This month (1st of October) marked Nigeria’s Independence- Country gained its independence on the 1st of October 1960. This day was particularly important to me because it fell on a Sunday. Not having a topic already in mind, this Independence came in handy 🙂

I felt it was important I talk about embracing one’s identity, or as the case may be; ones Nationality. I have noticed that a lot of people are embarrassed to be identified with their birth country, especially when they get the opportunity to migrate to a different country. I have also found this from children of migrants who feel ashamed of their parent’s heritage. In the former case, they believe travelling abroad is the ultimate destination and as a result, forget where they are from.

I have previously seen a video of a lady who was ‘ashamed’ of her skin type because according to her, it was connoted with ‘poverty’.  I have also overheard people speak negatively about their birth country or motherland because things aren’t as they should be when compared to other countries, such as the ones which they inhabit.

I was in a conversation with someone and when the name of a country popped up, her response was ‘forget that useless country’. I was astounded by her statement, particularly because she is a citizen of the country mentioned. I was also told about a man who refused to invest in his country because he felt it was a ‘dead’ country and as a result discouraged others from investing in it too.

I do understand the frustration, especially when the ‘shi-tu-ation’ found in their society can be avoided but is not, due to greed and selfishness on the part of the government.

What’s amazing is I seldom hear citizens of other Countries e.g. Britons speak negatively about their country. It isn’t that their nation is as good as they portray it but there is a pride in their ‘greatness’ as a nation no matter what goes on. They have a way of displaying the positives of their country and as a result, foreigners run over to such countries and because of this false depiction they sometimes get disappointed.

Nonetheless, it’s imperative to embrace your nationality.  It is your heritage. Avoid speaking negatively about your roots as the grass is often not greener on the other side.

It’s incredible when you’ve got the opportunity to embrace a different culture and meet diverse people, but don’t suppress your identity because you are in a different country. Always remember your ethnicity- it’s what formed you.

I appreciate the fact that some of us would like to change a certain aspect of us and it’s common in most individuals as we all are not perfect and sometimes wish we have a different feature from what we’ve currently got. But I encourage you to embrace who you are and revel in your individuality regardless of your nationality, skin type, weight, height, the way you walk or the sound of your voice. If you have the ability to change what you do not like about yourself, then, by all means, do so but if you are unable to change the situation, I’d encourage you to embrace your ‘uniqueness’ so that others will appreciate you for who you are.

I will conclude by saying it is important that we embrace our cultural heritage and embrace our roots, our individuality and the ethical traditions handed to us by our ancestors. The fact that some things don’t work well in your country doesn’t mean you should disown it or shy away from being identified with that nation. If you’ve got the opportunity to travel abroad, get the knowledge learnt and invest in your country. I encourage everyone to celebrate their culture as that culture made you, it is your roots and trust me, if you look deeper, you will enjoy the riches and fullness of your heritage.

Similarly, learn to embrace your individuality. You are unique regardless of your accent or your skin type. Those qualities made you so take great pleasure in it and let people appreciate you for your worth.

Enjoy the video below and have a wonderful day.

 

Reading, 21st Century,Gadgets, Technology, Jim Rohn, Chris Widener, University, Self Education, Formal Education

 

I often hear the older generation say ‘youngsters don’t read” they believe our generation has replaced reading with visuals and that we consider reading a thing of old- out of place. I wouldn’t necessarily disagree with such ideology, however, I believe the 21st century has evolved and we rarely ever read which is a shame. Although some people are more concerned with the initial or short-term benefits when it comes to reading- The question of ‘what do I stand to achieve?’ comes into play when the subject of reading is mentioned. Reading has been equated with Academic, Boring and Introvert which for some isn’t ‘up to social standing.’
We prefer to get the latest gadget because of the social benefit of having such device and the privileges it comes with. So we avoid the idea of reading when it doesn’t liken the benefit our devices come with.

Have you ever had to urge to buy a new book as we do latest gadgets? Perhaps another theory behind reading and why it is considered a chore is because reading is no longer equated with value- People see reading as an inherently introversive thing- something that only benefits the reader, we don’t ever get the chance to show off with reading because it does not benefit us enough in a social sense. Which is absolutely true as knowledge isn’t an object but I believe knowledge can be felt although not as much as we can show off our iPhone.
Isn’t it funny that we hardly see or hear people eager to get a book that’s due to be released but ever so often, we hear people anticipate the release of a new gadget? (By the way, I heard the latest iPhone is scheduled to be released next month). Only if we are eager to grab a book as we do other stuff like technology.

Books never get out of fashion. Technology does.

There will always be a place for reading.

Another reason behind reading I assume could be because we are in a consumer culture, we are shown other stuff to consume and the idea of reading is assigned to teachers to deal with. Take a look at our advertising system, for instance, we are presented with other stuff to consume but reading. Could it be because there is no cultural stigma to reading or people don’t feel need to read because the value of reading is not as exposed as it should?

As a teenager, I and my friends were always eager to read out to the entire class. To us, it was a thing of pride- a time to show our eloquence or so we thought.

I realise how much people hate reading. I’m not saying reading is always fun although it depends on the contents. Most times it is often a bore when one is assigned the task of reading. People see it as a drag while for others, selling books is perceived as a mini ‘scam’- a way of ripping people off by getting them to buy and read books.

I use to find myself in the first category- those who find reading boring especially when it’s been given as a task. I tend to enjoy reading a book or an article when chosen voluntarily but I have learnt that in other to do better for myself I need to read wide and this means whether it’s interesting or boring. The most important thing is that it must be educative or informative.

As a child I thought completing my studies and coming out with great results will make me or made people successful. I didn’t realise that formal education doesn’t hit the mark at all times because most of life will be lived after ones’ formal education. This doesn’t mean formal education is a waste of time because it isn’t.
I remember my final year in university was tough and I said to my friend “I’m done with uni; I also promised I wouldn’t read the sign on a board” little did I know I was deceiving myself. After working in a company for a year and few months, I realised I needed more out of life so I went back to study however it isn’t all about formal education-which is something most people fail to realise, they think formal education is the ‘end-goal’. I used to think so until I got reading and understood that “formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune”. With self-education, we are constantly improving and growing.

I was open to a whole new ideology from reading a book ‘Twelve Pillars’ that has challenged me to read more. The authors said and I’ll leave you with the same thought to ponder on:
“Have you ever wanted to sit down and have dinner with great leaders and famous thinkers? You can when you read their books”.

Below are few quotes I found which I thought perhaps will get you to grab and anticipate the release of a new book.

“Let us read and let us dance – two amusements that will never do any harm to the world.”
 – Voltaire

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”
 – Victor Hugo

“To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life.”
 – Somerset Maugham

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”
 – Ray Bradbury

“A truly great book should be read in youth, again in maturity and once more in old age, as a fine building should be seen by morning light, at noon and by moonlight.”
 – Robertson Davies

“So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall.”
 – Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

“It is not true we have only one life to love, if we can read, we can live as many lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish.”
 – S.I. Hayakawa

“Choose an author as you choose a friend.”
 – Sir Christopher Wren

 

 

In my last post, I narrated a story of three servants who were deposited with individual talents. In this post, I aim to expand on my previous post. (Click here if you missed it).

Do you realize humans are endowed with great talent that it hurts when gifts lie in waste? For example, some intelligent people turn robbers and blame it on the economy. My thought is, if the economy hasn’t promised well for you, you can go out and make something for yourself. You don’t have to depend on the government or anyone else to help you else your caretaker becomes your jailer. In essence; being dependent on someone only gives them the opportunity to be lord over you regardless of how intelligent or knowledgeable you are.

I’ve read and heard of stories of people who started from nothing to something, from grass to grace, these people irrespective of the economic downturn and hopelessness surrounding them, believed they had a gift which can be implemented into good use and they started with that. Of course, the road was rough and there were bumps on their way but they remained focused and didn’t let the fear in their hearts keep them from following their dreams with discipline and enthusiasm; they knew they were embedded with great talent and they never lost sight of their visions.

Back to the story of the three servants (mentioned in my previous post). I want to believe the first two men after receiving their talents from the master sat in a solitary place and mapped out how to invest in the talents given to them. The third servant, on the other hand, was irrational and judgmental which led him making a sudden decision that got him banished from the kingdom. Similarly to us, we are endowed with talents but some of us choose to ignore these talents because we don’t know where to start or how to start. We forget that most times, bright ideas come to us when we sit in our solitary place thinking of who we are, and what we can do. In that moment, out of the blues, these ideas drop and when put to use, can push us to limelight.  These ideas could be realised from our daily activities- things we enjoy doing. They come to us naturally and we do it without struggling.

 

The Should’I, Would’I Syndrome

I believe among several reasons why we often fail to use our talent is not because we haven’t got one but because we don’t recognize it and those who do don’t call it into effect. We could but we don’t, we should but we won’t. This ‘should I, would I’ syndrome has made life a living hell for a lot of us still living. We fail to understand that we have the capacity of building on our talents as unique individuals; creating something different, something new, our own style.

Fear of Failure

Another reason I believe we shy away from using our talent is fear as mentioned in my previous post. The fear of failure is often a more powerful emotion than the fear of progress. The words and opinions of others constantly take a toll on each of us. We fear what people will say when we don’t get it right, as a result, we refuse to dig deeper into our reservoir, we fear our ideas might not make sense to people so we lock into our sorry self, we fear we might not be acceptable, we fear we might not put our words or ideas meaningfully or it might not make sense to our audience. All these and much more have prevented us from using our gifts and pushing forward because we fear rejection. As a result of fear we leave behind what we are supposed to do and forget that “a thing of value will with the passage of enough time be taken for granted”.

How often have we thought of a worthy idea; one that could change situations around us, our society or friends but we’ve refused to embrace it because of fear?

I believe a major challenge in life is for us to learn the art of standing guard at the doorway of our mind and examine the credibility of those trying to gain entry to a place where our decisions and attitudes are formed. I’d leave you to ponder on this.

=

 

Fear, Gift, Talent, Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14–30, Bible,Servants, King, Ron Reynolds, The Gift

The parable of the talents accorded in the Bible (Matthew 25:14–30) fascinates me; it makes me ponder at how often we are quick to judge people especially those whose lives we get to read about, yet fail to see and acknowledge the similarities in what we do. Because of the length of this post, I have written it in two parts. So here we go…

The parable narrates the story of a rich man who went on a journey. Before leaving, he called his three servants and gave each of them a talent. To one servant, he gave 5 talents, to another he gave 2 talents and to the third servant he gave 1 talent. The first two servants went ahead, invested in their talents and gained interest, while the third servant hid his talent by digging it into the ground until his masters’ return. On the masters’ return, he was impressed with his first two servants obviously because their talents yielded increase but was disappointed with the third servant and banished him from the kingdom. This scenario reminds me of a saying that ‘your gift will make a way for you’. The saying is true and it did work for the first two servants who put their talents to use and got rewarded.

Most people who hear this story express and relinquish anger and disgust at the third servant, they blame him for not taking action or for being greedy and not being contented with what he was given and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking so because I once had that notion until it dawned on me that many of us are like the third servant and do things similarly to him.

I read a book called ‘The Gift’ by Ron Reynolds. According to Ron “inside of every human is a gift to be used and shared, it’s a call to help, to save or to rescue; a talent to be nourished or an idea that needs to grow”. Back to the story, the first two servants nourished their talents and that led to more talent deposited to them. I wouldn’t say putting their talents to use was easy as I’m pretty sure they went through phases like doubts, unbelief and fear. None the less they gave it a thought and went into action rather than sitting and wallowing in contemplation like most people do forgetting that the circumstance of today was as a result of yesterday’s thoughts. The third servant, on the other hand, wallowed in envy and jealousy. He didn’t realise that he could have been a hero since rooted in every man is a talent or a gift that needs to be shared.

The irony of this story is even though sometimes we are aware of what to do (I say ‘sometimes’ because often times we are clueless) we often get complacent and act foolishly like the third servant did. While pondering on this, I assume the third servant acted the way he did as a result of fear because fear comes in different forms. For example, we fear what the outcome of our actions might be or what others would think about us and this is often a contributing factor to holding one back from being productive. Aside fear, we get lazy, procrastinate and shy away from responsibilities and forget that everyone is embedded with a gift or a talent and that heroes are ordinary people who rise up to the challenge of life but do not recognise they’ve got the strength embedded in them until someone shows them or as I like to put it, until they take up the challenge to find out for themselves.

Another factor that could prevent us from using our gift is what we tend to believe. For instance, many people think they have nothing to contribute to the world and I really like how Ron Reynolds puts it. He said ‘a gift is to be used and shared’ in other words, a talent is not to be left dormant or buried. We need to rise up and understand that by not using the gift deposited in us either from birth or the ones developed over time, we only limit ourselves to several opportunities yet to unfold, opportunities to learn, grow and make an impact in our generation and those gifts will lie dormant, rusting away if they are not being exercised.

I believe every individual has been deposited with a talent and these talents varies from gifts of eloquence – to speak in public and talk to nations, encouraging and healing rather than speaking ill and gossiping about others, it could be the gift of teaching- being a coach, a mentor, a counsellor, an actor, a poet, a singer, an artist, a writer, lots and lots of talents. The amazing thing is, these talents have been set in place for us and we wouldn’t be brought to earth if they weren’t. I strongly believe we’ve been created to reign and where we reign is where our Creator reigns and he would only breathe on what we attempt to improve.

You will agree with me that the Internet has become an intrinsic part of human existence; it communicates news to us and is notable for carrying extensive varieties of information, little wonder we learn new things and adopt a different standard of living. Aside from that, we often find ourselves checking online to ascertain the validity of a claim. This form of gathering information has an enormous impact on us without even realizing it. For instance, we get to hear stories that make us question the essence of things and often times life itself.
Let me cite an example. Before now; I was nervous about getting married because the internet delivers news on failed marriages. As a matter of fact, these marriages were barely a year old. The news on failed marriage would get to me and make me worried. Unconsciously I took on the fear I was presented with and unknown to me it became a second nature. I would sit and question what would happen when I get married- several thoughts will cross my mind like, ‘how long will my marriage last for, will I have a failed marriage, is failed marriage the new trend, could this be the norm in society or is it a bug people would have to catch at some point in marriage?’. I constantly questioned myself and I let the fear of failed marriage reside in me for as long as I could remember.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, I do not come from a broken home. As a matter of fact, my parents are still together and are good examples of marriage that have gone through the test of time. However, I come across stories of younger couples who are on the verge of giving up on their marriage or have given up completely; unfortunately, these couples are models to our generation.
So how did I free myself from this dilemma you might be wondering?
In other to get out of that state I created unconsciously, I got to read stories of marriages that are thriving. Some of these marriages have gone on for 20 years and counting, for example, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett, David and Victoria Beckham. And ooh!! did I forget to mention, T.D Jakes and his wife Serita. The list goes on and on.
Having shared my story, I assume we all deal with fear one way or another considering what’s going on around us and what the media presents to us. Yours doesn’t necessarily have to be about marriage; it could be fear of suffering, bombing, or even death the worse of it all (I went through that as well). It’s something only known to you.
Just like I did, first, renew your mind. I can’t over emphasize that. I made a conscious effort to do better in marriage and not let what the media present to me define my perspective on love or marriage. Also as a believer in God, I prayed about the situation (Fear). Additionally, I read books on marriages and, on my social platforms; I followed couples who share their experiences and marital journey with the world. Besides, I engage in conversations with younger couples who have been married long enough and who share their struggles and triumph in marriage. Above all this, I learnt to take on the lessons but not the fear.
While writing this, it dawned on me that we fail to realise the power embedded in us as a result of fear. We are oblivious to the fact that we can be a source of inspiration to ourselves especially when we are not inspired by those around us most of all; the media. So this brings me to a conclusion ‘when you hear unpleasant stories especially online, it’s ok to show sympathy but do not take the fear upon yourself’.

 

Instagram

0   7
3   27
2   14
0   18