All posts by Olajide Oluwafemi

COMPROMISE

We may have had to, during the course of life, compromise.

Like the dwindling fortune of a mouse.

But we don’t further have to compound the vice

By more and seemingly undetected lies

But by resorting to deep-seated and repentant cries.

There are things we do that break our hearts

But definitely not the things we’re adept at.

But the unthinkable practices of the flesh

That are fashioned for self-gratification.

They appear to us devoid of imminent destruction

But the cause depression and repression.

Our flesh also makes its contribution

And our undiscernment also makes its donations.

Anytime we’re found compromising

That causes personal and emotional uprising,

What do we do to avoid further clanger?

Especially a vertical and divine anger

That causes an explosion like a Xmas banger.

Do we continue in it not minding the danger?

Or what practices do we present to a stranger

Who holds us in very high esteem

When we know ourselves that we’re redeemed?

Is compromising a minus or a plus?

Compromise can be projected in two ways.

For a noble cause and a negative purpose.

Compromise is a shift in one’s standard

The negative part is adopted by a bastard.

It’s negative when in one’s life it causes a retard

Like a tasteless and creamless salad.

On the marital pedestal, it’s incumbent on both parties.

The woman and man’s ego must be compromised.

It’s needed to make the marriage work.

At your workplace, you need not be bamboozled to compromise.

WISDOM

Wisdom, they say is the principal thing.

Wisdom, as advised must be acquired at the expense of life luxury.

Wisdom, as publicly touted, cannot be substituted.

Wisdom then must form the basis of mankind’s acquisition.

 

I have seen the same wisdom in scant supply.

I’ve heard of low interest in the acquisition of wisdom.

I’ve witnessed mankind pay lip-service to acquiring wisdom.

Reckless abandon has been the dictator of the pace.

 

Top on the list of man’s to-do list is money.

Money is believed to have the purchasing power for anything

And there’s been huge transaction to get wisdom

Truthfully, wisdom was acquired but not the one that addresses life’s situations.

 

Academic wisdom is one,

It’s one that makes you learned.

It ingratiates one into the caucus of scholars.

It helps with our lexicon to hobnob with foreigners

It also forms the basis to contribute, be it meaningfully or otherwise to subjects on a particular symposium.

But how applicable is such wisdom to addressing man’s various forms of problems and challenges?

 

Another type of wisdom is wisdom by proxy

It’s one that’s transferable, related by other people’s life experiences

It imbues one with fresh motivation to strive on

It provides a limited scope of broad subjects for discussion and dissection.

It’s a microscopic appendage of a comprehensive subject.

 

Sagacity can be a sagacious man’s albatross.

It becomes an albatross when he takes so much solace in his wisdom.

It becomes and graduates into an affront when he relaxes so much in his own wisdom.

That’s when he relates his achievements and successes to his self-acquired sagacity.

Wisdom in his life becomes misappropriated when he misapplies it.

 

Another brand of wisdom is intellectualism.

An intellect believes no man’s problems is beyond empirical improvisation for solution.

He buries his wisdom in any available intellectual property to get solutions.

He’s not concerned about the one that comes from above

And he tries to feign superiority over academicians

He argues there’s a gap between an intellect and an academician

To him, an academician is restricted to his field of specialization

While an intellect has a little knowledge in all subjects of life

As against an academician who has all knowledge in just one subject.

 

Another brand of wisdom is one coined from our experiences

Exposures can come in varying degrees.

It comes raw and it appears embellished

It’s nice, expository, informing in one aspect.

The other can be brutish, nasty, discouraging and eliminates all glitters of hope.

But the two are interdependent in their applications to subsequent life happenstances.

It usefulness comes to bear when a recurring situation surfaces.

 

Wisdom, they say is the principal thing.

Unfortunately, no one has been able to provide a substitute.

An enforce substitute is when man resorts to his own exclusive knowledge

And his exclusive knowledge metamorphoses into foolishness

And foolishness is the bane of development in many African countries

The total or near non-existence of infrastructures in many African countries is a by-product of foolishness

A wise man bubbling with wisdom invariably seeks development

In one word, wisdom has no substitute.

 

An academic wisdom is welcomed

Wisdom by proxy is accommodated

Intellectualism has no problem accepting it

Wisdom that comes by exposure and experience is appreciated

Everything congealed is still limited

If it’s not limited, why do we still grapple with challenges?

Why do we still deal in imperfection?

Why do we still not find solution to economic recession?

Why do we still embroil in an unending war against terrorism?

Why is everyone not influential and opulent?

Why are Professors not the richest in the world if truly our prosperity is a direct function of our academic excellence and certificate acquisition?

Why are economists not able to balance our economy?

Why are accountants not able to provide a fiscal report on a balanced scale?

Why are drop-outs the ones getting things done?

Then, what is the usefulness of this so-called wisdom?

 

 

 

 

 

Confrontation

Confrontation is not equal to expression. In fact, it can cripple one’s expression if it’s not properly channeled and especially when we are not fully prepared for retaliation or the facts we have at hand are baseless. Being too verbose and garrulous can make the object of our confrontation ambiguous and therefore make it lose its main thrust. Lack of full confidence despite having our full facts and other factors in place can mar a successful confrontation.

As much as the purpose of our confrontation belies the seeming harshness and hostility it seems to present, it is not to be directed at causing chaos or breach of internal relationship between family members, friends, workers and boss-employees relationship. It must not be engineered towards causing an imbroglio of even the slightest magnitude.

The peculiarity and sensitivity of each confrontation is dependent upon the context of both the aggrieved and the ‘aggrievee’. The way you confront your boss when something goes amiss and he or she seems to be feigning crass ignorance or wants to lord it over or feels he or she can’t be looked up in the face is different from the way you confront your friend.

As much as the object thereof maintains its nobility of purpose and credibility of unambiguity, it must not have an indelible footprint of emotional hangover let alone an infinitesimal trace of bitterness that can fan the ember of disunity among an organization or in a family setting. The tactics to deploy so as not to offend each other depends on an individual.

The aftermath of a confrontation must be at our purview and foresight. The mismanagement of it can plunge one’s cordial relationship painstakingly incubated over a precious and long period of time into an abyss of irreparableness, the consequences of which may be a tag of regret for a very long time.

Let us dissect four ways by which we can stage a confrontation.

  1. Verbal confrontation. This is the use of words to right a palpable wrong implicit in an operation or way of life that we are not favorably disposed to. Verbal confrontation avails one the opportunity to get an instant feedback. It is a method most people who are as bold as a lion like to use.

  2. Action-packed confrontation. Some of us are not confident to confront others face-to-face whether due to an undue fear or owing to a weak tendency to be bamboozled into capitulation by a well-prepared recipient to an extent that we lose sight of the trajectory while the person continues the alleged misdemeanor. So instead of talking, a suitable and appropriate action is deployed, well-conceived that one notices it easily. It may tend towards stopping doing some things as against the normal routine of having to do that thing and vice versa. This is in lieu of verbal confrontation, not the best method though.

  3. Confrontation by proxy. This is the use of a delegate to confront an individual when the person seems to be irrationally recalcitrant and irrefutably condescending particularly when the person is an high-powered individual. There’s possibility he or she will not listen to your rhetoric, so you choose to send the people whom you know he revers so highly and cannot but listen to them in order to foster a continued relationship. We shouldn’t forget the main reason for confronting others; to right the wrongs inherent while the relationship stands strong.

  4. Electronics. I’m culpable of being hoodwinked by the slightest excuse that I lose sight of my purpose. What I do is to adopt the instrumentality of text messages where I will be unequivocal and unprevaricative without being strident thereby not hurting the person but nailing at precision simultaneously. And thanks to the advent of many social networks that you can use to get across to the person in question. Your message sent and delivered. You focus on the thrust of your message without losing focus of your relationship with the person.

Having given an outline on the different machineries of a successful confrontation, let us examine the ways to confront the people that surround us, using the above mechanisms bearing in mind their peculiarity and sensitivity.

Our bosses

How do we confront our bosses? How do we talk to them as their employees? They must know we are not being arrogant and disrespectful. There are 75% bosses who have the traits of an obvious supercilious affectation of superiority that they seem unapproachable. 15% are approachable and revere human dignity so high while 10% dangle between being a serpent and a dove. Whichever category your boss falls, we must know which of the above mechanisms to use. The unapproachable ones can be made to become broken and repentant by e-mailing them devoid of crudity but with an undertone of total humility and subservience to his or her authority. We can also use proxy confrontation to tackle them. If it were an organization where his or her action adversely affects everybody, proxy confrontation will be appropriate. Study your boss and know which one to use. The approachable ones may be confronted verbally while those ones who dangle can also be verbally confronted if and when he or she seems to be in a good mood.

Our parents

We confront our parents in such a way as not to lose the pocket money accruing into our account while we are still answerable to them. Having lived with them for so long a time, we know how and when to talk with them with total humility possessive of one who is unworthy to correct them. The influence of parents-children relationship can be used to let our parents know where they have erred and to know the corrective measures to adopt. I agree with the fact that some of us lived apart from our parents right from time, so we might not know what they are doing wrong. But if we begin to cultivate an intimate relationship with them, forgetting what might have transpired between you in the past that caused the separation, we will know how to intervene in their lives. It’s right about time to give back to them whether they have given to you or not. The Scriptures teaches forgiveness and returning good for evil. There are some parents who are mean, harsh and are disconnected from their children, though under the same roof, and cannot be approached. Some are so concerned about making money that they forget about their children, proxy confrontation will do. Note one thing that it takes a sane and right-minded fellow to see where others have erred bearing it in mind that we also default at times. The same way we would like others to heed our corrective moves; we also must be malleable and receptive to others’ move of correction. Don’t think you can correct someone else if you cannot be corrected and are found culpable of the same inadequacy.

Our spouses

The most sensitive relationship one will ever cultivate is the one we cultivate with our partner via marriage. This person is from a different background totally. His or her ideals and philosophy about life in general will be different from the ones you hold dear to your heart. What you discountenance, the person considers and vice versa. You sleep early in the night, she sleeps late. People tell you that you don’t snore (because you cannot know by yourself) but you found out that this person whom you are going to live with for the rest of your life (for better for worse) snores. Oh my God! You exclaimed the first time you noticed. This person is allergic to anger and rage and not short of being recalcitrant. You don’t know yourself whether you are choleric, sanguine, melancholic and the rest (though these don’t really define who you are, personal opinion). She doesn’t worry about a thing and gives no damn about anything and this gives you concern as a man. The different things that define your divergent backgrounds are inexhaustible and for you to live happily ever after there must be a reconciliation and compromise point where you fuse things together. This is when you start correcting each other using the appropriate mechanism of confrontation highlighted earlier. There’s no way you wouldn’t step on each other’s toes but how you handle the pains the toes suffer will define your co-existence. By the time you step on each other’s toes many times, you will learn how to place your steps so as not to step on the toes and how the owner of the toes will place the toes to avoid being trampled upon. It means you now understand each other better to know how to adjust for the good of both of you and you are ready for compromise.

Our employees

If it were possible to run your business all alone, you would have done so I suppose. But unfortunately, you can’t run it alone, hence the reason for you to employ labor. And you will have it at the back of your mind that the operations of the employees are not ‘Eldorado’. They can only get better in the course of honing their skills everyday. They are prone and can be predisposed to human errors by our imperfection. In the face of a grave mistake from anyone of them, how do you confront him or her so that

  • He or she will not feel repudiated and humiliated?

  • He or she will not feel to be the worse among his or her colleagues and losing his or her sense of worth?

  • He or she will clearly see where the error had occurred with a view to rectifying it with a promise not to repeat the same mistake in the future?

  • And so that you will not be dispossessed of the goodwill and dignity you have been enjoying as a boss?

  • And ultimately that the growth of your business will not be impeded?

If you don’t take the first three into consideration, kindly consider the last two. But you can’t take the last two leaving out the first three because of their interdependence. The growth and the exponential development of any business is dependent or pivoted on the workforce. Whether your business will grow or not is a function of your relationship with your staff. If the bad ones are not reciprocating your good gestures, they can be retrenched so as to avoid a contagious syndrome.

Our friends and colleagues

I nearly inadvertently ended a relationship with a friend of mine due to an enraged fury sometimes back. He is my closest friend. We had planned to attend a seminar which would be of great benefit to us both in that it will open us to an endless world of possibilities. I had gotten to his house on the appointed day and I met him unprepared. I was furious. He said he was no longer interested. On hearing that statement I started uttering all kinds of foul languages and hurling them at him. I left his house and headed in another direction instead of towards the seminar venue. But something happened to me along the road, I felt uneasy. A pang of regret engulfed my heart. I’d said what I shouldn’t. I began to palpitate and perspire so profusely. I felt I needed to apologize to him immediately. In fact, I detested myself to have claimed being a child of God and uttering repudiating remarks against a fellow human being. Then I went to a phone booth and put a call through to him. I started apologizing to him and at the same time made him realize that he predisposed me to such an extreme rage. (Though it’s not an excuse). He accepted my apology and he also apologized to have disappointed me and till today, our friendship is still as solid as the rock. We are both inextricable and not mutually exclusive. We are all imbued with a pride of not caving in to our colleagues’ advice because we think he or she cannot know better than we do. But it’s a lie. The confrontation is to make you a better person and not to make you feel less than you are worth. Your colleagues reprimand you because they love you.

(f). Our siblings. Our siblings are another category and component part of our lives that need to be confronted constructively, correctively and out of love. Compassion doesn’t really exist here. I had to call my younger brother’s attention to a misdemeanor he was gradually involving himself in. He’d stopped it before but all of a sudden he reverted to it. Somebody reported him to me but he became enraged when I confronted him with a seemingly impeccable fact. He was actually angry at the person for reporting him. Another report came in to me and I couldn’t contain it this time around. I confronted him through a text message despite the fact that we live together. The content of the message pierced into the very core of his heart like a dagger that he couldn’t sleep. I threatened to indict him for failure of compliance with my warning. He was so troubled in his spirit that he replied me expressing his dismay. When we got together, ( I’d actually called him back immediately I saw his message to iron things out bordering on what actually made me send the message but he tactically didn’t admit it in his message). I still told him the same thing. I was elated that the message touched his heart and he became penitent. We disagreed but I prevailed and our relationship as biological brothers became more cemented and communicative.

An unjustifiable fracas is bound to play out but the person will definitely peruse it over and time again and he or she will heed correction. Remember one thing; confrontation is corrective in nature.

EXCERPTS FROM INAUGURAL SPEECH OF NNAMDI AZIKIWE NOV 16 1960

It is with humility mingled with joy that I thank this grand concourse of patriots and friends of Nigeria for congregating here, today, on the occasion of my inauguration as the first African Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the federation of Nigeria. I was appointed to this post of high honour by her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11, on the advice of the Prime Minister of Nigeria, to succed my predecessor in office, that accomplished colonial administrator, Sir James Robertson, G.C M.G., G.C.V.0.

This mighty audience comprises of eminent men and women drawn from all the Regions of Nigeria and different parts of Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. We have in this august assemblage representatives of heads of states and governments, paramount rulers and chieftains, statesmen and politicians, nationalists and freedom fighters, university administrators and professors, trade union leaders and ex-service men, local government heads and civil servants, moulders of public opinion in addition to professional men and women in different walks of life, including a select group of invitees who represent various organizations which are interested in Africa and in the orderly progress or our country towards national autonomy….

I have gone to the length of giving this historical background because of the nature of the oaths I have taken today and because of my honest belief that the existence of a stable and constitutional government in Nigeria can become a motive power for the revival of the stature of man in Africa and an impelling force for the restoration of the dignity of man in the world…

Without respect for the rule of law permeating our political life Nigeria would degenerate into a dictatorship with its twin relatives of tyranny and despotism. I hold that the arbitrary exercise of power without the restraining influence of the rule of law must be condemned as a fundamental departure from constitutional government. Any justification of such untrammelled exercise of political power is, to me, an outrage on human conscience and a gross violation of human rights…

The sanctity of the person. the right of a person to fair and public trial, the assumption of the innocence of an accused person until he is proved guilty: these are examples of the basic human rights which feature our constitution and which I have sworn today to uphold. But there are other ancillaries to these elements of liberal democracy. I have in mind religious freedom – freedom of thought. freedom of conscience. freedom 0f worship. the independence of a responsible judiciary. which is conscious of its responsibilities in a democratic society. and the existence of an untarnishable public service whose members are appointed or promoted strictly on the merit of their qualifications and good character and not on any other extraneous criteria…

I submit that respect for human dignity is the challenge which Africa offers to the world. The lack of respect for human dignity has led to the political bondage of man by man in Africa. This act of commission has also accentuated race relations in Africa. Until the conscience of the world has been energetically aroused to solve this problem frankly with absolute honesty, it is safe to predict that the political resurgence which is now sweeping all over Africa is capable of leading to a revanche movement which would be disastrous to the peace of the world…

The challenge of Nigeria as a free State in twentieth century Africa is the need to revive the stature of man in Africa and restore the dignity ol man in the world. Nigerians believe passionately in the fundamental human rights. We regard all races of the human family as equal. Under no circumstance shall we accept the idea that the black man is inferior to any other race. No matter where’this spurious doctrine may prevail. it mav be in Lodwar or Sharpville or Decatur, we shall never admit that we are an inferior race, because if we accept the Christian or Muslim doctrine that God is perfect and that man was made in the image of God, then it would be sacrilegious, if not heretical to believe that we are an inferior race. We cannot concede that it is in our national interest to fraternise with such nations which practise race prejudice and we must not acquiesce in such an outrageous insult on the black race. In fact. we must regard it as a mark of disrespect and an unfriendly act if any country with whom we have friendly relations indulges in race prejudice in any shape or form, no matter how it may be legally cloaked.

We in Nigeria cannot reconcile with good government the imprisonment of an African who refuses to wear a badge of racial inferiority which is disguised as an identification card. We cannot see the logic of a minority group, which controls power, to subvert the ends of governnient by punishing representatives of a majority group who refuse to be discriminated or segregated against, merely on the basis of race and not necessarily on any infraction of a law which is not repugnant to natural conscience. Our people find it extremely puzzling to believe that intelligent people can be so wicked and inhuman and yet be accepted as civilised nations by the international community…

As members of a maltreated race. it would be the height of folly for us to hobnob with those who regard the members of our race as inferior. As firm believers in the principle of brotherhood of man, we should be foolish to pretend that we arc happy when the rights of our fellow human beings are wantonly trampled upon by irresponsible rulers and government agencies of undemocratic countries. Having passed through the crucible of political bondage in the furnace of colonial tutelage, how can any reasonable world statesman expect Nigerians to associate in an alliance of mutual security with countries which still regard Africa as a colonial pasture fit for safaris and cattle grazing and not for the enjoyment of basic human rights…

We are more concerned in reviving the stature of man in Africa. We have developed into a stage where we now lead the rest of Africa in the number of elementary and secondary schools and their population. We now have institutions of higher learning of university standard. About 10,000 of our sons and daughters are attending the leading universities of Europe and America. Our hospitals and health centres outnumber those of any other country in Africa. The total mileage of our tarred and untarred roads measures up with the best in Africa. Our economy is expanding in the agricultural and industrial sectors, and we arc busily engaged in stimulating investments so as to increase earning opportunities for our people and thereby increase their purchasing power and raise their living standards. Our population is highest in Africa, fourth in the Commonwealth and thirteenth in the world.

Whilst I appreciate the good intentions of these critics, I should make it clear that one important reason why human society is unstable and full of conflicting emotions is because of the tendency to intensify rivalry beyond their normal course. After all, our leaders fought the good fight with all their might because they believed in the righteousness of their causes; and history has proved them right. But they also knew that in a team of many players all cannot be elected captains since it is generally accepted that more than one captain cannot run a ship efficiently… (to be contd)

The most dreadful rock

I had just taken my delicious  delicacy so dear to my heart on this evening with a feeling of contentment when the going was hard, rough, tough and hopeless. It was actually soaked garri. I was not used to garnishing it with milk but on this day, I added milk. I was waiting for the fall of the night to go to sleep with a high expectation for the next day.

There are different sources of inspiration known to man. Many people are inspired by a lot of things. Some draw theirs from their environment, some from the happenings around them. Some people get inspired by what happens in their private lives and others draw theirs from their spouses, boyfriends, girlfriends etc. Whatever the source of inspiration for an individual, it had worked for them. The greatest source of inspiration for mankind is God Almighty. That is what you come across when you flip open a story book or any book that teaches other subjects.

At about 12:15am, I ate eba and efo riro rich in content and context and a perfect match for my hollow belly. No sooner had I finished eating that I lied down on my carton that had been shaped into a bed form to sleep than a strange thought popped up in my head. The content of the thought was that there are many rocks in Nigeria that serve different functions and purposes and their peculiarity cannot be undermined. All of those rocks are fixed in a stationary position but their influence and fame are ubiquitous. The eba and efo riro inspired me here.

If you have been to Abeokuta before, you will probably know Olumo Rock of ancient pedigree and history. The rock served as a refuge for many displaced persons during the war-torn era in the annals of that ancient city. The rock is some 137 metres above the sea level and it takes some several minutes before one can get to its summit. It has an imposing height that overlooks the length and breadth of Abeokuta with rusty and brownish appearance of many roofing sheets of many family houses and compounds begging unrelentingly for renovation or probably total demolition to give way to new houses. Living right in the crevices of this ancient artifact are some craggy-looking and fragile old men and women who dish out unending tales about the rock and Abeokuta city to visiting tourists with curious and inquisitive minds. To ease ascension to the top of the rock, elevators had been provided with other beautification. There’s now a restaurant that quenches tourists’ hunger.  A waterfall is located near the entrance and parking space. The whole environment provides serenity and tranquility to make everybody feel at home. It serves as a revenue generation channel to the government of the State and tourism for Nigerians and foreigners.

Another rock is the Zuma rock. But the Olumo rock is not the dreadful rock that scares people away, not even the people with phobia for height. The Zuma rock is at Suleja in Niger State, close to the capital city, Abuja. People say that it has the face of a human being carved into it by nature. People that are seeing that for the first time will probably be scared to their pants because of that carved human face. Speculations have it that water gushes out of the mouth both in rainy and dry season. I don’t know how true it is. The last time I was in Minna, I tried to visit the rock but I couldn’t. This rock is neither the dreadful rock despite these many strange features.

The next rock is incontrovertibly and irrefutably the dreaded and dreadful rock that agitates many people. It ensnares the psychology of the whole populace due to what emanates from inside the rock. The sword of Damocles invented from inside the commodious and exquisitely furnished and expensively decorated rock has contrived to dangle on Nigerians since 1992. The fate of over 170 million Nigerians are deliberated upon and debated in it with no comprehensive and an all-encompassing survey of the needs and grievances of the populace. The microscopic and supercilious affectation of condescending disposition of the few and their rapacity had rendered us incommunicado and incoherent because no one is listening from their.

The commonwealth of the masses are shared and conveyed in Ghana-must-go bags to the disaffection of the impoverished many. And why wouldn’t Ghanaians go? They will go and are already going because the basic amenities of human comfort are springing up here and there. Infrastructural development are fast appearing. The incessant bloodletting on the rampage in the country, not necessarily by brandishing physical weapons and descending them on human lives but the massacre, maiming, annihilation, killing, murder and obliteration predetermined and premeditated by a single stroke of the pen to add more zeros to the existing figures on the broadsheet within 56 years are more than the bloodletting ever committed by all the countries in the world over during wars and other periods. The rock is none other than Aso Rock where the seat of Nigeria’s power is. This is the most dreadful and dreaded rock.

But thank goodness, there’s a higher rock that we can run to for permanent refuge. The rock is the Rock of Ages. Run to it now Nigerians.

Our democracy and lack of continuity in governance

One of the major problems bedeviling Nigeria and which is inimical to her growth is the lack of continuity in governance. It has been an integral bane of our development as a country. The successive government we have had had taken hold of the mantle of governance with its own policy to be implemented thereby rubbishing the achievement of its predecessors. Why should a government not consolidate on the progress and strides recorded by the preceding government? The answer is that the leaders always come on board with conceited mindsets and a vengeful heart albeit competitive and rivalry-oriented ostensibly to outshine the preceding leaders in performance on the scoreboard.

If there had been continuity while personal grudges had been put aside, our dear country would have gone beyond her present state. If there’d been a policy in place yet to be implemented or it’s been implemented but with some seeming inevitable lapses and inadequacies, what could have been done by the succeeding leaders is to creatively and ingeniously rectify and make it fit into their own policies that will liberate the suffering of the masses. It shouldn’t be rejected in totality. No matter how bad such program might be, there will still be some elements of favorable ones. What should be considered is the reason and the economic situation during which such programs were drafted. If the programs were drafted as at the time they were drafted, the eyes of the new government should be wide open enough to see that it’s subject to correction, withdrawal, consolidation, reversion, explanation and other factors of changes except of course such was made for self-aggrandizement and pleasure.

One great discovery I made is that personal grievance has been responsible for this. Even if the plan the past government had was lofty and the succeeding ones saw its credibility, they refused to implement it owing to personal grievances. The policy was not implemented due to the constraint of time and the lapse of tenure or it was not yet time for it. But what did the successive ones do? They rather stripped it of its credibility and loftiness and gave a false report either during a media chat or stakeholders meeting. I always wish a representative from one of such government will be present at such forum to dispute such claim. That is only if there was anyone at all and he/she is ready to defend its nobility and potential. But our environment is such a funny one where the voice of the minority and the powerless is inaudible to effect any change let alone enjoy some public belief in what it voices out.

Some white papers were not even found in the archives at all when a new government comes in. Many things are responsible for it, too crude to believe. One, when the last leader of whatever portfolio was moving out of the government house albeit ingloriously, unceremoniously or ignominiously because of his sudden and unexpected ouster at the polls, he will order his aides to pack the white papers along so that the new one will not take the glory if it’s eventually implemented. It still borders on political grudges but this time around, against the people. Owing to the kind of environment we all hailed from, such glory will not be attributed to the government that drafted it. Personal gratification and glory overriding good governance.

Another case is that some persons were asked to do the packing without specific directives. (In the case of the Federal legislators, I think the NYSC members were engaged to do the packing. Since they have no knowledge about the “officiality” of some documents including those that studied Political Science in the university, they just adhered to the “unspecificity” of the directives). The politicians never expected they will be rejected so soon at the polls, so the relocation of their belongings became subject to unpreparedness.

Another crude factor for the lack of continuity in governance is when the succeeding political office holder doesn’t want to see the footprint of his predecessor. He will start erasing his predecessor’s footprint by first removing his portraits from the wall. How does that disturb his discharge of duty? Maybe it stares at him too much. He will then evacuate everything that bears his signature and writings. He also changed the outlook of the office and a new set of furniture was ordered. Such money could have gone into paying for some students’ school fees. He also stylishly evacuates his fine plans unknowingly.

Some people might say the leaders who owe allegiance to the same political leanings are bound to abide with the tradition of continuity. It is not true. Due to the fracas that ensues during such party’s primaries and a consensus candidate emerged to the chagrin of others who equally have the right to contest, discontinuity will play out if eventually the ones that stepped down under duress get to the government house. The pain he bears will still be brought to the fore. If this can happen within the same political party, how much more when it involves other parties? The only thing that guarantees continuity is when everybody is burdened with the task of delivering dividends of life to others irrespective of personal clashes and individual’s divergent philosophies.

The only place where I’ve seen continuity in governance in effect is Lagos State which has taken her pride of place among the States of the Federation. That is why it has become the reference point to other States including the FCT. If the same gesture can be replicated in the rest of the States,  our development will be so rapid. Many unfinished projects litter the length and breadth of the nation because of this problem. All the sectors of the economy are direct victims of lack of continuity. The only thing that cannot and must not be continued let alone be implemented are policies that will take a heavy toll on the citizenry.

Movies, family values and the society

A movie is the product of a creative work of art brought out of a deep thought based on the reality of the environment and the society at large. Its underlying motive and intention is to create another channel of relaxation in the various entertainment media with a view to enhancing cultural integration and values.

A quality movie is multi-dimensional and multi-faceted in function. It educates, motivates, inspires, entertains, analyzes and provides a chain of connection between the viewers/audience and the society. Since the society is the amalgamation of different cultures, values and traditions attributable to different set of people, then the films being produced must be devoid of ethnic coloration and discrimination. It must provide a melting point where the different beliefs, opinions and perspectives  of people will be melted to give room to a whole entity of national unity irrespective of our tribal divides. Such a thing is needed in our country Nigeria where ethnicity and tribalism thrive.

The film industry in Nigeria particularly had gone through many stages of evolving and reformation. It had gone beyond the use of crude instruments to the adoption of sophisticated technology in production but we are still not at it. The main thrust why we produce movies is still not achieved. Many families converge in their various homes in the evening after the hustle and bustle for survival that had gulped a larger chunk of the day to relax and cool their heels. They opt always for movies most of which last for two hours or less. The values the family is trying to protect and integrate further must not be derided. Nothing must also override it. But we see a situation whereby the kids or toddlers in various homes begin to imbibe the wrong things. These children have magnetic brains that attract anything at the disposal of their reach and beck and call.

The injection and introduction of foreign culture and traditions into our movies had done more harm than good to us. And this is where the issue of moderation and probity was not put in the right perspective. There must be an extent to which we can go and a guiding principle that will regulate the message the movies carry. This is the point where the functions of the various regulatory bodies we have in the film industry lie fallow. The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON), the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON) and the other bodies bodies must rise to the occasion for which they were set up. Besides fighting piracy, there are other burning issues that are begging for urgent attention. Chief among them is what the various movies are teaching the society.

We all are claiming to be championing the cause of sanitizing and advancing the movie industry. The production of many sub-standard movies within a week is not a tool for sanitizing the system. The overriding ambition to become the number one country in the world that produces movies is neither an instrument of advancing the industry. When we begin to have a blend of culture with modernization for the purpose of exposing the richness of what makes us Nigerians, it becomes the right step in the right direction.

The problem began when many actors and actresses took a flight to the comfort of home videos at the expense of stage plays or theater. There’s a distinction between stage plays and home videos. But it’s unfortunate that home videos are more rampant and mostly in vogue now compared to theater.

I appreciate the depth of research that goes into operation before staging any play. It reminds the audience the what, why and how of the play. The directing sagacity of the producer or director makes it to be rich in content and context. It actually does not require A-list actors and actresses to be paraded. It only needs the person that can re-enact the features of the original character on the stage. One thing such play teaches which the audience appreciates is what it teaches and the projection of our culture in a modern light.

Self-esteem

Self-esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self. Self-esteem encompasses beliefs (for example, “I am competent,” “I am worthy”) and emotions such as triumph, despair, pride and shame. Smith and Mackie defined it by saying “The self-concept is what we think about the self. Self-esteem is the positive or negative evaluations of the self, as in how we feel about it. Self-esteem is also known as the evaluative dimension of the self that includes feelings of worthiness, pride and discouragement. One’s self-esteem is also closely associated with self-consciousness.

Self-esteem is a disposition that a person has which represents their judgments of their own worthiness. In the mid-1960s, Morris Rosenberg and social-learning theorists defined self-esteem as a personal worth or worthiness. Nathaniel Branden in 1969 defined self-esteem as “the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness.” According to Branden, self-esteem is the sum of self-confidence (a feeling of personal capacity) and self-respect (a feeling of personal worth). It exists as a consequence of the implicit judgment that every person has of their ability to face life’s challenges, to understand and solve problems, and their right to achieve happiness, and be given respect.

Experiences in a person’s life are a major source of self-esteem development. The positive or negative life experiences one has, creates attitudes toward the self which can be favorable and develop positive feelings of self-worth, or can be unfavorable and develop negative feelings of self-worth. In the early years of a child’s life, parents are the most significant influence on self-esteem and the main source of positive and/or negative experiences a child will have. The emphasis of unconditional love, in parenting how-to books, represents the importance of a child developing a stable sense of being cared for and respected. These feelings translate into later effects of self-esteem as the child grows older.

During the school years, academic achievement is a significant contributor to self-esteem development. A student consistently achieving success or consistently failing strongly affects their individual self-esteem. Social experiences are another important contributor. As children go through school they begin to understand and recognize differences between themselves and their classmates. Using social comparisons, children assess whether they did better or worse than classmates in different activities. These comparisons play an important role in shaping the child’s self-esteem and influence the positive or negative feelings they have about themselves. As children go through adolescence, peer influence becomes much more important, as adolescents make appraisals of themselves based on their relationships with close friends. Successful relationships among friends are very important to the development of high self-esteem for children. Social acceptance brings about confidence and produces high self-esteem, whereas rejection from peers and loneliness brings about self-doubts and produces low self-esteem.

Parenting style can also play a crucial role in self-esteem development. Students in elementary school who have high self-esteem tend to have parents who are caring, supportive adults who set clear standards for their children and allow them to voice their opinion in decision making. Although studies thus far have reported only a correlation of warm, supportive parenting styles and children having high self-esteem. It could easily be thought of as having some causal effect in self-esteem development.

Childhood experiences that contribute to healthy self-esteem include being listened to, being spoken to respectfully, receiving appropriate attention and affection and having accomplishments recognized and mistakes or failures acknowledged and accepted. Experiences that contribute to low self-esteem include being harshly criticized, being physically, sexually or emotionally abused, being ignored, ridiculed or teased or being expected to be “perfect” all the time.

Having a high self-esteem is distinguishing yourself from the common. But it shouldn’t be rated higher than you ought to so that it wouldn’t become a malaise. Your self-esteem makes you abhor what is bad and it will always lead you away from doing something that might degrade your reputation. It is standing your ground not to engage in what others are doing. It might be pleasurable and pleasant though, but you know deep down within you that the end thereof is devastating. You might look foolish before others and you may be seen as an outcast due to your resolutions, but your reasons lie within you. Only God understands.

WHAT IS SELF-ESTEEM?

The term self-esteem comes from a Greek word meaning “reverence for self.” The “self” part of self-esteem pertains to the values, beliefs and attitudes that we hold about ourselves. The “esteem” part of self-esteem describes the value and worth that one gives oneself. Simplistically self-esteem is the acceptance of ourselves for who and what we are at any given time in our lives.

ASSESS YOUR OWN SELF-ESTEEM

Answer each question true or false

I have trouble accepting myself as I am.

I desperately want to change the way I look.

I think more about my failures than my successes.

I worry a lot that people would not like me if they really knew me.

I feel that everyone is much more competent and confident than me.

I almost always avoid taking on new challenges.

I am uncomfortable around successful people.

I avoid making mistakes at all costs.

I worry a lot that I am ineffective and incompetent.

I feel worthless.

If you are honest with yourself with the above questions in accepting that you are always feeling less than you are worth, you are on the right path to make a drastic change. It starts first of all from your thinking pattern. Your thoughts must as a matter of necessity change from dwelling on inferiority which attracts low self-esteem to dwelling on the sterling qualities about you even when the obvious says otherwise.

It gives us many posers that we only can answer. “How do I feel about myself?” What do others feel about me? “Is what others feel about me enough to dictate the pace for me?” What others feel about you is always perceived from a microscopic view based on their immediate deduction without taking your invisible features into consideration. So when they let you in into their conclusion about you, you may feel depressed by the weight of the conclusion. But you need to ask yourself whether what they feel about you is true. That two people make the same remark about you is not necessarily true as it’s believed in some quarters. The trajectory of their comment is ostensibly to make you feel less than you are worth. That is why no matter how brilliant and exceptional you are at work; your boss will never commend you. If he has to, it will be behind you. He rather scolds you in front of others and commends you behind them. You feel you are not putting in your best. If you feel you are doing your best, don’t rest on your oars, put in more. Your high self-esteem must remain intact.

PRACTICAL STEPS

*Don’t be complacent. Complacency is feeling comfortable with the status quo. It’s a feeling of contentment and satisfaction especially associated with unawareness and danger. Complacency invariably leads to stagnancy in life stemming out of being too comfortable with where you, who you are without a basic challenge for improvement. This means if you are a victim of low self-esteem, you must not be complacent about it. Aside the external influence that originates low self-esteem, though avoidable, we are also an architect of low self-esteem by allowing those external influences to get at us. A realization of this cause is a good step forward. Don’t let complacency set in. Turn around the ‘misfortune’ into the wealth of high self-esteem. When the way you see yourself forms the basis of your approach to the things of life, handling them will appear less tedious and assuage unnecessary hard work.

* Uphold the tenets of morality. But don’t be a bigot. You are not totally a perfect person because there’s no such thing as a perfect person. Moral values must form the basis of our lives. Draw the line between morality and culture. Let morality be so sacrosanct to you that no monetary equivalence will measure up to it. The force and the pull of peer pressure and the globalization of the subject in question is so strong and irresistible and has pulled many people down because of weak resolve and resistance to it. But we can rise up again and give a challenge by sponsoring a crusade against it. The issue of the legalization of gay-marriage in the world has incited the American government to start issuing sanctions to nations enacting laws against it. This is an immorality and aberration of the highest order. Since we found ourselves in a world where aberration seems to be the order of the day, what do we do so that we won’t be plunged into its depth? We must let the tenets and etiquettes of morality be our guiding mirror everyday.

* Be a person of your word. That is what we call fidelity. Be known by what you say because that is what you will be judged by. If you say something and you staunchly stand on it but you are found doing the opposite, you are putting your integrity to question. When it becomes incessant, it is turning into an habit and habit metamorphoses into a character. And you know character is 99% of who you are. When you make a promise, fulfill it. If you cannot fulfill a promise, don’t make it at all in the first place. There is a formula for this; under-promise and over-deliver. When you need two weeks to get something done for somebody, communicate to the person you will need one month to get the job done and the person will fix his or her mind to one month. Eventually under three weeks, you deliver the job to the person. He or she will be so impressed and happy that you get recommended to other people and you are growing by the day, a growing network of connection. That is under-promising and over-delivering, not the other way round when you over-promise and under-deliver. You know the implication of that, your self-esteem suffering a decline and a hit and it is affecting business.

* Exemplify good leadership. Bring out the inborn traits of leadership quality in you and tread softly. Don’t be puffed up with it. Bring it out among your siblings, among your friends and at your place of work. It is not necessarily until you are pronounced as a leader before you start exhibiting it or until you become the oldest in a place. Have you noticed that the people at the places of authority are not the oldest? But they are there by virtue of their leadership qualities. Whether they put it to good use is not a topic here.

* Pride is not in the game. Pride goes before perdition is the popular maxim. It hurts and rubbishes your self-esteem irreparably. There is a difference between self-esteem and pride. Self-esteem gives you the knowledge of right and wrong while pride gives destruction.

Are youths truly the leaders of tomorrow?

An elderly woman of an unquestionable character and strength of rich experience who was vast in the area of education was invited to a Leadership Conference some few years ago by DayStar Christian Center pastored by Rev Sam Adeyemi as one of the guest speakers to thrill the invited audience on the subject she was asked to speak on. She dilated so eloquently and explicitly and even comprehensively on her leadership-related topic that the trajectory of applause could only be hurled at her. I gave her an adulation when I listened to her. She took the audience down memory lane and drew a demarcation between the way things were in the middle of the 20th century and the way things are now. She bemoaned the dichotomy in the way of life between then and now and taught us on how we the youths can offer Nigeria the best of leadership it wants, craves, desires, needs and deserves. She didn’t fail to enlighten us about the developmental strides Nigeria will experience if she gets the right kind of leadership. She climaxed everything and brought it to an end by mentioning the great men and women the past set values and virtues produced and the discipline they inculcated in themselves. She said the folks from the 20’s down to the early 60’s were well-behaved, simple, empathetic, dignified, reverential and conducted their affairs with probity and proprietary. She didn’t fail to mention accountability as their watchword.

Then it was time for question and answer. She received a barrage of questions and she answered them to the admiration and consternation of those who cared to listen. Then one deep-thinking fellow asked her a question which I felt was in behalf of the populace who are indigent and impoverished. She showered encomiums on her and then asked her the reason why the same set of people – the older generation who grew up in the same enabling environment, who had a good system of education with the same set and values with the ones she enumerated had and who found themselves in the corridors of power, both gone and present, masquerading as our leaders are churning out bad leadership, stripped of good character and integrity and are only concerned about dipping their ten fingers into the coffers at the expense of the good of all? The question caught the speaker off guard. She belched and did a 15secs thinking. She sincerely owned up and said she could not explain where things went wrong and what went wrong. She only begrudged the reasons why the good eggs never found themselves on the seat of power. Then there rented the hall of the church a palpable insistence that the older generation has failed us. They could not only mutter it aloud that nemesis should catch up with them. The people tried to feign spirituality since they were in a church building. The other guest speakers thrilled the audience on their various and diversified topics, everything bothering on leadership but tactically avoided a probable answer to the one million dollar question. Maybe those who know the answer were not privileged to be at the symposium since they grew up together or even present there but didn’t want to provide the answer for fear of being maligned and morally incarcerated.

All these boil down to the burden in my heart. A generally-acclaimed slogan says youths are the leaders of tomorrow. I don’t dispute it. I only doubt it. Juxtaposing the lifestyle of some decades ago and the one at large now, one will conclude there should be no bad leaders from then especially with fewer vices to contend with. Can you now imagine the vices inherent in our system now? We all are the products from the same society at different times and dispensation from different hues. And the society is the amalgamation of different cultures and traditions attributable to different set of people.

As far as I know, 90% of today’s youths have nothing to offer Nigeria due to what fills our head. Some of us are not focused and directed towards any goal. Some are loosed morally, spiritually and verbally. We don’t extol the dignity of labor and never hold dear to our hearts the competence consistency offers. The level of our diligence is at the lowest ebb. The environment may not be enabling but it is not an excuse to be destitute of good moral judgment. The moral decadence among us makes me sick and nauseated. We don’t want to work again. We are only rapaciously and ravenously after quick money. Some of these young men and women have visited agony on others by duping them. They have hoodwinked foreigners by dubious business proposals and even when they got the money, they never invested it on anything but that is not to say the money won’t fly away eventually because it is another person’s sweat. They will rather take to partying, clubbing, drinking out of stupor and take to promiscuity. The ladies who ignorantly and covetously satisfy the whims and caprices of these suddenly-rich fellows get their comeuppance by being used for charms and juju.

The police are also culpable of this. Instead of apprending these indolent folks, they’d rather connive with them and give them some support in exchange for some money. All the banks spread across the length and breadth of Nigeria also play a pivotal roll in this allegation. The proceeds from the dubious business proposals from abroad arrive through the banks but there’s no law against such a thing as seizing the money and arresting the purported beneficiary except those ones that had luck run against them. Our leaders are pen robbers and pen robbers control armed robbers.

I commend those who strive to be morally right and spiritually upright. I commend those who revere the dignity of labor and those who discharge their duty conscientiously.

The leaders of tomorow must be refined, tested, trusted, proven, unquestionable and deserving. Since the present ones are fast becoming bereft of ideas and lasting solutions to the intractable problems beleaguering our nation, new ones must be birthed. The new ones can be birthed if our society can be completely overhauled by the various institutions and firms we have following the pace being set by the home front. If not, the future danger is constituted in our youths who will be the leaders of tomorrow.

Church Universities and Secular universities

Everyone who is concerned about the state of education in Nigeria had at one time or the other lend their voices to berate the unfavorable government policies that are affecting the sector more negatively than positively. Everyone is lamenting its under-funding by the government despite the 25% annual budgetary allocation stipulated by the United Nations to be injected into it but our government only manages to inject a miser 5%. We are also bemoaning the failure of the government to implement the various recommendations given by many stakeholders’ forum except the dust it gathers in their archives.

The crass indifference and flippancy directed towards education has been inimical to the production of quality, qualified and seasoned graduates of international standard and the integral and predominant impact it makes on the economy of the country. To gain an admission is now more difficult than procuring an American visa. The merited candidates who through the dint of hard work achieved excellence only get sidetracked on the day of reckoning while those whose parents enjoy some network of connection in the profit-oriented universities ride on an already-paved road into the institutions through the backyard. My deduction now is that an admission into an average Nigerian university is no longer by merit and credit but by whom you know. And if you don’t know anybody, one risks the forfeiture of the possibility of an admission. The trend had made someone like me to become despondent about going to school in Nigeria and other folks who traverse the length and breadth of the nation in search of an alternative to make up for the vacuum of not having a full education. I wonder the so-called technocrats who advise the former President  and the ones who enlighten the former education Minister to build more universities instead of putting the necessary structure in place to adequately fund the existing ones. I wouldn’t want a repeat of what happened during former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s regime when he appointed a lecturer who ought to be in the classroom holding chalks as the Aviation Minister and we all were witnesses to the disaster that rocked that sector.

Now, since we can’t find respite in the secular setting, should we also be scared away by the church universities? This is paradoxical. The churches charge huge and exorbitant prices to the disaffection and chagrin of everyone. Since the secular universities rejected me and I run to the church, I think I should find some academic solace but it’s not so. The poser is, “Are they in for profiteering which is human racketeering or to provide an alternative for the teeming non-admitted candidates?” They are mission schools. I think they should not even charge up to N20,000 per semester instead of the colossal N750,000, N1,000,000 etc that they are charging. The poor people in the church cannot send their wards to such schools despite giving their tithe and offering and other wilful donations and contributions that they painstakingly make. One of such schools’ lecturers said they have a stipulated discount given to any member whose children attend the schools. What a statement! Are we talking about discount or providing a platform for the indigent who constitute the highest percentage of the churches’ population so that they can send their children to the universities also with a feeling devoid of malice or grudges against the church authority.

The ostensible reason for such hike in price, justifiably or otherwise, I don’t know, may be for the furtherance of the gospel to the very far corner of the earth as commanded our Lord Jesus Christ but He never said it should be done at the expense of the poor. He didn’t say we should be indifferent to whose ox is gored. I don’t want to extend my hard feelings to the church and I don’t want to see a scenario where there would be a disconnect between the rich and the poor in the church – an ill-will. This causes dissension a lot in the church.

The most appalling thing is that the pastors also have the temerity to berate the absurdities and obscenity inherent in the education system when they have their own inadequacies trailing them. I revere every man of God and I will never disrespect them if they also do the right thing which is why the main thrust of this piece is to let them rectify the anomalies implicit in the administration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If the church had subsidized the ‘price’ well enough that the couple who earn the most miserable income whether on daily, weekly, or monthly basis can afford to send their children to the universities, the millions who fall victims by being exploited by JAMB year in year out would have been admitted by now. Somebody may ask, “where will they generate the funds to provide the necessary facilities needed for a conducive environment for learning?” My answer is, “there are one hundred and one million ways to do that, that they will devise and improvise among themselves. Or where did some of them get the money to buy private jets? To every problem, there are seven solutions. That include the internally-generated revenue in the school but not the one that will take a heavy toll on the students. And coupled with donations from the wealthy and opulent members of the church. And a collaboration with private bodies too will work etc.        TO BE CONTINUED

The benefit of reading

Every budding concern and affront need to be nipped in the bud before it goes out of hand. Failure to do that portends a great harbinger to the society. But unfortunately, there have been vices budding with no restraint in our environment. The murky water of ignorance perpetuated by utter neglect to literacy is not receding anytime soon. A larger chunk of the populace is populated by the youths and we are the symbols of tomorrow – a brighter future at that. But the semblance of ignorance being spearheaded by these folks are worrisome and a precautionary measure needs to be adopted before it boomerangs more than it presently is. One of such is the total and utter neglect and allergy to reading. Our reading culture is fast waning into total oblivion and near-non-existence.

Someone posited that if you want to hide anything from a black man, put it into writing. The potency of this claim is actually validated by the youths. We hardly read. As much as we surf the Internet every minute, most of us just do so to catch up with the latest gossip trending – uneducative gist at that. You will see instances where young men and women will blatantly tell you they can’t go through a piece of a write-up because it’s too lengthy. With the seemingly unrestricted access we have to electronic devices that we could easily and handily harness for self-development, we’d rather frolick around frivolities. Knowledge has no end and the rapacity for knowledge in this part of the world is poor.

Being a voracious reader for the sole purpose of adding more knowledge, digging into history, having a firsthand information and keeping abreast of the latest and recent happenstances around us is not the exclusive preserve and acquired privilege of our superiors, but much more our necessity by conferment of being the touted leading lights of tomorrow. Reading broadens one’s mind, expands one’s scope of perspective, enlarges one’s horizon of perception and opens up the world to us with a vivid picture of its framework and schematics vis-a-vis its workings and operations.

What reading also does is that it gives you a leeway into the authors’ minds and provides a monologue of dialogue between you two. A monologue of being tutored while reading, he or she does the teaching through the book and a dialogue ensues. A dialogue of reasoning together but it doesn’t translate into agreeing totally with the author’s points. Reading also sharpens your mind and hone your literary skills. It makes you a better thinker and a less talker bringing taciturnity into the fold.

What non-reading does is that it gives you a contrived mindset and shuts you away from the rest of the world. It doesn’t mean you are not existing but you will be lagging far behind others. Where others are doing research on how to advance their careers, you will be reading latest gist about some actors and actresses whose personal lives are not worth emulating but which many of my peers emulate and take such people as role models. Non-readers can never be leaders. Only readers are made leaders.

Self-confidence

Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.

Self confidence is the difference between feeling unstoppable and feeling scared out of your wits. Your perception of yourself has an enormous impact on how others perceive you. Perception is reality the more self-confidence you have, the more likely it is you’ll succeed.

Self-confidence is an attitude which allows individuals to have positive yet realistic views of themselves and their situations. Self-confident people trust their own abilities, have a general sense of control in their lives, and believe that, within reason, they will be able to do what they wish, plan, and expect. Having self-confidence does not mean that individuals will be able to do everything. Self-confident people have expectations that are realistic. Even when some of their expectations are not met, they continue to be positive and to accept themselves.

People who are not self-confident depend excessively on the approval of others in order to feel good about themselves. They tend to avoid taking risks because they fear failure. They generally do not expect to be successful. They often put themselves down and tend to discountenance or ignore compliments paid to them. By contrast, self-confident people are willing to risk the disapproval of others because they generally trust their own abilities. They tend to accept themselves; they don’t feel they have to conform in order to be accepted.

Self-confidence is not necessarily a general characteristic which pervades all aspects of a person’s life. Typically, individuals will have some areas of their lives where they feel quite confident. E.g., academics, athletics, while at the same time they do not feel at all confident in other areas, e.g., personal appearance, social relationships etc.

Although many of the factors affecting self-confidence are beyond your control, there are a number of things you can consciously do to build self confidence. But those things don’t come to limelight overnight; it requires a consistent and assiduous deployment of belief in ourselves.

Confidence is the courage you mutter in yourself that you can do anything defying whatever factor that may militate against you and at times you may have to defy logic. Sitting down to analyze some things in life seems a waste of time. And most of the things human beings sit down to analyze are the things of life we don’t want to attend to. Even if we want to do them, we consciously or inadvertently shift our gaze to the factors that may impair it. When our focus is rooted behind the negativities of life, our confidence begins to wane. Self-confidence’s internally-generated, not externally influenced. And self-confidence is not an equivalence of pride. Self-confidence is quiet, gentle and unassuming. Another difference between confidence and pride is that confidence lets one quietly go ahead and take care of tasks at hand, whereas pride demands that others notice the ability. The line that distinguishes pride and confidence is often indistinguishable.

From the outside, looking in, it is like trying to find a fishing line in mid-air. You know it is there, but unless you find yourself tangled up in it, it is a line that is not visible to the naked eye. A line that, if you don’t stand in the right spot, you will find yourself hooked by.

To see the fishing line, you need a piece of contrasting material. Hold up a black t-shirt to the line, and it instantly stands out. Take the t-shirt away, and the line seems to go with it.

It is incredibly easy to slide from confidence into pride; it is to slide from a healthy view of self to an unhealthy perspective of your gifts and abilities. In fact, if you are not careful, you won’t even realize you’ve made the transition. It takes intentionally holding up a contrasting material for you to see this invisible line.

Know this: if the line disappears, you’re in trouble. If you can’t tell when you’re moving into pride, your leadership will be damaged. You will make poor decisions. You’ll destroy relationships. And you’ll leave a pathway of destruction that will take years to rebuild.

Looking at pride and confidence contrasting each other can be the mirror we use to tell this important distinction.

5 TRUTHS ABOUT PRIDE

– The proud person never says he’s wrong, doesn’t accept input, but goes at everything alone.

– He makes decisions in a vacuum.

– Bristles when taking advice/correction.

-Doesn’t take others into account.

– Craves public and/or private recognition for the works he has done.

6 TRUTHS ABOUT CONFIDENCE

The confident person

– Measures his choices and actions with wisdom.

– Weighs input from others, and moves towards the truth.

– Doesn’t proceed through selfish ambitions.

– Realizes he can’t do it alone.

– Knows who he is, and who he isn’t. He’s confident where God has gifted him.

– Works to build others up.

By using these 10 strategies you can get the mental edge you need to reach your potential.

BUILDING SELF-CONFIDENCE

1. Dress Sharp

Although clothes don’t make the man, they certainly affect the way he feels about himself. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don’t look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. Use this to your advantage by taking care of your personal appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made by bathing and shaving frequently, wearing clean clothes, and being cognizant of the latest styles.

This doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot on clothes. One great rule to follow is “spend twice as much, buy half as much”. Rather than buying a bunch of cheap clothes, buy half as many select, high quality items. In the long run this decreases spending because expensive clothes wear out less easily and stay in style longer than cheap clothes. Buying less also helps reduce the clutter in your closet.

2. Walk Faster

One of the easiest ways to tell how a person feels about herself is to examine her walk. Is it slow? Tired? Painful? Or is it energetic and purposeful? People with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go, people to see, and important work to do. Even if you aren’t in a hurry, you can increase your self-confidence by putting some pep in your step. Walking 25% faster will make you look and feel more important.

3. Good Posture

Similarly, the way a person carries herself tells a story. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self-confidence. They aren’t enthusiastic about what they’re doing and they don’t consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you will automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You will make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered.

4. Personal Commercial

One of the best ways to build confidence is listening to a motivational speech. Unfortunately, opportunities to listen to a great speaker are few and far between. You can fill this need by creating a personal commercial. Write a 30-60 second speech that highlights your strengths and goals. Then recite it in front of the mirror aloud (or inside your head if you prefer) whenever you need a confidence boost.

5. Gratitude

When you focus too much on what you want, the mind creates reasons why you can’t have it. This leads you to dwell on your weaknesses. The best way to avoid this is consciously focusing on gratitude. Set aside time each day to mentally list everything you have to be grateful for. Recall your past successes, unique skills, loving relationships, and positive momentum. You will be amazed how much you have going for you and motivated to take that next step towards success.

6. Compliment other people

When we think negatively about ourselves, we often project that feeling on to others in the form of insults and gossip. To break this cycle of negativity, get in the habit of praising other people. Refuse to engage in backstabbing gossip and make an effort to compliment those around you. In the process, you will become well liked and build self-confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.

7. Sit in the front row

In schools, offices, and public assemblies around the world, people constantly strive to sit at the back of the room. Most people prefer the back because they’re afraid of being noticed. This reflects a lack of self-confidence. By deciding to sit in the front row, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self-confidence. You will also be more visible to the important people talking from the front of the room.

Here’s why you need to strive for the front row whether in a lecture room or in a conference room in contrast to sitting at the back:

1. You’re less distracted.

2. Less likely to fall asleep in front of the moderator

3. You might be more likely to engage or ask questions

4. You’re in front so you don’t have to squint to see something.

Sitting in the back, this is what happens:

1. You see a bunch of people on their laptops (I see people playing games, some on Facebook, some chatting, etc). It gets distracting.

2. You’re more likely to talk to your friends and joke around.

3. You can’t always see the board.

4. Your mind “easily” drifts to other things.

8. Speak up

During group discussions many people never speak up because they are afraid that people will judge them for saying something stupid. This fear is not really justified. Generally, people are much more accepting than we imagine. In fact most people are dealing with the exact same fears. By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you will become a better public speaker, more confident in your own thoughts, and recognized as a leader by your peers.

9. Work out

Along the same lines as personal appearance, physical fitness has a huge effect on self-confidence. If you are out of shape, you will feel insecure, unattractive, and less energetic. By working out, you improve your physical appearance, energize yourself, and accomplish something positive. Having the discipline to work out not only makes you feel better, it creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day.

10. Focus on contribution

Too often we get caught up in our own desires. We focus too much on ourselves and not enough on the needs of other people. If you stop thinking about yourself and concentrate on the contribution you are making to the rest of the world, you won’t worry as much about your own flaws. This will increase self-confidence and allows you to contribute with maximum efficiency. The more you contribute to the world, the more you will be rewarded with personal success and recognition.

Attitude

Life is meant to be enjoyed, not to be endured is the popular maxim holding sway in the world over. And the enjoyment of life doesn’t border or rest solely on material acquisitions. It’s far way more than that. Everyone aspires to be great in life, to be a force to reckon with in the society, to be a pacesetter of good milestone of massive achievement but not everyone is ready to go through the due process. While the due process that serves as the sine qua non for success seems daunting, it is not impossible to go through. But the joyful thing is that it requires no strength or muscle-flexing. It’s a function of our character that builds up to our attitude. Our attitude, it was opined, is a function of our character. Our character is the height of our achievement, the durability of our relevance, the importance of our presence, the relevance of our contribution to nation building, the versatility of our skills, the flexibility of our being to divergent circumstances and the numerous blessings and recognition we receive from friends, folks, kinsmen and well-wishers.

Good attitude seems to be a commodity most people cannot afford. People don’t really place so many importance on having the right attitude towards life. There’s a limit to how much power, prestige, possession or property can go. There’s a limit to how much influence and connections can go. And unfortunately, our thinking had been distorted to invariably believe that nothing the above qualities and luxury cannot achieve. Everyone will like to ride on the crest and strength of that to achieve anything they set out to do. But with the right attitude, the sky might just be the starting point. Attitudinal deficiency is a life-threatening disease and has no medicinal, scientific or herbal cure. No matter how far and wide we travel looking for the potent drug to cure attitudinal deficiency that I called “attituditis”, we won’t come across one except we look inward. Where money and power seem to have set their limit (they will surely set their limit), a good and right attitude will take things up from there. Many a people have gotten big and life-changing opportunities elude them due to the projection and exhibition of a wrong attitude. A popular maxim says we’ll be addressed the way we’re dressed. But not in all occasion. An occasion might exclusively need you to dress the way the fashion trend dictates the pace but I guess it’s all occasions that require you to dress for recognition and success to put on the regalia of a good attitude.

What is attitude?

Almost everyone knows what an attitude connotes. Everyone has his or her own definition of it. Attitude is the summation of your character. It’s the total sum of the habits that you have exhibited, nurtured, and incubated that metamorphosed into a character which later forms the basis for your attitude. Your charisma and carriage are a by-product and a true reflection of your character. While your character works from behind the scene, your attitude boldly faces the camera for the public glare of all and sundry, either good attitude or the opposite. It’s a direct expression or exhibition of who you are. It is a reflection and an embodiment of your personality. Your attitude is like a price tag, it shows everyone how valuable you are. Your attitude toward others determines others’ attitude toward you.

To get the obvious out of the way, attitude isn’t something a girl gives to you when you praise her before being friends with her. And attitude is definitely not something you show to the same girl after she accepts your compliment and now wants to be your friend. Attitude, in every sense of it has more connotations to it than just being used as a slang statement among the youths. Technically, attitudes are evaluative dispositions related to a person, object, or event either favorable or otherwise. They reflect our tenacious disposition to react and behave in a certain way towards people and situations. It’s the mirror through which the world sees us and forms an opinion of its own about us. And such opinions will either portray us as good or bad.

There’s virtually nothing we can do about it after such an opinion is formed. We can only take charge at the outset and dictate the pace for the kind of opinion the world forms about us. The first impression lingers on in the mind and once it settles down, it forms the basis of perception for the world. That’s why a good deportment of ourselves will do the perfect job of evangelism for us. A negative attitude is like a flat tyre. If it’s not changed with a good tyre of the right and positive attitude, we are going nowhere.

Many a qualified candidate have squandered and missed out on being employed for jobs. The right attitude equals respect and reverence for others and elders. There was a scenario where a mass interview was to be conducted and the interviewees were jostling for a right of place by rushing up the stairs to the interview room. None of them noticed a man who was trying to use the staircase as well. It was just one of them who stopped so that the man could use the staircase without hindrance. The man happened to be the General Manager of the company. The young man who allowed him to use the staircase was appreciated by being the only one that was employed, whether he qualified for the portfolio or not didn’t matter.

Attitude is everything. It is an embodiment of what possibilities and breakthroughs represent. Where certificates encounter difficulty, a good attitude makes an inroad.

Attitude is 100%. It’s non-negotiable. Let’s do some numerical calculation of the alphabets that make up ATTITUDE: A+ T+ T+ I+ T+U+D+E

1+20+20+9+20+21+4+5 = 100%

It means we must not live below par. It means we must not live short of the quota of a sterling quality of an attitude that mesmerizes others. Attitude is reciprocal. It has a bit of a leaning to the law of sowing and reaping. People will show us the same kind of attitude we show them.

We’re not talking about attitude towards people alone. Let’s dissect two areas of major importance.

ATTITUDE TOWARDS PEOPLE

Have you ever heard of anyone who single-handedly achieved greatness? I don’t think so. I haven’t heard of a man who’s an island unto himself. No man has ever paddled the affairs of any organization successfully without the 100% assistance and input of other people. Hence the reason why people employ people to tap from their wealth of experience in a particular chosen field of specialization to build an empire of business. The first entity and factor that lead to success is people. This now poses a poser on how we treat people. How do you handle people? The way we handle people stems out of the attitudinal leaning and allegiance we hold towards them. Our character towards them determines the number of people we are able to attract, how long they hang around us and a direct determinant of the ‘positives’ we are able to extract from them. The law of life has no partiality inherent in it. If we exude bad and negative character or attitude, we’ll attract the set of people who have negative attitude, people who are pessimists by nature and choice. And let us not think that good things will come out of such an affiliation. It never will. We can never shy away from the greatest resources bestowed and bequeathed to us by God, which are people. We must know how to deal with people as the resources God committed into our care. “People are more difficult to work with than machines. And when you break a person, he can’t be fixed” – Rick Riordan

HOW TO HANDLE PEOPLE

Let’s explore how to handle PEOPLE

P-Pay attention to people

I guess you love to feel loved. You want someone to listen to you. Let us replicate the same yearning in people. There are many who want a shoulder to lean on in the embodiment of a listening ear. They want to voice out their pains, their grievances, their grouse and they also want others to benefit from their jolly plans and ideas. Let us try as much to pay attention to people so as to make them feel loved. The greatest investment of all time is giving out of your time to other people.

E-Embrace them

Let them know they are important. Let them feel welcomed especially those who are deprived of the necessities of life. Keep your embrace open and wide in form of anything you think can serve them in anyway it can. And remember, don’t look down on people. Never try to commit that costly blunder. By treating people equally, we will entertain angels unawares.

O-Offense management

On the voyage of dealing with people, handling people and catering for them, offenses are inevitable and non –negotiable. Some of them will still take your lofty aspirations for granted and they will rubbish it. It is implicit in human’s reactions to feel offended. What matters most is the way you ingeniously handle it so that it won’t deter you and derail you from your noble path. You either allow an offense mar you or make you. But I am sure you don’t want to abandon what you have started. Handling an offense involves maturity.

P-Plan your day having people in mind

Each passing day is always planned ahead. Even the time allocated to us by nature is not enough to handle stuffs. But we can painstakingly integrate people into our schedule. Including them in the sense that squeezing out the time to be of immense benefit to them in whatever projection.

L- Learn from people

No man is an island of knowledge. Life is all about giving and taking. You give and you take. You don’t know all things, hence the reason why you are still learning. You cease learning when you cease existing. Learn from the experiences and mistakes of others. Don’t be too proud to stoop low to learn from your subordinates. The acquisition of the highest degree is not ipso facto the automatic knowledge of all things. There are many areas you still need to fortify yourself with when it comes to learning. Learn from as many people as you can, as much as you can, as fast as you can, for as long as you can and life becomes so sweet.

E-Educate people

Let people be beneficiaries of what you know. Impart your knowledge into them. Share your expertise with them. There are various media by which you can do that. You can go by the way of blogging or using the various networking sites all around us. You will notice a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction settles in you when you do. And your name is inscribed on a platter of gold as a result.

ATTITUDE TOWARDS MONEY

Money is the root of all evil is the popular misinterpreted maxim. But money is not the root of all evil against the popular maxim that rents the air. Money is a good thing. It is the legal tender for the exchange of commodities in the world over. It is the predominant necessities of life and everyone wants to have money. With money, you can have the luxury of life like driving posh cars, wearing the trendiest cloths in vogue, living in a mansion, traveling around and you can easily draft out an expansion plan for your business. Money is a spirit and it is so sensitive. The right attitude towards money makes it stay with you and multiply while a negative attitude keeps it away from you despite the fact that you earn a bogus salary. That is why it is puzzling that someone who earns a big salary has nothing to show for it while someone who earns stipends is doing fine. It is a function of the right attitude.

What are the right and the wrong attitude towards money?

THE RIGHT ATTITUDE

Money will stay with you if you know how to save. Savings discipline is hard to adopt but it’s needful to build a fruitful life. Savings boosts your confidence and prepares you for opportunities. A savings mentality is a rich man mentality. Opportunities can show up anytime that might involve investing some money to get a bountiful harvest. When opportunity meets preparation, the sky won’t even be a limit. It implies you are exhibiting the right attitude towards money.

The excuse behind which all of us hide is that the money we earn is always not enough. The more money we earn the more the responsibilities and expenses. Parkinson’s Law of money says expenditure will always rise to meet income. People always take solace in this law to justify the reasons why they always run out of money. The point is that it is a good excuse. Now, this is where financial discipline comes in. Let us try as much as we can to cut down unnecessary expenses. Cutting down on unnecessary is the key to savings. Other forms of investment are giving and tithing. WHEN YOU SAVE MONEY NOW, IT WILL SAVE YOU IN THE FUTURE.

THE NEGATIVE OR WRONG ATTITUDE

Lavish spending or squandering makes money run away from you. Nothing makes money run away from you as much as a wasteful spending. Wasteful spending doesn’t lend credence to savings. Even, it is always looking out for how to spend that which is saved. If you are the type given to living an extravagant life that bursts or that is more expensive than your income, you won’t have savings. If you love buying articles of ostentation and always want to be in the grove, then you are exhibiting the wrong attitude towards money. What money does is that if it doesn’t feel accepted or loved through wasteful spending, it relocates where its value will be appreciated.

The cutting edge

The road to success is not smooth because there are many potholes. While on the road, you will encounter thistles and thorns, briers and brimstone by the road side in form of difficulties, challenges and what have you. They are part of our existence and we cannot shy away from them. It is not even an option to leave our problems unattended to. If life had given us an option as to whether our problems and challenges are part of our success or not, many a people will have a huge backlog of problems in their archives unresolved especially the unadventurous folks. The only option in life is our decision to either become successful or not. To be success isn’t a crime or an obligation, it’s a decision. To be unsuccessful is neither a crime as well. It’s a choice, a choice everyone has to live with. But I know many people want to become successful. Some did succeed, some did not and not because they didn’t want to but because of the challenges they couldn’t surmount and the lack of an enabling environment and also because they didn’t have what it takes to be successful.

Many of us wish we don’t have to work assiduously to make two ends meet. We also wish success can just be bequeathed to us so that we don’t have to work again. It’s implicit in human nature to have this thought pattern. It’s a healthy thought as far as I’m concerned especially in the face of a glaring hopelessness.

We all wake up everyday to realize that all is a fantasy and a mirage. We need to work hard and work smart. One of the differences between the rich and the poor is that while the rich work smart, the poor is always concerned about working hard thinking that it is only hard work that is rewarded. The rich work hard also but they added smartness as a cutting edge. If how hard we work is a measure of our success, my mum should be one of the richest women in the world contesting with the likes of Folorunsho Alakija and Oprah Winfrey. But unfortunately, it’s not a measure.

What do we need to do to be successful? There’s a stiff competition going on in the world. Healthy competition at that. If care is not taken, many a people will be left by the roadside. We have seen our peers achieve more than we’ve achieved and we begin to wonder how they did it. Many people with whom we started the journey together but we seem to be lagging behind. Don’t be surprised, that thought of great innovation and enterprise that you’re taking your time to sort out, some people are already actualizing it and you actually think no one is thinking what you’re thinking. Many people, millions of people are having the same thought content in a different pattern but whoever comes out with it first owns it. We would have heard someone groan about his/her idea being hijacked. It is a testament. No one is isolated in a particular chosen field. There are competitors and contenders there. We have many medical doctors in the world because health need is abounding. Only you as a doctor cannot cater for all the patients. We have many engineers in the world in all the engineering branches because there are needs there. We have innumerable artisans that litter the length and breadth of the world because human needs are insatiable. No ill-feelings should be harbored against anyone because only you cannot meet the ever-growing needs of everyone. But you need to stand out among them. The services you render to your customers must be excellent, outstanding, empathetic and well-thought out. It is the service you render that will determine whether your business will grow by making customers come back again and again or not. Your service must be your cutting edge.

As someone who is just starting out in life, I have an insatiable hunger for success. I have it in me to be great in life. I want to be the pacesetter of great achievements of unprecedented proportions and a trailblazer of breakthroughs despite the daunting challenges that confront me academically. I had no access to the full education that my peers and colleagues were bequeathed with. And I didn’t want that to determine how successful I am on the success index. There’s a jinx and a notion that it’s only your certificate that will guarantee you good and lucrative jobs and a bright future. While I subscribe to the former, I’m not on the same page with the latter. A good job or lucrative deal isn’t automatically a bright future. I determined within me that I will go against all odds to be successful even if I didn’t have full access to academic education. Those who have it, it’s a plus and don’t waste it. It comes once in a lifetime.

I’ve attended church services. I’ve attended seminars. I’ve read books that bother on success and I’ve discussed success in my brain. I’ve read books on successful people. I’ve seen people who are successful. And I’ve seen success in differing dimensions. I’ve seen success from Bill Gates’, Aliko Dangote’s, Femi Otedola’s,  Barak Obama’s, Richard Branson’s etc, perspective. I’ve seen success from Pastor Enoch Adeboye’s, Temitope Joshua’s, Bishop David Oyedepo’s, Pastor Oyakhilome’s, Pastor Sam Adeyemi’s, Mike Okonkwo’s, Pastor Tunde Amosun’s etc, angle. And I’ve seen success from some people around me who were able to send their children to school to acquire good education that will last a test of time, who were able to provide for the immediate needs of their family while saving for the future at the same time and also maintain one or two cars. They are not poor, they are not extravagantly rich, they fall in the category of the middle class. This is success in three distinct categories if you check the indices used. One, success on the global scene spearheaded in the world of computer software, cement, oil and gas business, cement and the number one Presidency in the world occupied by a black descent. Two, success in the task of winning souls for God which had skyrocketed and extended to the whole world and thirdly, success which maintains a low status. It depends on our preference to work towards anyone. What is the cutting edge of all these people to attain such an enviable height? With the exception of the business of evangelism, let’s take a cursory look at some obvious qualities.

RESOURCES

To start out on anything in life, we need resources. That is what we arm ourselves with. Without resources, we cannot do anything. To start a business, we need financial resources. When the business starts thriving, we need human resources to keep it going. To become employable, we need education or academic resources. At the bottom of all these, one major resources that speaks for people is their TALENTS and GIFTS. We’ve heard a lot and read a lot about talents and gifts. In this world and age, education alone cannot guarantee success especially in the developed world.  Your gifts and talents is your mouthpiece that will speak for you in the marketplace where untold competition abounds. It is a good thing one has a white-collar job where you always expect a salary package at the end of the month. I always refer to salary as a stipend. Many people will not agree with me that I call their salary a stipend or a peanut because they brag about earning a handsome salary with which they could afford to buy a car, live in a luxury apartment and buy a choice land in a choice place. But why will someone, in spite of all these that I just rolled out, still abandon such jobs in search of something better?  As far as I know, many of such people never got into the payroll of another company but decided to be their own boss and pay people instead. No matter how handsomely you are remunerated weekly, monthly or annually, the pay cannot be commensurate with your output. No one can fully pay for your service and gifts and talents. The only way you can reward yourself is to make your natural endowments active, not redundant or dormant. Those who took such golden step eventually stood out among their peers. And they became employers of labor in the long run. As someone who is just starting out in life, put your talent into use. As a young man and woman, explore life fully with your gift. And mind you, gift and talent are not limited to singing because this is what some folk talent is. Singing is one, dancing is another. Writing is there. Analytical skill is there. You can write and sell yourself out through your write-up. If you are not afforded the platform some were afforded that eventually brought them out of obscurity to limelight, you can still start somewhere. Studios are many in town where you can go and record your tracks. Are you good at playing keyboard or good at beating the drums? Is yours to gather people and have a chat with them? Go ahead and commercialize it.

TECHNICAL SKILLS

Aside your natural talents, you can go for an acquired talent called technical skills. The developed countries achieved their current status because of their huge investment on their teeming young people to acquire technical skills. China is a case study. China boasts of, arguably, the largest population of young people. While a country like Nigeria sees this as a liability, China saw opportunity to advance their economy and reduce unemployment. A larger chunk of Chinese populace is not as educated as those in Nigeria, yet they are technologically savvy. Their young people are the ones who couple some of the phones we use and even the bicycles and the tricycles we ride in this part of the world. They didn’t place so many premiums on certificate like we do here. They rather went all out to acquire technical skills. They are rather referred to as artisans here. We even belittle some by calling a mechanical engineer a mechanic because he didn’t acquire a formal education. Yet he’s so adept at handling a fault in a car more than the one who adorns a three-piece suit everyday. No ill-feelings. It’s a dissect of our anomaly. If our so-called mechanics, our electricians instead of electrical engineers, our bricklayers instead of construction engineers (the construction contractors and project managers hijacked their pay and dole our wages to them), our painters, our carpenters etc can be invested into and taken through some formalities, our country will be a better place. But in the absence of this, let’s acquire the skills we can while there’s still time. Our tailors instead of fashion designers are numerous. We need the technical skills so much as a backup to what we do.

COMMUNICATION SKILL

This is an excellent skill. It is touted that if you can communicate well, you have all skills. Communication skill is unrivaled in all aspects. This is the skill that sells your services. You can’t deny this. You acquire the technical skills and you have your talents and gifts, you have all the education obtainable but you are deficient in your manner of communication, then you’re miles behind. Though your business plan is plain, decipherable and self-explanatory on paper before some business analysts, you still need to sharpen your communication skill better. But unfortunately, it is not a skill many young people possess and it is affecting a whole lot of us negatively. This deficiency is divided into two distinct categories; lack of mastery of the means of communication. It is a bit difficult for our teeming young men and women to address a situation in a simple sentence. One begins to wonder what they spent some two decades learning in school. If they can’t put simple sentence into effect, how will they remember what they studied? At interviews, some were dropped because the employers felt they were unemployable, not because they didn’t possess the requisite credentials but because their tenses were embarrassing and disheartening. And if you’re incoherent, how can you make an in-road?  Even if you’re self-employed and you want to promote your business as a brand, how will you go about it since you’re the brain behind it?

The second category is the lack of the culture of courtesy and respect in our sentences. Some young people refer to others and even the elderly ones as ‘you people’. How can someone like that make progress bearing it in mind that no success is single-handedly attained. You cannot refer to the people whose help you need as ‘you people’. Someone once told me that if one has an excellent communication skill and integrity, the person will go places. Don’t be surprised that communication is a success factor.

PERFECTION INSTINCT

Perfection is flawlessness. Flawlessness is a near state of no fault. Whatever thing we do for people, we must always have perfection instinct in our minds. We must do it in such a way that it will attract words of commendation and most importantly, or ultimately, recommendations. We must not do things haphazardly or shambolically. I once told someone that I don’t do, I won’t do and I have never done anything to please people. I do things to please myself because I do things to satisfy myself. Whatever I do that satisfies me will automatically satisfy others. This is because I pay a meticulous attention to it and also invest a great deal of energy and time getting it done so that it will stand the test of time. And I have testimonies aplenty and a big recommendation as a result. You may not have a full formal education, you may not acquire technical skills but if you can approach any assignment dropped on your laps with the mindset of perfection, trust me, recommendations will pour in that will command more money for you. This makes me feel sorry for our artisans. When you asked them to do something for you, they become dubious at the outset with a cheat instinct and end up doing what you asked them to do below expectation and the pay incurred. As a young man and woman, do things right and do the right thing also. As a result, the sky will just be the starting point for your success.

Do we have any reason to be happy celebrating Xmas as a nation?

The day is here. The highly-anticipated day of the year is here again. It is December 25, the day earmarked and set aside to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ. While those who are religiously affiliated to this set of belief have every reason to celebrate and be joyful, I don’t think we have any reason as a nation to be joyful celebrating Xmas.

Before today runs out, the internet and media will be awash with injunctions from our so-called leaders to live in harmony and be tolerant of each other, as that will strengthen our resolve as a nation to move ahead as if we haven’t been living in harmony before now. Most of them will at a face value come out trying to preach peace which they never contributed anything to in the first place to entrench but which we have been able to establish within ourselves as loving people who are tolerant of each other. Some will start chronicling what Nigeria has ever achieved, albeit on paper though.

The thrust of this piece is not to re-orientate anyone’s mindset or view or reasons that we are individually entitled to celebrate Xmas but looking at it critically and comprehensively, today should be a day in our calendar to start asking some questions. We can no longer continue to pretend as if everything is fine when things are really hard, maybe not hard on some select and choice people who have been able to amass some wealth either legally or dubiously but the majority of the people are really suffering hard. Never in the history of Nigeria, as far as I know and my knowledge can permit me to put into perspective, have things been this bad. We have a hydra-headed monster called recession staring us in the face with no solution from no one, not even the seasoned financial brains of the nation could provide a solution. All the promises we have heard so far have always been futuristic. You will hear something like, “Nigeria will come out of recession in 2017 – says President Buhari”. My question is, “why is the solution to this problem deferred till 2017?” Why not now? Or does 2017 know that we have a seemingly intractable difficulty that only it can help us out?. When 2017 comes and no solution surfaces, they will start cooking up excuses and begin to blame Jonathan.

The government of the day is treating the plight of nation with crass indifference and flippancy. Everyone is now resorting to quick-fixes effect to keep going and make two ends meet. One of such quick-fixes is the ponzi scheme MMM that gulped millions of naira from over three million Nigerians. Almost all of them are now wailing as their accounts have been frozen with millions of naira trapped inside. Aside the gullibility of some people, if the economy was sound, most of the people won’t commit their hard-earned money to it. The signs are palpable and ominous that this Xmas is far below the vibes it used to be. The pulse of the mood of the people, if gauged will provide an alarming result.

I will advise the President himself to keep quiet today and not release any official statement trying to empathize with the country if he doesn’t have any concrete solution to proffer. He should go back to the drawing board and rewrite his mission and most importantly, come out with meaningful and feasible steps to make Nigeria work.

Happy Xmas Nigerians.

Muhammadu Buhari – the President Nigeria shouldn’t have had

Nigeria was in desperate search of an alternative to the rudderless and directionless government of erstwhile President Jonathan due to the profligacy that characterized his government. Many felt he mounted the podium of power without preparing for the position, hence the reason for his being incompetent to handle the office of ruling the most populous black nation on earth.

Before the government of Jonathan, his predecessors had treated the nation as their personal property, looting the treasury with reckless abandon and most annoyingly, done with impunity. All measures to curb the excesses of the government Nigeria had entertained from 1960 failed to deliver as the legislative arm of the Nigerian government had no moral wherewithal to see the necessary bills through. The Nigerian people turned to chess games and were blown here and there by every wind of inhuman enactment of laws that the politicians deemed was necessary to appear like they were working.

Cascaded down from Independence till now, we have been entangled in a vicious cycle of abject poverty characterized by the falling standard and purchasing power of our currency. Lack of electricity is now synonymous with us as a country despite the staggering sum of $16bn expended during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo to provide stable electricity for the people. Everyone in the corridor of power is there to have their own fair share of the national cake. Our industries are moribund. All sectors of the economy have long been lifeless and no right thinking successive government thought of reviving them. All they know how to do is to run abroad looking for aids when we have everything in abundance to sustain us. Our natural resources are untapped and we have a ministry that is being saddled with the responsibility of harnessing our resources.

Year in, year out, they keep passing mind-blowing budgets to the chagrin of the impoverished many because it never reflected in their lives. They divided the nation along party and tribal lines just to favor themselves. Yakubu Gowon did nothing, he rather looted the treasury. Murtala Mohammed who showed signs and glimpses of good governance was obliterated. Obasanjo took over and no tangible achievement was recorded and he spoilt everything by handing over power to a novice in the person of Shehu Shagari whose history I learned to be a teacher, not a season politician. As expected, he did nothing.

Muhammadu Buhari came on board and was rather jailing those he perceived as being undisciplined rather than focusing on good governance. Ibrahim Babangida was a schemer. While the whole nation was sleeping every night, he would be scheming on how to shortchange the nation. His singular action of annulling the widely-adjudged free and fair election that was suppose to bring MKO Abiola to power negated the processes of having good government till date. Sani Abacha was not different, a dictator of indifference to the plight of the people. Thank God he died. Abubakar Salami, I didn’t really read anything about him other than he handed over power to Obasanjo who was one of the masterminds of the woes the country is going through now even as he came back the second time. At least, I’ve started coming of age by the time he was completing two years in office. He lavished our money and globe-trotted the world instead of sitting back at home. He brought EFCC and ICPC into existence as if he was not culpable of corruption also. He jailed his perceived political enemy and pushed his contrived third term agenda but with no success. He now paraded himself as an elder statesman. Who made him an elder statesman? He has the effrontery to be criticizing the government of the day also.

President Jonathan was therefore bequeathed with power when his boss died and misbehaved throughout his six years in office. He had so much money he knew not how to spend it. He had so much at his disposal that the whole nation was plunged into penury. He had so much that his officials and subjects dipped their ten fingers into the coffers and took more than enough. He consented to all of the stealing and graft entrenched in his government. He was just a figure head and a mannequin that was being pushed around. He had no mind of his own as those controlling him were frequently fiddling with his brain. He conceded to defeat just to cover up his misdemeanor in office.

Nigerians needed someone to take them out of the quagmire they found themselves. And General Muhammadu Buhari showed up for the fourth time to wrestle power away from Jonathan, not PDP. He campaigned nationwide and his antecedent and pedigree of being corruption-free spoke more volume during his campaign than his manifestos. He was brimming with confidence and exuded statesmanlike kind of charisma. He spoke less in all of his campaign as all of his promises were not really coherent and detailed but summed up in a ‘change’ mantra that swept throughout the whole land like a volcano. Everybody was bamboozled by that mantra and we forgot to ask him to break it down into feasible steps to achieving the change he promised.

The election came and gone and he won with a landslide. His victory raised the hope of many. His carriage and charisma disposed like all our sufferings were over. It took him more than three months before he constituted his cabinet. Everything he ever decided to do took so much time before doing it. He started jetting round the world ostensibly to return Nigeria to his pride of place in the comity of nations as if that puts food on our table. He plunged the nation into recession and many people are now living from hands to mouth. Many things started assuming some heartrending shape that they never assumed before. He has wasted so much time recovering loots that even the loots recovered have no bearing on our economy. Where has the loot gone to? It seems this President is worse that Goodluck Jonathan. The nation is on a standstill now, nothing is moving. When he assumed office, electricity became stable for some couple of weeks but now, we are spending Christmas in darkness. We are spending Christmas in penury and recession and we claimed to have a President. A STATE OF ANARCHY IS BETTER THAN THE GOVERNMENT OF MUHAMMADU BUHARI. Is 18 months not enough to draft a clear-cut and crystal-clear roadmap for his government or what is wrong? It also seems he surrounds himself with incompetent people despite wasting so much time looking for technocrats to help deliver on his assignment in office.

Passion

What passion does to mankind can be detected and discovered in the discharge of their duties. Passion fuels our dedication and commitment to what we do and how we do it which eventually determines how what we do turns out. Whatever thing we do with passion goes head-to-head with excellence and hand-in-hand with success.

Passion helps us to refocus our gaze and shifts it away from the monetary turnover to what gives us fulfillment, happiness and satisfaction as well as what serves humanity.
The monetary gain is not commensurate with the deluge and intensity of energy and time we invest into our endeavors but as inasmuch as we love what we do, the money becomes less the focus. But we can’t dispute the fact that money rakes in, as a dividend of what we do.

There’s a deposit of excellence in each and everyone of us but at the beginning, it’s immobile, redundant and unharnessed and in a state of inertia. It comes alive, not by an external force and action but by an inner resolve from the recesses of our heart where the seat of judgment and decision sits. The resolve triggers our passion – once we love what we do – the passion is occasioned by our decision which we monotonously take and stand by it.

An occasional commendation and praises intermittently come from whoever cares to acknowledge and a much stronger and fiercer wind of disdain and opposition takes precedence but the tide of passion within us will blow against it. We may be deterred and discouraged at the embryonic stage but as time goes and ticks by, we’ll become strengthened. The set objectives in focus cannot also be compromised and negotiated except for those whose motives are ulterior and present-minded.

We don’t know who is watching us. That is why we need to do what we do passionately because at the right time, if we don’t give up and grow weary, we will be adequately incentivized and compensated – an impetus to do more with ease and professionalism.

What are you passionate about? Are you having a feeling you are not being adequately compensated and recognized? Don’t give up, don’t give in. If you have to give anything at all, give thanks to your Creator who knows everything.

Sequel to Self-acceptance

 7 SIGNS OF INFERIORITY COMPLEX

According to research, there are seven signs of inferiority complex.
1. Hypocritical Attitude (H.A.): People who do not feel alright about themselves have problem feeling good about others. They would always look out for loopholes in people’s endeavors to try to convince themselves that they are not bad at all. These people cannot feel comfortable as being attractive, intelligent and competent, etc. They will only have the feeling of being good provided they are the only one around exuding the aforementioned qualities.2. Tendency Towards Blaming (T.T.B.): Some people project their weaknesses onto others in order to lessen and ameliorate the pain of inferiority. For instance, a person shows his weaknesses or inadequacy to others in order to prompt them to noticing it, so that his perceived incompetence can be justifiable by his short story of woe. This is just a step towards giving the responsibility of their failures to others.3. Feeling Of Persecution (F.O.P.): When carried to the extreme, blaming others can extend to believing that others are actively seeking to ruin you. If a student fails an exam he sat, it may comfort him to believing that his teacher hates him and would do anything to hurt him. This will only allow him to avoid personal responsibility for his action.4. Inappropriate Response To flattery (I.R.F.): This works in two forms. Some may refuse to listen to anything positive about them because it is inconsistent with their interior feelings. Others may be desperate to hear anything good about themselves and constantly fishing for compliments.5. Sensitivity To Criticism (S.T.C.): Although people who feel inferior know they have shortcomings, they do not like other people to point this out. They tend to perceive any form of criticism, regardless of how sensitively and constructively it is presented as a personal attack.

6. Tendency Towards Seclusion And Sensitivity (T.T.S.S.): Because people with an inferiority complex believe that they are not as interesting or intelligent as others, they believe other people have the same feeling about them. So they tend to avoid speaking up in public because they believe doing so will create an embarrassing demonstration of their ineptitude.

7. Negative Feeling About Competition (N.F.A.C.): People who have inferiority complex like to win games and contest as others, but they will always avoid such situation because deep down, they know they cannot make an head way. Not coming first is an evident evidence of total failure.

Basically, overcoming an inferiority complex implies a set of key shifts in thinking:

Realizing that any flaw you have is not as bad as you think.
Realizing that having a certain flaw does not equal with not having any personal qualities.
Realizing that all people have their flaws and most people have major flaws.

You can also overcome inferiority complex by superimposing superiority complex on it. The law of gravity is so powerful that it brings down anything. It’s a universal law of nature and existence that it only takes a higher law to overcome it. A higher law was discovered to lift an airplane off the ground and it stays there for as long as it wants. The law is the law of lift. Consider inferiority complex to be the law of gravity that brings anything down and liken the law of lift to superiority complex and you’re off on the right path. Superiority is an exaggerated feeling of being superior to others but you don’t make it exaggerated.

· Another enemy that wars against self-acceptance is ENVY.  It has eaten deep into the fabrics of many of us that it now seems incurable. Envy stems out of discontent and greed and also fallout of inferiority complex. If you are envious of another person because the person has what you don’t have, it signifies the fact that you’re longer proud of what you have and you may develop an ill-feeling for yourself. You no longer see the best in what you do except you are in possession of what you may not even need. It may only be a want. There’s a sharp difference between your need and your want. Your want is for personal aggrandizement and satisfaction while your need is what keeps you going for a living. The cloth you wear is a need. Your cell phone is a need but the moment there’s an inordinate desire brooding in you to go for a bigger one just because it is what’s in vogue and others are using it, it’s becoming a want and if you cannot set your hand on it, you become restive and unknowingly creating a breeding space for envy. Try and put envy in check because it wrecks more havoc than we can imagine. The Scripture said Jesus Christ was killed out of envy. If you allow envy to dominate, self-acceptance turns out impossibility and you go through life with an ill-feeling of yourself created by yourself. And envy is caused by dissatisfaction with self-image.
The only way I know you can overcome envy is simply by being contented with yourself.

Do not worry if you have all or some of these signs, you can bring it to the barest minimum by telling yourself that no one is perfect, and that a mistake made is a correction gotten.

Procrastination

Procrastination is a disease, an anomaly, a malady. It is a cankerworm that has eaten deep into the fabrics of human existence and wrecked so great a havoc. It is a contender for the use of our time and uses more of our time than we do ourselves by making us dwell on frivolities.

Procrastination is the thief of time and time wasted and squandered is an achievement lost. A lost time can never be regained. Once it is gone, it is gone. And once it is gone, we will realize that we are postponing the days of reckoning
The circumstances of life and its dictates thereof are the factors or some of the factors we present as excuses to be militating against our use of time. In its real sense, procrastinating simply translates to improper use of time. That is poor time management.

A disciplined man is known by how judicious he uses his 24 hours. No extra hour as an add-on to the ones bequeathed to us by God. God expects us to use our 24 hours well. We don’t need 24 hours  to do the things we have got lined up for us. And it doesn’t mean we have to cram everything into the 24 hours we have. That is why we have other days there for us to do things.
The man who achieves much has the same number of hours allocated to the man who achieves less. How well you use your time is determined by your productivity. The main goal of trying not to procrastinate is to be productive. And productivity is the essence of existence.
Everyone is culpable of the allegation of deferring things, some due to reasons justifiable, some reasons beyond control, some reasons within our control but due to laziness, we decide to shift the days ahead. Just imagine how much you could have achieved had you decided to go ahead at the very time you conceived that idea. Great ideas were conceived and incubated, also nurtured in the brain and they died in the brain. Great ideas were buried in the graves now because they were not harnessed and actualized due to procrastination. No one knows how many lives would be positively affected had the wasted ideas been brought to fruition. Bring out your ideas, don’t procrastinate.

Factors influencing procrastination
1. Fear. Fear is a False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear comes as a result of lack of self-confidence. Shore up more confidence and fear will disappear. The preconceived evidence popping up in your mind is not real. What is real is the result you set out to achieve.
2. Laziness. It kills and it is killing. No one achieves greatness by being lazy. Muster enough strength, be it mental, intellectual or physical
3. Lack of priority. If you don’t prioritize well, you would put the most important things at the lowest rung of the scale of preference. This will cause you to focus on the less important things and you will think you are making progress.
4. Duplication. Duplication in this context means you are using other people’s yardstick and method. In the long run, you will copy the exact priority they have. They may be on track while you are off track.

Overcoming procrastination
1. Get your priorities well.
2. Discipline yourself to be a good disciple of time.
3. Analyze your area of strength.
4. Know what works for you and how it works for you.
5. Set a time frame for your goal.
6. Don’t procrastinate again.

Self-acceptance

Often, it is not about becoming a new person, but becoming the person you were meant to be, and already are, but don’t know how to be.
Heath L. Buckmaster
Self-acceptance is defined as affirmation or acceptance of self in spite of weaknesses or deficiencies. It can also be said to be an acceptance of yourself as you are. It means accepting yourself the way you’re created.Although this term has been often understood in a common sense way, researchers have defined it formally in terms of positive and negative self-concepts. According to Shepard (1979), self-acceptance refers to an individual’s satisfaction or happiness with himself, and is thought to be necessary for good mental health. Self-acceptance involves self-understanding and awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses. It results in an individual’s feeling about himself that he is of “unique worth”.
Self-acceptance is considered the prerequisite for change to occur. It can be achieved by stopping criticizing yourself for the mistakes you made and the things you shouldn’t have ordinarily done but rather solving the defects of oneself, and then accepting them to be existing within oneself. That is, tolerating yourself to be imperfect in some parts. And you don’t just stop tolerating yourself the way you are, you need to do some practical and simple exercises to make yourself the ideal personality you’ve ever dreamed of.The pervading sense of not accepting yourself the way you are makes you develop inferiority complex subconsciously and immediately it sets in, the original configuration of yourself becomes subjected to some negative adjustments. The thought of discontent starts setting in you. You start nursing inordinate ambitions and desires and in the process of that, you realize that greed and selfishness set in. You were once generous, nice and hospitable but the moment you were made to undergo a reconfiguration, you’re no longer who you used to be.And why must you allow inferiority complex to set in? We all might want to give thousand excuses to justify ourselves but it’s not worth it because everything still borders on materialism. We want to have the luxury of life with all the trappings of comfort. There’s virtually nothing wrong with that. And I think if the way you are as the result of the architectural ingenuity of God is allowed to be, you’ll get to where you want at your pace and your time. If you’re not as rich and affluent as your neighbors and mates, you have committed no crime at all. If you are not as beautiful as your peers, it’s not a justifiable reason to spend a fortune on becoming beautiful artificially. Anything we do aside our original make-up has its own effects. We can only consolidate it and not change it. That your classmate is more intelligent than you are doesn’t make him or her automatic candidate for a job after school. Have you considered the fact that though he or she is more intelligent than you are, there’s something you have they don’t have? They also are wishing they have what you have.Self-acceptance is more like pursuing a noble cause but it doesn’t dwell on defects. You cannot accept yourself as a pickpocket, a cheat, an unfaithful fellow. You cannot accept yourself as an untrustworthy person, a hater, a sadist, a backbiter, a destructive critic and anything short of the quota of good attributes and sterling qualities.

ENEMIES WARRING AGAINST SELF-ACCEPTANCE
· INFERIORITY COMPLEX: An inferiority complex is a lack of self-worth, a doubt and uncertainty, and a feeling of not measuring up to society’s standards. It is often subconscious, and is thought to drive afflicted individuals to overcompensate, resulting either in spectacular achievement or extreme asocial behavior.
Inferiority complex is a feeling of not being competent in any given activity; it is a personal feeling of inadequacy arising from the overcompensation of others’ achievements/goals over yours.
Inferiority complex could also be said to be a conflict between the desire to be recognized and appreciated and the apprehension or anxiety of being humiliated. This feeling is often subconscious.

The apparent cause seems to be the fact you are inferior to others around you in a particular manner: you’re short, you’re fat, you’re bold, you’re poor, you’re less educated, etc. However, that’s not the real cause.

You see, we are all inferior to other people in some ways, and superior in others. We all have our combinations of qualities and flaws and overall we are not that different from each other. My point is that a certain flaw is not a realistically sufficient reason to have an inferiority complex.

The real cause of an inferiority complex has little to do with reality and it has a lot to do with how we process it. In order to get an inferiority of a complex, you have to dramatize in your head the meaning of a certain flaw.

You have to tell yourself that, for example, you are so short you look like a midget, that everybody is making fun of you and that this in intolerable…………. to be continued.

Self-criticism

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Self -criticism means being critical of oneself and one’s faults and weaknesses. It also means unfavorable or severe judgment of oneself, one’s abilities, one’s actions, etc. It also implies the action of finding one’s own faults and shortcomings in order to see where improvement is imperative. It’s a serious examination and judgment of ourselves and our actions. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

Self-criticism can be both a healthy means of increasing self-awareness and personal growth, and on the other hand, it can serve as a major obstacle to self-esteem and peace of mind. Self-criticism can stem from childhood experiences. For example, being subject to criticism or mixed messages from parents and caretakers, having difficulty getting along with peers, missing out on experiences that would foster a sense of confidence and purpose, or not receiving positive reinforcement for our accomplishments. Self-criticism may also stem from real or perceived failures. To the degree it helps us learn lessons, display humility when we have behaved badly, and improves our mastery over ourselves and our endeavors, it can help us recover from and avoid failures and overcome our weaknesses, unwanted habits, and areas of unconsciousness. However, to the degree it prevents us from taking any risk, asserting opinions, and believing in our own basic ability to think, function and thrive, it can be unhelpful and unhealthy.

There’s just one basic and ultimate reason why we need to criticize ourselves; it’s to create rooms for improvement in our endeavors in order not rest on our oars so that complacency will not set in. While we criticize ourselves after each task, we must not forget to give ourselves an accolade of a job well done where a sense of fulfillment comes in. But a good business man doesn’t praise himself. The business moguls and aristocrats of our days, men and women of timbre and caliber, successful political heavyweights and tycoons, greats economists and professionals who are driving major global economic plans of our days have gone through self denial of pestilential luxury. They didn’t allow the gratification of transient enjoyment to pin them down while setting out on the path that led them to where they are now. There were great distractions of alluring tendencies and irresistible innuendos with its pomp and fanfare that caused others with weak resolve to fall by the wayside. They set a table for themselves which was meant for a delicacy eaten by them alone and unknown to anyone else. They wine and dine on this table over the task for the day, for the week, for the month and all year long. Those who weren’t dining well adopted the instrumentality of another table in the form of an external yardstick for judging how well they are doing business-wise. They were doing all these without condemning themselves.

Let’s get this right. Self-criticism is constructive and corrective in nature. There will be lapses caused by us and caused by some factors we don’t have power over but that should be a catalyst that will spur us on into action. A mistake is made twice. Trash the popular maxim that says it’s a fool that makes the same mistake twice. But it’s not a foolish driver that’s involved in an accident more than twice. Influences beyond explanation come to bear. Not learning from those mistakes is where it becomes disastrous and catastrophic. Make your mistakes, maybe as much as you can make and learn as much lessons as you can learn from it and move on. Mistakes should be seen as manure and fertilizer that we apply to what we do to accelerate its growth. And what impact does this have on becoming successful in life? Its impact becomes more pronounced when you practice it consistently and faithfully. Don’t lie to yourself and don’t deceive yourself. If you do, you’ll see it before you go far.

A man of great vision sees beyond the immediate and gives up the transient things of life. He channels his energy and savvy positively towards wisely investing it for a great harvest of success. He plans his prosperity for his posterity through a well-defined activity. He disciplines himself and trains himself. If there’s anything mankind finds difficult to achieve, it’s discipline. And if discipline comes to bear upon all that we do, the sky might just be the starting point.

Criticize your sense of judgment
Your sense of judgment is your faculty of reasoning. That’s the seat of decision-making that drives all that we do. What you plan to do for the day, week, month and year long stems from there and the judgmental decision we make must be subjected to scrutiny. You must be a fast and better thinker by each day. You must be calculative and be able to plot your graph and make some meaning out of it. Don’t let your brain become lazy. Exercise it everyday and rigorously and slow down when you need to. The great inventors of this world who invented the technological and mechanical manpower we all enjoy today didn’t try once. If they had tried once, we won’t be direct beneficiaries of the results of their sleepless nights back then because they didn’t succeed at the first shot and attempts. The inventor of electricity was rumored to have tried 99 times before succeeding to give us electricity that now serves as the bedrock of global business drive and no country succeeds economically without constant electricity. Bill Gates of Microsoft didn’t succeed at the first attempt and sundry other memorial inventors. Their first and subsequent attempts suffered criticism and they determined to get better and better at each subsequent attempt. They stretched their brain to think better and faster and history was made with their names written on the platter of gold.

Do a SWOT analysis
S stands for Strength. Identify your strength. What gives you strength? What are you good at? What is it that you are dexterously adept at? What do you achieve with ease without a drop of sweat? As a student, you might study and assimilate better when you read in the night, and then you need to consolidate on it and fortify yourself with it more. As a business tycoon, identify the areas where your business is thriving better as a result of the business plans you come up with and build on it. Your talent and gift are also your strength and it is incumbent on you to harness them profitably. You have them to be of immense benefit to mankind.

W stands for Weakness
The opposite of strength is weakness and there is a conflict between the two. While you are thriving to make things work by adopting the instrumentality of your strength, your weakness does the opposite. It is a total reversal of what your strength stands for. Identify what it is, live with it and do something about it. Don’t allow it to stand in the way for you and I don’t mean physical weakness like body weakness but what you know you struggle with and it is not working for you but you still need it for the endeavors of life.

O implies Opportunity
Opportunities abound here and there, it only takes a man of vision, not sight to see it and make the most judicious use of it. It actually comes disguising in the most undecipherable pattern. If opportunity were to present itself in its raw form, then there will be no need for us to go extra mile thereby reducing our productivity level and life resultantly becomes boring. A popular maxim says opportunity comes but once but I dare say it comes throughout one’s lifetime only in different form. When opportunity meets preparation, the sky might just be the starting point.

T indicates Threat
What poses threat to you creates fear in you and when fear settles in you, it cripples your resolve and makes false evidence to appear real. There are many threats abounding in our days today. Threat to our business, threat to our education, threat to making two ends meet fashioned by the miscalculation and misjudgment of men and believed and swallowed by men. Everyone’s been plunged deeper into the abyss of pessimism because that is what the figures say and the globalization of virtually everything seems to have superimposed its short-lived benefit going by the life expectancy of man upon reasoning. And we are all left to subsist on what is dished out to us.

Self-discipline

Discipline is a course of actions leading to a greater goal than the satisfaction of the immediate. A disciplined person is one that has established a goal and is willing to achieve that goal at the expense of his or her immediate comfort.

Discipline is the assertion of willpower over more base desires, and is usually understood to be synonymous with self-control. Self-discipline is to some extent a substitute for motivation, when one uses reasoning to determine the best course of action that opposes one’s desires. Virtuous behavior is when one’s motivations are aligned with one’s reasoned aims: to do what one knows is best and to do it gladly. Continent behavior, on the other hand, is when one does what one knows is best, but must do it by opposing one’s motivations. Moving from continent to virtuous behavior requires training and some self-discipline.

Self-discipline can be defined as the ability to motivate oneself in spite of a negative emotional state. Qualities associated with self-discipline include willpower, hard work and persistence.

Self-discipline is the product of persisted willpower. Whereas willpower is the strength and ability to carry out a certain task. Self-discipline is the ability to use it routinely and even automatically (as if through reflex). An analogy for the relationship between the two might be defined as follows: Where willpower is the muscle, self-discipline is the structured thought that controls that muscle. In most cultures, it has been noted that self-discipline is the ultimate path towards success.

Natural talent counts for little unless it’s supercharged by self-discipline.

Self-discipline can, to some extent, overcome lack of natural talent.
Exercising self-discipline can make the difference between an averagely talented person doing something amazing with his lives and a naturally talented person realizing very little of his potential.

Over the years I’ve come to see self-discipline as an invisible magic. You can’t see, taste, or smell it, but its effects are huge. It can transform fat into slim, sag into buff, uninformed into expert, poor into rich, misery into happiness. It’s the submerged part of the iceberg others don’t see when they see your ‘genius’.

Yes, luck plays its role and who doesn’t need the ‘lucky break’? But self-discipline prepares you to ride that break all the way to the shore. Self-discipline makes you happier; it gives you that sense of real achievement earned through sheer intensity of sustained focus.

THE MYTH OF EASY SUCCESS
Celebrities have never been more visible in our culture. Famous sportspeople, wonderful actors, and musicians are all over the media. But what we don’t see are the thousands of hours of super-focused work these people have put in behind the scenes.

It’s easy to feel that success comes easily; that it’s just a question of self-belief. But anyone who has achieved anything has done so because they’ve been able to control and direct their own inner lives and actions to the extent that it has enabled them to become super-able at what they do.

Life is not a waiting room
Life isn’t some waiting room in which to ‘kill time’ with repetitive self-amusements.

Self-discipline, like a muscle, can be developed. If we were raised in a disciplined environment, we may find it easier to be self-disciplined, but we can all develop more.

The following self-discipline tips have been gleaned from how top achievers manage and develop their ability. Try them:

1) Don’t wait to ‘feel like it’

In some ways, exercising self-discipline is harder than ever before. We’re all encouraged to feel something should entertain us before it is worthwhile. We become brainwashed with messages like:

“Don’t do it unless you feel like it!”

“If it feels good, do it!”

“Yeah, the money’s good but I’m not getting up at that time!”

Choosing to do something or not based on whether it feels comfortable or pleasurable or not is a disaster. If I waited to ‘feel like it’ before exercising or working or making that tricky phone call or putting in the occasional all-nighter to meet a deadline, then I would be much less disciplined than I am now and believe me that would be really bad.

“Don’t have a wishbone where your backbone should be!”

2) Finish what you start (as a point of honor)

Winston Churchill could only offer the British people ‘blood, sweat, and tears’, but victory was the greater goal for the whole nation. Really think about;

A. How much you want to achieve a greater goal (be it weight loss, an unfinished novel, new business, or mastering a musical instrument).

B. How serious you really are.

You may think you are serious and even tell others how serious you are, but only your actions really convey how genuine you are. Better you keep silent and get on with it than delude yourself and others.

Focus on the long-term ‘big outcome’ and self-discipline will naturally follow. Every morning, get up (yes do, please get up!) and tell yourself: “Today is not over until I have done…” – whatever you need to do that day. Literally, you can’t finish your day until what you set out to do has been done. I’m not kidding. Respect yourself enough to keep your own promises to yourself.

3) Dump the excuses

Be honest with yourself. Do the following sound familiar?

“I don’t want to overdo it!”

“I’ll start it when the weather gets better!”

“Well….. It’s too late now to do it, anyway!” (Remember: your day isn’t over ’til it’s done.)

“I’m not getting support from others so I won’t bother then!”

“I’m not going to do it at all now if you’re going to take that attitude!”

Now, lest you think I’m holier than thou – perish the thought. I have used all the above excuses and many more besides to mask my own laziness or fear.

But if you are going to make excuses, don’t fall for them yourself.

In fact, start being honest. Tell yourself;

“I’m not going to go for the run now because I’m too soft and lazy.”

Or: “I’ve decided not to give that speech now because I’m too cowardly!”

I’ve tried this and you know what? Honesty can be hard to take. Harder, in fact, than actually doing the thing you’re trying to avoid. Stop mistaking excuses for credible reasons.

4) Sorry, it’s non-negotiable

When we start to question whether we are really going to get down to some work, whether it’s too late to make a start, whether we should watch the James Bond movie on TV instead, we start to ‘leak’ motivation. Make self-discipline ‘non-negotiable’. I’m guessing you don’t um and ah about whether to clean your teeth or pull the chain in the toilet (I’m hoping) – these things are unquestioned by you. Likewise, tell yourself: “I’m not going to listen to excuses or wimp-outs – this is non-negotiable!”

Remember the words of Abraham J. Herschel: “Self-respect is the fruit of discipline; the sense of dignity grows with the ability to say no to oneself.”

5) The pull of the external deadline

Alan made promises to himself and he had enough self-respect to keep those promises. No one else put pressure on him to practice so much. But if he had a concert coming up, he worked even harder. External deadlines – working to deliver what others expect from you – can massively boost your drive to succeed. If there are no external deadlines, then make some.

Maybe you do contract work or a publisher is expecting your work by a certain time, so you already have an external deadline. But if you don’t, then create an internal one (such as “by July 1st I’m going to be 12 pounds slimmer”) and make it external by telling as many people as possible.

If you need to write 100,000 words in two months, tell other people that on a certain date you are going to get back to them to tell them you’ve done it. Print off a letter of intent, sign it in front of a friend or several people, and ask them to remind you of your deadline when it arrives and sign again that you have completed it. External deadlines work.

6) Ignore the naysayers

Other people can exert an immensely negative effect… if we let them. Don’t let them. Don’t let words or even negative facial expressions deter you. Seek the advice of experts by all means and learn from the best, but never accept negativity from people who haven’t themselves achieved what it is you are set upon achieving.

If people say what you plan is not possible or sneer at your efforts, don’t be deterred by this; rather, use it to fire your energy and strength. Proving others wrong is a greatly underrated pleasure.

7) Don’t get hijacked by trivia

We all have a need to complete things, be it a story we are reading or a project we are working. If someone starts to tell you a joke (or a piece of gossip), they set an expectation in your brain that you really want fulfilled. But if you have important things to do, things to learn, an important project, then trivial things can ‘hijack’ this need for completion. Playing endless computer games or watching TV thrillers can leave you feeling satisfied because something has been completed. This is like meeting your physical hunger by eating junk, then no longer wanting to eat real nutrition.

By cutting out (or down) your consumption of TV, gaming, or even newspaper reading, you leave your need for completion free to work on what you really need to be focusing on. You need to feel that things remain unfinished to keep focused and you need to devote valuable time and energy where it’s really needed.

Self-discipline is the fuel that gets you places. The happy by-products of discipline are success, self-respect, and improved physical and mental health.

As Alan said: “I have to be true to myself, else I feel like a fraud.”

8) Avoid procrastination

Procrastination does more damage to our projects than we can imagine. It’s about the easiest and luxurious thing in the world because it stems out of indolence. Procrastination is the thief of time and time wasted is an achievement lost.  And an achievement lost may seem irretrievable. It’s incumbent on us to come out of the abyss and trap of laziness on time and rise to the occasion of taking charge of our lives.

9) Practice delayed gratification

Delayed gratification, or deferred gratification, is the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later and better reward. Generally, delayed gratification is associated with resisting a smaller but more immediate reward in order to receive a larger or more enduring reward later. This means if you need to sacrifice your comfort for more than an immediate goal for a far-reaching goal, you must sacrifice it. If you need to spend more time on what seems most important to you than just gallivanting round town, you must spend it. If spending more money on your project which is going to be more lucrative in the future instead of traveling abroad is the best thing, you must spend it. Sacrifice the immediate for the later.