking for the wrong things? Or is it just an issue of timing?

All I’m trying to say is simple. Live a CEL– consistently evaluated life. Question your actions and inactions. Seek out your bc1most effective activities and dump the rest. Focus on the things that bring you most profit and reduce those that waste your time and yes megabyte.

I’ll end on this note; the purpose of activity isn’t activity, but rather to generate results. A method should be justified by a positive result; the end should justify the means. When it doesn’t, the means should be dropped and effort stop being wasted.

Receive wisdom! LOL

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun  download (1)

Post-Eden experience: GERMAN MISTAKE II

We understand from scriptures that the first man Adam was created and placed in a garden called Eden. Eden was the perfect place. Imagine the most luxurious getaway tourist spot that exists today and even that isn’t half of what Eden felt like. one thing I’m quite sure of is that unlike most of us today who can’t wait to just leave this ‘earth’ and go to heaven; Adam had no need for such thoughts because his Eden was just like heaven already. Why seek a greener pasture when your pasture is greenest!

just about when Adam was starting to get his groove on, life happened!

In a twinkle of an eye, Adam lost everything. Talk about having serious problems….that was what Adam was having here. You know, there is nothing you and I can face today that someone else hasn’t faced before. But for Adam, life outside Eden was a completely new experience and there was really nobody around that had experienced such before. No manuals, no history, no experience or anything of such to consult. All he had in the midst of that problem was uncertainty!

But Adam survived!

He did because he could ADAPT. One of the very first inherent ability man had to exhibit outside Eden was the ability to adapt to his new and hostile environment. And over the years as he conquered new territories, mankind has had to re-exhibit that God-given ability.

So despite the hostile conditions of cold, heat, hunger, pain, need, danger, uncertainty, insecurity, etc, that  he faced outside Eden, though he wasn’t used to such conditions, Adam could live through them because of his adaptive ability. He was naturally resilient

You and I are naturally resilient too.  We just need to reach within ourselves and tap into that ineffable quality. And so in the face of a seemingly overwhelming challenge, its important to remember that we have what it takes to exhibit this ability and live through our storms also. Rather than being defeated by the challenges we face, we can live through them- we can adapt to survive.

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Then Adam moved past surviving. He started to thrive!

He did this by unleashing his creativity through the power of thought. As Adam started getting used to his new environment, he soon discovered that resilience and adaptive ability won’t be enough to guarantee his survival in the long run; he needed to be more than that. He knew deep within that there was more to him than all he was experiencing!

The first rain experience for Adam came shortly after he vacated the garden. The waters came pouring like they were purposefully sent to torment Adam. Adam noticed there and then that the animal skin clothing he was wearing wasn’t sufficient to shield the cold or keep him from the rain. stage one of dealing with this was to cope by adapting to the cold and rain and survive while it rained on him. But after that rain, he sought how to make himself a shelter or at least a place he could hide when next the waters came pouring from the sky.

Soon he discovered he could make fire. With two stones and a stick from a tree, Adam could create this magic called fire that would provide him heat for those cold days. More so, with the fire he could roast his hunted game which tasted far better than when he had to maybe eat it raw.

however, It wasn’t just nature that was giving him a tough time. The wild animals started getting actually wild. All the while in Eden they all lived together as happy little friends in their fairy tale existence. But outside the garden, the animals were totally different. They had started eating themselves and man reasoned that sooner or later, they’d come after him. it was either they get him, or he gets them……it was a jungle mehn!! Eureka! Weapons came into existence. From simple wooden spears to the more complex bows; Man had invented something he could use to defend himself.

Decades upon decades, centuries upon centuries; and today we have a fast paced high technology world. We have cars, airplanes, escalators, sky scrapers, phablets!, internet, and every other invention that makes life comfortable today because mankind is naturally creative…. because you and I can create things! We can create to thrive

God didn’t create finalities; he created man and then he created possibilities. Its man’s saddled responsibility to turn potentials into realities and his dreams into his history. Your challenges and problems are also not finalities, they are just opportunities. You only need to see the possibilities!

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From Adam’s post Eden experience, we see two things. One is that we can adapt to any condition no matter how strenuous it may be. We have the impeccable ability to live through any storm that comes our way and come out of it victoriously. Two is that beyond that, we can create lemonades from our lemons; you can take the stones life hurls at you and build yourself a castle with them. With creative thinking we can figure out an escape road out of any difficulty or better still, convert our challenges into opportunities.

There is no problem or challenge that can survive the continuous assault of deep thinking. Your imagination and creativity is your ticket into your dreams. No condition has to be permanent, you can change things; you can improve your life. You can do better than adapting and surviving; you can create and thrive!

PS: You don’t have to be content with living in a world that has been created by others, good or bad; you also can create a better, a world others can live in.

Bye!

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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

Baby Again: the future of the African child

Fear and the inability to take risks are man created. We were not born that way. We were informally trained to be afraid, to lack courage and to avoid risk. We were brought up to think that it’s best to always play it safe. But I have come to realize that although a ship in the harbor is safe; that’s not what ships are made for. They are designed and purposed to sail the high seas and surf through the turbulent storms; and they are specially designed to serve that purpose.

Risks are a part of life; boldness i  s often essential and it is innate. Fear though seems natural, it isn’t our default setting. We picked it up along the way and dropped the courage we were born with not realizing that although fear will take us to a destination faster and safer; often it leads to the wrong one and at when best, to a destination far lesser than where we ought to and could reach.

Take a look at a baby. Regardless of who her father is or how uneducated his mother is. Even if the baby is an orphan from theimages (1) poorest of families; when you place him or her in a room filled with the most honourable and noble dignitaries of the world, the baby would still end up doing whatever it is it wants to do. If it wants to cry, cry it would; or smile or make noise or cause trouble. A baby acts without inhibition and without fear. They are a great example of courage and boldness.

And each and everyone of us was once like that baby. We were all born that way. And that’s what we need to get back to being. Fear is a habit we learnt while unlearning courage and we need to reverse that to unlearn fear and relearn courage.

We were born that way for a reason. The world we are in is one filled with opportunities. But despite the huge opportunities that lie around, what we find also is great inequality.  The resources available are not equally distributed and no matter the kind of socialist system any government tries to run, they can never be. Resources are not necessarily scarce; or let me say scarcity is relative. Resources can go round but it just won’t.  I believe that an interplay of fear, faith, courage and boldness is what decides who gets what and how much of the resources available gets to a person.

It takes the bold and courageous to stretch forth and reach for his own share. It takes a lion heart to have a lion’s share. And that courage lies within your heart. You just need to find it.

And to young parents and intending parents especially my fellow African people i have this to add: We tend to teach our children not to speak where elders are instead of teaching them how to speak where elders are. We teach our daughters to be subservient to their male counterparts rather than making them know how to be achievers in themselves as well as humble afterwards. These are the things that sniff out the boldness and courage we were born with. Little wonder we are the way we are. I believe it is important that we change some part of how we train our children. No doubt our system has given birth to really strong and defiant people and time won’t permit me to name examples, but like always said, there is always room for improvement.  Ability to adapt and to survive are not the only things we can have. images (2)Courage, confidence and boldness could be added to the character of the African child.so we need to adopt systems that would model these traits in our kids. We need to make them start seeing that the white man isn’t better and that the foreign land isn’t more blessed. That they can compete against anyone in the world because they are equally as good as anyone else of any skin type. Our children must see beyond their immediate environment; beyond their history, they must see their future. The must see that they also have a role to play, an impact to make ; a contribution to give towards making the world a better place. They have a share in greatness, and we must show them the path that leads there.

I believe in the future of the African child. I see a future where we also contribute positively to the growth and development of this world. Where we are not just a spectator as to what happens; but rather active partners in change. But to reach that future, we must re-become what we were; re-discover the baby in us and find that boldness, faith and courage God equipped us with for the prize of greatness he has destined us for.

O dabo

Soaga Afolabitumblr_ngbu62KOXQ1rrnn7po1_1280

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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the blessing of a disability: a fable!

Everyone I’ve had to share this story with had a good laugh and also a great lesson to go home with. Today, I want you also to have a taste of it. Its source is not known but its morale is similar to what the bible teaches when it tells us in Rom8:28 that we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good(MSG).
The story starts with a powerful king of an ancient city and his faithful friend who seemed to have a quite disturbing problem. This friend that I’d today call tony for the sake of identification, had a problem of not being able to see anything bad in any situation. To every event and occurrence in his life, tony would always respond by saying “It is good; it is in fact very good”. This had always disturbed this powerful and sometimes irrational royal friend of tony, but he never paid any attention to it until one faithful day.
Tony on that day crossed the limit of his friend’s patience while they were on their usual hunting spree in the thick of the forest. A wild beast attacked the king and bit off his right thumb. The king struggled to deliver himself from the beast’s grip with little or no help from tony but had to settle with his thumb forever gone, and his blood spilling all over the place…. To his great displeasure, all tony responded with was his usual saying “my king and friend, this is good; it is in fact very very good”.
Not the kind of thing anyone would want to hear after losing a member of the part of his body, the king got a little infuriated rebuking his friend and his comment for as far as he was concerned, there is nothing good about losing one’s finger. But like I said, this is something Tony seemed unable to help. So he maintained his position. “This is good my king” he kept on saying.
By the time they got back to the city, the king had it full and was fed up with his very uncompassionate and unreasonable friend and so ordered him to be locked away in the dungeon till further notice. Anything to keep his friend’s constant ‘it-is-good’ nagging would be fine he thought especially when this friend has refused to be unrepentant about this.
And so many months passed, perhaps even years. Many waters passed under the bridge and the king had gotten used to being without his friend. Deep hunting was the king’s hobby and was ingrained in his character and so in the absence of his imprisoned friend, the king had to do it all by himself.
On one of those faithful days, the king encountered yet another misfortune. This time not with a wild beast, but rather with people of his own kind but who had a habit of eating people. We call them cannibals. The brave king could not fight himself out of this one and so he found himself in the cannibal’s tribe camp in front of this massive pot about to be cooked.
As they stripped him of his hunting costume and dressed him like a Christmas or thanksgiving chicken about to be launched into the cooking oven, one of them noticed that the king was thumb-less. The unfortunate day turned out to be fortunate for the king because it was an abomination for the people of that tribe to eat anything that was not whole or complete. To their greatest disappointment, they had to release the naked man to go. The king managed to cover his nakedness a bit and made his way back to his palace.
After such a dramatic near death experience, understandably, the next few days were ones of deep reflection for the king. As he settled back to his daily routine, the king remembered again his old friend whom he threw into prison. He remembered the circumstances that surrounded that and remembered his famous words that made him irrationally lock up his friend. He had now come to agree with his friend that losing his thumb that day was a good thing because that singular ‘lil-evil’ prevented him from the greater evil of losing his whole life.
With deep remorse, he asked that his friend be released from the prison for he had treated him unjustly. While the king was still contemplating in what manner he’d apologize and try to make it up to his old friend, tony sprang in once again shouting and screaming what has become his trade mark saying “it is good, it is very good”. Neither the sight nor demeanour he expected from his friend whom the king knew had by now heard of the story of how he was saved by his ‘prophecy’ years ago; tony whom the king expected to be angry and gloomy was bubbling with sincere joy and happiness. ‘My dear king, it is good!!!” he kept on saying.
“I can understand that you are happy that I’m alive and well and that is good. But it is certainly not good that I locked you up all this while for saying something that turned out to be true after a long time”. This time around, the king would demand an explanation from his friend.
Like someone who had thought well about the question while spending his lonely days in the dark dungeon where he had been locked up all these while as if he were expecting the question, tony responded with a spontaneous sporadic but yet sound answer.
“Well my king, it is good that you lost thumb that day because clearly it has saved your life this time. Also, it is also good you locked me up because that also has saved my life. If you hadn’t, it would have been both of us hunting that day….they would have captured us both. You are incomplete, I am not….they would have released you while me…….uhmmm, you know what would have happened to me!” then he added, “my king, it really is good……in fact, very, very good.”
The morale of this interesting story is this. There is always something good about everything that happens to us. In comming to terms with this truth, we’d learn to be more grateful and appreciative of the situations that life throws our way. Even when we can’t seem to see any good in those things in the present, we can believe this that good can and will come out of them in the future.
This helps us live life enthusiastically. Enthusiasm stems from the greek word entheous; which means God within. That’s the kind of force and spirit we need to live the God life here on earth and secure the God-kind of victoty over our adversities.
Let me leave you with what joseph said in Gen 50:20. “Don’t you see, you planned evil against me but God used those same plans for my good, as you see all around you right now–life for many people.”
It’s possible that Joseph probably heard this fable too, or maybe it was tony that read the bible. But they both were able to see and focus on the silver lining in their dark skies and were both successful at the end. You too should. Have a blessed week!

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