Monday, April 28, 2008

Lessons From Across The Sea

As I write this, I am on board a South African Airline from Johannesburg to Lagos. I have been away from home in the last couple of days. It’s been like months away from my family. I miss my wife and daughter so much I can’t wait for this plane to touch down (Well, I’ll have to wait if I want it to touch down at the right destination. Don’t you think so?)

I am a student of Learning. I believe so much in continuous learning. Infact, I believe that all the years we spent within the walls of the University are just teaching us how to learn. We were just learning to learn! I mean, how many of us can really remember the things we learnt in Year 2 or 3 in the University? Well, for me, I remember I was thought something on Laplast transformation/equation, Navier Stokes equation, and all, but I am not sure I have ever used them nor will ever use them! The most important things was that learning them thought me how to learn.

..the cheapest way to be free from all burdens – financial, moral, spiritual, physical e.t.c, is by learning.

Do you know something I found out? The best and quickest way to liberate people from bondage, sickness, poverty, frustrations, failure and any other vice is giving them knowledge. It is getting them to learn. The greatest teacher that ever lived gave this advice to all humanity. “Come to me, all of you who labours and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Come, and learn of me….”. Did you see that? Are you going though a heavy burden? Are you going though trying times? Are you going through storms of life? Jesus recommends a tablet for you. He said, “Come and learn of me”. Don’t come and cry to me. Don’t come and complain to me. Don’t come to me looking morose and melancholic. Come and learn. It’s very clear from here that the cheapest way to be free from all burdens – financial, moral, spiritual, physical e.t.c, is by learning.

The more you know, the better life becomes for you. A wise man said “If you know better, you will live better!” He can’t be more correct. In my opinion, there are no special problems in life. All we have is special ignorance. A man who lacks financial knowledge feels that poverty is such a great problem. He feels he needs a “special force” to solve his poverty problem. What he needs is light. It is knowledge. When he learns and applies the principles of prosperity, he will realize how cheap it is to bid final farewell to poverty. Little wonder why great nations of the world put a lot of value on education – the vehicle of learning.

...there are no special problems in life. All we have is special ignorance.

While in South Africa, I was ready to learn as usual. I observed well enough to learn so I can be better. Here are a few of the things I learnt

Pay Attention to Details

As simple as this sound, so many people have lost great opportunities by not paying attention to details – by not crossing the “t’s” and dotting the “i’s”. I knew before I left for SA that yellow fever vaccination was a requirement for entry into SA. I got a yellow fever card (didn’t actually get the vaccination) and checked to be sure it was stamped. Armed with this, I was sure that I will have no issue with immigrations at all. I was wrong. When it got to my turn, I went confidently to the counter and greeted the immigration officer with a lot of confidence. “Good morning maam. How are you doing today”? “Well, I am fine” she replied. “Can I see you passport and vaccination card” she requested. “Here they are”, passing them to her confidently. After carefully checking through them, she said “Sir, I am sorry but your vaccination card is not dated. I am not sure of the day when you took this vaccination. I cannot allow you into SA now”. Are you kidding me! How can something as small as dating a vaccination card prevent me from going into SA? I was given 3 options. One, to return back to Nigeria immediately. Two, to remain quarantined in SA for 2 weeks before I gain entry. Three, to go to the airport Clinic and pay $85 to get the yellow fever injection and the vaccination card. You can guess the option I took. I lost $85 by not paying attention to details.

I know there are people reading this that will identify with opportunities that have missed by not paying attention to details. I am sure it would have cost you more than $85. The question is, have you learnt from it? Will you let it rob you again after now?

If in Doubt, Ask

Many people, especially men, think that asking question belittles them. They’ll rather guess than ask. Sometimes, we end of embarrassing ourselves. On my return trip, a guy, who obviously was travelling for the 1st time was on board. He didn’t know anything about travelling in an airplane, not even how to get his seat number. He wouldn’t ask. He was looking for seat 68G and good enough, he located it. Someone was already seating on seat 68H and on his own seat were his headphone, pillow and blanket. “Excuse me, you are sitting on my seat” he said to the guy in seat 68H. “No, I am not”, the guy replied. “Why are you putting your entire load on my seat? Please remove them because I want to sit down”. Of course, everyone around had a good laugh! He talked to the guy very impolitely about something he could have simply asked. He ended up embarrassing himself. If in doubt, please ask. There is no harm is asking. There is no pride in not asking!

There is no harm is asking. There is no pride in not asking!

I took a taxi from Johannesburg to Midrand. I asked the driver if he knew where I was going and he answered in the affirmative. When we got to Midrand, he seemed lost. We were just driving around the place. Guess what? He had a map in his car! I suggested that we consulted the Map but he didn’t see any wisdom in that. “Don’t worry. This is my territory. I will get the place” he said. Needless to tell you that we spent more than an hour in Midrand without locating the place. I got tired of him and pulled a call through to the office that I was heading to. They gave me a simple direction to the place and in 5 minutes, we were there. We have passed through the adjoining street twice in the last 1 hr. Asking would sure have prevented the loss of time, money and energy.

Make it Simple. There is great power in simplicity

I went to SA to write a professional exam. I already had a picture of what the organization of the examination will look like. However, I was positively surprised. It was a simplified approach to doing things. It looks really very simple.

You know sometimes we think that something has to be complex to make sense. That’s wrong thinking. Simple things make more sense and achieve better results

Author John Maxwell writes, “There is great dignity in simplicity. Most of the immortal works of literature not only have the brilliance of brevity but also the dignity of simplicity. The Lord’s Prayer consists of only 57 words, none more than two syllables. The declaration of Independence, which revolutionizes the thinking of the entire world, can be read by a fourth grader in less than five minutes. Simplicity is eloquent; it speaks loud and clear without insulting the intelligence of the listener.”

I hope you have also learnt from the above lessons.

Never stop learning. When you stop learning, you stop growing


Dipo said...

Great Write Up!!!!!!!
Oga mi, anoda exam smashed abi. Its amazing how much things we have the ability to learn from daily but dont't. All these scenes are common occurences but it takes a heart that seeks to learn to see lessons in them.
Great work again sir

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such a great post again.


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