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.

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