Footprints behind us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers!

Afolabi

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Dont be all about the money

money.jpgA lot of businesses are not successful and profitable in Nigeria because those who run them are going about their business the wrong way. Statistic says that only 1 in about 3 startup businesses in the country lives longer than 5 years. This shows that there is something wrong with the way our entrepreneurs exercise their entrepreneurship.

I have found that most business owners in Nigeria are all about the money. They are only in business just to make money from people and enrich their pockets. They really don’t have long term commitments to the business or the people they serve. They just want their business to cater to their various needs and luxuries now.

I am of the strong opinion that meeting needs ought to be the priority of any  business venture; solving problems and not making money. I don’t like the idea of starting business just because you have to make ends meet or simply because you cant find a job. That’s the reason many people start businesses in Nigeria. These are good reasons to launch into the waters of entrepreneurship but they should not be your only and or leading reason.

I don’t like the idea of starting business just because you have to make ends meet or simply because you cant find a job. These are good reasons to launch into the waters of entrepreneurship but they should not be your only and or leading reason.

This is not to say that making healthy profits in business is wrong because right next to meeting needs is making profit. But never before it. You can make profits without meeting needs; it won’t just be sustained. And yes, you can meet needs without making profit too; but that is hardly the case except you are running a charity.

The point however here is that your chances of making sales, increasing returns, and making healthy profits are enormous when you are focused on meeting needs rather than on making money.

We don’t have strong brands in Nigeria. A strong brand is one that resonates both functionally and emotionally with its customers. No brand will promise to just make money off its customers although many act just like that. They don’t promise that because it is common sense to know that people are not looking for people to give their money to; they are seeking people who will solve their problems and they will pay sufficiently for such help.

It is said about God, that we shouldn’t go after his gifts but rather after him, the giver of the gifts. Likewise, businesses shouldn’t go after the money of their customers but rather the customers themselves. When you have me, you have all that I have (my money inclusive). Even in cases where repeat business isn’t possible, the moment you win me over, you can be sure I’d replicate myself to patronize you through friends, associates and family.

Businesses shouldn’t go after the money of their customers but rather the customers themselves.

Businesses ought to be in the business of sweeping their customers off their feet, taking their breathe away, blowing them into unprecedented ecstasy. You should be trying to win people and not make money. Because money is temporal, always moving places, but people are always there. Because money is owned by people and not people by money; it is wise to be after them than after their money.

You cant make real money in life if you are all about money. You have to be about several other things. You have to be about service, about giving, about management, deferring gratification, making sacrifices and investments, making wise decisions, etc. Money alone doesn’t make rich, these other things do.

Afolabi Soaga

 

The 1 thing all creatives have in common

A study of the top 50 game-changing innovations over a 100 year period is reported to have shown that nearly 80% of those innovations were sparked by someone whose primary expertise was outside the field in which the innovation breakthrough took place.

Post-it notes, Xray, penicillin, saccharin, and even cornflakes are all stumbled-upon inventions; some of which were done by someone completely outside their field of expertise. Firework for instance, is believed to have been invented by an unknown cook in china…do your research 😉creativity-1452t3r

That says a lot to me about creativity. So imagine yourself teaching in a secondary school somewhere In the north for NYSC and then you stumble on an engineering breakthrough innovation while at it.

‘lol’. You say. ‘That rarely happens’. True! But it could happen. That’s what that study I started with tells us- that you can find the most amazing things in this most unexpected places. I’ll now tell you how you can make such happen.

you can find the most amazing things in this most unexpected places

The one important key to unleashing creativity and creating innovations is resourcefulness. Resourcefulness doesn’t necessarily mean having so many resources but rather being able to make useful whatever resource you have available.

Sticking to our example of a teaching role during your NYSC program – Yes you won’t have access to technological labs or resources; but you’d have access to other resources like textbooks, rudimentary tools, local technologies, and people with unique problems. Resourcefulness asks you a question of what you can do with what you have at hand!

Resourcefulness asks you a question of what you can do with what you have at hand!

To be resourceful, you’d have to look beyond what your resources can do and has done to what they haven’t done but can possibly do. You’d have to THinK- Think possibilities. Think function and not reputation; think ‘CAN’ and not ‘HAS BEEN’.

I recently boarded a bus for a long distance journey. Sitting beside me was an elderly woman. She sat close to the window and had to deal with the problem of the harsh sun rays which fell directly on her through the window. What she did was remarkable. She pulled out her scarf from her bag and made it into a curtain. Problem solved!

Think function and not reputation; think ‘CAN’ and not ‘HAS BEEN’.

That looks like a no brainer right? But I think it really illustrates my point. She was resourceful with what she had. She looked beyond the reputation of her scarf which has always been that thing she ties on her head for fashion sake to some function it could perform. She looked beyond what it has always done to what it could possibly do. She looked beyond the rules, broke them, and created new rules and that solved her problem.

Creative people have little regards for reputation and status quo. They think little of what can’t be and what has always been. They think more about what can be and what hasn’t yet been. They are futurethinkers; possibility-makers. They are resourceful and you can be too.

They think little of what can’t be and what has always been. They think more about what can be and what hasn’t yet been.

BE Great!

Oliseh, Enyeama and Captainship

The recent drama that ensued between the new Nigerian soccer team head coach, Sunday Oliseh, and the ex-captain of the team, Vincent Enyeama, who also announced his retirement afterwards, is nothing short of epic as far as I’m concerned. One can create a multiple award winning movie out of it but then, I’d just stick to making this article around it.

To Summarize the whole story from at least one party’s point of view, the new coach wanted a new team captain because he believes that’s what works best for him. The then present captain, who also is the most experienced and capped member of the team didn’t like the idea. He wanted to remain captain. Conflict arose and someone had to leave the team for the other to remain. end of story

One can understand the ex-captain’s position a little bit. Being stripped off the captain band after committing no offense could be a little hard to deal with. Nevertheless, its no reason to cause drama or react aggressively.

It all boils down to one thing. Misplaced values.OLISEH-ENYEAMA

Here is what I mean.  There is a philosophy called the LWT. LWT stands for Lead Without a Title. The center idea around this philosophy is that you don’t need a title or a position to lead a group of people.  That means you can lead from wherever level or position you are in any unit od society you find yourself.

To do this however, one would have to have influence. Influence is the ability to sway a person or group of person’s thoughts, beliefs, and actions towards achieving a goal. According to Leadership expert John C Maxwell, Leadership is influence (and consequently, influence is leadership).

There are two routes to ‘affecting’ people’s decision and actions. One is through authority/position/title. The other is through influence and charisma. Our society today places more value on the former than the later. That’s why we have people jostling hard and doing everything possible to get into positions without realizing that in leadership, authority without influence will fail, while influence without authority will succeed; The reason why the same old people who have led our country in the yesteryears are still the same people running for political positions today. Its because we think that there can be no leadership without a title. We think that we lose leadership and relevance once we lose position. This is false.

In leadership, authority without influence will fail, while influence without authority will succeed

They say musicians don’t retire; they only stop singing when there is no more music in them. By reason of being an ex-captain, and the team’s most capped player; I have no doubt about the fact that Enyeama had a level of influence in that soccer team that he could have leveraged on. But because he valued the position than his influence, he felt he just had to hold on to it. That of course has caused him an early retirement despite he still having a lot of music in him.

We must learn to have our values in order and give more importance to what is more important. Young men and women should not necessarily kill themselves over positions and titles which will not always go round, when they can spend that time and effort building influence. Influence can fetch you more authority and positions than positions can fetch you influence. Often time, other people decide what positions we are picked for, but no one can place a limit to what extent of influence you can build and have.

Influence can fetch you more authority and positions than positions can fetch you influence

Be Great!

Afolabi Soaga

PS: You can learn all about the LWT principle from robin sharma’s book -“the leader without a title”

Image Source: Google

Super Mario

It is said that the greatest loss in life is not when we die, but rather what dies in us while we are yet alive. The graveyard is reputed to be the wealthiest place on the earth because it is home to a lot of dreams unachieved, potentials unprocessed and possibilities unattained.

Its that time of the year again, the EPL has started! Boys in town are breaking up with their girlfriends to rekindle that passionate affair with their various teams and leagues. There are so many talks about the big money transfers, the exciting fixtures, who is going to win trophies and individual glories, and who the losers would be. There are several names making the headlines these days but one person that seems to be absent from the whole party is BALOTELLI!BALLOTELLI

The Italy international who has played for top sides such as Manchester city, AC Milan and currently plays for the Merseyside team, Liverpool isn’t making headlines as he use to. When he makes the headlines these days, he does it for ‘pitiable’ reasons.

Some few years back, one could have bet his life on the fact that Balotelli was the next biggest thing in football. He has the skills, the strength and the platform. He can shoot from almost impossible positions, he is aggressive and is no doubt a threat to any defense in the world…or maybe i should have said was.

Recent report says Liverpool are supposedly interested in selling balottelli off. I heard they placed a figure of about 7 million pounds (which is less than half of what they paid for him) on his head but couldn’t get any offer for him  despite. The only team that looked interested is a second division team and even they were not willing to pay that much. Its funny how a chief corner stone of yesterday can become a reject today. selahmario_growth

Amidst the several points that could be raised to be responsible for Super Mario’s woes; one i count highly significant is his ATTITUDE.

That is one thing Balotelli hasn’t gotten right in his career. As a result, he has become another testament to the fact that skills and abilities can take you to the top; but they cant keep you there; That effort will beat talent when talent refuses to work hard; That your attitude indeed will determine your altitude in life; and that anyone who stands should take heed lest he falls; and that super mario isnt super if his attitude sucks.

One could make a list of the several things in life that are beyond our reach and control and our attitude will never make the cut. However, the recompense of our attitude might do so, but our attitude itself will never. You can choose to be optimistic, positive, full of life, hope, and passion, or you could choose to be otherwise. You can choose to be enthusiastic which in the original greek rendition means to be full of God or you could choose to be moody, lethargic and drawn-back. What is however out of your control is what your attitude rewards you with.

In conclusion, potentials and abilities mean nothing if you dont have the right attitude to combine them with. Attitude indeed is everything. You might not have control over everything that happens to you, but you can always choose to respond appropriately to whatever life throws at you. And with the right attitude to all circumstance, you will always hit the sky flying.images (2)

I sincerely hope things get better for Mario especially now that he has rejoined AC Milan, but first, its important he improves his attitude.

PS: Please remember to share with your network if you like and also follow this blog so you don’t miss any of my posts. Thanks!

Soaga Afolabi

IWrite, ISpeak, IInspire!!

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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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

my pursuit of perfection and the fear of counter-success. 1

Is the habitperfect and ideal life really an unattainable fantasy? Well I believe the answer to that would be based on our individual definitions of what the perfect life is.

To me, the perfect life isn’t the life without problems and challenges, but rather it is the life of a man who has learnt to overcome them when they come his way. Is it a life without flaws? I don’t think so. I believe it’s the life of a man who is consistently improving on himself and besting his life daily. In short the perfect life is not the one situated in a perfect world for such world remains evidently physically un-existent today, but rather it is the life of a man who is committed to being his best self daily.

By my definition, is the perfect life an attainable goal? Yes, most certainly. Not only is it attainable, it is a noble pursuit.

We live in an imperfect world and the imperfection of this world tends to rub itself on us from time to time. Nobody is born a thief, a murderer, a harlot, a liar, or a fraudster. People who become this were influenced at some point or the other. The negative influences from society and media makes it difficult for us to be our best self.10-habits

Change they say is inevitable. You can’t fight it; it will always occur. Wherever change isn’t found, death has found an abode. however, automatic change I have come to find, is never positive. The only change that ordinarily occurs with time is decay. So the best way to relate with change is to be proactive about it. As life is trying to rub all its imperfection on you, you should also be putting efforts to find your perfection back. There is no getting defensive about this by attempting to ‘avoid’ being corrupted by the world’s negative influences. That has never worked and it never will. The best form of defence is attack!

So just like clothes we wear, so also are norms and bad habits we pick up. The same way we can decide to change clothes, we can also decide to change habits. We can choose what we become just as we can choose what we wear. No character came with us from the womb, we picked them all up thereafter.habits

The pursuit of a good life is also a pursuit to meet needs; material and non material needs. Some of those needs are necessities while some others are luxuries. As you go about them, it’s important to ensure that we don’t allow society’s influence on us turn our needs to greed and like earlier said, this we need to be proactive about .

A wise man named Rajinikanth said ‘whether you have a maruti or a BMW, the road remains the same. Whether you travel economy class or business class, our destination doesn’t change. Whether you have a titan or a Rolex, the time is the same. Whether you have apple, Samsung or lava, people who call you remain the same.
There is nothing wrong in dreaming a luxurious life. What needs to be taken care of is to not let the need become greed because needs can always be met but greed can never be fulfilled’.

the concluding part of this would be posted soon. watch this space for it.

love ya dearly!_IL_OMOIKE George Osabuohien_NG__301641

every life needs the REFRESH button.

A very dear friend of mine called in recently to have a talk with me. ‘have you ever felt dissatisfied with yourself such that you feel that there are certain things you need to change about yourself  but then you don’t know what those things are nor how to change them?’ ‘Yes certainly’ I replied with a little bit of caution (because you can never really know how much the shoe pinches unless you are the one wearing it; even if you had worn that shoe before, you can only have a rough idea because our legs are shaped differently).refresh

It is my belief that most ‘serious minded’ people will have at some point or the other feel that way. The desire to live a meaningful life of purpose will sometimes cause us to feel dissatisfied with where we presently are and seek to improve on ourselves, achieve more than we are presently doing, and thereby maximize the potentials that we know that we have upon our lives.

Now this is a good way to feel because it will push you to improvement. It was the kind of feeling Apostle Paul talked about in the 3rd chapter of Philippians, verses 13 and 14. We can’t make progress so long as we are satisfied with where we are. We need this kind of ‘holy discontentment’ at times that will make us reach beyond our realm of convenience or comfort and convert our potentials into realities as we best ourselves.

The truth is this: we are never who we think we are; who we are we ought to become. Our best is always ahead of us and that best we need to dig within to reach. I tell folks sometimes that you don’t need to change who you are, you just need to be a better version of yourself. And we must see and feel the need for that change if we are to make that change.

Having said that, there is still more to be said on this issue. Just like my friend, at times this desire can become a problem. It becomes so when it becomes so consuming to a point that it takes away our peace and leaves us almost restless. At this point, the fire that is meant to refine has now turned devilish and is beginning to devour. now this one is not a good thing to feel. At this point, the desire rather than fueling our passion and strengthening our pursuit begins to drain our strength and overtime weaken our will. Rather than encouraging our faith and belief in ourselves, it begins to suggest fear to us and magnify our in-competences. Therefore we spend more time worrying and being disgruntled; the very same time we could have spent being creative and making progress. In other words, the desire begins to do a counter job of drawing us back rather than propelling us forward.

What do we then do?

Do we kill the desire and submit to being satisfied with where we are and who we are now (this by the way is the formula for mediocrity) or do we allow it to keep burning us until there is nothing left of us. While option A seems better as it is better to stagnate than regress which is the ultimate end of option B; there is however an option C.

While we are pushing and pressing towards what’s ahead, we need to learn to mix that with the ability to accept ourselves for who we are today and appreciate that level we are at. Yes we are not who or where we want to be, but look closely, we are not what or where we used to be. Somehow, slowly or rapidly, we are making progress. Although there is still much ahead, we can however also learn to appreciate and enjoy what we’ve got now and celebrate what we have achieved so far.

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“Take a break pal and live life!”. While we are longing for tomorrow we must live today. And if a desire is not allowing us to do that, we then should consciously ignore it for a while and give ourselves a break. I am not saying you should abandon it; I’m saying you should ignore it and give yourself space to breathe. Spoil yourself a bit; indulge yourself and enjoy a little bit of life. You need that space!

Go to the movies, go skydiving, go swimming (if you can. Drowning won’t solve your problem. Lol), climb a mountain, go for a joyride, fill your phone with good music and spend time listening to them, go to the gallery and appreciate good art, take out time to laugh and release those wonderful endorphin hormones the doctors have been talking about. Do anything fun and just ‘care less’ about life and purpose a bit and celebrate what and who you are today. One of the principles of motivation is celebrating past success. Celebrating yesterday’s victory today can reinforce good performance tomorrow.

What you are doing by this is creating a relaxed atmosphere where you can release your inhibitions and allow your creativity to flow. Under the no-pressure condition, we can think better and see clearer. We can see the things that we need to change and also see how we need to change them.  It’s a retreat and in it you’d find ideas and lessons that will help you carve your path better into that future the burning desire is pushing you towards.

You should also use the break to strengthen your faith by saying simple prayers that requests God’s help and taking time to confess great things about your future. Something as simple as “God has great plans for me and he is working in me to fulfil them” (see Php23) will do. You need to also assure yourself of the father’s love and that will help you find rest and peace and at the same time strengthen your faith.

Now what I am suggesting won’t be easy. Fun is not supposed to be difficult to catch, but when you have a consuming desire to do something else; it would be hard to play. You’d feel like you are wasting time but then you should remind yourself that you are spending it not wasting it. The Yoruba’s have a saying that the retreating of the bull during a fight is not an act of weakness or cowardice, it is simply withdrawing to gather more momentum for a smashing hit that will knock down its opposition. So your decision to catch fun when you could have been working might look like you is regressing but no, you are gathering momentum and absorbing energy to make your quantum leap.images (1)

Remember, you need to know where you are going to get there. Zeal without clear knowledge could be destructive (see Roms 10); Zeal that steals away peace and rest is already catastrophic. So create an atmosphere where you can breathe and be at peace. Find that thing you enjoy doing and do it. Do what you love to so that you can do what you need to well. And all the while, never forget that it’s only a break, a retreat, so as to see things better, and gather momentum for a quantum leap and so at the right time, get back to working; to putting those lofty ideas the retreat must have given you to work…this time better because you are now refreshed.

You tomorrow is filled with great things. Today is the bridge that will take you there. If we burn that bridge, we’ll never get there. So live your life today and enjoy your journey into tomorrow. Leave no room for fear but rather create space for faith; let God’s love and peace garrison your heart and guide you into that delightsome future you’ve always dreamt about.

Love,

Soaga Afolabi Olusegun

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