Monday, December 31, 2007

Count Your Blessings. Don't Discount Them - 2nd Edition

As the year 2007 draws to a close today, and the New Year 2008 dawns on us, I wonder what kind of a message the year 2007 leaves behind. Cast your thoughts on the highlights of the year 2007 and I bet there are a few things you will rather forget. There are also many things that made the year worth it. One thing if for sure, not many of us would bother to pick up a pen and write the bad things in red and the good ones in green to sum the year ourselves. Yet, I feel we ought to do it. You will be amazed at the result.

Cast your thoughts on the highlights of the year 2007 and I bet there are a few things you will rather forget.

There are more chances that you will consider more things that didn’t work for you in 2007 than those that worked. That is the natural inclination. You tend to look back at the year and consider the opportunities you missed, the money you didn’t make, the goals that are left unrealized, the pains of the year, the losses and what have you. I do not blame you if you are doing this right now.

There is a way to also look at the past year that I want to recommend. It is summarized in the song of a songwriter. It says

"Count you blessings, count them one by one.
Count your blessings, see what God has done.
Count you blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done

The lyrics of the song are very instructive. If you learn to count you blessings, not discount them, you will see that it’s not been as bad as you think!

Can I tell you a story? I guess I have told the story before but it is very relevant here again. I call it the story of two buckets.

A traditional well always have two buckets. As one is going down, the other is on its way up. Long time ago, there lived two buckets in the same well. It was noticed that no matter what happens, one was always sad, whining and looking morose and melancholic. It was always complaining about the situation of things all around. The other however, on the contrary, was always happy and motivated. No matter what happens, it was always in a high mood. Both buckets used to wonder what was happening to the other when they meet somewhere along the line in the well. The sad bucket was always wondering “why is this guy always happy? Are we not going through the same situation? Are we not faced with the same difficulties? The happy bucket on the other hand was always wondering aloud “what the hell is wrong with this guy? Why is he always looking morose and melancholic? One day, they decided to talk to each other and ask why they are both going through similar situations but reacting differently. The happy bucket asked first “why is it that you are always looking sad and morose all the time? Is anything the matter? The sad bucket replied. “Everything is that matter! I am not happy here. Can you imagine, no matter how full I come up from this well, I always go down empty!! I am living an empty life!” “Waoh” replied the happy bucket. “Do you know what? This is the very same reason why I am always happy. No matter how empty I go down into this well, I always come up full!!!! I am living a fulfilling life!

The past year 2007 no doubt was a challenging year for me. Many things happened in the year that affected me both positively and negatively. However, as the year winds up, I can’t but thank God and the angels he strategically places in my life (my wife, my daughter, my friends, my colleagues at work, my critics e.t.c) for helping to make this year an eventful one for me. No matter how empty I go down into the well, I always come out full!

No matter how empty I go down into the well, I always come out full!

Many things worked for me in the past year. We celebrated our 3rd year wedding anniversary (check the divorce rates around the world to see why this is a positive). I changed job roles at work. I was nominated for the Nigeria Future Awards for the “Professional of the Year 2007”. Our precious daughter Moyosorelouwa was 2! Apart from that, she doesn’t seize to amaze me with things she’s doing at her age. She is so smart I can’t wait to see her grow up. In the past year, I also came across information that bettered my financial lot. I earned more money doing things I enjoyed more than the salary I got! Infact, I invested amounts of money that were only in my dreams 1 year ago. Right now, I am holidaying with my precious wife. Most importantly to me, I have received email, phone calls and personal “thank you” notes from those whose lives have been positively affected by mine in the course of the year. Some of these texts bring me close to tears. I can choose…and this is my choice…to concentrate on all these, or focus on the other part.

In 2007, my house was robbed and several valuables, including my international passport, my wife’s and our daughter’s were stolen. My wife and I also lost something very precious to us at a very difficult time of the year. We invested in stuffs that didn’t work and lost money in the process. Our planned vacation to the UK didn’t work out, partly because of our passports that were stolen. I had some trying times at work and we also had to work through some health crisis.

I am sure you also have both sides of the coin. The question is…which will you focus on? Will you keep crying over spilled milk? Or will you look at the things that worked for you, praise God for them, and plan to turn around things that didn’t? Will you choose to count your blessings? Or will you rather choose to discount them?


Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Vacation Your Way to Success

All work and no play make Johnny (or is it Jack?) a dull boy they say. It also makes you unsuccessful. The fact is that a well placed vacation can do wonders for every area of your life. I am writing about this thousands of miles from home on a vacation with my family, so I am practically enjoying what I am about to write! In this busy world, where we are driven to be producing all the time, it is good to be reminded that a break is sometimes the best thing to move us forward in the long run.

I know many people who can't seem to get themselves to break away from the office, thinking that they are getting a lot of work done. The truth is that they need a break and when they get back they will be working much more effectively.

...a well placed vacation can do wonders for every area of your life

With that in mind, here are some thoughts on how taking a break can help you achieve success.

Vacationing help you appreciate your work.

After a while even work you normally love can become drudgery. Taking a vacation gets you away and after awhile you begin to miss it and chomp at the bit to get back to it. You simply appreciate it more. Believe me, I miss my work and I can wait to get back! I am sure my boss will be happy to read this!

Vacationing helps you reset your mind.

Even though the mind is a mystery, we do know that it can get tired. It is called mental fatigue. Getting away on a regular basis helps reset the mind to its peak condition. Every brain needs a good rest. This is proven medically

Vacationing makes your body stronger, with more energy for the battle by giving it a rest.

The world's top bodybuilders, the ones with the huge muscles know something that the typical businessperson doesn't - the body needs a rest. Every week they take one day off. And then they take whole seasons off and allow their bodies to rest. Our bodies are the same. We need to let them relax, sleep more etc.

Vacationing gives you time to encourage your support team - your family.

Hmmm. This is a big one. While we are putting in long hours and working hard, our families support us with encouragement and the like. Vacationing let's them know that you value them and can also spend significant amount on time with them if need be. It tells them you value them more than your work. Then, when you get back to work, you know that your "team" it firmly in your corner.

Vacationing puts you in a creative mindset.

Sometimes being in the same situation gets your imagination stuck in a rut. Watching the sun set, listening to the waves crash, or enjoying the fresh air of the mountains will set your creative imagination soaring. You may find that you come up with all sorts of solutions to work issues while laying on the beach. I don't know how this works... but it does. In the last couple of days, I have been developing an idea on how to solve a chromic problem at work! It’s amazing.

Vacationing renews your spirit.

We all need an emotional boost. We need a break from the roller coaster of emotions that drain our spirits while at work. Quite frankly, if you do your vacation right, the predominate emotion should be peace. And that is just what you need to get rejuvenated for work.

We need a break from the roller coaster of emotions that drain our spirits while at work.

Vacationing proves to you that your work or office can exist without you!

Sometimes we overestimate our value to the organization and this puts so much stress on us. The fact is that if you go away for a week, your job will still be there. The company won't be bankrupt, and life will still be going on. We need to know that work goes on, so that we don't worry so much. Get away and don't call the office! Don’t deceive yourself that the office can run without you! It can….and it will!

So what is my advice? Take a vacation. You need one. You deserve one. Life is passing you by my friend, and in the end, you will know you should have taken a vacation. Your office won't fall apart. The earth will continue to turn on its axis. Your family will be happy. Turn off your computer, pick up the phone, dial the travel agent.... your success depends upon it!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Change Your Life Forever!

I recently came across a powerful quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower that got me thinking about the power of our choices. He said, and I quote “The history of free men is never written by chance, but by choice - their choice” Powerful. In my humble opinion, I think it’s not only the history of free men that is written by their choices. It is the history of everyone. You are where you are today as a result of the choices you made, or you did not makes, yesterday. The choices we make today will colour the spectrum of our life in the future

“The history of free men is never written by chance, but by choice - their choice”

The direction of our lives is determined by the choices we make every day. They accumulate and add up to our ultimate destiny. Success in life is not a gift. It doesn’t just fall on people like ripe pawpaw! It is a choice that you have to make. You are a direct product of your choices. You are going to live tomorrow with the consequences of today’s choices. It is futile to squander today and hope for a generous tomorrow. Everything that happens in your life-both what you are thrilled with and what you are challenged by-began with a choice.

Here are some choices you can make - choices that will create for you a life of abundance and prosperity in all areas of your life.

1. Choose to become balanced spiritually, emotionally and physically. Our lives are best when we have these three major areas in balance. Never leave God out of the equation of your life. Infact, He needs to take first place in everything. That is the starting point. Spend some time cultivating your spirituality. Spend time to develop your emotional health. Spent time to be physically fit.

2. Choose to grow personally. This sounds simple but many people only wish to grow personally. They never choose to grow by taking action, such as actually exercising, saving more money etc. Make a decision today to be a person who is on the never ending journey of personal growth.

3. Choose to always treat others right. We come across all sorts of people, many of whom will treat us poorly. We can choose to treat them right, no matter how they treat us. When they lie, we will tell the truth. When they cheat, we will play by the rules. We may get the short end of the stick some times, but in the long-run we will win. And most importantly, we will be able to sleep at night!

4. Choose to break a bad habit. Take the big ones first. Tackle it head on. If you don't know what it is, ask a friend. Then spend every effort you can to break that habit. Forget about the others, as you will get to them later. Stop smoking, get out of debt, lose your excess weight. Exercise the power to choose!

5. Choose to work smarter. Many people I work with feel like they are out of balance. One of the first things I do is try to find out how much time they are wasting at work, which makes them work longer, which throws the rest of their life into chaos. Getting your work done by diligently working in the time you have will free your life up extraordinarily. Read up my earlier article on working smarter.

6. Choose to see your work as a way to help others, and not a way to make money. If you put your heart into helping others, the money will most assuredly come. Spend time helping others grow and your finances will grow with it. This is a profound truth.

7. Choose to sow more than you reap. There are many takers in this world, but our lives will be better as we become givers. The world will become better as we become givers. Give away your time, give away your money, give away your love. You will most assuredly get it back in many folds!

8. Choose to get home for dinner more often. The family is the most important group of people you will ever belong to. Make a decision today to grow in your relationship with your parents, siblings, spouse and children. This one choice you will never regret.

9. Choose to be positive. A positive mental attitude will surely put you miles ahead of your peers. Never say never. Attitude can make or mar your life. Attitude, more than aptitude determines your altitude. It is more valuable than skill. Choose a positive attitude and things will start to work for you

You have a chance today, to change your life forever – make the right choices


Saturday, November 17, 2007

No 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?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Work Hard. Work Smart

I am one of the last persons in the world who would tell you not to work hard. I know that hard work is the only substitute to a hard life. Hard work makes the commonest chance golden. However, it worth reminding you that working hard must also be tempered by working smart, or you might just be wasting a load of effort. There is a reason why we were born with both muscles and brains. We should use both…..and definitely not in proportional ratios.

...working hard must also be tempered by working smart, or you might just be wasting a load of effort

Consider the story of two lumberjacks in a tree-cutting contest. Both were strong and determined, hoping to win the prize. But one was hardworking and ambitious, chopping down every tree in his path at the fastest pace possible, while the other appeared to be a little more laid back, methodically felling trees and pacing himself. The go-getter worked all day, skipping his lunch break, expecting that his superior effort would be rewarded. His opponent, however, took an hour-long lunch, and then resumed his steady pace. In the end, the eager beaver was dismayed to lose to his "lazier" competition. Thinking he deserved to win after his hard work, he finally approached his opponent and said, "I just don't understand. I worked longer and harder than you, and went hungry to get ahead. You took a break, and yet you still won. It just doesn't seem fair. Where did I go wrong?" The winner responded, "While I was taking my lunch break, I was sharpening my ax."

Hard work will always pay off; smart work will pay better. Remember back in school, there were the people who studied all day and all night, but still struggled to pass exams?(I hope you are not one of them).Then there were the people who studied hard but also found time for a game of basketball (or time to attend fellowship) and still aced every test and exam. Both groups studied the same material, attended the same lectures, were taught by the same professors, and took the same test. Was the second group just that much more brilliant? Maybe, but my money's on the way they approached their material and learned how to study. If they were smart, they applied those same principles after graduation: work hard, but also work smart.

That's a lesson that can be learned by even young children. A little girl visiting a watermelon farm asked the farmer how much a large watermelon cost. "Three dollars," he told her. "But I only have thirty cents," the little girl said. The farmer looked around his field, and feeling sorry for the little girl, pointed at a small watermelon and said, "That one's thirty cents." "Oh good," she replied as she paid him, "Just leave it on the vine and I'll be back in a month to get it."

Call it creativity, call it ingenuity, call it whatever: I call it using your head. Knowing how to analyze a situation and how to execute an action plan will put you ahead of the game in the long run. There's nothing wrong with having a leg up on your competition - it's how you win. The combination of hard work and smart work is the formula for success. Think about what needs to be done, and then think again about the best way to accomplish it - not necessarily the way you've always done it, or the fastest way, and certainly not the hardest way. Never make work harder than it has to be. That's just a colossal waste of time.

There's nothing wrong with having a leg up on your competition - it's how you win. The combination of hard work and smart work is the formula for success.

Perhaps the ingenuity award goes to the fellow who came to the Canadian border on his motorcycle, carrying two saddlebags strapped across his seat. The border guards asked the obvious question, "What's in your saddlebags?" "Rocks," was the reply. So the guards emptied the bags to check out his story. Sure enough, all they found were rocks. So they sent him on his way. The next week, the same fellow came to the crossing, again on a motorcycle, again with the same payload. The guards checked once again, and found more rocks. Off he went. The scene repeated itself weekly for several months, until finally the guards couldn't stand it any longer. "We know you are smuggling something across the border, but every time we inspect your saddlebags we find only rocks. Please tell us what you are up to, and we promise not to turn you in." "Well," the fellow replied, "It's really very simple. I'm smuggling stolen motorcycles."

Moral of the story: It's good to work hard. It's great to work smart. But it's best to work hard and smart.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Magic Of Humour

There has been a decided paradigm shift over the last fifteen years from humour often being thought of as "silly" or "not appropriate," to it being a welcome addition to practically every area of society. The last five years especially have seen an incredible insurgence of humor into the heretofore "no humor permitted" corporate world.

It is interesting how much we pay comedians to make us laugh these days. Professional humorists are one of the top paid people in advanced societies. Check Forbes 100 most paid celebrities and you will find several humourists on the list. It shows the importance that humour plays in our evolving world.

So why are we embracing humour now? Out-of-control stress in both work and home life caused people’s pendulums to swing way too far to one side. Humour is now being used as one of the most powerful forces to help swing the pendulum back to center. (And maybe even further, if we’re lucky!).

“It was so cold where we were,” one man boasted, “that the candle froze and we couldn’t blow it out.” “That’s nothing!” said the other. “Where we were the words came out of our mouths in little pieces of ice and we had to fry them to see what we were talking about.”

Humour sells.

I’m not talking about funny commercials, although they certainly are more memorable than "straight" commercials. I’m talking about a salesperson trying to make a sale. If you can get your prospect to laugh at something in your proposal….or presentation….you have instantly shot to the top of his or her mind. We like people who make us laugh…..and we do business with people we like. And when people are laughing, they don’t feel like they’re being "sold". What can you do to get your laughs? You’re only limited by your imagination.

Humour heals.

There have been countless medical studies and books written on the healing power of humour. I’m not a doctor but I’ve seen enough cases of this to know its validity. Laughing causes endorphins to be released in the system, and they may be more powerful than diet and exercise put together. (Or so you can tell yourself every time you procrastinate your workout sessions.) I think that’s one of the reasons that so many comedians live such long lives. They are surrounded by laughter….their own and their audience’s.

“A man was praying, “Lord, is it true that to You a minute is like a thousand years and a penny is like a thousand dollars?” The Lord answered, “Yes.” Then the man asked, “Then can I have a penny?” The Lord replied. “In a minute.”

The holy creed gives credence to this fact. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. (Pro 17:22). A good sense of humour will no doubt prolong your life. It is as good (if not better) than medicine. Isn’t that good news for those of us who hates taking drugs! Laughter can do the same job!

Humour diffuses tension.

A speaker is heading to the podium, trips, and falls down. The crowd gasps and there is immediate tension. The speaker quickly looks up and says, "I will now take questions from the floor." A huge laugh follows, and the speaker picks himself up and regains his dignity. Not all of us can think that quickly on their feet….or off their feet, as it were. But when faced with a tense situation, the power of humor will work more quickly to diffuse it than any other remedy.

A fellow found a note at home from his wife saying that she was suddenly called out of town but that he was going to love his dinner for the evening. He could find it on Page 28 of the cookbook!

Another speaker steps onto the platform. Either the wood is rotted, or the supports are bad, but the speaker falls right through the platform, as it collapses around him. Again, tension fills the room. Until the speaker quickly looks up and says, "Don’t mind me. It’s just a stage I’m going through." Both of these stories illustrate how humorous quick thinking can not only diffuse tension, but can raise your credibility to an even higher level than had there been no problem.

Humour gets results.

The bottom line is that humor gets results. No matter what the need is, there is a way that humor can be used to help serve that need. Humour negates anger. Humour creates credibility. Humour gets votes. Humour gets ratings. Humour commands attention. Humour overcomes objections. The list goes on and on.
Whatever hurdles you might be facing at work or at home, don’t be afraid to try humour as a technique for clearing that hurdle.

An IQ test question given to a banker, an electrician, and a politician was, “What term would you use to describe the problem that results when outflow exceeds inflow?” The banker wrote, “Overdraft,” the electrician wrote, “Overload,” and the politician wrote, “What problem?”

You can’t stay mad when you’re laughing. So try to keep laughing. You’ll live longer. You’ll sleep better. And people will wonder what you’re smiling at all the time.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

War Against Wastage

Last Saturday, 22nd September 2007, I was privileged to speak at a seminar organized by the Final Year Student of Charis Felllowship International, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. Tagged “A Touch with the Future”, the program sought to equip intending graduates with effective financial management skills, effective job hunting skills, entrepreneurship skills, amongst others. There were a couple of young career people who were doing well in their various fields there to speak. The list included Jimmy Mokikan, Deji Aderele, Ladun Oyeleke, Yemi Adeosun and Damola Giwa. I had such a nice time delivering a 1 hr talk at this seminar. In my opinion, seated in that room were miracles going somewhere to happen; dynamites going somewhere to explode. They wanted to get hold of the principles we were teaching and go out to practice them. It was really a great gathering.

I was speaking on leading a successful life and breaking free from poverty. I shared a couple of points on how to cure the dreaded disease plaguing our country and the whole of Africa – poverty. I really feel a need to emphasize through this medium, my last point at the seminar. I called it “war again wastage”

One of the reasons why our country (Nigeria) and continent is backward today is wastage! You don’t need to look too much before you see this evil everywhere.
It starts right from the government houses to our streets. We have no respect for savings and budgets. We are a “waster” nation.
Do I need to convince you about this? Compare our budget figures with what we actually spent at the end of the year. You will feel like crying. Typically, only about 10-20% of the funds budgeted gets to where they are used. The rest is lost in transit! Someone must take his part before he signs the appropriation. Do you know how much the last administration supposedly spent on road repairs? Yet, our roads are still in a deplorable state.

There is a story in the holy creed that comes to my mind. It is the story of the prodigal son. He was from a rich home and he had everything he wanted. However, this plague of wastage will not let him rest! He left home rich but spent all he had on riotous living. He is a living example of a waster! No wonder he began to be in want soon after that. A man born in riches ended up feeding swines! Doesn’t that describe the sorry state of our nation? I was already of age when 1 naira was about 1 pound! There was a bloom in our economy with the discovery of oil. Dubai discovered oil at about the same time. If you compare both nations today, it’s like comparing “sleep” and “death”. We are worlds apart! Why? We have leaders and followers who were wasters!

Visit several government parastatals and you will see wastage in high proportion. It starts from time wastage. Something that should take you 1 hour to get can take you a whole week. Have a look at the way government facilities are being used, you will smell waste around. I watched in dismay as the Speaker of the National House of Representative tried to prove her prudence to us in the contract scandal going on. According to her, she has saved Nigeria a lot of money since coming into office because of her prudence. Prudence indeed! No matter the explanation, it takes wastage spirit to spend 628 million naira on the renovation of a residential quarter! Is the house made of gold?! It would have been far cheaper to build a new one.

I was listening to one of my mentors earlier in the week. He was narrating a time in their ministry when the cost of phone bills went above the budget because the people were making unnecessary calls. What did he do? He disconnected all the phones for the next 1 month. He waged a war against wastage. This ministry in one of the leading ministries in Nigeria and indeed in the world. Have you noticed the way people use mobile phones in our nation? People are on phone for several minutes calling a friend just to ask how he is doing. 5 minutes after that, the same person is complaining that the country is tough! Compare this with how the western world manage power supply in their homes, since they are conscious of the bills they have to pay, and you will understand how wasteful we are.What a tragedy!

Do you want to be successful in your personal and business life? I suggest you wage a war against wastage.
No matter how much you try to fill a bucket of water that is leaking, you will not achieve much. The wise thing to do at first is to block or fix the leakage.
Fix the avenues of wastes and in no time, the bucket will be full. Check your finances. Do you have a budget? Are you sticking to your budget or are you eating with all your fingers. Are you just spending without any thought of the future? Don’t be the present day version of the prodigal son

Will you join in the War Against Wastage?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Principles Of A Fulfilled Life

Fulfilled. What a word! Two simple syllable and yet to elusive to our frazzled and restless hearts. Who among you haven’t yearned for something even faintly resembling fulfillment in our frantic demanding “what-have-you-done-for-me-lately” world?

Fulfilled is a great word. The only issue is finding it. You can find several definitions in the dictionary but do you have it in your everyday life? I am sure several people will offer anything in order to have a fulfilled life. Wouldn’t you?

Can I share with you some principles for a fulfilled life? These are principles I got from reading books and listening to tapes, and they’ve helped in a lot in my search for satisfaction and fulfillment

Count Your Blessings

Have you read the article of “Count Your Blessings, Don’t Discount them”? If not, I recommend you take time to read it. Fulfillment has eluded most of us because we have not learnt to be grateful for the little things around us. “But godliness with contentment is great gain” opined a wise writer. Never take things for granted. Be grateful for the things you have and can afford.

Find Joy In The Ordinary

Eternal instants and moments. We’ve all witnessed them though we let them go without finding joy in it. Putting your arms in your husbands’ as you take an evening stroll. Listening to your 6 year old thank God for everything from goldfish to grandma. Never you underestimate the ordinary. They are laden with greatness.

Finish The Race

We live in a world that is only crazy about winning, not about finishing. You don’t have to win always. But you have to finish. Hang in there. Finish. Stick to it until it is done. But unfortunately, very few of us do that. Our human tendency is to stop before we cross the finish line. Our inability to finish what we start is seen in the smallest of things - A partly mowed lawn; a half-read book; letters begun but never completed; an abandoned diet.

Are you close to quitting? Please don’t do it. Are you discouraged as a parent?
Hang in there. Are you weary with doing good? Do just a little more. Are you
pessimistic about your job? Roll up your sleeves and go at it again. No communication
in your marriage? Give it one more shot. Can’t resist temptation? Accept God’s
forgiveness and go one more round. Is your day framed with sorrow and disappointment? Are your tomorrows turning into nevers? Is hope a forgotten word?

Remember, a finisher is not one with no wounds or weariness. Quite to the
contrary, he, like the boxer, is scarred and bloody. He finishes what he starts. He finishes strong. I strongly recommend you read the book “Finishing Strong” by Steve Farrar. I have personally read it more than thrice!

Stay Positive

A positive attitude in invaluable in today’s world. There are a thousand and one things that will not happen the way you want it to happen every single day. How you respond or react to them will go a long way in determining whether you will be fulfilled or frustrated. It is not what happens to you that determined your fulfillment. It is what happens in you, as a result of what happened to you!

All things being equal, having a positive attitude wins. All things not being equal, attitude still sometimes win. I have found out that things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out.

Finally, God wants us to live a fulfilled life. Do you know any other principle that can help? If yes, please share.

Stay on top

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Financial Independence - Your Mind or The Bank?

The last two months has been interesting for me as a person. Infact, it has not only being interesting but also mind blowing! I have witnessed a major change in my mind, concerning finance and money matters, that all I see now is possibilities. I have since realized that it doesn’t take time to change a man’s financial status. It takes the right information.

I have come in contact with vital information in the last couple of weeks that is changing my financial situation for the better. In all honesty, I thought I wasn’t doing badly in my finances even before now. I work for a multinational. I earn a fairly good salary (I hope my boss will not read this and delay my salary increase). I have a couple of investments here and there and they are not doing badly. I had plans to make more investments in the nearest future and had been saving for it. So, in my own opinion, I will gain the financial independence I have been craving for in the next 5-10 years. However, with what I have learnt in the last couple of weeks, it will be a crime against progress if I am not financially liberated in the next few months.

While talking to my friend Adeolu Akinyemi yesterday, I told him I had written a short testimony that I will post before the year runs out. It will have this sentence within it “I have made more money in the last 6 months than I have made earning salaries in the last couple of year”. Wouldn’t that be interesting? I am looking forward to that post.

Wait a minute. I am sure you will like to know what I know. It’s not anything new. It’s the power of information. Information is the hub on which every outstanding achievement rides on. Vision without the right information to match will lead to frustration! I remember when I was growing up. I attended a conference where we were been asked to confess financial success. The speaker asked us to write down our financial goals and even put a figure behind it. I wrote the figure “1”with several zeros behind it. Don’t ask me what happened thereafter. I only made that kind of money on paper! I didn’t have the right information then how to transfer the figure on paper to a “spendable” reality. Many people still live in such realms.

It is not difficult to make money. It was much easier for me to make a million naira in a week that it was for me believing that it could be done. Yes, it was. Let me share a powerful truth with you. Financial liberation is not in economic policies. It is not in bank consolidation. It is not in salary increases. It stars with your….thinking! Your mind is the greatest key that will unlock your financial resources. A wise man once said “as a man thinks in his heart, so is he” A man cannot be richer than he is in his mind! Powerful.

The place to start amassing wealth therefore is in your mind. What thoughts about money do you harbour in your mind? Several years ago, while I was growing up, I was taking a stroll one day with a friend. A very nice jeep passed by us. Immediately, my friend hissed and said “Ole” (meaning thief). In his mind, only thieves and armed robbers ride such nice cars! No wonder he has not bought any till date. In my mind, even before he spoke, I said “Wow. What a nice car. This is the kind of car we will soon be driving”. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. Notice the use of the present tense here. It didn’t say “so he will be”. Your life will automatically move in the direction of your greatest thoughts. Your thoughts determine your actions. Your actions determine your habits.
Your habits determine your character. Your character gives birth to your destiny or your destination.

I believe strongly that God is raising a generation of people who will propagate his kingdom business with their wealth. I want to be part of this people. Do you?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

The Law Of Multiple Rewards

Life is governed by laws. These laws are universally binding and have no respect for age, location, religion, nationality or financial status. Whether you throw up a stone in California or in Fiji Island, it will come down!

There is one of life’s great laws that I have particularly found interesting. It is called the law of multiple rewards. It is an extension of the Biblical law that says that if you sow well, you will reap well. However, it has a unique part. Here it is - not only does it suggests that we'll all reap what we've sown, it also suggests that we'll reap much more! No wonder when you plant seeds of maize, you harvest a tree or even a forest of maize. For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards.

What a concept! If you render unique service, your reward will be multiplied. If you're fair and honest and patient with others, your reward will be multiplied. If you give more than you expect to receive, your reward is more than you expect. But remember: the key word here, as you might well imagine, is discipline.

Everything of value requires care, attention, and discipline. Our thoughts require discipline. We must consistently determine our inner boundaries and our codes of conduct, or our thoughts will be confused. And if our thoughts are confused, we will become hopelessly lost in the maze of life. Confused thoughts produce confused results.

Remember the law: "For every disciplined effort, there are multiple rewards." Learn the discipline of writing a card or a letter to a friend. Learn the discipline of paying your bills on time, arriving to appointments on time, or using your time more effectively. Learn the discipline of paying attention, or paying your taxes or paying yourself. Learn the discipline of having regular meetings with your associates, or your spouse, or your child, or your parent. Learn the discipline of learning all you can learn, of teaching all you can teach, of reading all you can read.

For each discipline, multiple rewards. For each book, new knowledge. For each success, new ambition. For each challenge, new understanding. For each failure, new determination. Life is like that. Even the bad experiences of life provide their own special contribution. But a word of caution here for those who neglect the need for care and attention to life's disciplines: everything has its price. Everything affects everything else. Neglect discipline, and there will be a price to pay. All things of value can be taken for granted with the passing of time.

That's what we call the Law of Familiarity. Without the discipline of paying constant, daily attention, we take things for granted. Be serious. Life's not a practice session.

If you're often inclined to toss your clothes onto the chair rather than hanging them in the closet, be careful. It could suggest a lack of discipline. And remember, a lack of discipline in the small areas of life can cost you heavily in the more important areas of life. You cannot clean up your company until you learn the discipline of cleaning your own garage. You cannot be impatient with your children and be patient with your distributors or your employees. You cannot inspire others to sell more when that goal is inconsistent with your own conduct. You cannot admonish others to read good books when you don't have a library card.

The most valuable form of discipline is the one that you impose upon yourself. Don't wait for things to deteriorate so drastically that someone else must impose discipline in your life. Wouldn't that be tragic? How could you possibly explain the fact that someone else thought more of you than you thought of yourself? That they forced you to get up early and get out into the marketplace when you would have been content to let success go to someone else who cared more about themselves.

Your life, my life, the life of each one of us is going to serve as either a warning or an example. A warning of the consequences of neglect, self-pity, lack of direction and ambition... or an example of talent put to use, of discipline self-imposed, and of objectives clearly perceived and intensely pursued.

Keep on winning!

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Giving Yourself The Best Chance Of A Good Life

I have been a student in the school of success for some time now. It’s been an interesting school. It’s a school that you never graduate from. You keep learning things everyday. There is something I have discovered. I don’t think it will be new to you, but please permit me to at least remind you. Here it is- The greatest and most persistent blockages to your progress in life usually come from a single source—yourself!

In the equation for success and progress in life, you are the most important factor. Let me share with you a few tips that will help you give yourself the best chance of a good life (I picked up most of these tips from books I have read and people I have listened to).

Make the time to work out what’s most important to you.

What’s so important you wouldn’t give it up, save in the most extreme circumstances? What feels like part of your deepest nature? What would really hurt you to have to abandon? All these are core values. The more you satisfy them, the more fulfilling your life will be. Only you can truly decide what a good life is for you. Other people will try to decide for you, but all they’re doing is pointing you towards their values, not your own. You may need to Ignore them.

Bet on continuous, incremental improvements, not sudden breakthroughs.

This is one of the biggest differences between Japanese and American ways of doing business. The Japanese tend to work away steadily at many small improvements, never making too much fuss about finding some huge leap forward. American businesses tend to favor the idea of sudden, dramatic breakthroughs. Breakthroughs are great when they happen, but depending on them is a high-risk strategy. A single breakthrough that fails or doesn’t come on time can set you back to square one. In life, as in business, lots of small steps often take you further than one or two huge leaps.
Spend as much of your time as you can doing things that need to be done.
Don’t worry too much what they are. Don’t worry about the order in which you do them. The old saying, “success breeds success,” is true. Most people spend far too much time thinking about what they’re going to do—then planning it out, allocating set priorities, and further polishing the plan—and far too little time doing things, even if they come in the “wrong” order. Don’t wait. Do at least something of what you need to do now. Then do some more. There’s no simpler or surer way to turn your dreams into tangible results.

Broaden your horizons.

Take an interest in something new. Try to meet different people. Explore something that you think isn’t interesting. Read challenging and stimulating books; that’s one of the very best (and cheapest) ways to spread your mental horizons wider. Travel as much as you to experience other cultures. Spend time with people who think very differently than you do. Dull, narrow-minded, parochial types are some of the most boring people that you can meet. Mostly they have boring, narrow lives and boring, conventional jobs too. Don’t join them.

Try out some unfamiliar options.

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get the results you’ve always had—or worse, since circumstances change and yesterday’s sure thing is tomorrow’s disaster. Consider fresh possibilities. Let go of your prejudices. Try something unfamiliar. If you don’t like it, stop. At least you’ve learned something. If you do like it, do it some more. If you habitually focus on mostly short-term, practical things, try focusing on something long-term and visionary. Dream a little. If you’re the strategic type, always looking years ahead, try limiting your focus to today—or, better still, to this very moment. Live in the now for a while. See what you can discover.

Whatever the problem or topic is, never assume that you already know all the answers.

Nothing shuts down your mental faculties faster. Once of the very worst aspects of today’s macho styles of management is the way that they continually put pressure on people to be right first time, every time, and as quickly as possible. All that leads to is playing safe and sticking with what is already commonest and most well-known.

In place of every human being’s natural curiosity and love of exploration, we are left with timid, risk-averse people who choose the most obvious answer, even if it’s wrong. I’ve seen it described as “management by in-flight magazine,” which describes it very well. Nobody knows all the answers; nobody gets everything right first time. Anyone who claims to is either a fool or a liar—mostly likely both.

Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

This is something that most people don’t do well. The live a life filled with complaints every single minute of the day. They complain about the weather, their boss, their customers and coworkers … just about anything! There is nothing that paralyses instincts faster. To progress in life, you need to develop a strong attitude of gratitude. You need to be grateful for small things. A wise man said this “If you are grateful, then you will be greatful”. What a counsel. Learn to count your blessings and not discount them (I recommend strongly that you read an earlier article I wrote on “Count your blessings, don’t discount them”).

You can from here get to anywhere you want to get to. Success is sold in the open market. Let anyone who is willing to pay the price go and buy!

See you at the top!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Take A Break!

Life is hectic and harried, but there are several ways you can jump off the hamster wheel of life to get some much needed respite. You only need to mentally commit to it and you can make it happen. It’s very difficult, especially in this part of the world (Africa) to get a break. It’s like every second is fully packed with activities- and so is every minute, hour, day, month and year. At the end of the day, you are completely burnt out! Do you wish you could slow things down especially in your mind? I wish. I did some studies and came up with a few ideas. May I share it with you?

Restroom Break

I am sure this sounds funny. You may laugh at this idea, but it isn’t called the rest room for nothing. For many of us, our day is a never ending stream of requests for our attention from others. When you find yourself hitting the wall, go take a bathroom break whether you need to go or not. Go into the stall and have a seat, close your eyes, take a deep breath (if it’s safe), and relax. Try putting your hands over your eyes and rubbing your temples. You’ll feel better even though this is a short break. Use the time to think about what you really need to do next instead of just reacting to every request.

Fix an appointment with yourself on a regular basis

I strongly recommend this especially for people who have to attend to several other people in the cause of the day. Fix a 30-60 minutes appointment with yourself on a regular basis (I recommend at least once weekly). Take this time to think about your dreams and what you need to do to make it reality. You could make use of any quiet place – store, library e.t.c

Change your perspective

Sometimes we can’t get our minds off our work, even when we come home from work. So how do you slow down your mind? Many turn to TV to help turn off our minds. But how about doing something totally different? You could: go to an art opening, do some volunteer work, visit a lecture at the local library, go see a live play or live music, or anything else that will help you forget about work for a while, but at the same time open your mind to other ideas instead of turning your brain off the way TV can.

Try a change of location

Another idea for freeing your mind is to go to a place you don’t usually visit. Or go to a place that you do go to frequently, but this time really takes notice of what’s going on around you. For example, a great place to go is simply out in nature - the woods, the beach, the mountains, and the park. As a child how did you feel when you were in these places? Can you notice those things again today as an adult? Go ahead and take some time to enjoy fond memories. Let them take you away from it all. Do the smells, sounds, and scenery of a place talk to you? What do they say? What do they motivate you to do differently going forward?

Take time to play!

Take some time to play some games, sing, or dance with your children or with friends or family. Make it a point to become really engaged. Tell yourself that all your worries and thoughts will still be there when you’re done playing. Commit to letting it all go while you do so. If it’s hard for you to do this, then schedule it with someone with whom you won’t be able to break the date. Have fun for a change. A good warm up is to play some music before to get your fun self moving and grooving and leave your work-a-holic self in the dust!

Get good sleep

At night, there are a couple things you can do to get off the treadmill of life. First be kind to yourself by going to sleep when you’re tired! Find a way to turn off the TV an hour or more before your target bed time. TV is a stimulant, even if you think it helps you fall asleep. Better yet, leave the TV off except for your favorite shows or educational TV. Don’t be afraid to be alone with yourself or alone with your spouse. When the TV is turned off you can begin to think, to unwind the day.

Say a “little” prayer

You will be amazed at what this can do for you. Commit your moments into God’s hand. When you are hard pressed on every side, take a time out to pray. It may not necessarily be long. You may not have time to pray for 10 minutes in your office but I am sure you can afford to do a minute prayer 10 times during the day. Committing your worries to God helps you unwind. It makes you more confident of your future

You deserve a break. So, take it

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Innovative Organizations

We line in a world that is referred to as a world of 3C’s – Accelerated Changes, Overwhelming Complexity and Intense Competition. To have a competitive edge requires that an organization (and an individual) will be innovative. Simply put, innovation must be at the cornerstone of every organization that seeks to be successful in the 21st century.

Innovation, according to the Webster dictionary, is defined as the introduction of something new. It is the use of a new method or idea. Innovative organizations are constantly seeking for ways to improve on their methods and ideas in order to better the lots of their cutomers.

Innovative organizations tend to be decentralized, informal, minimally stratified, and generalized rather than specialized. They have cultures that value independent thinking, risk taking, and learning. They are tolerant of failure and they value diversity. Open communication is reinforced and there is a high degree of trust and respect between individuals. In particular:

Innovative organizations have vision

Organizations with vision are better able to appreciate and use people’s creative talents. When an organization has vision it is focused on long-term outcomes. True vision is the ability to create a future from nothing. All organizations have a past, a history. Visionaries are able to create or design their future without being constrained by what has happened before.

They do not determine what will work in the future from what has, or has not, worked in the past. Paradoxically, this is balanced by their ability to learn lessons from experience. It means having a future that is informed by the past rather than dictated by it.

Innovative organizations change because they see a better way and not because they have to change

They are able to continually re-invent themselves in a focused, yet flexible fashion. They are pushing forward from today, driven by a compelling vision of the future. There is a huge difference between creating your own future and reacting to a future that hits you between the eyes! Too often, change is only considered as a last resort to save the day.

Innovative organizations are always on the lookout for new products, new markets, and new ways of doing things

They know their customers, and are constantly learning from them, using the most demanding customers to drive their own innovation and competitiveness. The organization continuously engages in thinking and action that directly or indirectly affect the future “bottom-line.” In other words, they maintain intense customer focus.

Innovative organizations value substance over form:

This is a very important characteristics of innovative organizations. Results-oriented cultures will always have more creativity. “Form over substance” cultures, where following the rules and sticking with defined processes are more important than coming up with the correct answer, are the bane of creativity and innovation. Creativity and innovation are present in every culture, but flourish best in those cultures that can put the ideas to work rather than smother them in formal review processes. Therefore, they tend to be “tight/loose” organizations; tight on the outcome measures of success but loose on the processes of how the outcomes are achieved.

They build creativity and innovation into the fabric of the company, and reward it:

When a problem needs a solution, the default position is: “How can we do this more creatively?” Creativity is both explicitly and (more importantly) implicitly encouraged. The management team knows what to do when someone comes to it with an idea. Managers provide support and recognition for the creative temperament.

Creative individuals are used as role models. “Legends” are told (and retold) about innovators. Creativity is not seen just as the prerogative of a few selected individuals; the expectation exists that everyone can be creative in their own field.

Innovative organizations encourages openness and “playfulness”

Innovative organizations practice open book management. All go to great lengths to encourage communication throughout all levels of the organization. Most recognize the value of random meetings and interactions and have designed their facilities to encourage such activities. A company I heard about, eLab (now part of Sapient) in Chicago included a “Napatorium”, a “Leave-Me-Alone Room”, and a room where each project was displayed for feedback from other teams and individuals in its offices. Most other companies designed their facilities with numerous small meeting areas throughout, each with a unique, fun, playful d├ęcor, intended to facilitate random conversations. Some have regular events with fun, often family oriented themes. These all have a way of bringing out innovation in the work force.

Innovative organizations supports cross functional teams.

This is one key strategy of companies that are innovative – they incorporate cross functional teams and/or cross functional training as a regular, formal methodology. They look out for skills they need in a particular team and fill it up. Each project in development was team based, teams, at a minimum, were composed of designers, engineers, planners and marketing people.

An innovative organization engages everyone throughout the organization in the task of developing and implementing new ways to reach the organization's goals. And everyone indeed includes everyone from the chief executive to frontline workers.

Getting the chief executive to be innovative ought not to be too difficult. After all, the chief executive was not repeatedly promoted to more and more sophisticated responsibilities without a few creative ideas along the way. We expect that the chief executive of a business division or a government agency will be innovative (though, all too often, we are disappointed).

Regardless of how difficult it is to get the chief executive to be innovative it will certainly be more difficult to get middle managers to be innovative, still more difficult to get frontline supervisors to be innovative, and perhaps even more difficult to convince frontline workers that part of their job includes being innovative. This raises important questions: Is it possible to create an innovative organization? Is it possible to persuade every individual in the organization that an important part of his or her responsibility is to develop and implement new ways of achieving the organization's purposes? For most people, I suspect, the answer to these questions is yes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

React Or Respond....Your Choice

Imagine going to see a Doctor because you were sick. After careful examination, you were given a prescription and an instruction to return in a few days. If, when you walk back in to see the Doctor, he starts shaking his head and says “It looks like your body is reacting to the medication; we’re going to have to change it”, you probably will get a little nervous. However, if the Doctor smiles and says “You’re looking great! Your body is responding to the medication,” you will feel relieved. Yes, responding to life is good. Reacting to the incidents of life is negative- and that is bad.

When I was studying Biology in College some years back, we were thought how plant and animals “respond” to stimulus. It is called “tropism”. If for example, you put a flower in a room that is poorly lit and it does not have direct access to sun rays, it responds to that condition. It looks for where you have the sun rays coming from and bends its stem in that direction. Bottom line, it has two choices, react or respond. It could react and complain about the situation. “Why in heaven’s name don’t I have access to sun rays here!” It can remain where it is. If it does, death is imminent. It will only be a matter of time. On the other hand, it responds and says “Fine, the sun rays are not getting to me, so I have to get to it”. Living things survive this way. You can’t be any different. You will have to positively respond to life and issues of life if you do not want to “die” prematurely.

I came across a report that explains my point in clear terms. Today, there is so much turmoil in the job market and many people are losing their jobs through downsizing, mergers and takeovers. This creates some unusual opportunities for many people. According to the Wall Street Journal, there is a positive from this trend. In the last five years, more than fifteen million businesses have been created in the United States. Interestingly enough, more than half of these businesses have been created by women! Very few of them had any marketable skills, and several of them had great financial need.

Many of these new businesses – possibly most of them – would never have started had not an “unfortunate” event occurred in people’s lives. When those events did occur and needs became obvious, the women chose to respond, and there is little doubt that many of them are better off now than they were before the “tragedy” took place.

Take Glenn Cunningham as another example. When he was young, their house was gutted by fire and he was severely wounded. Doctors said he was so badly burnt that he will never walk again. Everyone believed that report except Glenn. He knew he had a choice either to respond to what life was pushing at him or to react. He did respond. He started attempting to move his feet when his parent were away. He made up his mind he wasn’t only going to walk but also run! And he did. In 1938, when he ran his fastest mile (and won an Olympic medal) in 4.04.4 mins, he owned 12 of the 31 fastest mile times on record! How will you respond today to challenges that come your way.

The message here is clear: If you respond to life instead of react to it, then you’ve got a much better chance of achieving success.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Help Others....Help Yourself

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” Think about it for a moment: Have you ever known a genuinely happy self centered person? I doubt.

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.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ideas - The Currency Of The Future

I recently read a story about Bill Gates, perhaps the richest man in the world that interested me. He was traveling through a particular airport and was asked by the custom officers if he had anything to declare. “Nothing, but a billion dollars worth of ideas” he declared. Interesting, isn’t it?

Take a moment and look around your environment. Everything you see from your laptop computer to Post-It Notes® started as an idea. The universe itself started as an idea in God’s mind. Even you were an idea at one time in your parent's minds. There is nothing you will see around that was not first an idea in the mind of someone.

The software in your two and a half pound brain spends twenty-four hours per day producing and processing ideas. When your brain is in sleep mode we call the idea production "dreaming." When you are awake and looking out the window, we call it "daydreaming." When you are awake and focused on a task we call it "thinking."

Enlightened managers now recognize that the assets of their employee's minds exceed the assets of their organization's bricks and mortar. When you take away all the assets of a company by any means and still leave its people, it will just take a while before that company springs up to life again. The people’s minds are the most valuable asset of any company that will succeed in this age and time.

The greatest problem faced by developing countries is not money problem. It is not power problem. It is an idea problem. Ideas are superior to money. They bring in money. Ideas are more powerful that the best currencies in the world. Infact, permit me to say that ideas are fast becoming the currency of the future. For example, exchange an idea with an associate at lunch. You both walk away with two ideas. If instead, you just exchanged one dollar bills at lunch, you'd both walk away with one dollar. Ideas rule the world.

Let me tell you a story I heard some years back. It is about a man by the name Asa Candler. Does the name sound familiar? I doubt. In 1889, he bought a formula and a 3 legged brass kettle containing a mixture of lime, cinnamon, cocoa leaves, and the seeds on a Brazilian shrub from a druggist, Dr John Pemberton. Together with an idea he had about marketing, he turned this formula into a money spinner. Today, the content of that kettle has grown to be the best known trademark in the world. It is sold in about one hundred and forty countries to 5.8 billion people in eighty different languages. It is today, one of the largest consumer of glass and a heavy consumer of sugar. You should be able to guess the product I am talking about by now. I am talking about Coca Cola. Indeed, ideas rule the world!

So, tell me why you won’t make it in life? Are you still sitting down there complaining about not having money or even the right connection? Do you have a great idea big enough to draw resources towards you? This is what really matter. Money will flow in the direction of good ideas. Ideas are like magnets. They attract money!

Be a magnet for ideas. Set aside 5 minutes each day, at the same time, and if possible in the same place, to think about new ideas. Ideas are the key to success and it only takes one to make you rich. By setting up a time and place to generate new ideas, it becomes one of your goals and by acting on it, it will happen. Just a few good ideas will set you apart from your competition and propel you towards your goals.

However, having ideas alone will not get you anywhere. You will need to work on your ideas. You will need to put them into action to get anything out of them."Ideas not coupled with action never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied." says Arnold Glasgow. Everyone who's ever taken a shower has an idea. It's the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it who makes a difference. The value of an idea lies in the using of it. A lot of people have great ideas, but nothing in the world is cheaper than a good idea with no action.

The real bankrupt is he whose expenditure of speech exceeds his income of ideas.

How big is your idea? Go act it out!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Longitude And Attitude ?

A recent survey of consumers shows that customers frequently quit a business for the following reasons.

1 percent - die
3 percent - move away
5 percent - other friends
9 percent - competitive reasons
14 percent - product dissatisfaction
68 percent - indifferent attitude of employee

Sixty-eight percent of all lost business results from the indifferent, uncaring attitudes of employees toward customers. Developing and maintaining a positive attitude toward yourself, your customers and your job is the first step to developing excellent sales techniques.

The President of the Bank of America told the following story which took place some years ago.

The Los Angeles branch of the Bank of America is housed in multilevel building with a parking structure on its lower floors. The large sky scrapper housed many businesses. For many years, customers using the bank would not be charged for parking if they simply presented a ticket to the teller for validation with any transaction.

Over the years however, people began abusing the privilege by making small or insignificant transactions at the bank, then spending the rest of the day shopping at other businesses in the building. Due to frequent infractions by shrewd customers, the bank reluctantly discontinued the privilege of validating tickets for free and unlimited parking. Validated tickets will henceforth be charged at a discounted hourly rate.

One morning, an elderly man dressed in jeans and a flannel shirt waited his turn in a long line of customers. The line slowly inched its way forward, until he made his way to the next open teller’s booth. The man made a small deposit and presented his parking ticket for validation. The teller stamped his ticket and informed him that he’ll have to pay a small amount for the parking. “Why? You’ve never required this before.” The elderly customer replied. The teller, faced with a crowded bank full of impatient customers, snapped, “Well, that’s the new rule. I don’t make them. I just dish them out.” “But I’ve been a customer in the bank for many years” the man persisted. “The least you can do is to validate it like you used to.” “You heard me, Mister. You got a problem with that, see the manager. I have a lot of people waiting behind you. If you could move along, that would make this morning go a little easier.” The flannel shirted gentleman made his way to the end of the long line of waiting customers, and once again inched his way back towards the teller’s booths. When he finally arrived, he approached the first available teller, withdrew $4.2million and went across the street to deposit it in another bank.

The teller’s attitude cost the bank $4.2 million! Never underestimate the destruction that can be wrought by a poor attitude.

I will pay a man more for his attitude and his ability to get along with others than for any other skill he may possess.

Yesterday, I had an experience with a taxi driver. He picked me up in front of my hotel room to see a friend in what I’ll later find out to be the remote part of town. We agreed on a price (which in my opinion was already on the high side) and then we set off. We spent over 30 minutes trying to locate the place all to no avail. Network was bad there also, so I couldn't call. This guy kept turning, reversing and asking people for the place. There was not a single time in the trip when he complained! Not once. Even when I gave up and told him to head back to the hotel, he insisted we try one more time. That was when we were able to locate our destination. The guy opined that since it was already late, he’ll wait and pick me up if I didn’t mind. “Of course not” I told him. Throughout the time I was with him, he left a positive impression on me about having the right attitude. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if he went on and on complaining. I was already doing that! When he dropped me at the hotel, he asked me to please add some money on top of our previous arrangement. I paid him more than double what we agreed and still felt I had not paid him enough. I wasn’t paying for the ride. I was paying for his attitude!

Attitude can make or mar your business. As a manager or an entrepreneur, you need to be careful who works for you and with you. My advice is that you value attitude even more than skills. Your employees attitude is even more important that technology. John D. Rockfeller once said, “I will pay a man more for his attitude and his ability to get along with others than for any other skill he may possess”.

Attitude is a critical factor for success (personal and business) and the one we have the most control over. As Earl Nightingale once said, "Our attitude toward life determines life's attitude towards us."

Go and win with the right attitude

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Hard Life….The Substitute To Hardwork

It was another holiday in Nigeria yesterday. We marked Nigerian Workers Day. I guess it will be right to start by saying Happy Workers day to all Nigerian workers. Since the year began, we have had over 10 holidays in this country. Now, don’t think I hate holidays. I don’t. However, I think we’ve had one too many. The ratio of work days to holidays between Jan and April is approximately 8:1. It’s like having a holiday once every 2 weeks! For me, that is an invitation do disaster. It’s a reflection of the state of our economy. Our over-dependence on oil gives us liberty to declare public holidays at will. Whether people are at work or not, the oil wells are producing oil!

Consider that for a moment. If our economy is largely dependent on human capital and we loose so much of money when people don’t work, then we will realise the value of work. There is dignity in labour. Infact, the dignity of labour is the greatest of all dignities. One of the greatest problems facing our nation and our continent is that we have too many people who are not working. Some may even go to work but are still not working (visit some government secretariat and you will need no further proof). We are lazy people both in the use of our hands and of our minds. This is a tragedy!

Many people think that hardwork is a curse. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Hardwork is the only substitute to a hard life. Either your work hard or you live hard. The choice is yours. Golden opportunities are nothing to laziness but hardwork makes the commonest chance golden. Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top. Believe me.

The dictionary is the only place in the world where “success” comes before “work” just because of the alphabetical arrangements of things. Work always comes before success, anywhere in the world. Show me a lazy man and I will show you a man who has kissed success goodbye. A wise man puts it in a wonderful way “show me a man who is diligent in his work, I will show you a man who will stand before kings and not before ordinary men”. The diligent and hardworking hand will always bear rule.

Many believe that success is just being lucky. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Success comes by consistent hardwork. I like the way Alan Bond puts it. He said “I've always worked very, very hard, and the harder I worked, the luckier I got” If you believe so much in luck, it’s important to remember that hardwork increases your chances of being lucky. Oprah Winfrey, one of the most successful women in the world puts it in a way that I like. She said “The big secret in life is that there is no big secret. Whatever your goal, you can get there if you’re willing to work”.

In the words of Vince Lombardi “I firmly believe that any man's finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is the moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle-victorious”

In the school of success, there is no substitute to hardwork. Nobody becomes great without hardwork. Nobody! So, get ready to work. Everything works for him that works!

Stay on top!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Living A Life Of Integrity

Can you ever make a commitment that people can take to the bank? I remember vividly, as I began writing this article, a tattoo I saw on an army officer in one of the films I saw “Death before Dishonour”. How I wish everyone could make this their motto. That’s one of the reasons I am writing.

Our world is in short supply of men and women with personal integrity and honesty. With more sophistication, it’s even easier to throw integrity to the garbage bin. From the salesmen on the street to the CEO of multinationals, from the Student Union Executives of our colleges to the National Assemblies of our nations, people have underestimated the importance of consistently living up to a set of ideals. What a tragedy!

Now, what is integrity? Integrity is from the Latin word “integer” which means wholeness, an unbroken or unreduced completeness, totality, incorruptibility, the quality or state of being complete or undivided. The concept of wholeness or consistency refers to behaviours and decisions which are consistently in line with our principles. These principles should generally be accepted as ethical and honest. Note that the key here is “consistency”.

One of the important elements of integrity is consistency - if we are unpredictable, if our decisions are dependent upon the day of the week, and the way we are feeling, others are unlikely to see us as maintaining integrity. How often have we changed the rules in the middle of the game for our own benefit or to the undue advantage for others?

More than 80% of business is from repeat clients and referrals. Word gets around. If you say that you will do something, is it going to get done? Is it going to get done when you said it will be done? Is it going to be the exact quality (or better) that you committed to? If the answer is yes, I can guarantee that you will succeed in business, for 2 reasons. One, you will get several repeat clients and referrals. Two, it is sad but true that most of your competition lacks integrity. Believe me. Integrity will give you a competitive edge! People are willing to pay extra for guaranteed services.

Businesses built on falsehood cannot and will not last. Read the dailies and listen to the news and you will be confronted everyday with the dilemma of integrity. Today, companies that seem to have done tremendously well 5 years ago do not even exist anymore! Need I give examples? Look closely at companies that have been around for a long time, you will see a culture of integrity. They may not always be right but they are honest. The may sometimes take wrong decisions but they did it in the integrity of their hearts and with the available data. Companies with the foundation of integrity are built to last.

There are several benefits of living with Integrity. Some of them include

-When you stick to what you know is right or wrong, you don’t regret anything you have done.

-People follow your example and act more honestly.

-Your powers of observation are more accurate. You can see the truth about others more easily.

-No needs to keep your stories straight as your stories are facts. Less mental work is required. You don’t have to tell a lie to cover another lie.

-You handle rejection and criticism more easily. For example, you are not bothered if someone says, "You charge too much!" As you have no doubt that your fees are fair, you know the other person has the problem.

-You have fewer personality conflicts with others even when you are aggressive.

-When you make a mistake, it is easy to accept responsibility and move forward. Honest men also make mistakes. They accept responsibilities for such mistakes, fix what is wrong and go on to succeed. They are honest also with what worked and what didn’t.

-You earn the reputation as a person with integrity. For example, employees brag about honest bosses. "He might be more honest about your work than you might want to hear, but he’s fair and doesn’t lie." This way, you build a performance driven organization. Your people know you are honest and upfront with them about their performance and they will do their best to improve.

-Your odds of being sued, fined or convicted of a crime go way down.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Birthday Special- The Catalogue Of A Hebrew Child

Sometime last week, I celebrated my birthday. As expected, I got several calls, texts and emails from well wishers. To all of you who sent any of these, I am most grateful. It was a special moment for me as I crossed another decade line.
Age is an important number that tells you how much you have left.

It is both an addition (1 year added to your last years’ age) and a subtraction (1 year subtracted from the reminder!)

I took time out to think both about the immediate past and about the future I desire. I realized again that time waits for no man. Ten years ago, I was talking about ten years time. I had a 10 year goal. Today is the 10 years I spoke about 10 years ago! Yes, it is. Then, a powerful truth struck me – What you do is as important as when you do it. When you see a 70 years old man riding a bicycle, you had better show some concerns. If you are building your first house when you are 80 and it is a 10 room apartment, you may die unnoticed in one of the rooms! No wonder a wise man cried and prayed to God
“ Oh satisfy us early with your mercy, that we may rejoice and be glad all our days” – Psa 90:14

Sometime ago, I stumbled on what in my opinion is one of the greatest secret of the Jewish race. They have a perfect understanding of the times. They are very time conscious. They know that the clock ticks away fast and they key in themselves into this move. No wonder Jews are very successful everywhere in the world they find themselves. Haven’t you noticed that?

Let me share with you the catalogue of a Hebrew Child

Decade of Learning/ Training

The age 0-10 is the decade of learning. During this period, there is a conscious effort to make the Hebrew child learn and learn and learn again. At about the age of 3, he is practically “deposited” with the Rabbi who teaches him all the laws of Moses by heart. By the time he is 9, a Hebrew child can recite by heart all the laws of Moses. He is already convinced about the reality of His God! It is difficult to bend him again and he knows the Bible inside out.

For parent reading this, I strongly advise that you do your best for your children in this age bracket. Send them to the best schools and invest in their learning. This is the decade that they’ll most likely be shaped

Decade of Discovery

Between the ages of 11-20, the Hebrew child starts to discover himself and his special gifting and skills. This is the decade when he begins to ask the question “who am I?”, “what are my special gifting and abilities?”

Read through one of the greatest catalogue of the Hebrews (the Bible) and you will see most of them asking these questions during this decade. Joseph started to explore his gifts of dreaming when he was 17. He discovered that he had a special ability with dreams. So also was David. At the age of 17, he discovered that he had special organizational abilities. He was tending his fathers’ sheep in readiness to lead God’s people.

If you are reading this and you are still within this age bracket, I challenge to discover yourself and your gifting. This will set you up for success.

Decade of Decision

This perhaps is the most critical decade for everyone. It happens between the age 21 and 30. In this decade, decisions that will affect one’s destiny are taking. You decide where to settle, where to work, where to live, who to marry and the likes. At age 30, Jacob suddenly woke up to reality after serving Laban for years. He asked “When will I be able to provide for my own house?” What a question to ask when you are 30!

You’ll most likely live with the consequences of the decisions you take during this decade. Some will take a decision to do drugs and will surely regret it. Some will go the way of sex and will be most miserable. Some, and I hope this includes you, will make right decisions and will benefit from it in subsequent decades.

Decade of Reigning

Especially when the right decisions are taken in the decade of decisions, this is the decade to reign in whatever area of life one has chosen. This is the decade to make waves – to be known, heard and highly rewarded. Jesus took the world by storm during this decade. 3.5 years into this decade, his fame went abroad! Same for David. During this decade, he led God’s people successfully and peacefully. He never lost a single battle. Check most people who are reigning their various fields of endevour and you’ll see that they fall here- of course there are few exceptions.

You know people say that “a fool at 40 is a fool forever”. Of course I do not agree. I will rather say, “a fool at 40 is a fool for as long as he still wants to be a fool”. However, the expectation is that at 40, you should be reigning. If you are not, something is wrong. So, are you?

I will stop here for now. I hope to write on the other decades when I cross the line. Summarily, they are;

Decade of Expansion: 41-50

Decade of Consolidation: 51-60

Decade of Handing Over: 61-70

You are a miracle. Go and happen

Monday, April 9, 2007

It's Alright To Dream Again

Have you ever been in a situation where all hope seems lost and it’s like you’ll never come out of it? Have you ever had a situation that just proves impossible? Have you ever been in the middle of a crisis and you can’t think of a way out? Have you ever believed so much in a thing and it didn’t work out the way you planned it? You are not alone.

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Madgalene came to the tomb and found that the stone was rolled aside from the entrance
John 20:1 – Living Bible

It’s a dark Sunday morning. It’s been dark since Friday. It’s been dark as a result of events that have taken place.

It’s been dark because of Peter’s denial. He had denied his Lord and Master on three different occasions. On one occasion, he swore that he never knew him when confronted by a teenage girl. It was still dark

It’s been dark because of the disciple’s betrayal. No one except John had the courage to travel with Jesus all the way. They were all scattered abroad. They ran for their dear lives. Permit me to say that it was not only Judas who betrayed his Lord. Majority of the disciples did. They fled when Jesus needed them most. It was still dark

It’s been dark because of Pilate’s cowardice. Read the account of Jesus’ betrayal and you’ll be amazed at the cowardice of a whole King. His name Pilate means close pressed or firm. You will agree with me that he was anything but firm on this particular day. He was been controlled by the crowd. He yielded to their wish even though he was dead sure it was a wrong thing to do. It was still dark.

It’s been dark because of Christ’s anguish. He must have gone through so much pain. How about a slap from one of the military officers after blindfolding him? What about the crown of thorn placed on his head? What about the heavy wood he had to carry most of the way down to Golgotha? What about the stripes that had to go round his exposed body? Consider the spiting, cursing and humiliation. What about the spikes that went through the hands that healed the sick? Oh, what anguish? No wonder it was still dark!

It’s been dark because of Satan’s glee. There was a party in hell over the events on Friday. As far as the devil and his agents were concerned, they were in charge now. The Son of God was dead and it was their time. It was still dark.

All these happened since Friday but it was still dark on Sunday morning. The only ember of light this morning was a band of women standing at a distance from the grave. They were the last to leave Calvary and the first to arrive at the grave. However, this morning promises nothing except an encounter with a corpse. They never imagined this could be the 1st Easter. They are not hoping the grave will be vacant. There was a time they dared to dream such dreams but not now. It’s too late for the incredible. The feet that walked on water have been pierced. The hands that cleansed lepers have been stilled. There noble aspirations had been spiked to yesterday’s cross. Their dreams appear dead and long forgotten.

Have you ever got to a junction like this in your life? A junction where everything seems dark? Where there seems to be no way forward? Where everything just appear gloomy? Before you give up and throw in the trowel, can you please follow me and see what happens afterwards?

Though it’s been dark hitherto, a miracle was just around the corner this Sunday morning. A double surprise was waiting for these women in quick succession!

First, the stone of the sepulcher had been rolled away! They must have been thinking of how to gain access to the sepulcher on their way there. But to their surprise, the stone was no longer there. As if that was not enough, they couldn’t find the body of Jesus in the grave again. While still wondering what could have happened, an angel explained to them that Jesus was risen as it’s been written! “You cannot be looking for the living among the dead”, the angel said. Suddenly, the darkness since Friday began to lift! A fresh hope sprang up in these women and later in the minds of the disciples.

After all the darkness, light shone. The greater the darkness, the brighter the glory of light. No wonder it was a special Sunday morning, one that we still celebrate till today. It was a morning with a great message of hope. That resurrection morning had a great message – It is Alright to Dream Again! Yes it is. The resurrection of Christ gives you this opportunity to dream again!

Happy Easter.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday?

What is good about the Friday?

Have you ever wondered why today is called “Good Friday” all over the world? Isn’t it rather surprising that a day that someone is tortured to death is referred to as a good day? Why on earth should we celebrate such a day?

Think about it for a moment. After the fall of man, when we sinned, we were doomed for hell and destruction. Sin is a sinker. It sank our destinies in God. We could not have access to God again. Over the years, we devised several means of getting back to God but couldn’t get it right. Man kept going back to sin. And “the wages of sin is death”. Sin has a price tag. It has a reward. The reward is death. We were doomed to die. Yes we were, until….Christ showed up!

The coming of Christ is the end of all crisis. We owed a debt we could not pay. He paid a debt he did not owe. What made that fateful Friday good was the restoration of Hope. It was the restoration of our place in God. That was made possible when he shed his precious blood on calvary’s cross.
No gift reveals God’s love more than the gifts on the cross. They came, not wrapped in paper, but in passion. Not placed around a tree, but a cross. And not covered with ribbons but sprinkled with blood. He didn’t have to give those gifts but he gave them anyway.

Do you know that events on that day changed the entire course of history? Infact, history stopped momentarily that fateful day and started again. Can I prove it to you? It’s quite simple. Before the day that Christ died, dates were recorded as B.C (Before Christ). After his death, dates are now reported differently! We record dates as A.D (After Death). For example, we are in 2007 A.D. That means, 2007 years after the death of Christ! That day became a reference point for the rest of man’s history! Are you still wondering why it is a good Friday!

On a lighter note, Easter mostly always fall in the month of April. That’s why I think those of us born in the month of April are special people. I am happy to be born in the month of Easter. My sincere desire is to change the course of history like Christ did. Isn’t that a noble desire?

Let me end this article by saying a Happy Birthday to all my April friends.

To Bolaji Ajayi - You a great friend. Thanks for sticking with me.

To Bolanle Okewunmi- What a wonderful daughter you are. You are going places

To Rotimi Oginni - My friend and aspiring Secretary General for the United Nations. Please keep your dreams. They will sure become realities.

To Ifenyi Mba, enjoy man! You are favoured.

To Dr. Kunle Ogunleye. Thanks for carrying the burden of over 500 wonderful people with me, 5-6 years ago. I still have fond memories.

To Dr Gbenga Adebayo, you are a rare gem.

To Lanipekun Tosin, my birthday mate. You and your family challenge me.

To Daniel Peters, keep on keeping on.

To Tope Akinyemi, thanks for being a source of strenght to my friend and accountability partner. You will reap in due season.

To my precious daughter, Bridget Ehime, you are too loaded to fail. Just too loaded

To my darling wife, Olubukola. If an angel is missing in heaven, God would not have to look too far. That angel surely will be in my house. What can I do without you? Thanks for sharing everything with me, including my birthday month.

And to all those i didn't remember to mention, you are destined for the top!

So….I hope this Friday is good for you and it will be for me.

Happy Easter.
You are destined for the top of the topmost top! See you there!!