Your alarm wakes you up, and you still see the bills by the side of your bed. You sigh deeply and fold yourself back into your thick blanket because you are cold from life’s worries, opening your pores and making you vulnerable. So, you drag yourself out of your bed to prepare for a 9 to 5 job that makes you feel trapped in a rat race and unfulfilled. You are pigeonholed in that job. However, you can’t leave the job because you have bills to pay, and the economy can sometimes be quite hostile.
“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservation, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality, nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit.” — Christopher McCandless.
You try to put up a smile when you are out and about, so people don’t notice the weight of the world on your shoulders. On some days, when you, unfortunately, hit traffic on your way to work, it looks like the world just crashed in front of you as you envision your angry boss waiting to tear you apart as soon as you scramble your way into work—late because of the traffic. Day after day, this cycle continues, and you start to hate the way your life is panning out. The time has come for you to stop dreaming and start doing.
Most of us have faced this phase of life at one point or the other. Life throws spears at us, and only a few people have the shields to avoid its piercings and the toll of damage it delivers. Life at times can be like the boisterous waves of the sea, tossing and ravaging all that is in its way. It can get tough at times; however, as Robert Schuller once said in his epic book, “Tough times never last, but tough people do,” should give us some dose of encouragement to continue forging ahead. We must toughen our will as we go through the challenging situations of life.
We all respond to circumstances differently, and only a few decide and make the concerted effort needed to escape the rat race’s cyclical life. Life throws a lot at everyone, but only “the few” have the oomph to break away from the web of the everyday struggle that typifies the life they wish not to live. Only “the few” make the dreams of the life that they want to experience a reality. Many people, lacking the willpower, or just afraid, chose to remain in the life they loathe. It requires a precise mold of willpower to transform and change their lives’ status quo to the desired lifestyle they dream about. It’s time for you to act.
Here is the hard truth—changing your life is not a walk in the park; sometimes, it sure can be a daunting experience. It can be arduous, but the truth also is that it is not impossible. So, would you preferably remain stuck in your unfavorable circumstance because you are afraid of the difficulty it takes to change your life? If you cower because of fear, that would be a sad choice. Nothing will change until you change. You must make up your mind and lay a grasp on the bullhorns of the change that you desire. You must pay the price for the change that you want. It’s time for you to take action, don’t procrastinate your change.
“The one thing you’ve gotta do is that you need to always do the best you can do, no matter what the given situation, no matter what comes up against you. You do the best you can do, and you never give up. Never quit.” — James Corden.
Wouldn’t it better you took a chance to seek a transformation of your status quo? Trying is better than not trying at all. Often, people choose to remain in their uncomfortable circumstances because they are crippled by fear—the fear of trying to make a change. They worry about not wanting to fail should they attempt to change, and the transformation fails—fear of embracing the unknown cripples their will to move forward. Fear of not wanting to leave the confines of their present situation holds them back from their dreams. If the life you are currently living is not the life you want to live, is it not better that you do something about it? However, the choice is yours to make at the end of the day.
Changing your status can be as complicated as Advanced Calculus for those who find Mathematics challenging, but it all starts to turn for the better when you decide to have a better life. Start by embracing the pain and know that failures are necessary for a better you. Know what you want in life. Know that you only have one life to live. Be determined to make it a fun life that you will celebrate, not a life you will tolerate. Dwell on what you love doing most and develop an innovative idea of making money from what you cherish most. Create! Innovate! Elevate!
“Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation.” — Michael Jordan.
Start small and take it one step at a time and you will see your life gradually change for the better. Understand that anything worthwhile takes some effort to accomplish. Happiness is a choice, but life still happens. No matter what position you find yourself in, there is always a way out. However, it would help if you made a conscious effort not to dwell on the situation as the world has already ended. You can live a better life. Start doing something about it and get rid of all excuses that will make you remain stuck with your present reality. The time for change is now!
[Source: Original Version: If this is Not the Life You Want to Live, Do Something About It. Cited and edited with the permission of Nelly Essien by the Editor-In-Chief].
Pay Attention to the Road Stupid!
Some people live in the past so much that they forget to live in the now. We can learn from the past, but we should never pitch our tents there. Let us look forward to the prize ahead in the future by building in the present. Using a driving allegory, let us understand more about this. Please, read all about it.
Some people live in the past so much that they forget to live in the now. The past is an astute teacher that instructs us on previous happenings that allow us to live better in the present to have the future that we desire. Albeit an intelligent teacher, we cannot remain perpetually in his classroom. We must quickly apply the lessons we garner from the past to the present. Our present determines our tomorrow.
“Step on the past lessons and transcend. Dwell on past laurels, and it will likely drown your present like a millstone hanging around your neck.” — Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze.
Dwelling perpetually in the past will make us miss out on the present happenings that determine our tomorrow. Whether good or bad, lessons from the past can positively or negatively affect our everyday living. Learning suitable lessons from the past helps us shape our present for the better. We grow, we evolve, we become the very best that the universe has to offer. Wrong lessons of the past can either become mistakes we can avoid in the present if we heed their lessons. However, we can repeat mistakes of the past if we fail to learn.
Hence, we only need a quick glance back to the past—learn and move forward to become that person that destiny intends us to become. Once again, dwelling on the past, whether good or bad, can negatively hamper our present, which affects our future. No wonder many end up having ghastly Destiny-Accidents that dot their lives and existence. In the words of Robert Plant, an English singer and songwriter, once said that “The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.” Step on the past lessons and transcend. As you wade through the waters of this life, don’t dwell on past laurels. Doing so would likely drown your present like a millstone hanging around your neck.
A quick glance back to the past is akin to the automobile driving process in some ways. But how? Have you ever wondered why you have one big front windscreen in your car and three small rearview mirrors? When driving, you look forward to the road via your front windscreen, right? As you go, you take swift glances backward through your rearview mirror at the center of your front windscreen. Or you use your side rearview mirrors to monitor your left and right sides as you flow and navigate through. Sometimes when driving, you may need to turn to the left or to the right quickly to check your blind spots.
However, when you drive, you focus 99.5% of the time on looking at the road ahead. The other 0.5% of the time is spent using your center rearview, and two side mirrors to take a quick glance backward or to the sides. In addition, you also take quick glances at your blind spots to make sure that you are not missing anything. The essence of this all is part of the defensive driving process to ensure that you are staying clear of others on the road. Although the hypothetical percentage of viewing the sides and rear while driving is infinitesimal, it could be the key to a life-or-death situation on the road. Also, these days, people take quick glances at their phones while driving—a bad and dangerous habit, to be honest. (NB. Don’t text and drive).
The previous paragraph explains the normal process of driving. We spend the predominant amount of our driving time paying attention to the road ahead. We do our best to avoid distractions while we survey the road as we drive. However, what would happen if you flip the script in percentages? If you spend 99.5% of the time looking backward and 0.5% of the time looking forward on the road through your windscreen, what will happen to you as you drive? Umm, your guess is as good as mine—you instantly become a danger to yourself and others on the road. You will most definitely have an accident on the road, and may God help you if you survive the crash. Pay attention to the road stupid!
Don’t get me wrong, the past is essential. There are things in everyone’s past that teach them—successes, Relationships, Trauma, etc. Harvey Mackay, an American businessman, author, and syndicated columnist with Universal Uclick, once said that we should “Learn from the past, but don’t live there. Build on what you know so that you don’t repeat mistakes. Resolve to learn something new every day. Because every 24 hours, you have the opportunity to have the best day of your company’s life.” The past is a learning place, not a dwelling place. Take a glance at it and let it inform your present.
So, regarding the past, we are meant to take a quick glance at it, learn, and continue moving forward. Focus on the road ahead—focus on your destiny, goals, ambitions, and purposes so that you can get to your destination in one piece. However, we must spend 99.5% of the time looking ahead; looking to the past should be 0.5% of the time. Just the same way, we take agile glances at our center rearview and two side mirrors. Flip the percentages in this metaphorical analysis. If you spend 99.5% of your time looking at the past losses and victories you have experienced—you will soon be a goner. You will crash your destiny so bad that you will become history yourself.
Friends, do you think that Paul of Tarsus was a boneheaded idiot when he made that statement in Philippians 3:12-14 that “I have not yet reached my goal, and I am not perfect. But Christ has taken hold of me. So, I keep on running and struggling to take hold of the prize. My friends, I don’t feel that I have already arrived. But I forget what is behind, and I struggle for what is ahead. I run toward the goal, so that I can win the prize of being called to heaven. This is the prize that God offers because of what Christ Jesus has done?” (Contemporary English Version (CEV)) Far from that, he was a sage at best to say that “we keep our eyes on the mark, the bullseye ahead,” so that we don’t shipwreck our individual causes.
“Life is a culmination of the past, an awareness of the present, an indication of a future beyond knowledge, the quality that gives a touch of divinity to matter.” — Charles Lindbergh.
So, what has happened has happened—we cannot change the past. What is behind us are lessons. We can only pick up the blocks of history to build the edifices of our tomorrow in the present. The building blocks of your historical heritage are of no use when you remain in the past. Even if you had a DeLorean to go back in the past, it is still not humanly possible to build in the past. We can only create now. So, don’t be stupid to not pay attention to the road of your destiny. Pay attention to the road. Keep looking ahead to the end of your purpose and destination. Feed the data from your past into the Central Processing Unit (CPU) of your present. Use this information to write the program for your future. Carpe diem!
15 Stratagems for Bouncing Back When Out of It
Are you fed up with everything? Are you at the point where you are ready to throw in the towel? Don’t give up yet—don’t give in at all. Learn the fifteen things you can do to pick yourself up when you are at your wit’s end! Please read all about it!
Life is indeed a rollercoaster. We are constantly in the game of Life’s ups and downs, and quite honestly, we sometimes do feel burnout and get to the point of wanting to give up. But we don’t have to give up. As the saying goes, if life throws you lemons, make lemonade out of it. Simply put, you don’t have to hit rock bottom before you get out of the rut. Use the challenges that life throws at you and make something good out of it. Make good use of the difficult times in your life.
“I have to pick myself up every day and say, ‘The show must go on,’ meaning Life as I know it must go on, whatever the obstacle is, I know I can handle it, and I can get through it.” — Jennie Garth.
No one’s life is perfect; we all have one thing or the other that poses a challenge. Chances are, the bills we must pay, the family we have to provide for, the work we have to go to, or perhaps the fact that you are out of a job are all good enough reasons to weigh us down. Life always has a way of hitting us from various angles that could hinder our psyche and will to continue. However, what you make out from those circumstances is what matters most. Our approach to these life changes is what makes the difference at the end of the day.
For example, you’ve been to several job interviews and only get rejection letters. It’s depressing. However, it is not enough for you to give up. Your problem may not be a career dilemma. It could be financial problems, health issues (e.g., the COVID-19 Pandemic), mental health variances and exhaustion, relationship issues, and other forms of stress. Ask yourself questions, how can you re-strategize? What can you do differently? Where can you make lifestyle adjustments to help better your current circumstance? These questions will help to offset the idea of giving up.
“Failure at some point in your life is inevitable, but giving up is unforgivable.” — Joe Biden, 46th U.S. President.
Many things could cause us to get fed up with Life. However, the rule of the game is never to give up. Thomas A. Edison once said that “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Getting fed up and giving up should never be our option. Because of this, I have put down the following practical steps that will help you learn how to overcome self-rejection and regain self-confidence. You will be a much happier person and live a fulfilled life. Let’s dig into some of these steps:
#1. Call a Spade a Spade!
Let’s be honest here. You cannot tackle a problem if you don’t first admit there was one. You must come to a point whereby you tell yourself the truth. You must keep it real and acknowledge that something is not going the way you want it. Don’t sit and pretend that everything is fine when you know it is not. Instead, sit yourself down and think about it for a moment. What are those things that are not working out for you right now? Once you have a clear admittance that something is not right, you can start all over again.
#2. Discover Who You Are
You won’t appreciate yourself if you don’t know your true worth or what you want to make out of Life. Self-awareness is essential when you are on a journey of picking up yourself. The fact remains that if you don’t know your worth or who you indeed are, you might continue on a cyclical journey. No one wants to be called a champion in the game called circle. You want your life to be full of purpose and meaning.
“Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you; they’re supposed to help you discover who you are.” — Bernice Johnson Reagon.
To help you drill down this point more, first, try out a personality test. Second, take a pen and a small notebook, find a quiet corner, or time and write down your likes, dislikes, personality traits, hobbies, and family history—you can ask family members to help with the family history. Third, once you’ve done that, take some time and reflect on your notes. These questions should give you a better understanding of who you are at the end of the day. They would help you know who you want to become.
When doing the personality test, be honest to write both your good and bad traits. The truth is that we are all made up of both good and bad characteristics. If you are hot-tempered, funny, attractive, hostile, sensitive, open, defensive, etc.—write what pertains to you down. Doing so will help you distinguish the good from the bad. It will also help you start working on improving these bad traits. The good news is that there is room for change if you so desire.
“I think self-discovery is the greatest achievement in life, because once you discover yourself and accept what you are, then you can fulfill your true potential and be happy.” — Marco Pierre White.
This simple personality test exercise allows you to define your characteristics, know yourself better, see yourself in a well-adjusted manner, and above all, inspire you to become self-aware and make changes. If you wish to take a more profound journey to discover who you are, grab a copy of the book, Unearthing Your Latent Potentials: Discovering the Gems of Your Subliminal-Self by Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze. The author takes you on a practical journey that gives you answers on who you indeed are.
#3. Have Self-Confidence
Once you have discovered who you truly are, embrace it and have confidence in your ability and qualities. In the words of Marcus Garvey, Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator, “If you have no confidence in self, you are twice defeated in the race of life.” Having self-confidence boosts your energy to focus on your goals and keeps you motivated. Realistically, confidence is not an attribute one is born with, to say the least. It is a virtue or trait that you cultivate over time. The more you practice, the better you will get at it.
#4. Appreciate Yourself
Why wait for others to appreciate you? Every individual is unique and has different purposes. No matter how awkward you might think you are, appreciate yourself! Your uniqueness distinguishes you from everyone else because that is your unique identity, and you can use that to change the world. Enjoying yourself requires you to own up to your imperfections. After all, no one is perfect. Also, dwelling more on your positive traits rather than negatives will help you see yourself in a good light.
#5. Be Grateful
Having a grateful attitude will help you to pick yourself up quicker. Why? Because it allows you to appreciate people and things around you. It also opens your eyes to realize where you have come from, which gives you a humble perspective of Life. You may not be where you want to be at the end of the day, but it often is quicker for us to forget what we had or where we used to be. Joel Osteen, the American pastor, and televangelist, once said that “Choosing to be positive and having a grateful attitude is going to determine how you’re going to live your life.” So, it pays to be grateful for where you are now and your accomplishments thus far. Being thankful is a conscious choice that you must make. You must be intentional about it.
“Every day, I like to wake up and remind myself to be grateful for the simple things.” — Miranda Kerr.
One effective way to develop a grateful attitude is by keeping a gratitude journal. Create a journal daily for a week or as you wish, write down things that you are thankful in Life for as it comes to you. Start from your body, walk your way down to your personality. Write about what people say they like about you. For example, do you like the shape of your nails, your dressing, your hair, the tone of your voice? Put them down. Do you like that you are a confident individual—you are not shy, or you want to see the best in people—write them down. Has someone ever said they like the way you speak, your smile, or that you have a lovely voice? Write them down. By the time you carry out this exercise for a week, you will have many things to be grateful for at the end of the day.
#6. Think Positive
To be successful in the journey of becoming your best self, you need first to be proactive and develop a positive attitude about yourself. How do you achieve that? Think positive about yourself, and you will see that self-transformation working its magic. Stop thinking of all the things that could ever go wrong or how people will judge you. Channel your energy on how you can succeed at something that seems challenging to you. The more you think positively about yourself, the more it will reflect in your actions, and without any shadow of a doubt, you will feel a sense of satisfaction with yourself.
#7. Speak Positively About Yourself
It is possible to think positively about yourself without verbalizing it. There is power in positive self-speak. The speaking aspect of it makes it more real. It gives you a sense of ownership. It reinforces what you believe in because words are compelling. What you say about yourself can either motivate you or demotivate you. It could nudge you into actualizing your dream self, or it could destroy your future eventually.
“Live life to the fullest and focus on the positive.” — Matt Cameron.
Self-talk reaffirms your purpose in Life. The more you speak positively about yourself, the more you will believe in the meaning of why you are here. Rather than saying ‘I can’t,’ substitute it with ‘I’m able to.’ Your words define you. We end up becoming what we speak about ourselves. Our words are catalysts that motivate our becoming whatever our mind creates. We are what we think. We become what we think because we speak what we believe. What we think and what we say is concomitantly in pari passu. So, do yourself a favor and talk positively about yourself.
#8. Spend Time with Positive People
The company that we keep says a lot about who we are and who we eventually morph into—bad company corrupts, good company elevates. Spending time with positive people is very transformative. Associating with such people helps shift our perspective about Life and readjusts our mindset to positive thoughts too. It also influences our behavior and choices. They make us believe in ourselves and achieve our dreams.
#9. Stop Complaining
Complaining without trying to change your situation doesn’t make it any better. It’s ok to vent concerning the things you are going through occasionally. However, it would help if you never made it a habit to always complain about everything. In the words of Harvey Mackay, American businessman, author, and syndicated columnist with Universal Uclick, “Life isn’t fair. It’s true, and you still have to deal with it. Whining about it rarely levels the playing field, but learning to rise above it is the ultimate reward.” Whining or complaining never makes things better. Learn to arise the problems you have.
“A little less complaint and whining, and a little more dogged work and manly striving, would do us more credit than a thousand civil rights bills.” — W. E. B. Du Bois.
So, when next you are about to complain, stop, think, and ask yourself if it is worth it. Complaining is a limiting action—you make no progress. It makes you toxic and disgusting to others when you are always angry and complaining. In the words of Dennis Prager, the American conservative radio talk show host, and writer, “Complaining not only ruins everybody else’s day, but it also ruins the complainer’s day, too. The more we complain, the more unhappy we get.” Stop it already! Complainants are petty and only adds stress to us. The truth is that it is an unnecessary exercise. Please give it up as it will help to reframe your mind.
#10. Quit Pleasing Others
It is good to be nice to people, help them, and do nice things for them. However, please, please know your boundary. When we aim to please others at our own expense, we deny ourselves the care and attention we need. You need to know your limit and learn to say no sometimes. Pleasing others doesn’t make you any better person than you are already.
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” — Arthur Ashe.
Often, people are not aware of the way they made you feel. On many occasions, if they treat you in ways that are not welcoming to you, they probably didn’t mean to many times over. Most of the time, the people you are trying to please don’t appreciate your effort, and that’s why it is essential to know when to draw the line. Care and love others but remember to love yourself in the process.
Can I drop this here? Everybody must not like you no matter how hard you try. I know it sounds harsh, but without any apology, it is the truth. You can never please everyone, even if you try. Some people are deliberately difficult. You must be intentional in cutting such people off as they are chronic timewasters. So why waste your time, energy, and resources trying to please someone who does not care or appreciate your efforts. Like the quote says above, “…do what you can,” even when it comes to pleasing others.
#11. Stop Comparing Yourself with Others
Comparing yourself with others can be very draining and bad for your sanity. It spawns from the pursuit of always keeping up with the Jone’s. It won’t get you anywhere. Stop trying to be like everyone else. Just be yourself! Be grateful for what you have, where you are in life, and who you are! Because if you believe in yourself, you should also be thankful for where you are going.
“Enjoy your own life without comparing it with that of another.” — Marquis de Condorcet.
You may not know the secret behind that person’s life that you are wasting your time comparing yourself with and trying to compete with them. Instead of comparing your status with someone else’s, invest your time and energy developing and improving yourself. You can spend some time and money if needed and learn new skills and hobbies. Doing this can make you a better person to the person you are comparing yourself with after all is said and done.
#12. Get Your Hands on Your Passion
Find what you are good at and explore it more—get your hands on your passion factor and keep it there. It may be that you have the skills to write, and you’ve never discovered that you would love writing until you tried it. The moment you wrote a piece, you felt relaxed, and most importantly, your audience loved it; you then began writing more frequently. Your passion could be anything! We encourage you to lay your hands on it and never let go if it is something positive. Nurture it and grow it until it becomes an enormous metaphorical oak tree of achievement that you could ever envision!
“You can do anything as long as you have the passion, the drive, the focus, and the support.” — Sabrina Bryan.
Spending time doing what you love can be an excellent way to detox your mind of all the negatives. If you are not sure what your passion might be, ask yourself what you love doing in your spare time—that could be the clue that makes all the difference. Do you love knitting, cooking, walking, reading, exercising, or even chatting to friends? You never know; you might start making a living out of your passion once you’ve discovered it. For me, I love baking as a means to de-stress. You could explore how you can start a talk show if you love chatting. Just get your hands on what you love doing and do it more.
#13. Help Someone
I know you might say, “Umm, wait a second, am I not the one that needs help here? Hey! You can help someone pick themselves up when you are on the journey of picking yourself up. No matter how deep or down you think you are, some other person may be in a more precarious state than you. Someone out there needs your help and your time. You may not have the resources to offer to them, but your time and words of encouragement will make an impact in their journey—intentionally lookout for someone to help. There is a satisfaction that spawns from such altruistic action that allows you further heal and transcend.
#14. Just Be Yourself
Being true to who you are is good for your mental well-being. Your mental health is crucial, especially when passing through the doldrums of pain and life pressures. Being true to who you are will help you realize when you need help. If you are true to yourself, you should know the point when you can’t take it anymore and that it is time to speak to someone and seek professional help. In the multitude of proper counsel, there is safety. If you’re tired of everything, it’s okay to ask for help.
“Be yourself, but always your better self.” — Karl G. Maeser.
Be true to yourself. Seek help when you are tired of living! Seek counsel! Don’t take matters into your own hands. Being fed up is normal, but you must never do anything harsh. Some people feel like when they are in that state, they should end it all. Does killing yourself solve the issue? No, it doesn’t. Suicide is the coward’s way out of a bad situation. Be yourself, but always seek help when you feel like you can’t take it anymore. Seek counsel! Seek help when you are in your depths.
Just be yourself! Stop trying to keep up with the Jone’s. Don’t pack undue stress on yourself when you know you can’t handle it anymore. Free yourself from the maze of trying to be someone else. Emulation will emasculate the will of your true personality and purpose. Quit trying to be a people pleaser, quit complaining, quit comparing yourself with others! Stop and be yourself! Believe in your intrinsic values! Pursue the golden goals that stipulate your personality with a positive mindset and indulge in your unique attributes.
The last point I will cover in this piece, “15 Stratagems for Bouncing Back When Out of It,” is the factor of prayer. I don’t think that this piece will be complete without covering prayer. As a Christian, I will share my perspective on prayer and how it can help you pick yourself up when you are out of it. I believe that there is a God who is forever powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present in the lives of those who believe in Him. He is a God of relationship and wants to always communicate in the place of prayer with His own.
“Darkness comes. In the middle of it, the future looks blank. The temptation to quit is huge. Don’t. You are in good company… You will argue with yourself that there is no way forward. But with God, nothing is impossible. He has more ropes and ladders and tunnels out of pits than you can conceive. Wait. Pray without ceasing.” — Hope. John Piper.
No matter how down in the dumps you may be, God is forever near to pull you out. Cultivate a praying habit. Oswald Chambers, the early-twentieth-century Scottish Baptist evangelist, and teacher said, “We have to pray with our eyes on God, not on the difficulties.” Focusing on your difficulties will only cause you to sink deeper and deeper into the solar plexus of your problems. William Temple, the English Anglican priest, who served as Bishop of Manchester, Archbishop of York, and Archbishop of Canterbury, once said that “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.” Prayer is the master key that can help you pick yourself up. Instead, when you pray, God will pick you up. I have done it, and He did it, time and time again.
Some people may choose to oppose me for stipulating prayer as a way to pick yourself up when you are out of it, mentally or physically. The opposition may be because you do not believe in God. Oh well, I can’t help you on that note because of your apathy in saying that God does not exist. From my experience, God exists. From all the pointers I have given you via this piece, this point is the most compelling. The reason being that prayer changes things.
Praying uplifts, you from the darkest dungeons that you may ever be in, to say the very least. No matter what we are going through, we can always look up to God for help. He is always present to answer. Mr. T, an American actor, television personality, and retired bouncer, bodyguard, and professional wrestler, once said that “God is on my side, and that’s all I need. I get up in the morning; I pray to God. I don’t pray to the president, the governor, the mayor, no black caucus, no this and that. I pray to God, and that’s the end of it.” I resign with that.
In this piece, we have seen fifteen steps to use and pick ourselves up when in a dark and lowly place. First, we must keep it real by being brutally honest with ourselves and the situations we are going through. Second, we must go the extra mile in discovering our purpose. Learning who we are gives us better clarity and direction when facing scalar situations. Third, we must cultivate the art and virtue of self-confidence.
“To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving.” — Jerry Seinfeld.
Fourth, self-love is very vital. As much as we love and care for others, we must learn to appreciate ourselves. Fifth, we must become intentional in cultivating an attitude of gratefulness. An attitude of gratitude opens the doors to greatness. Sixth, it would help if you become a positive thinker. We become our thoughts—as a person thinks, so is he/her. Seventh, you must learn positive speak—as a person thinks, so they speak. As you talk, so you eventually become.
Eighth, spend time with positive people—Iron sharpens iron. The positivity of such people will eventually rub off on you. Ninth, stop complaining. Being a whinner only makes you toxic. Complaining does not solve any problem at all. Stop it already! Tenth, don’t be a people pleaser. I am not saying that you should not be nice to people; however, remember to love yourself when loving others. Eleventh, stop comparing yourself to others. You are just packing a Herculean load of stress on yourself! Be you! Enjoy yourself and the process of your becoming!
“Life is about how much you can take and keep fighting; how much you can suffer and keep moving forward.” — Anderson Silva.
Twelfth, get your hands on your passion, and don’t let go. It is an excellent way to detox yourself when you are going through the doldrums of life. Thirteen, help someone! No matter how bad you think life is treating you, someone has it worse than you have it. There is healing in helping someone worse off than yourself. Fourteenth, just be yourself. It is as simple as that, to be honest. It will help your mental outlook. Fifteenth, pray. God can help you out of any dark hole.
Strategic Living as a Lifestyle
Strategic living as a lifestyle is possible. It is a mindset thing. It is an attitude thing, which also determines your altitude in life. To find out more about how you can cultivate this mindset, please read all about it.
Are you aware that you can learn so much from life when you closely observe the happenings around you in your everyday life? Hidden in plain sight are sundry nuggets of wisdom and erudition waiting for discovery. There’s so much knowledge to acquire when we are open to lore and mindful that life itself is a teacher. Life is like the game of chess. It takes us being intentional and strategic to make these life discoveries, ceteris paribus.
“When things do not go your way, remember that every challenge—every adversity—contains within it the seeds of opportunity and growth.” — Roy T Bennett.
How would you react to challenging situations that occur without notice in your everyday lives? Your perspective regarding issues in life is of great importance because it will, to a large extent, determine how you confront the vicissitudes of life. Strategic living as a lifestyle is about being intentional and having a positive attitude in every situation. Let me share a story with you to give you some insights.
It Pays to Be Strategic!
Once, on a sunny and hot tropical afternoon in the bustling city of Port Harcourt, Rivers State in Nigeria, I had an interesting experience with my car keys that taught me a life lesson on strategy. The event happened way back before the advent and prevalence of remote keyless system (RKS) fobs. I had driven to a business meeting with a client. After the meeting, I came out to notice that my car key had a slight bent to it.
“Strategy is about making choices, trade-offs; it’s about deliberately choosing to be different.” — Michael Porter.
Upon close examination, I felt the bent would not affect the keys’ usage. But to my utter dismay, it did. It not only got stuck in the ignition but also got broken while trying to start the car. This left me distraught with no other alternative than to look for a nearby locksmith where a new key can be cut for me from the original since I couldn’t go back home to get the spare key. Little did I know that this was the beginning of a learning experience for me.
As I sat down to watch my attending locksmith choose from an array of assorted shapes of keys. I learned that the idea or strategy was to select a particular key with a form that would fit the broken key I came with. After careful selection, I watched as he slotted the chosen key into the cutting machine. Whirling as it went, the key-cutting machine followed the patterned grooves on my old broken key to shape what would after now become my new car key.
Suddenly like a thunderbolt from the blues, it struck me! When keys are cut, they are shaped to open a lock. The cut is the definition of the key’s purpose to open the lock that it is meant for, all things being equal. It hit me that if my car was parked out there without the key, it could not start. My car key aims to help me crank my engine up and give it life and action. It will remain parked, stationed in a fixed place, useless, and occupying a space that ought to be used for some other thing.
In a similar vein, many of us are like the broken or absent key that is not fulfilling the purpose of cranking up the engines of myriad pervading problems. Many of us have refused to embrace the divinely programmed challenges designed to shape or cut us into becoming the “keys” to various successes. Keys that should unlock the doors to these problems in our immediate societies, churches, communities, and the world at large. It pays to be strategic to make this self-discovery.
How Do You Handle Dicey Situations?
How are you reacting, embracing the problems and challenges that come your way? How do you handle the dicey situations that you face in life? Remember, the locksmith first had to choose the blank key that resembled my broken key before he could cut or shape it. In the same way, there are issues in life that you are patterned after to become a solution to it. There is a cause to the cutting and shaping of your life experiences. It will help you eventually serve a specific role.
“Sometimes we learn the lessons of life through pain, melancholy, and the vicissitude of life, and sometimes we learn the lessons of life through joy and comfort. Whatever the case may be, the most important thing is the great lesson we learn out of the lessons life teaches us. If you fail to learn the lessons greatly, life will teach you a great lesson.” — Ernest Agyemang Yeboah.
You are destiny’s choice to go through your present life challenges. You have been chosen to be fashioned, prepared for a specific reason. You are destiny’s choice to become a solution to that problem in your family, society, and country. But you must yield to the shaping, tampering, and conditioning process. Because through these processes, a better you will emerge. Leaving you better and well suited for the part that has been allotted to you by destiny.
I studied Materials and Metallurgical Engineering in college. While still in school, part of our industrial training program was exposed to different methods of heat treatment that materials go through to toughen them. One such treatment is called annealing, a heat treatment process that alters the microstructure of a material to change its mechanical or electrical properties. It is used to reduce hardness, increase ductility, and help eliminate internal stresses.
Suppose materials are subjected to such a complex process to attain a suitable strength that will enable them to go through the rigors associated with its eventual usage. In that case, the challenges that come with life are how we as humans are toughened to be fit to face and handle life’s dicey situations. For these materials to attain such strength, their microstructure which is a crucial determinant to their mechanical and electrical properties, is altered. That is the same way that our makeup, our default mode, is changed when we willingly submit to being trained by the vicissitudes of life.
You Can Do It!
Brace up; you are fit for it. You just have to be tenacious and stick with it. You can make it happen. Gold had to go through fire to become marketable. For diamonds to appreciate in value, they have to go through a cutting and polishing process. Crude oil must go through the laborious process of factional distillation to be turned into various petroleum products. Iron ore has to go through the high temperatures of the Bessemer converter to be turned into steel.
“I think you grow wherever God plants you. I hope I’m growing as a person of faith, as a Christian. That should be our number one objective in this journey of life. That all starts with a personal, intimate relationship with Christ and then being in prayer every single day about all of those things—being tenacious about it.” — J. C. Watts.
In the same way, you must go through cutting and shaping to become the key to many successes. No one says that it will be easy; however, the product of the process is effectiveness and efficiency in your role and purpose in life. In the words of Christian Louboutin, the French-Egyptian fashion designer, “You need to believe in yourself and what you do. Be tenacious and genuine.” You must believe in yourself. You must trust the process as you are shaped for a strategic life of purpose.
How can I equip myself to face these challenges squarely and come out victorious? I want to share a critical factor: if we have a firm grip on it, we can do life effectively and efficiently, irrespective of whatever challenges will confront us. It is a word that has often been neglected and downplayed in the scheme of things. However, it determines how we approach life and the results we get out of life if given attention. What is the word? Mindset. As the word sounds, it is defined as the established set of attitudes held by someone. One word that stands out in this definition, which also gives meaning to this statement, is attitude.
Attitude is primarily what makes up an individual’s mindset and plays a crucial role in determining how our mindsets are shaped. What is it, and how important is it? Attitude is the way you approach life. In a simpler term, it’s your angle of attack. It is the way we express our thoughts and feelings. Our attitude takes form or shape after series of repeated events that lead up to a set of beliefs that things will turn out in a particular way. This outcome forms what is called expectations. Our attitude is determined by our expectations. This is why we react either negatively or positively when confronted by a challenge in life. But it can all be changed by changing our core beliefs.
See the Challenge as a Learning Experience
Adopting strategic living as a lifestyle is all about being teachable. Teachability is the ability and willingness to learn. This attitude enables you to be open and receptive to whatever life throws at you while at the same time learning from it. Bearing in mind that whatever lessons learned will become an added advantage for you in the future. It is often said that evaluated experience is the best teacher. This willingness on your part will position you in such a way that you critically evaluate the experience to learn from it.
“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” — Chantal Sutherland.
The structure of a traditional educational system requires that you first learn a subject matter and then get tested on that body of knowledge. It takes a series of repetitive learning to sit and pass an examination or test. It is akin to what is obtainable in life. Life has been made so that you can only be promoted to another level of life when you have passed an examination it set for you. Life tests us intermittently, even in our ignorance, to see if we are ready for the next level of our situation. Most times, we fail these tests owing to wrong mindsets exhibited through bad attitudes.
Are you ready for the next challenge? Are you prepared for the next learning experience? Are you prepared to duke it out with the next challenge in your process of becoming strategic and practical? Strategic living as a lifestyle begins at the junction where you start surmounting the challenges that life throws at you. You must tenaciously fight every challenge. You must adopt a winning mindset in other to become the champion of your own fate and destiny. You must see all challenges as a learning experience. That is the path of continuous improvement. That is the path of becoming strategic in your daily living.
You Can Become a Better Person
We are products of circumstances. Our present cases in life result from the things we encounter in life and the experiences we have had to go through to reach the point where we are now. The summation of these circumstances and phases of life is the personality that is seen today. Understanding this life process puts you in the right frame of mind to know that you are a work in progress that gets better with the exposure that life takes you through.
“Circumstances does not make a man they merely reveal him to himself.” — Epictetus.
Most times, I’ve also realized that we as human beings prefer to remain in our comfort zone. We wish not to be overstretched. Most times, we are oblivious that challenges stretch our experiences to new frontiers most times in life. By seeking to eschew challenges, we ignorantly miss grand opportunities that would have launched us out to a bigger and brighter future that we have prayed and desired for.
With all certainty, if we approach life with these mindsets, we will become victors and not victims in this game called life. We can become champions in life by adopting strategic living as a lifestyle. Understanding this statement will make you submit to this experience. Gladly go through this furnace of fire called challenges. You will come out refined and empowered. Become tenacious through the experiences that you encounter. You will come out shining, radiating, and you’d be glad you did.
How to Get What You Want and Be Successful
Everyone wants to be successful. However, you do not get what you want by sitting around and doing nothing. You must put in the effort and work at it. To achieve success requires that you take the necessary steps to get there. Find out some of these steps here and read all about them.
We can get what we want out of life and be successful when we are deliberate on how to achieve that. Many of us go through life feeling like a failure because our high hopes seem to be cut short. Certain universal principles are essential to getting what you want in life, and surprisingly it’s so simplified yet complex for many people. Living your best life does not have to be complicated. Read on as I share some insights on how to get what you want and be successful in life.
#1. Don’t Rely On Passion Alone
Found a passion and want to be successful in life living your dreams? Well, you have to do more than just admiring that passion of yours like a damsel you are so much in love with because that amounts to nothing. You can admire that damsel, but she’s out of sight when you don’t make a move. Meaning that if you’re not making a move to turn your passion into a successful career, you’ll be losing all you should have gotten out of it. Be passionate but also be committed to consistently making smart moves towards success. In the words of Richard G. Scott, “We become what we want to be by consistently being what we want to be every day.” Apply for that internship, sign up for that skill training, start that business, start applying for grants, do whatever is necessary to get you going, and enjoy the ride. In addition to passion, consistency is key.
#2. Be a Friend to Learning
You can get what you want out of life if you’re open to seeking knowledge. Being knowledgeable about the things that matter to your continuous growth sets you apart from others. So, read books, and make it a culture. Learn under someone more knowledgeable than you in the area of life you’re most interested in and build your career with all the learnings you have gotten so far. No matter how far in the knowledge you’ve come, learning never ends. It only takes you closer to your Promised Land of becoming the best you ever and helps you keep evolving in your existence.
#3. Thought that Lingers Rots
Your mind is a powerhouse waiting for you to harness its potentials. Your thoughts are energies too. They could inspire you, make you depressed or make you stagnant. You are what you think, so get rid of stale thoughts that give you reasons why you can’t make certain gold moves. The more stagnant thoughts you entertain, the more rotten it gets. Things you abandon rot and become dilapidated. Such could cripple your ability to see the future you envisage. It could also stall your ability to walk towards it. Attract the kind of life you want through your mind. Think positive thoughts only, and everything else will align in your favor.
#4. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
You can’t get the life you want by sleeping on your dreams and waking up on the same spot every day. We get too comfortable with where we are that we are scared of getting our hands muddy and our clothes ripped by sharp rusted metals. In the words of Robert Whyte, “All the concepts about stepping out of your comfort zone mean nothing until you decide that your essential purpose, vision, and goals are more important than your self-imposed limitations.” Hence, great things don’t happen in our comfort zone; it happens outside of it. So wake up from your beauty sleep, pull up your sleeves, roll up your trousers, put on some boots, and get into the mud. It will be hard to face a cruel world when pursuing something worthwhile, but the reward is fantastic.
#5. Draw Your Circle
Let’s face it, when you’re on a journey to getting what you desire, you may likely lose friends who won’t understand your journey. Some will get off the bus because your goal and theirs do not naturally align. Getting what you want out of life involves your decision to keep a circle of people to help you get to your life’s destination faster. These people can be those who are on a similar path but ahead of you. However, you can learn from them as you journey towards your goals. The circle could also be individuals who resonate with you on a deeper level. The saying “show me your circle of friends and I will tell you who you are” is evergreen. It’s in your power to draw how large or small you want your circle to be. No matter the size, ensure they make your journey a fulfilling one.
#6. Challenge Yourself
Set realistic goals and challenge yourself to achieve them. When you reach them at a milestone point, always reward yourself. Doing this all the time gets you closer to getting what you want and be successful in life. In the words of Robert Tew, “Challenge yourself every day to do better and be better. Remember, growth starts with the decision to move beyond your current circumstances.” So, challenge yourself to write that proposal, make that pitch, walk up to that investor, and a lot more. Only the bold can do whatever it takes to become successful. Push yourself to become your best self ever. Inspire yourself to evolve. You can do it.
#7. Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself
We can make plans, and it may not go our way. We may have high expectations and have them cut short. Some of these things happen, but it doesn’t mean we should be hard on ourselves. Understanding that this is the reality of life helps us brace up. When life’s circumstances shake and beat you to the ground, stand up, dust yourself off and keep moving. Failure is not the end of the road. Let’s learn to stop putting pressure on ourselves when in the face of disappointments. Life happens, and the failures make our stories inspiring. So to get the life you’ve always wanted, learn from failures and move on smartly.
#8. Practice Gratitude
Gratitude opens doors for you when you make it an attitude. Remember, according to the late great Zig Ziglar, “It’s your attitude, not your aptitude, that will determine your altitude.” Rather than being depressed when the journey gets rough, all you should do is be grateful for how far you’ve come. Gratitude is a healthy way to allow things to take their course because the truth is, all the work you’ve put in your journey so far is yielding results. You may not see the results in the interim, but it’s working. Motivate yourself towards gratitude. Stay grateful.
Everyone wants to be successful. However, you do not get what you want by sitting around and doing nothing. You must put in the effort and work at it. In this piece, first, I encourage you not to hitch your wagon solely on passion. Put in the effort to make your passion a dream come true. Second, become a reader so that you can become a leader in your field. In the words of Ogbonnaya Agom-Eze, “Learning is earning.” Third, things that you abandon will rot and dilapidate—even your thoughts and ideas. Please keep your thoughts and ideas evergreen by working on them. Don’t let them rot.
“Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.” — Jim Rohn.
Fourth, the magic happens outside your comfort zone—step away from it and see yourself begin to rise. Fifth, create your circle of influence and leverage on their wisdom, knowledge, and counsel. Sixth, challenge yourself to your success. Push yourself to achieve because no one else is going to do it for you. Be your own cheerleader. Seventh, never allow a setback to become the crucifixion of your dream to be successful. Don’t stay down when you fall. Rise and keep moving. Eight, practice gratitude daily; it will hone your attitude, which determines your altitude. Deploy these steps to get what you want and become successful. Start today!
Taking the Leap of Faith
A fact that remains certain is that you will never know what you can or cannot achieve until you try. You will never know until you take that leap of faith off the cliff of opportunities and possibilities. Do not allow the fear of the unknown cripple your will in the journey of your self-discovery.
A lot of us get to the cliff of great opportunities and possibilities, and we just freeze. Some sit or stand, just watching others who have taken the leap of faith and are now in flight in their various life endeavors. We shrink back. We become afraid. We become incapacitated by the risks of our anticipated vision. We become numb by the what ifs. What if I don’t make it? What if I fail? What if I cannot sustain the success? What if I cannot get to the end of the road? What if this or what if that? A fact that remains certain is that you will never know what you can or cannot achieve until you try. You will never know until you take that leap of faith off the cliff of opportunities and possibilities. Do not allow the fear of the unknown cripple your will in the journey of your self-discovery. In other to become somebody of worth, you must plunge yourself into the depths of your purpose and into the reason-oceans of your existence. You can take that leap, you can become the best you ever.
There are many people today who have achieved a lot for themselves. They discovered their purpose and made concerted efforts to do something with it. It is not the discovery of your design alone that matters; what matters most are the actions that you take after the discovery. Successful people do not sit around to see what fate would hand them. Successful people grasp their destiny by the horns, risking it all in other to have it all. These people took a leap of faith into the great unknown, and today they are successful. They took the chance in the game of life, passed go, and are enjoying the benefits of their “Boardwalk” and “Park Place” investments today. They are the likes of Bill Gates, the Warren Buffett(s), the Jeff Bezos(es), the Mark Zuckerberg(s), the Aliko Dangote(s), the Richard Branson(s), the Oprah Winfrey(s), the Folorunsho Alakija(s), the Elon Musk(s), just to mention but a few. They took a stab at fate, they jumped off the cliff of opportunities and are where they are today. Cut off the timidity from your will, believe you can, and you will.
On a side note, I’m not telling folks reading to take a literal leap from off a cliff. If you literally jump off a cliff without a parachute, wingsuit, or a climbing rope harness, and with a sense of wit that you know what you are doing, you will most likely not make it alive to tell your story after the plunge. The ground or surface below will quickly snuff out your wick and receive your splattered bits. You would be committing suicide, and I do not sanction that one bit. You would be ending your narrative before you even begin it. So, I am talking about the metaphorical cliff that symbolizes life opportunities and possibilities that can take you from being a zero to a hero. It’s not a leap of extinction, but a leap of an extraordinary lifestyle. It’s a leap that goes beyond the “what ifs.” I love what a Louise E. Boone once said that “Don’t be so afraid of failure that it cripples your will to attempt new things. The saddest summary of life that you should yearn to eschew from the chronicle of your ephemeral life are the descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” (Paraphrased).
The Founder of the YouTube Channel, “I Encourage Somebody,” Kelechi Agom-Eze, talks about this topic in the video below. She highlights some interesting points. Her video gave me an extra boost to listen to Steve Harvey’s video on the same subject. There are five lessons that I got out of watching the video(s). First, is the need to get tired of the status quo. If you are not passionate about transcending beyond your status quo, you will never attain the heights of extra-above-ordinary success. Second, always remember that purpose is your parachute. Discover your purpose, embrace it, and leap into the possibilities of opportunity. Don’t be part of the statistics that will regret not vaulting into life opportunities—the “could have been(s),” the “might have been(s),” and the “should have been(s).” Third, make sure you shut down the fear factor. Fear will weaken your will to take the leap of faith. Fourth, just jump—if you never jump, you will never know your capabilities. Finally, spread your wings and soar on the winds of opportunity—become the excellence eagle and purposeful highflier in the affairs of life.
“You will never know until you take that leap of faith off the cliff of opportunities and possibilities.”
5 Things You Need to Do
Taking the leap of faith does not come to you by just willing it upon yourself. You must come to a place in your mind—a point where you make a series of decisions that will launch you to the pedestal where you start seeing the various products that ensue from taking that leap of faith. In other to take the leap of faith, there are various things that you need to do. Let’s get to the brass tracks of what to do before taking the leap of faith.
#1. Get Tired of the status quo
Stop waiting to become the person of your dreams. Stop wishing to become your best you, start working on your aspirations to become great. The jigsaw puzzle of your purpose will not arrange itself. It will remain a heap of unorganized expectations and desires. You need to get tired of the status quo. Start ordering the puzzle of your life piece-by-piece. Embrace your confidence and believe that you can. You cannot stay on the sidelines of destiny anticipating and just hoping for a better tomorrow. If you are tired of your current state today, then get up and do something about it by challenging and transforming your status quo. Try doing things differently, try something new and don’t be nervous doing so. Don’t get stuck in a rut by clinging to old ways that don’t work. Don’t be overly risk-averse—learn to take risks at times. Being risk-averse to a fault can truncate the possibility of you ever taking on a feat of some significance and importance. Think big, think outside the box. You cannot take a leap of faith if you don’t get tired of the status quo.
#2. Your Purpose is Your Parachute
Your purpose is your gifting, your talent, your design, your aim, your point of distinction from others. We have unique expertise and abilities that make us distinct personalities. Whatever we focus on will grow. If you focus on honing your talent and putting it to work, the result will be growth to your utter amazement. It will place you in a place of distinction. It will open doors of opportunities like no other. Your gift will make room for you. Your purpose is the parachute that will aid you when you take the leap of faith. It is your wingsuit that will help you in soaring on the winds of time and chance. The winds of opportunity will catch the wing-suit of your purpose and allow you to sail the skies of extraordinary achievements. As you glide with your wingsuit, always remember that your parachute of purpose will not open immediately. If you fail first and you don’t succeed, lift yourself up and try again and again. Sometimes, you may have to try again and again until you are able to perfect your glide. One thing is sure, if you don’t jump, the possibility of your parachute opening at all is nullified. So, discover your purpose, pack and wear it as your parachute/wing-suit backpack and take that chance and jump.
#3. Shut Down the Fear Factor
We are human and we at times experience fear. Fear is that instinctive survival signal that alerts us to danger, giving us a chance to react and escape tragedy. This part of apprehension can be beneficial, but only to a point. When we perpetually dwell in fear, it cripples our will to want to achieve anything. Don’t be afraid, just believe that you can, and you will. For instance, when we come to the cliff of opportunities and possibilities, it is natural to be nervous to take a plunge into an unknown fate, the unfamiliar turf, and untested waters. Every successful person who ever gave up something big in the pursuit of the golden fleece came to this juncture in the journey of their achievement. However, if they did not break away from the initial trepidation they experienced, these individuals would not be where they are today. Don’t let fear cripple your will, believe and take that leap of fate. Will everything be rosy as you aim to embrace your purpose and higher calling in life? Absolutely not. However, only those who attempt the unknown are the ones who have the final opportunity of acclaiming, “Eureka! I have found it,” should they make it at last. Shut down the fear factor at the cliff of opportunities and possibilities, give fate a chance as you pursue extraordinary excellence. Shut down your fears and take a leap off the cliff of opportunities and possibilities.
#4. Jump! Jump! Jump!
This lesson title reminds me of the scene in the Forrest Gump movie when Jenny, the girl Forrest liked in the movie, was calling after him to run away from some bullies who were up to no good. Forrest Gump was a fictional character who was depicted in the movie to have been born with strong legs but with a spinal deformity. As a result, he was required to wear leg braces that impeded his ambulatory activities when it came to his ability to walk and run. “Run! Forrest! Run!” Jenny repeatedly yelled as the bullies were in hot pursuit. Forrest ran so fast that the braces gave way and miraculously, he outran the bullies. In the light of this story, I am going to repeatedly yell through the words of this article, “Jump! Friend! Jump!” (NB. Feel free to put your name in the place of the word, “Friend.” Personalize it if you will). At the cliff of your opportunities and possibilities, “Jump! Friend! Jump!” Discover your purpose! Wear it as your backpack! Don’t let the fear of what ifs stop you! “Jump! Friend! Jump!” Believe you can and you will! Believe in the possibility of accomplishing possibilities from your impossibilities. “Jump! Friend! Jump!” Remember that mediocrity and non-accomplishment is at your heels. “Jump! Friend! Jump!”
#5. Soar on the Wings of Opportunity
Now that we have jumped and taken that leap of faith, I implore you to perfect your soar as you glide on the winds of opportunities. As earlier mentioned, when you jump off the cliffs of possibilities, it is the wind of opportunities that will catch the flaps of your wingsuit and give you a chance to soar. The word “soar” means to sail or hover in the air often at a great height. We can learn about the concept of soaring/gliding by observing the eagle. The eagle spends very minimal time flapping its strong and broad wings. A lot of flight energy is expended when birds flap their wings. Rather than flapping its wings for long periods of time like other birds, the eagle soars, glides, and ascends to great heights on the segments of the storm or winds. Why flap and expend energy where they can fly to great heights effortlessly with the help of the wind? Eagles are passionate about strong winds, while other birds flee from storms. Eagles harness the power of the wind to lift them incredible heights above the clouds. As they begin to glide, they rest their wings and let the winds support their lift and flight.
Let us learn from the eagle. As we soar, let us spread the wings of our purpose wingsuit and catch opportunities that will elevate us to effortless heights of opportunities. Successful people are passionate about the storms of life. Like the eagle, they see strong wings as an opportunity rather than an obstacle. When the eagles rise above the clouds, the relax and rest their arms. When successful people take the leap of faith, they begin to soar above the challenge-laden-clouds of this life. These individuals rest their ailerons in flight as they glide and become high fliers in the affairs of this life. They harness the strong winds as a competitive advantage, allowing the winds to catch the outstretched appendages of their purpose. Great achievers enjoy challenges and use them profitably. Eagles also have an incredible vision. If an eagle is soaring at heights of one thousand feet over the open country, they can spot preys over three square miles away from a fixed position. As we sail on the winds of opportunities, we need to have a grand vision of all that we hope to accomplish. Without vision, your purposeful soar is blindsided, and you will end up adrift with no sense of direction. Now, “Soar! Friend! Soar!” Soar to the unfathomable heights of purposeful achievements. “Soar! Friend! Soar!”
Soar like the eagle— “Soar! Friend! Soar!”
In summary, this article has been fun writing and is replete with a lot of lessons. First, don’t freeze at the cliff of your opportunities and possibilities. Knowledge of the unknown cannot be gained in the land of the short-sighted one-eyed cyclops of dormancy. You can only know if you act. Experience they say is still the best teacher. Second, the difference between the people of exceptional achievements and those of little or no significance is purpose-driven action. Those that become great take their destiny by the horns and subdue and master it. Discover your purpose and take a stab at fate—jump off the metaphorical cliff of possibilities and opportunities. Third, never be so discouraged by the challenges of this life that you choose to end your narrative prematurely before it takes flight. Do something tangible. Don’t allow the story of your life to be daubed with the descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.
Fourth, get tired of the status quo. If your current life condition is not yielding you your desired life result—don’t hesitate to change it and don’t get stuck in a rut. Challenge and transform your status quo. Fifth, your purpose is your parachute. It is the hallmark of your difference and distinction from others. Your purpose is your gifting, your talent, your design that will open the portals of unique achievements. Sixth, shut down the fear factor when you get to the cliff of opportunities and possibilities. Break fear first and don’t let fear break you. Seventh, “Jump! Friend! Jump!” You have discovered your purpose and now wearing it as your wingsuit and backpack parachute standing at the cliff edge of opportunities and possibilities—all well and good. Now, “Jump! Friend! Jump!” Finally, the eight-point is for you to perfect your soar like the eagle. The storms of life are the competitive advantages of those that end up succeeding greatly. Let the storms work on your behalf. Let it pull you up above the clouds of life difficulties like the eagle. “Soar! Friend! Soar!”
Make the Best of Where You Are
What is your story? Whatever the situation that you face and whatever your narrative may be, the onus lies on us to make the best of where you are in life…see the opportunity of the circumstance.
Every place that we are in life is a stage in the set of our lives that we experience. Life experiences as they come can be positive or negative. Favorable experiences can be a place where we have all the comfort and pleasures of this life. It is a place where we have limited worries concerning providing ourselves with the necessary amenities of life. In this place, we tend to worry about few things. Life is pretty much a breeze with very minimal struggle. When we look on the other side of the spectrum, there are times when we experience different challenges in various stages of our lives. In this place, we are engulfed in the rat race of life. This other place is where we may not have the comforts that we want. What is your story? Whatever the situation that you face and whatever your narrative may be, the onus lies on us to make the best of where you are in life.
Everyone is in some situation or the other—it could be positive, or it could be a negative one. Whatever circumstance it is that we find ourselves in life, one of the most common denominators of positive and negative happenings in our lives is our attitude. In other to make the best of every position that we find ourselves in this life, good or bad, we must have a positive attitude. Our attitude determines our altitude in life. How we handle the episodes of our lives, will ascertain how far we will go in life. The second common denominator of our life situations is perception. In other words, how do we perceive or see the condition that we are experiencing via our mind’s eye? Do we recognize the opportunity of our situation and tap into it in other to make the best of where we are at that very moment? Or do we just see the negatives? Whatever our situations, my advice to all is for us to see the opportunity of the circumstance. It is either we see an obstacle, or we could choose to see a steppingstone that will translate us to greater heights. In the video below, the speaker highlights some significant facts worth considering concerning making the best of where we are in life.
“Make the best of where you are in life. See the positives and not the negatives of your situation. See the opportunity of the circumstance.”
The video drives home some lessons that are worthy of note. First, we need to be wary of complaining. If you find yourself in a favorable life situation, be grateful concerning your life situation. Always remember that many are wishing to have it as convenient as you have it, hoping that they could just be in your shoes. Are you in a less favorable situation, I also implore you to stop whining and complaining about your circumstance? Come to think of it, if you keep worrying about the position you find yourself and do nothing about it, will the situation change? Tell me, can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Instead of worrying and complaining about the lemons that life has dished you now, why don’t you channel the time that you spend complaining, whining, and worrying towards coming up with options to dig yourself out of the pit of your current situation? See your current position in life—good or bad—as an opportunity. Make the best of where you are now as you work towards improving the status quo.
Second, the present situation that you are experiencing is a phase of your life that will pass. While in that chapter of your life, aim to make the best of it so that when you look back at that phase, you will see a trail of lessons-learned from the situation. See your life as a story. As you pass through life phases—good or bad—recognize these phases as chapters in your life. When other’s read or remember the annals of your life, they will always have solid testament on how you handled that phase of your life. So, instead of complaining, see your current circumstance as a phase. See that life episode from the lens that you are writing the story of your life via the actions that you are taking today. Your actions today will define the reality of your tomorrow. So, as you see yourself in a situation, see it as an opportunity to write the best chapter ever in the epic novel of your life. Make the best of that passing phase, and don’t lose sight of that opportunity. Write the best story of your life as you approach that phase with a positive attitude. Don’t fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel and be encouraged as you forge ahead. It’s only a new chapter, a new beginning as you tell the world the story of the greatest you ever told.
Finally, as you journey towards making the best of where you are in life, always see it as a growth process. How can you become the best you if you don’t experience different things in your life? Various circumstances in our lives play a pivotal role is forging us into the best us ever. Experiences shape us into the vessels that we eventually become. The lack of happenings in our lives is the lack of opportunities. The lack of opportunities is the lack of vital catalyst that stimulates us into becoming. Mark Twain once said that “We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it—and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again—and that is well; but also, she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” Don’t stop there, let your experiences spur you to advance forward in your paths of becoming. Make the best of where you are. Learn from it and forge ahead towards where you want to be.
In summary, this article has shed some light on some essential facts that are very beneficial. First, life experiences can be favorable (i.e., positive) or they can be unfavorable (i.e., negative). Life happens to all of us. The events we face can be good or bad. Second, two common denominators establish how we approach our life experiences. These two common denominators are our attitude and perception. We can choose to embrace a critical stance and remain in the quagmire of despair, or we could elect to approach it with a positive attitude as we figure ourselves out and move the needle towards a more positive scenario. The other denominator is our perception. We can choose just to see the bad. In so doing, you will most likely miss the lesson to be learned in that scenario. Third, we need to be wary of always complaining. Stop worrying and start working your way out of your less favorable circumstance. Fourth, your present situation is just a phase. Write the best story you can concerning that episode of your life. Finally, it’s all a growth process. See your present circumstance as you grow up towards becoming the best you ever. Make the best of where you are!
The Art of Sustainable Success
The art of sustainable success is the art of never giving up. It means to keep up or keep going, as an action or process. To succeed in anything will require supporting and holding up your vision and making sure that you never lose sight of the goal.
The journey to success can be froth with many uncertainties. A lot of times the path to achieving success is rocky, always full of various obstacles that impede the journey. The remote road towards Salar de Uyuni in Southwest Bolivia is a picture of what the path to success could potentially resemble—desolate and dangerous. Whoever said that the way to success would be easy, smooth sailing, and effortless? The pathway to success is not perpetually an easy road. Whatever the impediment may be, what wins the race of success is a continuous and unflinching effort that defies all opposing obstacles. To achieve success, you must maintain a sustained bout of energy with an unwavering focus from the goal that is ahead of you. In the face of opposing variations, you need to sustain the course and keep going forward, despite the opposing drag. Onward ever and backward never. You may trip and fall many times; however, the worst thing you could ever do is to stay down at the place where you have fallen. What makes you an eventual success is that you never give up, despite all the hardships that you may face.
The art of sustainable success is the art of never giving up. The Merriam Webster Dictionary establishes that the word “sustain” means to support, to hold up, to bear up. It means to keep up or keep going, as an action or process. To succeed in anything will require supporting and holding up your vision and making sure that you never lose sight of the goal. There will be obstacles, there will be uncertainties, there will be resistance and drag to halt your onward-forward-drive to want to succeed. However, despite the heaving variations and backward drag, the secret to achieving and sustaining your success is a constant push forward. You cannot let the concomitant pressures of your vision buckle the knees of your will. Despite the weight, despite the drag, having an unquenching determination is a core key to success. Jack Ma of the Alibaba Group once said that we should, “Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse, but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” As Kelechi Agom-Eze of the “I Encourage Somebody” YouTube Channel stated in her video, “Giving up is not an option.”
“If you quit you lose. Stay motivated whatever life throws at you. Remember, “Giving up is not an option.”
In her video, she highlights some notable points about an attitude of self-determination towards never giving up. A never-giving-up-disposition is the backbone for sustainable success. Anything short of that is spinelessly amoebic to say the very least. Listening to her encouraging words, I have been able to establish eight points concerning what we can do to perfect the art of sustainable success.
Perfecting the Art of Sustainable Success
First, embrace a never-quitting-attitude. No matter how many times you stumble on your journey to success, you must never stay down. You must always stand up, dust yourself off, and continue your push towards sustainable success. Remember that your attitude in this life is what determines your altitude and how far you can sustain your upward climb to the pinnacle heights of golden success. Such an outlook will ensure that you keep moving up the upwards inclination of sustainable success.
Second, ensure that you have a backup plan. Just as Kelechi highlighted in her YouTube video above, ensure that you have a backup plan or several back up plans towards the fruitful accomplishment of your vision. Your different plans are the different pathways towards reaching your vision. If Plan A does not work commence on Plan B, and so on and so forth, until you reach your goal.
Third, condition your mind and challenge yourself towards never giving up. Failure has a psychological effect of paralyzing the neural networks of our will to succeed, like the venom of the cuttlefish that attacks the nervous system of its victims. Failing to achieve a goal can numb our will and limit our push to want to continue our success journey. Sometimes, we need to be our own cheerleader. In cheering ourselves, we are conditioning our mind towards developing the thick skin of never giving up. Cheering up yourself is a catalyst that motivates us towards becoming our best self.
Fourth, become a part of a community of like minds. The Book of Proverbs of King Solomon in the Holy Writ, Chapter Twenty-Seven and verse Seventeen states that “As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend” (New Living Translation). There is absolute truth in this statement. When you find a community that is encouraging, you give yourself the opportunity of having people of like mind and similar interests that will encourage you in difficult times. The encouragement of others can help sustain, support, keep you up, and keep you going during tough times as you journey towards your success. Find communities that encourage and fundamentally inspire.
Fifth, you must become self-confident. In other to perfect the art of sustainable success, you must believe in yourself. You must understand that you can accomplish whatever you set your mind on achieving. A Robert Collier once said that “Your chances of success in any undertaking can always be measured by your belief in yourself.” You will never succeed beyond the level of belief you have in yourself. If you doubt yourself, you sink your hope and confidence of ever achieving sustainable success. Believing you can become your best self is what gets you to stand up whenever you fall. Self-doubt robs you of what can motivate you to become the best you possible. Remember, the greatest weapon fear has over you is self-doubt. Embrace self-confidence and shun self-doubt.
Sixth, you must be patient. What in the world does patience mean? It is the ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay. It is you being quiet, embracing steady perseverance; cultivating an even-tempered care; and diligent in the face of trials and tribulations. Delays can happen in life. However, you must understand that delay is not denial. Impatience will make you a victim of anxiety, depression, stress, sickness, and death. In the now and in the future, impatience will be the death of many if not curtailed. If you are no longer here in the land of the living, how then will you be able to achieve sustainable success?
Seventh, embrace diligence in other to master the art of sustainable success. “Diligence” means that you are steadily and earnestly trying to accomplish that which you have undertaken. Attaining success means that you are working hard at achieving your vision, your dreams, and aspirations. Success is not a cakewalk. Sustaining your success requires a lot of persistent exertion of body or mind towards achieving your goals and objectives. The art of sustainable success is not for the lazy at heart or the faint minded. It is for those that have true grit towards wanting to achieve their dreams and aspirations.
Eight, you must have an unwavering focus. Finally, realizing sustainable success is to have an unwavering focus. You must have a single eye in directing your attention or efforts on the mark. Those who will achieve sustained success cannot reach the apex of this goal lacking focus. You cannot afford to be scatter-brained. A Roy T. Bennett once said that “What you stay focused on will grow.” In other words, if you focus on achieving success, growth will be inevitable. However, if you choose not to stay focused, growth will be far away from you. Stay the course, stay focused and grow in your success; stay focused and sustain that success.
By embracing all the points in the preceding paragraphs, you will be on the path towards achieving sustainable success in your life. Do yourself a favor and continue to seize the day by starting to assimilate all the points and making it a habit. Do not procrastinate your efforts, do them now. Stop putting it off with the hope that you will carry out the task tomorrow. Procrastination is the excuse that potential failures use in putting off the joys of their potentially bright future. So, begin to act today. Remember always that determination today will always lead to success tomorrow.
Stand Up to Your Problems
At some point in everyone’s lives, a challenging situation is bound to rear its ugly head up. Problems can demote you to a status of shame, or it can promote you depending on how you choose to handle it.
Problems will come in life; however, how we handle them makes all the difference. At some point in everyone’s lives, a challenging situation is bound to rear its ugly head up. Problems can demote you to a status of shame, or it can promote you depending on how you choose to handle it. Our attitude when facing life challenges will determine the outcome that follows—it’s all in your hands. Our approach is what forges the result that we experience when we face situations. A great attitude leads to a desirable outcome and, a wrong strategy could lead to a contrary one. Some people cower in the face of difficulties, while others stand boldly and challenge their problems head-on. There are also people who are lukewarm about their predicaments. This category of people just allow life to take its toll on them.
Problems are the various obstacles that we face in life. Obstacles in the front of the cowering man will become an insurmountable mountain that crushes their will to achieve and conquer the course. However, for the confident or daring personality, obstacles become a course for scaling as they push onwards in the steeplechase of life. For the lukewarm person, they become a rag doll tossed around by the raging winds of the issues they face. There is a famous saying that goes “He who stands for nothing, will fall for anything.” These individuals do not go with the flow or against the current. They allow the complex situations of life toss them around. For those who will become successful, they must become those who stand up to their problems. They must embrace a confident stance as they face the raging waves of challenges in other to become achievers of enviable success.
Exercising a modicum of confidence is vital to learning how to stand up to one’s problems. A Helen Keller once said that “Being optimistic is the absolute trust that will lead to extraordinary achievement. You cannot accomplish anything of significance in the absence of hope and confidence.” (Paraphrased). You must never allow the fog of circumstances to blind your will and vision to achieve. Learn to stand up to your problems. Have the hope that you can, and then you can, and the impossible becomes possible. Robert Kiyosaki once said that “Confidence comes through discipline and training.” As you triumph over your problems, you become more disciplined, you become more trained to tackle more difficulties that arise in the future. So, as you undertake the obstacles of your life head-on, I encourage you to do so courageously.
In the video below, Kelechi Agom-Eze highlights the need for us to have some ounce of courage in standing up to our problems. Like the man or woman in a party who assert their importance and self-worth, albeit sometimes brazen, by asking, “Do you know who I am?” We need to brazenly standup and confront our problems in like manner. We cannot cringe before our problems, but we must tower above our problems. The problems that you face in your life needs to recognize your brazen confidence. Eliminate all fear as you ask your problem, “Do you know who I am?” When your problem recognizes your confidence, they will bow to your self-belief. In the presence of self-belief, your predicaments are pulverized. In the presence of self-doubt, your problems are magnified. In the presence of self-doubt, your obstacles will crush your confidence and vaporize your destiny. Hence, you must do yourself the favor of standing tall as you brazenly challenge your difficulties.
“When your problem recognizes your confidence, they will bow to your self-belief.”
Problems sometimes manifest themselves as an insurmountable mountain. However, we must sharpen our confidence as we scale the peaks of our problems. They come at times seeming to be the biggest giant that we have ever encountered. Trust me, a giant can make you wince in fear. However, as David faced Goliath confidently, we must also develop some ounce of self-confidence if we are to be successful in overcoming our seemingly towering problems. You must not allow self-doubt to crush your ambition. When you are wavering in your confidence, trust me, the Cyclops of your dilemma can smell that fear from a mile off and will hastily come in for the attack to deal a fatal blow on you, and crush you with the weight that it carries. From “The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath,” she establishes that “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Self-doubt, not being sure of yourself will be the undoing of anyone who does not deal with it; especially in the face of life challenges and problems.
Just as E.E. Cummings stated that once we begin walking in the paths of self-confidence by eschewing self-doubt; we can then embrace the “…risk of curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” Life is a risk, and to live a full life replete with successes, we must be self-confident. Ask your problems today, “Do you know who I am? Do you know where I am coming from? Have you not heard the folklore about how I crushed other Herculean problems in the not so distant past?” Approach life problems with the brazen confidence and belief that you will come out a victor and not a victim of the circumstance. Do not be crippled by fear, however, let the problem that faces you be crippled by your self-confidence when you assert, “Do you know who I am?” Never doubt your ability to triumph over difficult circumstances. Remember Robert Schuller’s statement and book, “Tough times never last, but tough people do.” Be assertive. Be confident. Face your problems boldly without entertaining any form of self-doubt and success will always be your portion and lifestyle.
I Control Me
Tough and turbulent times are like seasons; they come and go. We control the narrative of our future. Don’t act irrationally in extreme conditions. Write a good story. Become the next Bestseller. Become the best you.
Tough and turbulent times are like seasons, they come and go. However, when we are in those tumultuous times, we feel the torrential rains of the situation pouring down furiously on us that it becomes really frustrating at times. We can experience frustrating times in our workplaces. We can experience turbulent times in our relationships with our friends and loved ones. You could experience turbulent times on a project that you are working on. Rough and tumultuous times comes in many shades and forms. However, these situations if not managed efficiently could make us blow our tops. In whatever shade these troublesome times come, the onus still lies on us to control the narrative of the situation, and not let the circumstance control us. No matter what life throws at us, we remain the sole authors of our own life stories.
We control the narrative of our future. Every action that we take is a sentence in the story of our lives. The collective aggregation of how we react to good or bad situations that we encounter become the individual sentences that make up the story of our lives. It is therefore imperative that we remain cognizant of our daily actions. We need to think before we act. It is not always wise to sow an act when under the stimulation of negative emotions. We need to become cooler, calmer, and more collected before acting in any circumstance. When an action is perpetrated, it is out of the bags of our lives with ensuing consequences. We must be careful to tell the tales of our lives. There is a Sage called Life. He is looking at your actions every second, every minute, every hour, every day, through all your years. Be in control. Properly manage the situations that form the sentences of your life. Don’t act irrationally in extreme conditions. Write a good story. Become the next Bestseller. Become the best you. Kelechi Agom-Eze, the founder of the “I Encourage Somebody” YouTube Channel gives some great highlights on how we should manage intense situations and circumstances.
“Don’t act irrationally in extreme conditions. Write a good story. Become the next Bestseller. Become the best you.”
There are times that we face very annoying situations. Trust me, everyone reading this can testify of at least one time when someone almost made us blow our gasket. How we react under those incongruous conditions of pressure can and could make a whole world of difference, all things being equal. Kelechi advocates in her video that there are times that we really need to assess a situation and walk away from it before the circumstance begins to control us negatively. Sometimes, walking away from a grave situation does not make us a weakling, sometimes it places us on a pedestal of strength. Walking away at times will help us refocus and redirect our thoughts and energies that will help us re-engage the situation that we are facing more tactfully. This will avail us the opportunity to put ourselves in a position of strength to tackle the condition and come out victorious at the end of the day. Sometimes, when we make decisions in haste in a heated situation, we most times end up making the wrong decision. This is the best time to go into a “woosah” moment and control the situation.
Therefore, it is vital to engage the power of self-control. I am encouraging you to make a conscious effort to control yourself when you face harsh situations that could bring out your worst side of your personality. As earlier mentioned, all your actions are the sentences that form the story of your life. Leo Tolstoy once said that “There never has been, and cannot be, a good life, without self-control.” Self-control is an art. Learn it. Become the Rembrandt van Rijn of self-control. Become sensitive. Become perceptive. Master the shadow and light of self-control; learn it and let it become your reality. Paint the perfect Mona Lisa of self-control. Become the certified genius of self-control. An anonymous writer once said that “If you learn self-control, you can master anything.” Another anonymous writer also said that “Control yourself or someone else will control you.” It is a challenging task, but those who master this art form gain mastery of the situations that define the narrative of their lives. So, I know many of you reading will be asking, ‘How do I control me?’ How do you go about controlling yourself?
“Self-control is an art. Learn it. Become the Rembrandt van Rijn of self-control. Become sensitive. Become perceptive. Master the shadow and light of self-control; learn it and let it become your reality. Paint the perfect Mona Lisa of self-control. Become the certified genius of self-control.”
Five Pillars of Self-Control
First, make a conscious effort to control your words. The words that you speak are the gateway to your soul. This is in perfect concord with the what a Francis de Sales said that “Our words are a constant index of the state of our souls.” (Paraphrased). Your words carry a lot of weight. What we say has the unction to can build people up or even destroy them. Our words can be a life-giving eclair that is sweet to the soul. On the contrary, our words can also be deadly cyanide that can poison and destroy the soul. The words that we speak can motivate a multitude towards positive or negative acts. For instance, when you say things from a happy disposition, you can pronounce health and life into others. On the contrary, when you say things out of anger, trust me, you could end up saying things that you will end up regretting. We must be deliberate to watch the words that we speak in every situation that we find ourselves. This is the first act of controlling ourselves.
Second, make a concerted effort to control your actions. Our actions are the very letters of the alphabet that constitute the various words that become the sentences of our lives. The process of doing an act is the process of forming the word that defines the situation. For instance, when you help an elderly person cross the street, your action is developing the word “assist.” When you are inspiring people by what you say or do, you are formulating the word “motivate.” When you take what is not yours, your action is creating the word “steal.” Hence, we can confidently say that our activities form the building blocks of the sentence of our lives. We become what we do. What we do defines our existence. As the saying goes, “Action speaks louder than the voice.” Do not behave irrationally in the face of heated situations. We must cautiously watch our actions. Our actions are what gives us accolades or denunciations in life. In other to cultivate the mastery of self-control, we must, therefore, watch our all our daily actions. Our actions eventually become our habits. This is one of the great wisdom of writing an acceptable and winning narrative of our lives.
Third, endeavor to control your thoughts. Our thoughts are the aquifers that supply and re-supply our actions. Our deep-seated-thinking form the nucleus of our activities. Our thoughts sculpt and fashion what we eventually do. René Descartes’ famous philosophical proposition was “I think, therefore I am,” translated from the Latin words, “Cogito ergo sum.” An unknown author once said that “Our thoughts can help us more than doctors and harm us more than brickbats.” Our thoughts are powerful. They possess the power to help us in the situations of life. Our thoughts if channeled wrongly can also hurt us. For instance, in challenging circumstances, you could be prone to embracing a negative outlook that can lead you to spiral downwards into the cesspool of bitterness that could cripple your will to achieve and be a better person. Stay away from the dark side of Darth Vader-like thoughts and anger. In the process of developing the art of self-control, we must learn to control how we think. In the words of Mark Twain, “Life does not consist essentially—or even largely—of facts and happenings. It consists largely of the hurricane of thoughts that are forever blowing through one’s mind.” (Paraphrased).
Fourth, in learning to control yourself, be careful of who you keep around you as a company. Human beings are social creatures. As we interact with one another, we begin to imbibe qualities from one another consciously and unconsciously via the principle of social diffusion. When we make it a habit of hanging around the wise, we gradually start inculcating the wise attributes of those that are wise. When we make it a habit of hanging around the foolish, we slowly commence instilling the stupid traits of those that are senseless. As we socialize with one another, there is a comingling and diffusion of behaviors by association. We become who we follow. We become who we associate with. The acts of those that we follow find ways of diffusing into our very lives. There is power in association. The prevailing associative attributes are the agents that are responsible for creating the culture of societies. Napoleon Hill once said that “Ponder twice before you say anything. The reason being that your words and sway will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” (Paraphrased). When you team up with like minds that believe in the power of self-control, there is every tendency that you will learn the art of self-control yourself. On the other hand, when you synergize yourself with people who do not control themselves, you may end up behaving like them also. Remember the Yiddish Proverb that says, “One rotten apple spoils the other.” There is an inherent power in the company that we keep.
Finally, make controlling yourself a habit. Your habit is who you eventually become. Your mannerism will ultimately form your personality. Your personality will eventually shape your life purpose. In the art of learning self-control, you must make this art a custom as you learn to earn from the proceeds and benefits that it offers. An unknown author once said that “Good habits are difficult to procure but easy to live with. On the contrary, harmful or bad habits are easy to acquire but hard to live with.” (Paraphrased). Acquiring the art of self-control is not a piece of cake. It involves you putting in the time and effort to do so. However, when you do, life becomes easy. Another unknown Author also said that “First we build our habits; then our habits builds us.” Build the habit of self-control. Master yourself. Master your words. Master your actions. Master your thoughts. Master the art of the right company that will in-turn influence you to become the best you possible. Make all the above facts in this article a habit, and they will in-turn, build the best you ever. A Charles Reade once said that we should “Sow an act, and you will harvest a habit. Sow a habit, and you produce a character. Sow a character, and you will realize a destiny.” (Paraphrased). In all your getting and acquisitions, get self-control.
So, say it to yourself, “I Control Me.” When you are in that not so favorable circumstance, say it to yourself “I Control Me.” When you are being edged on to become a negative you—walk away if you must. Speak to yourself and what you assert will eventually become your reality. Control your words. Do not say things that you will end up regretting. Remember, when that word flies out of your mouth, you cannot retrieve it back. It is potent and can build or destroy. Hence, it might just be better to walk away, cool yourself down and then speak with wisdom and knowledge to address your hurt. As already stipulated, control and watch your actions, thoughts, company and make this process habitual as you move forward towards becoming a better you. Do not be hasty to react when under negative pressure. Never allow your circumstance to control you, but always be in charge of your circumstance. Napoleon Hill in his landmark Bestseller, Think and Grow Rich, said “You are the boss of your own fate. You can influence, guide and regulate your own ambiance. You can fashion your life into what you want it to be.” (Paraphrased). So, influence, direct and control the narrative and shape your destiny—I Control Me.
Reality Check—Do You Owe Time?
Do not be so engulfed in the rat race of life that you forget to live. That you ignore to build meaningful relationships that matter. Do not be only focused on the pursuit that you sacrifice positive relationships that matter. Time spent with loved ones is what will stand the test of time. Do you owe time to your relationships? Do you owe time to yourself? Only you can honestly answer this question.
We can get so engrossed with the hustle and bustle of life that we forget to experience the moments that are passing by us. However, there are times that we need to have a reality check, sit back, and assess how we are managing our time. Time is the sole resource that we cannot replenish. Time lost can never be regained. As much as it may be profitable for us to be busy doing things that benefit us (e.g., financially), it is still necessary to find a harmonious equilibrium in doing other things that help us maintain our humanity and sanity. We must make sure that being busy is not sacrificing the gains of good relationships, fun, and relaxation. No man is an island. We can be busy building empires, however, living in your Utopian or real domain alone is a lonely lifestyle to say the very least. Cultivating relationships with your friends and loved ones requires time. A Ralph Smart once said that “No matter how ‘busy’ a person’s day may be. If they ‘really care’ they’ll always find time for you.” Make time for what matters.
In the video below, Kelechi Agom-Eze, the owner of the “I Encourage Somebody” YouTube Channel had some interesting facts to state about how we could end up owing time to our friends, our loved ones, and even to ourselves. In our daily ephemeral pursuits, we should never forget to stop and appreciate the things and people that matter in our lives. We should never take the moments that we share with our friends and loved ones for granted. Those moments are the building blocks of excellent relationships. When we look down the road, those moments that we shared people that matter to us form unforgettable memories that are more valuable than gold. We should never take time times that we make out to relax and do the things that we love for granted. Those moments refresh us and help in bringing out the best in us. Try your best in making time for the things that matter in your life. Things that matter can be time spent with relations, friends, or even doing things that just make us happy. Have a reality check—‘Do you owe time?’
“Don’t take your time for granted—use it wisely while you can.”
Stop and appreciate your friends and loved ones. When you are no longer here in this world, the memories that will linger on are the times that you have spent with your loved ones. Those moments are stamps on the papyrus of time that will be a testament to the moments that you have shared with people. It is important to note that as difficult as it may be for you to etch out some time to spend with people you love, always remember that you are making an indelible mark on the chronicles of lives that matter to you. Do not be so engulfed in the rat race of life that you forget to live. That you ignore to build meaningful relationships that matter. Do not be only focused on the pursuit that you sacrifice positive relationships that matter. Time spent with loved ones is what will stand the test of time. It is what will be remembered. It is what will enshrine you in the memories of those whom you impact positively by your influence and magnetic relationship as you share moments with them.
Hence, I call on all my readers to make time for things and people that matter to you. Do you find time out of your busy schedule to spend with those that you love? If married, how much meaningful time do you share with your spouse? If you have kids, can your they really say that they spend quality time with you? What will they remember you for? Are you just the father or mother that is caught up in the rat race of pursuing the Benjamins? Make time for your kids. Those meaningful moments that you invest in them is what will sculpt them into becoming people of value with high self-worth in the future. Do you try to find time to spend with your parents or those that brought you up from childhood? Remember, your parents are the ones that gave you access to this world. Your loved ones that help nurture you as an infant helped in your process of becoming who you are today. Find the time and spend with them while you have them. Do you spend meaningful time with your friends? Prioritize your time accordingly. Make time to spend with people that matter to you. Time is running out.
Even more, find time to live and enjoy yourself for the hours you invest in your rat race and the pursuit of your dreams. Find the time to relax from all your hard labors. Do something fun. Go to the movies. Reward yourself with a vacation to a distant land of your dreams. Read a book. Do something memorable. Do something innovative and fun. Remember that all work with little or no play makes Jack or Jill a dull boy or girl. As earlier stated, ‘Time is the only resource that can never be replenished.’ Every second lost can never be regained. Think about it, every minute, every hour lost can never be replaced. It now belongs to the chronicles of history and can never be re-written. You only have the option to write the story of your “now” by the seeds of activities that you sow. Whether it be the time that you spend with relations, loved ones, friends, or time you spend doing the things you cherish. The activities of today are the building blocks of your future and reality. Do you owe time to your relationships? Do you owe time to yourself? Only you can honestly answer this question.
In summary, time is so invaluable that we are not to waste it. A Roger Williams once said that “One grain of time’s inestimable sand is worth a golden mountain: let us not lose it.” Invest your time in the people and things that matter to you. All resources can be bought, but you cannot buy time. Cherish the time that you have and invest it wisely while you have the opportunity to do so. A Robert Herrick once said that we should “Gather ye rosebuds while ye may, Old Time is still a-flying.” Thinking that you have all the time in the world is a big mistake. This is a reality check for you. Do you owe time? Are you making meaningful use of your time here on earth? Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield, otherwise known as Lord Chesterfield, writing and admonishing his son, once said that “I recommend you to take care of the minutes: for hours will take care of themselves.” Do you owe time? Take care of your seconds, and they will take care of your minutes. Take care of your minutes, and they will take care of your hours. Take care of your hours, and they will take care of your days. Take care of your days, and it will take care of the years of your life. Pay your dues and invest significant time in the people and things that matter to you. A stitch in time they say saves nine.