Friday, November 11, 2011

Is The Juice Worth The Squeeze

Whenever I travel out of the country, I always dread my return trip back to Lagos, for several reasons. I am sure a lot of you already know most of them. First and foremost, the flight is most often overloaded! Nigerians carry lots and lots of loads, and if you do not board early, then, you are not likely to get a space in the overhead compartment. It is amazing. Secondly, Nigerians are always in a hurry to get down from the plane whenever it touches ground! Sometimes I really get confused and ask a lot of questions. I really don't know the difference that 15 minutes extra makes to these folks who are in a hurry to get down. The plane could have been delayed in the air for 30 minutes for all you care.
Why rush to leave the plane when you may be the last person to leave the airport?
The last trip I made back to Lagos was particularly very funny. As the pilot announced our descent into Lagos, a couple of people (and I mean that) started removing their luggage from the overhead compartments and putting it right beside then, on the aisle! They were trying to get a head start ahead of others! The crew kept repeating that everyone needs to place back their bags in the overhead compartment. It was so embarrassing I must say. Even after the plane landed, it was like war! Everyone was scrambling to get out first. There was this woman that had 2 heavy pieces of luggage and was pulling them along all by herself, of course, in a hurry. While trying to pull these loads over the elevator, she fell so badly. I am very sure she must have sustained wounds she didn't know at that moment. The interesting thing is this - whether you leave the plane early or late, we all have to queue up around the MMA carousel to wait for our luggage! If you are lucky, you will get it in 1hr, sometime much longer. I once flew business class on an airline and was among the last 5 to get my luggage! The carousel is a leveler. This leads me to my questions above - Is the juice really worth the squeeze? Why rush to leave the plane when you may be the last person to leave the airport?

This question is valid, not only for the example above, but for all aspects of life. People are fond of taking plunges in life, marriages, business, career, work etc, without asking if the juice is really worth the squeeze. We are too blinded by immediate benefits, without taking time to consider the long term implications of our actions and inactions. Especially in Africa, people do not see far beyond their noses. They are concerned with NOW, and now alone. I believe Africa and African leaders are suffering from the NOW syndrome. It is a slow killer disease! That is why we are the way we are. God have mercy.
I believe Africa and African leaders are suffering from the NOW syndrome. It is a slow killer disease!
It is very easy to change jobs these days. Any company down the street can offer you a better package. It would definitely look so attractive and so juicy! It is much better than what you had before and all. You couldn't have asked for something better. You even give a testimony about it in church. Halleluyah! The Lord is good. Months down the line, you are already thinking of changing jobs! You are already seeing flaws in your new company and wishing you were still with the old. Was the juice really worth the squeeze? Did you consider both short and long term implications of your actions? Some of us really overestimate our problems you know? And that's why we do not consider long term implications. We are too blinded by the present. I like the story of Jacob and Esau in the Bible. It is an interesting read. I have heard many preachers and authors castigate Jacob. However, I see wisdom in what he did. While I am not about to write about them, I want to bring your attention to a statement that Esau made, in the heat of his hunger. “I am at the point to die, and what profit shall this birthright do to me?" Was he really about to die? He has probably missed a few meals but was this enough to kill him? No wonder he didn't consider long term implications of his actions. He never stopped to ask “Is this juice really worth the squeeze"?

There are many children of God today who are losing their integrity because of money. The desire to be rich and comfortable has blinded many. They would do anything to get this money...and show forth the goodness of God! Along the way, they lose something so precious to them, their integrity. Was the juice really worth the squeeze? Was it really worth it? What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? I like the way The Message version of the Bible puts it “What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?" Are all the sacrifices worth what you are striving for?
Are the benefits you will get outweighing the sacrifices you are making? If not, then, don’t do it!
We have seen marriages fail, and woefully at that because of the myopic thinking of people. The statistics in church is not any better than that outside the church. Why? People are squeezing the juice without really asking if it's worth it! Just before you do anything that will hurt your spouse or hurt your marriage, may I ask you to please stop for a second? Is it really worth it? Are the benefits you will get outweighing the sacrifices you are making? If not, then, don’t do it!

Make sure that what you are doing and striving for is going to be worth any sacrifices you will have to make along the way – whether it is in a relationship, at work, and even in life generally. Make sure the juice you are squeezing is worth it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Price For Success Is Paid In Advance

I had planned to attend the APICS 2011 conference since I saw the notes of the previous edition. Since then, I had been looking forward to personally being in the next edition. That plan was executed this past week. It was a great pleasure to mix with the best minds in the industry, who are leading the supply chains of their various companies, all around the globe, to gain competitive advantage. The conference was attended by about 2,000 people from 40 different countries, and would easily pass as the best professionally conference that I have ever attended. I had the pleasure of meeting lots of people on a 1:1 basis, including Rocky Bleiier (Legendary Pittsburgh Steeler and author of “Fighting Back”), Jim Donald (former CEO of Starbucks) and Lisa Hershman (CEO of Hammer and Company, and coauthor of “Faster, Cheaper and Better”). It was a blast!

We sure live in a world that is changing at an alarming rate. It is a world of the 3C’s – Accelerated Changes, Overwhelming Complexities and Intense Competition. You can practically start a global business on your laptop, right in your bedroom! Today, we face global competition, and customers can compare prices online. We are expected to meet customer demand and needs in an unpredictable world. The physical borders of economies are being broken and torn down at an alarming speed. Businesses, and individuals alike, need to get a competitive advantage to stay alive. In other to do this, companies and individuals need to follow the advice of Jerry Rice. Jerry Rice, the NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver and the man who has scored more touchdowns than anyone else, was famous for his work ethic. His workouts were legendary for their length and intensity. When asked why he worked so hard, he said, “Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t. Think about that!
Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.
Great athletes are NOT great just because of some good genetics. Regardless of your genes and even though you cannot dictate what genes you are born with you do have a profound ability as individuals, as athletes, as people to affect how your genes are expressed. Your exercise training, nutrition, sleep, et.c . all play a role and influence what genes are expressed and which ones are suppressed. Athletes often think “ Well I would work out every day too if I was getting paid millions of dollars". When an athlete says and really believes this then they will NEVER "make it". Such an athlete has failed to realize that there is a price needed to be paid today, in order to be in the limelight tomorrow. You don’t achieve success before starting to pay the price. The price for success is paid in advance! What they do not understand is these athletes who are making money to play have been busting their butts off way before being a pro was even a thought. They love to train, love to compete and enjoy the journey of progressing at their sport.
The price for success is paid in advance!
This doesn’t only work in sports and for athletes. It works everywhere and for everyone. All over the globe, individuals and businesses alike, are gaining competitive advantages by doing the things that others are not willing to do today.
Businesses that are brazing the trail today did things yesterday that other didn’t do. They took decisions that others were slow to take. The launched products that others were still debating on. They invested in new and emerging economies when others were still collecting data. When you see a business leading its sector and market today, be sure of one thing…..they did the things that others were not willing to do yesterday!

Managers that are climbing the corporate ladder today, ahead of their peers, were willing to do jobs that others were not willing to do. They went to locations others were not willing to go. They took on challenges that others were reluctant to take. Today, they enjoy the benefit of being ahead in their career, because they paid the price others were not willing to pay yesterday. This is not rocket science. It is a simple principle.

An important principle of success in all walks of life and in all occupations is a willingness to " Go The Extra Mile "; which means the rendering of more and better service than that for which one is paid, and giving it in a positive mental attitude. Search wherever you will for a single sound argument against this principle and you will not find it, nor will you find a single instance of enduring success, which was not attained in part by its application.

As we see the global market changing more in the coming months and years, may I ask you honestly “What are you willing to do today, that other are not doing, in order to have tomorrow what others won’t have”?

Monday, October 17, 2011

Help Yourself By Helping Others

One of the greatest secret of success is helping others to succeed. Your chances on success increase exponentially when you help other people attain success. Someone once made an observation that has become a signature on my emails. He said “when a man is wrapped up in himself, he makes a pretty small package – and that package contains an unhappy person” This about it for a moment: Have you ever known a genuinely happy self centered person? I doubt.
Your chances on success increase exponentially when you help other people attain success.
I once read a story about a man who was hiking in the mountains. He was taken by surprise in a sudden snow storm and quickly lost his way. He knew he needed to find shelter fast, or he would freeze to death. Despite all of his efforts, his hands and feet quickly went numb. In his wandering, he literally tripped over another man who was almost frozen. The hiker had to make a decision: Should he help the man or should he continue in hopes of saving himself?

In an instant, he made a decision and threw off his wet gloves. He knelt beside the man and began massaging his arms and legs. After the hiker had worked a few minutes, the man began to respond and was soon able to get on his feet. Together the two men, supporting each other, found help. The hiker was later informed that by helping another, he had helped himself. His numbness vanished while he was massaging the stranger’s arms and legs. His heightened activity had enhanced his circulation and brought warmth to his hands and feet. Isn’t it ironic that when he lost sight of himself and focused on solving another’s problem he solved his own problem?

Hakeem Olajunwon is the all pro centre for the Houston Rockets, the world’s champion of the National Basketball Association in 1994 and 1995. The year before they won their first championship against the New York Knicks, Hakeem realized that because he was a team leader, his responsibility was more pronounced than anyone else’s. He recognized that he had a weakness in his game, which was the fifteen-foot jump shot. Think about it. He earned a multimillion dollar income and had been all pro for six consecutive years. However, he felt that the team would never win a championship until he improved his shooting from fifteen feet

Before the 1993-94 seasons, he went to the gym everyday and practiced five hundred fifteen-foot jump shots. That’s an incredible test of building strength, endurance and improvement in performance. In 1994, when the Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks in seven games, there was only one game with more than a five-point difference in the score. Replays revealed that had Hakeem not improved his shooting percentage from fifteen feet, the New York Knicks would have won instead of the Houston Rockets.

Here are some questions for you to think about: First, do you believe that Hakeem is popular with his teammates as a result of the extra efforts he made to help bring the championship to Houston? Second, do you believe Hakeem was thrilled to win the world championship ring? And third, do you understand why he got a significant raise when his contract was up for renewal?

It is true. You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. Hakeem helped his team mates, the owners and the fans gain that championship. He won big-time because he, too, was part of the championship team and as a matter of fact, was named the most valuable player for his tremendous efforts.

The fastest way to reach the mountain peaks of life is to forget about self and help other people reach greater heights.

See you at the top.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11 - 10 Years After...

Today, America and Americans mark the 10th year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attack in the US, in which approximately 3000 people lost their lives. Without doubt, a lot has changed since then – from foreign policies to sweeping security policies. America has never been the same since then. Lots of conspiracy theories exist on what happened on that fateful day, and why it happened, but this is not the focus of this write up. My focus here is the courage demonstrated by several people on that fateful day, especially the crew and passengers of the ill fated United 93 aircraft.

Have you seen the movie “United 93”? I was privileged to see it several years ago. It’s a movie about the September 11, 2001 hijacks in America. That day, 4 planes were hijacked. Three hit their targets but one did not. United 93 tried to show what happened to the one that didn’t hit its target. It is a powerful and provocative drama honouring the memory of 40 passengers and crew on United Airlines Flight 93. As the hijackers pilot the doomed flight to their target, the passengers’ stands as one and find the courage to fight back!

It was almost unbelievable. As it dawned on most of the passengers that that hijack was not a normal one and that they were doomed to crash, they decided to do something about it. They analyzed their situation and decided to do something about it! Partly out of fear and a resolve to live, they got all the weapons available on board with the help of crew members (mostly knives, hot water, fire extinguishers and what have you). They were able to disarm the hijackers and actually took down 2 of them. There was a pilot on board who had experience with 1 engine planes. He was determined to land the plane if they succeeded in getting to the cockpit. They did get there but it was too late. The plane was almost touching the ground, since they hijackers decided to land the plane anyways. They all died. Yes they did. But not like others (as far as we know). They died on their feet. They died while trying to live. They did something about the situation. And who knows how many more lives they saved – the plane was targeted at the White House! Speaking in Shanksville on Saturday at the unveiling of a memorial to the 40 victims of flight United 93, Mr Bush said "the United States will never forget". He lauded the passengers and crew of the flight, saying they launched "the first counter-offensive in the war on terror". That's a salute to courage!
Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.
I don’t know if the story is as interesting to you as it was to me. Can you imagine how this people fought to live? They didn’t just give up. They didn’t just throw in the towel. They didn’t leave their destinies in the hands of the hijackers. Note that they didn’t have much choice. They were thousands of miles above sea level. They had heard the news of 2 other crashes at the World Trade Centre. However, they wouldn’t be deterred. It was better trying than not doing anything at all.

As I write this, I remember a story I once read. I guess it sums up my point.

Two frogs fell into a deep cream bowl. One was an optimistic soul. But the other took the gloomy view. “We’ll drown," he lamented without much ado, and with a last despairing cry, he flung up his legs and said "Goodbye." The other frog with a steadfast grin said, “I can't get out but I won't give in, I'll just swim around till my strength is spent, then I'll die the more content.” Bravely he swam to work his scheme, and his struggles began to churn the cream. The more he swam, his legs a flutter, the more the cream turned into butter. On top of the butter at last he stopped, and out of the bowl he gaily hopped. “

What is the moral? It's easily found... Those who are not afraid to die, eventually do not! Courage is the discovery that you may not win, and trying when you know you can lose.

See you at the top!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Don't Just Hope. Decide!

It’s very early in the morning. I have just taken my bath and getting ready to face the day. It’s going to be a long day as I have a long list of to do’s – reports to write, meetings to attend, commitments to deliver on, calls to make, and a host of others. I have prayed and sincerely hope that all will go well today. I really hope so.

Will hope alone take me through the day? Will I have a great day just by hoping for one? I had to search my archives to fish out a story I read some months ago. May I share it with you before drawing a conclusion?

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about -the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me. 
Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family. First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other's face, I heard the father say, "It's so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!" His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, "Me, too, Dad!" Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son's face in his hands said, "You're already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!" They too hugged a most loving, tender hug. 
While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother's arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, "Hi, baby girl!" as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment. After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, "I've saved the best for last!" and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. "I love you so much!" They stared at each other's eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands. 
For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn't possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm's length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, "Wow! How long have you two been married? "Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those." he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife's face. "Well then, how long have you been away?" I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. "Two whole days!" Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he'd been gone for at least several weeks - if not months. I know my expression betrayed me. I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), "I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!" The man suddenly stopped smiling. He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, "Don't hope, friend... decide!" Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, "God bless!" 
With that, he and his family turned and strode away together. I was still watching that exceptional man and his special family walk just out of sight when my friend came up to me and asked, "What'cha looking at?" Without hesitating, and with a curious sense of certainty, I replied, "My future!"
Right now, I am not only hoping that today will be a good day. I decide that it will be a “wow” day! It is going to be a lovely day. Will you decide that yours will too?

Have a splendid day!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Strength Grows From Weakness

A jobless man applied for the position of 'office boy' at a very big firm. The HR manager interviewed him, then a test: clean the floor. "You are hired" he said, give me your email address, and I will send you the application to fill, as well as when you will start. The man replied "I don't have a computer, neither an email". I am sorry, said the HR manager, if you don't have an email that means you do not exist. And who doesn't exist, cannot have the job. The man left with no hope at all. He didn't know what to do, with only $10 US in his pocket.

He then decided to go to the supermarket and buy a 10 KG Tomato crate. He then sold the Tomatoes in a door to door round. In less than two hours, he succeeded to double his capital. He repeated the operation 3 times, and returned home with $60 US. The man realized that he can survive by this way, and started to go everyday earlier, and return late. Thus, his money doubles or triples every day. Shortly later, he bought a cart, then a truck, and then he had his own fleet of delivery vehicles.5 years later, the man is one of the biggest food retailers in the US. He started to plan his family's future, and decided to have a life insurance. He called an insurance broker, and chooses a protection plan. When the conversation was concluded, the broker asked him his email. The man replied: 'I don't have an email'. The broker replied curiously, you don't have an email, and yet have succeeded to build an empire. Do you imagine what you could have been if you had an email? The man thought for a while, and replied: an office boy! Lol!

The most frustrating part of every trip outside the country for me is my return trip back to Nigeria. Especially when you are travelling in a flight filled with Nigerians, it is always dramatic. From the overweight loads we carry, the banters we throw in the plane, the unnecessary claps when the plane lands (this is really very annoying!), the rush to get out of the plane when it touches the ground, even when it has not fully stopped, the rush through passport control and then the long wait for your luggage! You will be lucky to spend less than 2 hours at the airport between arrival and when you finally leave! There is always one question uttermost on my mind “Why are we the way we are”? The sad truth is that most of us are getting so used to it. People excuse these things away as our “weakness”. They give reasons why it won’t work here. We focus a lot on these “weaknesses” and never think of how to turn them into strengths. Most developed nations of the world became great by actually turning their biggest weaknesses into their greatest strengths. I will leave this discussion for another day and time. However, this theory is as true for nations as it is for individuals! We can turn our weaknesses into our greatest strengths.

Consider the story of a 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm. The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training the master had taught him only one move. "Sensei," the boy finally said, "Shouldn't I be learning more moves?". "This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the sensei replied. Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.

Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals. This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened. "No," the sensei insisted, "Let him continue." Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.

On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind. "Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?" "You won for two reasons," the sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo and second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm." The boy's biggest weakness had become his biggest strength! "

I like the way Ralph Waldo Emerson summarizes it. “Our strength grows out of our weaknesses.”

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Enjoying The Best of 2 Worlds (Part II)

I am really excited about the wonderful comments, and calls I got from people who read the 1st part of this article. It was really overwhelming. It’s good to know that it was a blessing to several people. In case you are reading this, and you have not read the 1st part, I strongly encourage you to do that right now.

In part 1, I shared a very important concept – that man is essentially a spirit that constantly goes through physical experiences. Most people think that the reverse is the case – that they are physical beings, that sometimes goes through spiritual experiences. Nothing can be farther from the truth! We live in two worlds, and it is very possible to enjoy one to the detriment of the other. That’s not the way the creator designed it. He designed that we will enjoy the best of both worlds!

When I first became born again, I was very much heavenly conscious. The consciousness of heaven was so much that I didn’t want to be bothered by any earthly thing. How can I think of marriage/ plan for kids when Jesus would be coming soon? To think of a distant future then was to think of the mundane and become carnal. How could I think about (not to talk of plan for) the next 20 years when souls were perishing? I still remember a couple of friends who were not as moderate as me. They really went far with preparation for heaven. They were so heavenly conscious that they became earthly useless! I like to refer to them as the 12’ O Clock believers. Both the long and the short arm are facing upwards. There are some other believers that are 6.30 O’clock believers. Both hands are facing downwards. They are so earthly conscious that they become irrelevant to heaven. All they live for are the pleasure of this world – what we will eat and drink and what we will wear. Both hands are facing downwards. I think both extremes are not okay. It will make sense to be a 6 0’clock believer, with the longer arm facing upwards (heaven) and the shorter arm facing downwards (earth). In order words, one is very heavenly conscious and still useful on earth. It’s another way of saying that one enjoys the best of both worlds! Halleluyah!
Some believers get so practical they become carnal; others become so spiritual they can’t relate to anyone, or even keep a job.
Everyone lives life as an outflow of his spirit. Your daily life is a reflection of your spirit. Jesus, our Lord and master showed this severally while he was here on earth. He lived life every day, constantly in touch with heaven, while being a blessing here on earth. He deployed his Spirit in a way that heaven was always with him. Nothing took him by surprise. While attending a wedding ceremony, he provided more wine for the guest present. While teaching people about the parables of the kingdom, he provided food for them. He was such a blessing here on earth, while staying in touch with heaven. In other words, he brought heaven down! Jesus was as practical as he was spiritual. He operated in both realms, and believers ought to do the same. Some believers get so practical they become carnal; others become so spiritual they can’t relate to anyone, or even keep a job!

One of the greatest aberrations today amongst Christians is the thought or notion that their spiritual life is quite different and separate from their “other” lives. They only get “into the Spirit” when they are in church/fellowship, praying or reading the Bible. They deny themselves the opportunity of enjoy the best of both worlds. Listen. Your academics are not separate from your spiritual life. Your marital life is not separate from your spiritual life. Your career is very much part of your spiritual life! Infact, I can tell you what will happen in your “other lives” if your spiritual life is suffering. Because you live life as an outflow of your spirit, they will also start to suffer.

How then do you bring heaven down? How do you command the supernatural in your life on a daily basis? How do you deplore your spirit to experience God in all aspects of your life? How do you command the manifest presence of God on a daily basis? How do you make sure you enjoy the best of heaven on earth on a continuous basis?

Live a life of Worship

An atmosphere of worship is an atmosphere for the miraculous. When you surround yourself with an atmosphere of worship, then you bring heaven down. In 2 Chronicles 20, there is a wonderful story there on how worship can bring heaven down. The children of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir were going to invade Israel. The King of Israel, Jehoshaphat, cried up to heaven for direction on what to do. The instruction from the prophet was somewhat funny. Raise a choir! Let people sing and worship! Can you imagine how easy is it to sing when you are faced with double barrel guns and AK riffles? I bet it wasn’t an easy task. However, as they worshipped, heaven came down! The Lord set ambush against the children of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir. They faced themselves and destroyed one another. Without raising a sword, shooting an arrow or a gun, the children of Israel won the battle.

Learn to surround yourself with an atmosphere of worship. Play worship tapes in your car. Play them in the house. Let it be the most popular on your laptop. Most importantly, play it in your heart. You will be amazed how heaven will come to bear on your behalf.

Have Faith

Faith brings the spiritual to the physical. It makes you live a life beyond limits! The whole world was framed by faith, though the word of God. Everything on earth will still be framed/reframed by faith through the word of God. When you live a life of faith, you will witness the miraculous on a constant basis. Elisha was once such man that lived a great life of faith. Impossibility didn’t exist in his dictionary. No wonder, at every point in his life, and even in his death, he commanded the supernatural. Without faith, you cannot enjoy the best of both worlds.

Be Loving and Compassionate

One of the easiest ways to command the supernatural is compassion. Whenever love and compassion are in play, heaven comes to bear. Jesus easily enjoyed the best of heaven here on earth, because he was always moved with love and compassion. When he had compassion on 5000 men who had been following him without eating for a while, heaven stood at attention. 12 loaves and few fishes could feed all of them. That’s not natural. That is heaven coming to earth. The provision was provoked because of love and compassion. When you are moved by love and compassion, you will also provoke the supernatural. You will always enjoy heaven here on earth!

Live a Holy Life

Without holiness, no man shall see God, says the scriptures. Many people think that the Bible here is only talking about seeing God in heaven. Far from it. Without holiness, you will not see God move on your behalf even here on earth! God will never stand at attention on your behalf if you live a life of sin. Sin is a sinker. It is your purity that determines your authority. When a man pleases God, God places all the resources of heaven at his disposal. Do you want to bring heaven down on your behalf? Then, live straight! Live pure. You will not enjoy the best of both worlds by having one leg each in both! When you are sold out to God, then he delivers everything in his Kingdom to your hands. What a glorious opportunity.

Obey God

First and foremost, obey God’s word. Obey the scriptures. They contain directions to bringing heaven down. Not only should you obey the Bible, you must also obey the nudging and promptings of the Holy Spirit. Follow divine instructions. Obedience to His instructions is the highway to distinction. When you go wherever He leads, you will command the supernatural in your life
Friends, you can bring heaven down. You can live a life about limits. You can enjoy the best of heaven while on earth. You can command the supernatural in your life on a daily basis. Yes, you can!

Enjoy!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Enjoying The Best of 2 Worlds (Reloaded)

It is 12 noon on a Saturday afternoon. I am sitting somewhere in the Executive Lounge of the Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul, waiting to catch my flight back home. I always miss home whenever I travel, especially the wonderful angels under my roof! It’s been a week since I last saw them, and can’t wait to hold them in my arms again. Only this flight stands between us. Lol!

So, I have spent the last one week in Istanbul, Turkey. It’s a beautiful city I must say. At least, they have a government that is working, and the rate of development is really very fast. Apart from the difficulty with people not being able to speak English, and the heavy traffic (much worse than the Lagos traffic), it’s been a great time. I attended a Supply Chain College and it was really very engaging and insightful. Most importantly, I networked with 33 other people from all parts of the globe. It didn’t take long before I realized however, that Istanbul is divided into 2 parts. It’s like having 2 different cities, with different features and lifestyles, in 1. There is the Asian side as well as the European side. You can cross over from one part to the other within an hour or two, depending on the traffic. As you do that, you will marvel at the difference that exists between both sides of the capital. It is so distinct that you won’t believe you are in the same city. The Asian side is still very much underdeveloped, more serene and things are relatively cheap there. All these changes in about 1 hour! The European side is very busy, has very high traffic like any other busy city (both human and vehicles) and things are somewhat expensive there. At Taksim Square (the most popular area of the European side), I saw a crowd that I probably have never seen in my life before. It was amazing!

I wouldn’t have bored you with the description above if I wasn’t about to make a point. The point is this - I did enjoy the best of both the Asian and European side of Istanbul in this one week. While I stayed in the Asian side and enjoyed the serenity, I went to the European side to enjoy its beauty and its many activities. I enjoyed the best of both sides. That gave me more insight into a message I once preached a couple of years back. I titled it – Enjoying the best of two worlds. Let me share some more insight on this, if you don’t mind.

It is often said that “you cannot eat your cake and have it”. It is either you eat your cake (in which case you do not have it) or have your cake (in which case you do not eat it). While I agree with the logic of the statement, I do not believe in its literal meaning. I believe strongly that one thing does not have to suffer at the expense of the other. You do not have to lose out on your health because you are pursuing wealth. You can have both. You can lead a wonderful family life while still excelling in your career. You do not have to sacrifice one for the other. In other word, you can enjoy the best of 2 worlds. You can be a Christian, very heavenly focused, and still enjoy the best of this world, without being part of it.
Man is a spirit. We are spiritual beings that constantly go through physical experiences. We live in 2 worlds!
Recall that man is primarily a spirit, in the very likeness of God. Many people forget this very important fact. They think that they are physical beings who sometimes go through spiritual experiences. These experiences make them feel “high”. This is a very wrong concept. Man is a spirit. We are spiritual beings that constantly go through physical experiences. We live in 2 worlds! It is very possible to enjoy one of these worlds to the detriment of the other. I have seen very spiritual people who are not doing well here on earth. They are behind on their dreams and their goals. Though they enjoy the best of the spirit world, they are not maximizing their presence here on earth. I am sure you know, or have read about, very successful business men who are “empty” in their spirit. I know highly intelligent and smart people, who you wish only knew God. They are ahead on their careers and are high flyers. These 2 extremes are aberrations. That’s not how the creator designed it. He designed both worlds to be enjoyed in a complementary manner. Literally, you can have the best of both world! You do not have to suffer here on earth to make heaven. Yes, you don’t! Infact, when Jesus came, he told his listeners “Now, is the Kingdom of God come unto you”. Literally, what he was saying is this – You don’t have to wait to get to heaven. I am bringing heaven to you here on earth! Wonderful! You can be as healthy as possible here on earth. You can be as successful as possible.
Literally, what he was saying is this – You don’t have to wait to get to heaven. I am bringing heaven to you here on earth! Wonderful!
There are a couple of things you need to know about the 2 worlds I am talking about

We live in both worlds simultaneously

I have tried to explain that above. Whether you realize it or not, we are living in both the spiritual and physical world simultaneously. I am sure that at least you are aware of the physical world. Be aware also that you live in the spirit. We are spirit being that goes through physical experiences.

Both worlds are active 

Believe me, there is so much activity in both worlds. Again, the activity in the physical world is quite obvious. Go to major cities of the world and you will be amazed at the activity going on in the physical. I saw one at Taksim Square. From Lagos to London, to Dubai, check out the activity in the realm of the physical. What you are not aware of is this – there is much more activity in the realm of the spirit! In God’s holy book, there is a story that explains this. Elisha, a prophet, was attacked by a strong army. When his servant, Gehazi saw the multitude of soldiers in the physical, he was naturally afraid. He must have said to himself “We are finished. This is it”. However, Elisha saw differently! He told him confidently “They that are for us are greater than they that are against us”. Interesting! What Elisha saw was the activity in the spirit. There was already a host of angels dispersed to fight on his behalf. Gehazi saw only the physical and was afraid. That what happens to those who only see in the realm of the physical. They are overwhelmed by the activity therein. Those who see in the realm of the spirit know better. And because they know better, they live better. They sleep better. They live longer! There are angels in the realm of the spirit acting on your behalf!

Both worlds affect each other

Not only are both worlds active, they are mutually dependent. Can you imagine that? Whatever we do in the realm of the physical, affects heaven. Yes, it does. Let me give you an example. God’s word says “There is joy in heaven over a sinner that repents…” When we preach to a sinner here on earth, and he comes to God, a party begins in heaven. Isn’t it interesting that you can cause heaven to rejoice? Let me give you yet another example. God’s word says “Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound ion heaven”. You see- whatever we do on earth affects heaven, and vice versa. Shouldn’t you be more conscious of what you then do in the realm of the physical, seeing that it affects the realm of the spirit? Don’t you think your wrong choices and decisions affects heaven in a way? I bet they do.

The Spiritual Controls the Physical

That seems to be pretty obvious but it needs to be stressed. Whether positively or negatively, the Spiritual governs the physical. Infact, nothing happens in the physical without it happening in the spirit. I have seen both sides of the spirit controlling the physical. I have seen people manipulated by demons and devils on the realm of the spirit and manifesting it in the physical. How else would you explain someone who found himself in Lagos, without knowing how and when he left London? He just left, boarded a plane and didn’t know what he was doing until he was at MMA Airport in Lagos. I once wrote an exam that ordinarily should have failed. Despite the fact that I didn’t answer the questions too well, there was a confidence in me, based on revelations in God’s word that I won’t fail. Not only did I pass, I also got a distinction. That is the spiritual controlling the physical. Heaven came to bear on earth. Listen to me friends - Until you realize that heaven rules, you will suffer here on earth. It is not in all these waking up early and sleeping late. It’s not in all the certifications and qualifications you are getting (get them anyway). It is God! It is God coming to rule on your behalf and orchestrating events in your favour! God sent King Nebuchadnezzar of sabbatical, until he realized heaven’s rule!Read the account in Daniel 4: 32
And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.
Now, having got the understanding that both worlds are dependent on each other, how do you enjoy the best of both worlds? How do you bring heaven to bear on your behalf here on earth. How do you start enjoying heaven while still on earth?

You will have to let me continue this some other time though. 1st call for my flight is just a few minutes away, and i will need to post this before i close my laptop. Till some other time, start enjoying the best of both worlds!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Beyond Limits

Have you ever thought about what you could do, if you really decided to? I'm not merely talking about what your skills, education and talents are capable of. I'm talking about what is really possible for you. There is a very real possibility that you can do virtually anything. Not alone, not without new information, but certainly within your ultimate grasp.

Think for a moment. What would you like to do if you are not limited by anything? What is the one thing you will like to achieve if you have all the money, connection, information etc needed at your disposal? Write that thing down. Can I tell you something? You can achieve whatever it is that you have written down! Yes, you can.

You are not limited to the life you now live. It has been accepted by you as the best you can do at this moment. Any time you're ready to go beyond the limitations currently in your life, you are capable of doing that by choosing different thoughts.

We each earn the income we do today because that is the amount we have limited ourselves to earn. We could easily earn 5, 10, 20 times more if we did not limit ourselves through the thoughts we maintain. Don't believe that's true? Surely you know people who earn much more than you who don't have your education, your skills, or your intelligence. So why do they earn more than you?

I love the story of George Dantzig that Cynthia Kersey wrote about in her book “Unstoppable”. As a college student, George studied very hard and always late into the night. So late that he overslept one morning, arriving 20 minutes late for class. He quickly copied the two math problems on the board, assuming they were the homework assignment. It took him several days to work through the two problems, but finally he had a breakthrough and dropped the homework on the professor's desk the next day.

Later, on a Sunday morning, George was awakened at 6 a.m. by his excited professor. Since George was late for class, he hadn't heard the professor announce that the two unsolvable equations on the board were mathematical mind teasers that even Einstein hadn't been able to answer. But George Dantzig, working without any thoughts of limitation, had solved not one, but two problems that had stumped mathematicians for thousands of years.

Simply put, George solved the problems because he didn't know he couldn't.

Where some of us have seen only limitations of the world or ourselves, others have gone on, with courage and imagination, exploring new worlds, achieving great dreams, ignoring warnings that “it” can’t be done. The evidence of the unstoppable human spirit is everywhere. We have dammed rivers, dug canals, cured diseases, invented thousands of labor-saving machines, and forged roads across towering mountains. We have created global networks of communication and travel. We have touched the moon.
Keep reminding yourself that you have tremendous reservoirs of potential within you, and therefore you are quite capable of doing anything you set your mind to...
Bob Proctor tells us to "keep reminding yourself that you have tremendous reservoirs of potential within you, and therefore you are quite capable of doing anything you set your mind to. All you must do is figure out how you can do it, not whether or not you can. And once you have made your mind up to do it, it's amazing how your mind begins to figure out how."

Isn’t that worth thinking about?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Being A Person of Excellence - Part II

A couple of months ago, I had a need for a large book shelf, as the books in my study were growing out of proportion. I got a referral from a friend to use a carpenter. He came highly recommended and after showing him exactly what we wanted (my wife did the most of that bit) from a magazine, I was pretty sure he would deliver. After agreeing on price and delivery date, I closed the deal. Not too surprised though, the guy could only deliver 2 weeks late! He had this story about being ill and all that, and he didn’t deem it fit to call and negotiate his commitment. But that wasn’t what pissed me off. What really pissed me off was a tiny detail that he didn’t pay attention to. Can you imagine a book shelf where all the legs were not balanced on the floor? One leg was slightly shorter than the rest, causing a sort of imbalance. When I confronted him with this obvious defect, all he could say was “ It is just a small defect. It is nothing major. Since you are putting it in a rugged room, it won’t be a big deal”. I told him I wasn’t going to accept this, and to my amazement, he got angry with me! I mean, he really got mad at me that I would accept nothing less than what I had paid for. Needless to say that we live in an environment with thousands of folks like this, who will never autograph their work with excellence! What a tragedy!

Contrast this with a story I once heard from Harvey Mackay, (Business Motivational Speaker). He told a wonderful story about a cab driver in Chicago. Harvey Mackay was waiting in line for a taxi at the airport when a cab pulled up. The first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey. He handed him a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Wally, your driver. While I`m loading your bags in the trunk I`d like you to read my mission statement. ` Taken aback, Harvey read the card. It said:

Wally`s Mission Statement:

To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly
environment.

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean! As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, `Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf. ` Jokingly, Harvey said, “No, I’d prefer a soft drink.” Wally smiled and said, “No problem. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice.” Almost stuttering, Harvey said, “I’ll take a Diet Coke.”Handing Harvey his drink, Wally said, “If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.”

As the taxi pulled away from the curb, Wally handed Harvey a laminated card and said, “These are the stations I get and the music they play if you’d like to listen to the radio.” As if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey the air conditioning was on and asked if the temperature was comfortable. The driver then advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. Wally also let Harvey know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.“Tell me, Wally,” the amazed passenger asked, “have you always served customers like this?”Wally smiled and looked in the rear view mirror. “No, not always. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do.” Wally had the chance to listen to to a personal growth guru on customer service and excellence and committed to excellence going forward. “I take it that has paid off for you,” Harvey said.“It sure has,” Wally replied. “My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year, I’ll probably quadruple it.” While excellence may appear costly at first, it eventually pays out! People are willing to pay extra for an excellent service.

In the 1st part of this article, I listed a couple of steps that should be taken by anyone who wants to be a person of excellence (I recommend you read it up). Here are a few more thoughts:

Pay attentions to details: "The magic behind every outstanding performance is always found in the smallest of details."If you long to accomplish great and noble tasks, you first must learn to approach every task as though it were great and noble. Ultimately, the key to excellence in every aspect of our lives is doing little things correctly, all the time, every time, so that each action produces an excellent result. When every detail is lovingly attended to, and each step in the process is given complete and careful attention, the end result inevitably will be of the highest quality.

Demonstrate Consistency: To be a person of excellence, you need to be consistent. Doing things right today, and changing your mind tomorrow will just make people perceive you as being rather sloppy. Your goals and values must be consistent. Your behaviours must be consistent and most of all, your results must be consistent. Commit and over deliver, each and every time. Build equity with your team and your customers. Whenever they think about you, they need to think of excellence.

Never stop Improving: People of excellence will stop at nothing to improve themselves. Nothing but the very best is good enough. They improve on their skills and knowledge every single day. They maximize every opportunity to learn.

Always give it your best shot: I am not a baseball expert. I don’t even understand the game that much. It doesn't matter if you don't play baseball--I don't! But the point remains: you have the bat, you have the reason to swing for the fence, and the rest is all moot. Take your best shot and make it count. This isn't baseball I'm talking about, this is life! Whatever you do, give it your best shot! Autograph your work with excellence…..always.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Being A Person of Excellence

We live in a society where mediocrity is the norm. So many people do just as little as they have to in order to get by. They are always looking for the easy way out. They make commitments that they can’t keep. They are always late to work. They don’t pay their bills on time. They dress shabbily. They’ve got a lazy, sloppy attitude. Are you one of those employees who arrive 5 minutes late to work and clocks out 10 minutes before closing time? Are you one of those shoppers who accidentally knocks a display of cans to the ground and conveniently walks away from the mess, thinking it is the responsibility of the store employees to clean up because after all, they get paid to do it? Do you think nothing of saying little white lies throughout your day? "But everyone lies, everyone leaves work early, everyone gossips, everyone makes messes and leave others to clean up. What's the big deal?" you may protest. The road to mediocrity is wide, comfortable and paved with compromises, lies and the refusal to do anything extra.
The road to mediocrity is wide, comfortable and paved with compromises, lies and the refusal to do anything extra.
God didn’t call any of us to be just average. He doesn’t want us to merely get by and do what everybody else is doing. He has called us to be cut above! He has called us to stand out in the crowd, to be people of excellence. He has called us to come up higher. A person of excellence goes the extra mile to do what’s right. He keeps his word even when it’s difficult. People of excellence have integrity; they pay their bills on time; they give their employer a full day’s work; they don’t come in late, leave early, or call in sick when they are not. When you have an excellent spirit, it shows up in the quality of your work, and the attitude with which you do it.

God's greatest concern and search in every generation is for people whose greatest quest is to move from average to excellence, and are willing to pay the price systematically and delightfully. I want to challenge you today to start making the better decision, not just the okay decision. I want to challenge you to make the more excellence choice. Make the decision to do what you know is the right choice and give it your all. I like the way an old friend, Bro Paul puts it in his epistle to the Colossians (Chapter 3:17)
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
(New Living Translation)
We are called to strive for excellence in order to be the best testimony for the Lord that we can be. People are watching to see what kind of a difference Jesus is making in your life, and you can point others to Him by being diligent in your tasks and being above reproach in your ethics. Daniel exemplified this spirit during his service as a highly regarded administrator in a secular environment. The Scripture says that "he distinguished himself among the administrators . . . because of his exceptional qualities" so much so that "they could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent" (Daniel 6:3-4).

You can run into mediocrity accidentally but you have to purpose to be excellent

Joyce Meyer once said, "Excellent people exceed expectations." In other words, they go the extra mile, they do more than is asked, and they take extra steps to ensure the highest quality. If people were to describe your work, would excellence come to mind or simply mediocrity? Meyer declared that "You can run into mediocrity accidentally but you have to purpose to be excellent." Thus, exercising minimal effort will lead to a mediocre performance at best, but really going above and beyond the call of duty takes a conscious effort.

Being excellent is not about comparing yourself with others. It is not about trying to outdo the other person. It is all about being the best that you know you can be. When you go out each day, you should look the best that you possibly can! When you go to do something, you should do it with you whole heart, giving it your best effort!

To be a person of excellence, consider the following steps:

Take pride in what God has blessed you with. No matter how small what you currently have is, take care of it! Your house may be small, but you can keep it clean. You can mow your lawn and make sure junk isn't piled in your front or back yard. Your car may be old, but you can take a few minutes each day to keep it looking nice and presentable. Don’t leave it looking like a junk yard. You may have only a few nice clothes at the moment, but take good care of them. Take extra care of whatever God has blessed you with at the moment! Be the one to stand out among the crowd, the one who will be faithful in the little things. If you can take care of what you have right now, God will bless you with something better.

Make excellent choices, even in the mundane. When you leave the grocery store with a full cart, don't just dump it wherever you want in the parking lot. Make the effort and bring it back where others carts are stacked. If you accidentally drop a blouse from a rack, don't just walk away and pretend you didn't see it. Pick it up and put it in its rightful place. If a cashier gives you more change than you are supposed to get, don't pray he or she will not notice and walk away. The money is not yours. Give the money back and don't try to fool yourself by saying God wanted you to have it. God doesn't bless people by taking something away from another. Those things may seem small, but they are the areas where the most compromises, excuses and justifications are made.

Be willing to pay the price for doing the right thing. Excellence comes at a price, and it is not cheap! Be willing to pay this price. If you are in a group where people tear others to shreds with mean-spirited comments, walk away. If everyone in your office lies and cheats to get ahead, don't get caught up. Be determined not to fall in that trap. You may think you won't have a friend left, but if you are faithful in the little things, God will reward you and bring better friends into your life. Don't be deceived: the bad choices people make will eventually catch up with them. Doing the right things may put you at a seeming disadvantage in the short run, but I bet it will eventually pay out.

Treat other people's property with respect. I remember how I use to deal with hotel facilities when I started getting the privilege from God to stay in top class hotels. I will go out of the room leaving things ON. “Well, I am paying a lot of money anyway, and these people need to earn their money” I reasoned. That’s not an excellent decision. Treat other people’s properties with respect. If you walk by a house, don't step on their grass, thinking it is all right as long as they don't see you. If a person was gracious enough to let you borrow a book, a tool or a plate, treat the items with care and don't keep them longer than necessary. The people you borrowed the things from may have forgotten about it, but return everything to them.

Be committed to living a life of excellence. Everyday, be determined to give life everything you have. Don't cut corners. Don't compromise. Don't lie. Don't gossip. Don't accept mediocrity. Go the extra mile. Put in the extra effort. Do a little more than what you have to do. Remember, you are representing God. Get rid of sloppiness, laziness and move to a higher level. God will beam down on you and reward you beyond anything you ever imagined.
Wherever you are, be all there.
The true goal of excellence is to do the best you can with what you have at every moment. Jim Elliot once said, "Wherever you are, be all there."

Friday, February 11, 2011

Worth Dying For?

I have been following closely the recent unrest in Cairo Egypt, for several reasons. For me, it’s been a very interesting development. From Jan 25th, a national holiday to commemorate the police forces, Egyptians have taken to the streets in large numbers, to protest against poverty, unemployment, government corruption and the rule of President Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power for three decades. A few hours ago, the President resigned from office and handed over to the military. The will of the people of Egypt has prevailed! In 18 days, one of the greatest tyrants in recent times was sent packing from his office, by the sheer will of the oppressed people. After about 300 deaths, and over a thousand injuries, Egypt is finally free. The celebrations in Cairo and other major cities will no doubt go on for weeks. What liberation!

It is interesting to note that the unrest in Egypt was a ripple effect of the one that happened in Tunisia, weeks earlier, which led to the ouster of President Ben Ali, who has ruled that country for over 2 decades. What is more important to note is that the revolution in Tunisia started with a seemingly minor event that became a catalyst for a wave of events. It all began with a young man, a fruit vendor, whose death might have changed the Arab world forever!

Twenty-six-year-old Mohamed Bouazizi, living in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid, had a university degree (this is being debated, as another report says he dropped out of school) but no work. To earn some money he took to selling fruit and vegetables in the street without a license. When the authorities stopped him and confiscated his produce, he was so angry that he set himself on fire. Amazing! While I am not advocating for people to burn themselves to drive home a point, I have a question that I want to pose to my readers – What price are you willing to pay to effect a change in your life? In your family? And in your world? Selah!

This takes me back to 1955, where a woman, by her sheer determination, changed the course of history for all black Americans! It was at this time, that a new law was imposed on racial segregation in the city’s (Montgomery, Alabama) public transport system. The underlying resentment of this law soon came to the fore, when Rosa Parks, an African American woman refused to give up her seat for a white passenger, in a bus in Montgomery, and soon after, was arrested for violating the law. As a consequence of this incident, the public transit system of Montgomery was boycotted by the Montgomery Improvement Association, formed by activists against racism led by Martin Luther King, Jr. This boycott lasted for over a year, and the situation worsened to the point where Martin Luther's house was bombed, and he himself, arrested. This was however, not without success, as by the end of the court ruling, in December 1956, racial segregation in the buses of Montgomery was abolished.
Make sure the thing you’re living for is worth dying for. - Charles Mayes
Is Nigeria worth dying for? Now, don’t just take that literally. I am not advocating that people should set themselves ablaze in order to start a revolution. I am not advising that we should do what Bouazizi did in Tunusia. What I am asking is this. To what extent are you willing to go in order to improve the standard of living in the country, today, tomorrow and many years to come, thus helping the people and the country in general become more responsible? Are you totally committed to a better Nigeria….if not for your sake, for the sake of your children?

As we journey towards another election period, the prognosis is not very encouraging. Many youths remain jobless while 70 percent or our population, mostly in the rural areas, lives in abject poverty. Twenty-six years ago, the late Sonny Okosuns in one of his hit songs asked rhetorically– “Which Way Nigeria?” Apparently perplexed by slow pace of the country’s development efforts, the music maestro expressed his worry over the myriad of socio-economic, religious and political problems stopping Nigeria from reaching the promised land. Okosuns’ pertinent question is still valid. Which way is Nigeria going with its socio-political, economic, and infrastructural development? What concrete actions have Nigerian leaders taken to actualize Vision 2020 which will make Nigeria an El Dorado? Why is the country unable to find lasting solutions to its problems despite its huge human and natural resources? Why is it that at 50, the country is still struggling to provide its citizens with the basic necessities of life? There is inadequate infrastructure and social amenities are practically non-existent because the economy is comatose. Consequently, our political future is still very uncertain.

We have a chance to stop this rot. We have a chance to speak out. We have a chance to help restore the pride and dignity of our nation. Even if you don’t burn yourself to make a point like Buozizi, you can cast your vote for the right persons. Even if you are not prepared to spend 18 days in Eagle Square protesting against this government, you can insist that your vote counts. You can stand to be counted. You can make a commitment to be involved in installing the next set of credible leaders.
Don’t just fold your hands. Don’t just complain all day. Don’t just lament and curse. May I challenge you to do something? Bouzizi led Tunisians to do something. The Egyptians did the same about their own issue and now they’ve got victory. What are you doing?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Get Organized. Get More Done.

Setting clear and committed goals won’t work if you can’t organize your resources towards achieving them. How you organize your goals and how often you are reminded of them play a key role in their success. If your goals are collecting dust in a filing cabinet or a folder, they won’t influence your actions. Similarly, how you organize your physical surroundings can give you much greater productivity towards your goals. A messy, disorganized house, office or computer waste valuable time. How you organize your time is probably the greatest factor, and without the ability to control and allocate time to your goals, they will fail before you even start.

Organize Your Goals

So you’ve written out your goals on paper. You have described them in objective terms and written a paragraph or two about why you want to achieve them. Below them you have set the deadline for which you feel is both realistic and challenging. Now what? Do you store this file in some obscure folder in your computer? Do you take the sheet of paper and put it into some binder marked ‘goals’ and put it into the dark and cobwebbed realm of your attic?

The organization of your goals and how often they serve to remind you are critical to their success. If you never see your goals, they become easily forgotten and they lose whatever significance or meaning they held when they were written. Creating a system where you can see your goals a few times per day and getting organized so you can track the past goals you have set will ensure they stay meaningful.

The first step to organizing your goals is to find a system to store them. If you store your goals on a computer, or you prefer a more complex or simplistic scheme for storing your goals, go ahead. If you use a computer a lot, you may want to turn your desktop wallpaper into a goal reminder sheet. This can be a little time consuming if your goals change rapidly, but if you are using your computer frequently, this can be an excellent reminder.

Organize Your Environment

Always losing your car keys? Seem to have a lot of stuff just lying around? Being disorganized will damage your productivity, increase stress and make staying on track with your goals more difficult. Organization is a skill anyone can learn and it can save you a lot of time, energy and frustration. Most importantly, being organized creates an environment of productivity and achievement that serves to reinforce your goals.

The main culprit in being disorganized is simply that the your items don’t have a home. Whether it is your home, your office or even your computer files, if the items don’t have a specific place they should be stored, they will be pile up in clutter. Losing your car keys is a sign that you don’t have a specific place to put them.
If you are already disorganized, reorganizing everything is a huge task that will take a significant time investment. This is an example where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once you are organized and place things where they belong, only minor reorganizing will need to be done to keep everything operating smoothly. You may need to split this task up into several pieces if you have a lot to organize, but the benefits of being organized are well worth the time required to get there.

Start by mentally getting an idea of how you want to organize everything. Chances are you have an idea about where things should go, but by sitting down and thinking about where you want to put things, you can create an effective organizing system. Next go through every single item. Decide whether you want to keep it or throw it out. Unless it is a legal document or holds sentimental value, I’d recommend tossing out anything that you haven’t used in a long time and you can buy again. When you are going through all your items, sort them into the rough groups they will be put into when they are re-organized. Finally take those organized groups and put them back into the place you designated at the start.

Organizing your environment may seem costly and unnecessary if you feel that you are just as efficient with some clutter, but it serves an even more important role. An organized environment sends a strong message to your subconscious telling you that you are productive, hard-working and efficient. A cluttered area tells your subconscious that you are lazy, unmotivated and wasteful. As we talked about in the last chapter, the environment you have sends a strong signal to your motivation and your ultimate success towards your goals.

Organize Your Time

Time management is an extensive subject that has been written about in many books. There are many different styles of prioritizing and organizing your time for the greatest effectiveness. This program is not designed or equipped to teach everything there is to know about time management, but it is important enough to warrant a general overview on methods to increase the organization of your time.

The first step in time management is deciding what is important. Your goals should already be doing this step for you. If your goals aren’t telling you what is most important, or worse, the objectives of other people are placed on a higher importance than your goals, then your goals won’t work. Ensure that your goals have been broken down until the next action step at any stage in their progress is always apparent. Secondly, make sure your goals are loud enough that they demand your action now.

Once you’ve decided what is important, the other step in time management is actually doing what is most important. In this area there are many methods for doing what is important more effectively and efficiently. Depending on your personal style, you might work best by scheduling work in advance or you might work better with a to-do list style that allows you to choose when to work on your goals in the spur of the moment. Experiment with different techniques and styles. If your goals are strong and compelling enough, this phase becomes a lot easier to optimize.

I once heard that a successful venture is, “5% plan, 95% execution.” Whatever the actual percentage is, how you execute the progress towards your goals will ultimately make more difference than the planning you use towards them. Having an organized system for reminding you of your goals will allow you to be more motivated and productive and ensure a superior execution.


See you at the top!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A Brand New Start.....

Let me start by joining the rest of the world to wish you a Happy New Year! May it be to you, and yours, a splendid year.

Some years back, after having to write the UME (University Matriculation Examination) again (I wrote it twice before I nailed it), one thought flashed through my mind. What if failure was perpetual? What if, once you failed, you have failed forever? What if there was no opportunity to start again? What if once you made a loss in business, you continue to make losses? What if, once you repeated a class, or a course, you will continue to repeat it eternally! What a chaos our world would have been!

What if failure was perpetual?
God, in His infinite mercies divided our lives into tiny bits – so, we have centuries, decades, years, months, weeks and days. If you have failed in a particular year, you can look forward to another year, to try again. If a particular day isn’t going to well, you wish the day would be over soon, so you could have a fresh start. If you have failed once, or twice, you look forward to another opportunity to try again, or start again. In my opinion, a new year is God’s wonderful opportunity, given to us, to start again….howbeit, more intelligently. And that opportunity is not only available to those who didn’t do well the previous year. It is also available for those who did well, so, they can even do better. The New Year is an opportunity for a fresh start.

The greatest definition of insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different result!
 So, my question is this – What will you do differently this year? Your result is always a function of your inputs. If your inputs are wrong, do not wonder if the results are in the same direction. Let me say this categorically – the year 2011 will be very much like 2010 to you, if you do things the same way you did last year. I guess that’s a no brainer. I can guarantee that your output will be exactly the same if your inputs do not change. So, do you like the results you turned out last year? If your answer is NO, then, something about you has got to change. The greatest definition of insanity is doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different result!

Here are a few things you need to look at changing /improving to get better result.

Change your thoughts

No one can rise above the level of his thoughts. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. Your life will never go beyond the level of your thoughts. So, the Bible has a nice advice for you.

“Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies. “ (Philippians 4: 8-9, The Message Bible)
 No matter how long you pray, if you harbor in your heart, things contrary to your prayers, the prayer will be a mere exercise. You cannot be praying for health and be thinking like a sick man! The thought of sickness will nullify your prayers. You cannot be praying for success and be thinking like a failure. God is able to do much more than you ask or think.

Change your Association

A wise man once said this. “You will be where you are today in another 5 years, except for 2 things – the books you read and the friends you keep”. I have found this to be very true. If you want to improve your results, then you’ve got to improve on your association/relationships. In my quest for financial freedom, I discovered that there is a fundamental difference between the way the rich and the poor think. Their thinking patterns are worlds apart. As a result of this, associating with the group you want to belong will give you accesses to their perspective.

In our environment (Africa), there is so much emphasis on the enemy. People spend a whole night vigil praying against their enemies. May I say this to you – your friends are more strategic to your destiny that your enemies. You had better have the right ones.

Change your attitude

Attitude more than aptitude, determines altitude. Look, things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out. During the course of the year, you will definitely have challenges. How will you face them? Will you be optimistic about life and it’s opportunities or bend your head in pessimism?
To achieve more this year, I challenge you to be an incurable optimist. This way, all things being equal you will always win. All things not being equal, you will still most times win!

Things turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out.

Go for Information

I have realized that there are no mountains anywhere. Every man’s ignorance is his mountain! Nobody suffers from a special problem, only from special ignorance. Every outstanding accomplishment rides on the hub of information! If you know better, you will shine brighter

There are no mountains anywhere. Every man's ignorance is his mountain
 No matter what your vision this year is, I can bet it will end in frustration, except you have the right information to match. Read books. Listen to tapes. Read newspapers. Most importantly, get information from the greatest of all information sources – The Bible- The Manual for Life!

May the year be to you a year of years!

Enjoy.