Friday, October 26, 2012

Fear! A recipe for greatness

Have you noticed people who are unaware they are sick and the day they become aware of their sick state that is when they start feeling very sick? I heard of a guy who has HIV for God knows when and not until the day he was told of his status (through his girlfriend) did he began to feel sick. I have heard of people who while climbing a tall mountain become afraid only when they look down. Many have reached heights or conquered challenges when their attention was not totally focused on the obstacles in front of them because at that time there was nothing to fear. Awareness to the obstacle breeds fear and has deprived many of the goals and victory ahead. The bible even taught of one Peter who walked on the sea while looking at Jesus and not until he began to see the turbulent sea wave did he began to sink. His fears were awakened when he became aware of the environment he was in. Of a truth fear has torment. It has ruined many; it has broken many homes and destroyed many relationships.

It is true fear can be destructive, but many through fear have achieved innumerable feats. These people have become great through the motivation derived from their fears. To some this fear is poverty; to some it is illiteracy; to some it is sickness or their spouse, boss or business. So many people have turned this fear to their favor; some have stopped the mouth of lions, some have conquered nations, some have gotten great jobs, married pretty women, obtained promises, were valiant in fight, escaped dark situations, led small armies to victory, built empires, became great inventors, utilized opportunities, attracted benefits and above all, many have become great. I am not interested in fear analysis for now; I am just convinced it is a recipe for greatness and I do hope you will understand when you are through reading this piece.

The story goes of a wealthy man who had only one daughter. When the daughter was of marriage age, the father sent news around town that all the eligible young men should come to compete in a test which would determine who was fit to marry his daughter. On that set day, all the able-bodied young men came out. Some came with paper and pen and others with cutlasses and swords. The rich man took them to his swimming pool and addressed the men: "Any of you who can swim from one end of this swimming pool to the other would marry my daughter. In addition, I‘ll give him $5m, a car and a house so they can start life well. I shall be waiting to meet my son-in-law at the other side. Good luck!" As the young men, all very excited at the prospect of winning, started taking off their shirts, a helicopter came over the pool and dropped snakes and crocodiles into the pool. Immediately all the men turned back and started wearing their shirts again. Disappointed, some of them said let the man marry his daughter, I can't enjoy d prize when I die.... All of a sudden they heard a splash in the pool. Everybody watched in amazement as one gentleman struggled his way across, avoiding the snakes and crocodiles. Finally, he made it to the other side. The rich man could not believe it. He asked the young man to name anything he wanted but the man was still panting uncontrollably. Finally, he got himself and made a request saying "Please someone should show me the idiot that pushed me inside this pool".

Funny huh? While fear has made many to shy away from the goal, fear has made many as well to obtain victory and achieve their goal. Some people see the hole in the doughnut while others see the doughnut in the hole. It all depends on what you see and how you see it.
While watching the ‘Karate kid”, I was inspired when Jacky Chan asked Jaden Smith why he wanted to keep fighting…his answer was puzzling. “But why do you want to keep fighting Jacky asked? Because I am still scared he answered”. I would think, fear would make him want to quit fighting, I would think his broken leg would shut him down completely; I would think the fierceness of his opponent would make him run away like a whirl wind. Well not for this young hero, his fear was what drove him hard like the guy in our story. Mind you, this guy (Jaden Smith) did not compete basically for the trophy; he competed to win over his fear which is a higher trophy in my opinion. I don’t know what is holding you down or depriving you from achieving that dream of yours. My father told me, not until your dream scares you terribly, you have not started dreaming. You shouldn’t be afraid to dream big; if you are afraid because of the hugeness of your dream then you are on the right path so says my father. But that fear should be your drive and motivation towards achieving the goal. That fear in my opinion is a good one and will set you apart. It will certainly beautify your life and put you on the path to greatness if not greatness itself.  If you master your fear, you can conquer all and anything.
May your future be bright. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When trusting is difficult

Sometimes it’s so difficult to trust especially when one has had nasty situations with life, God, events and relationships and even with certain people.  The ability to trust in the face of disappointing situations has been handled by many differently. By reason of such situations, many have placed a guard over themselves and as such become cautious or suspicious over similar or near similar situations. This trend seems human and we can’t place any rule or theory to govern how one will react after such disappointing situations. I have had my share of terrible disappointments as well as damning situations where trusting could be likened to astute stupidity. I sometimes relate distrust to un-forgiveness, so over time I have chosen to create excuse for every wrong which has helped me to deal with un-forgiveness as well as trust issues. A story I heard many years ago might shed some light and it goes like this.

It was in the evening after over 2 years of preparation, the day finally came when he will climb the tallest mountain in the village. The people gathered to watch this courageous mountain climber in excitement ready to set a record that will live through time. He started the climb through the night and the people left and hoped to return the next morning to see their champion at the very top of the mountain in excitement.
While he was climbing that night, the rock began to feel slippery and snow started falling. In the face of this seeming dangerous conditions, he pressed on hoping to hit the top of the mountain in due time. Suddenly, his hand got hold of a very slippery rock and he fell freely engaging every part of his body for a possible rescue. Luck shone on him when his hands got a good grab on a rocky edge. He hung on this rocky edge but with unsustainable balance from his legs and at that point he started praying to God for help. His body started feeling pain from a possible blow sustained from the rocks while he was falling. Fear gripped his heart vehemently as he stared at death in the face, and so he cried out the more to God to rescue him.
Then God spoke softly and said “release your hand from the rocky edge”. Is that you God he asked? I think my mind is deceiving me he thought, God can’t tell me to let go of this little hope I have and lead me to my death he quipped; so he kept hanging on while screaming to God in prayers for help.  God showed up again and said release your hand from the cliff. Because he can’t see below him due to the pitch darkness of the night, he yelled and said this can’t be God: he can’t allow me to die; he will rescue me somehow but not through this let go thing. This must be my mind or my enemies that don’t want me to succeed. They (my enemies) must have heard of my quest and want to do all to destroy my dreams. I can’t allow them to destroy me. The weather became very chilly and so he froze and died while hanging on to the cliff.
This next morning, the people gathered hoping to rejoice with their champion when they see him at the top of the mountain. Instead of seeing him at the top, they saw something like a frozen statue hanging from a part of the mountain. They rushed to see if he was their champion and were so sad and disappointed to discover that he was their champion and was more disappointed to see that he was hanging just a foot below the floor they were standing.

The story emphasizes the effect of fear on trust. This is the true picture of most people who are skeptical on trusting---FEAR. “I don’t want to get hurt again or I don’t want to be misled again” and many other seemingly good reasons have made many to ignore the inner voice that could aid soft landing. A clergy man once said “nothing is more valuable than insight to the journey of life, if you leave your life to chance, you don’t have a chance” (David Oyedepo). I have studied this quote thoroughly and couldn’t agree more. If we don’t live our lives like one playing a game of card where he takes it (life) as it comes but rather subject our mind to insight to purpose and or destiny, we will be able to choose our friends, the place we go or the things we do wisely. Our mistakes will as well be limited and not costly as those that live their lives like those that beat the air or play the game of card. However one chooses to interpret the story is up to the individual. In my strong opinion, insight is paramount and as such when it is very hard to trust that it is the time to trust hard.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

This Too Shall Pass: Part 2

It was on a Thursday, Obafemi Awolowo University just had their mid semester exams and most students went home to chill and cool off while I stayed behind for internship orientation. Immediately I finished eating at the new ‘Buka’ (cafeteria), I proceeded to my room at ETF hall (one of the student’s dorm) which was a stone throw to the new ‘buka’. Opening the door of the room was standing in front of me Kenneth my roommate. He was wearing a very long and gloomy face. Kenneth is a naturally happy young man who prides himself as a clown and a very good dancer. He took the time off after the exams to see his parents and I sent him to my family as well to get some money and food stuffs which was the norm for most students then. Seeing him in that state was unusual and my curiosity was immediately aroused. Is all well Kenneth? I asked without hesitation. All is not well he said, you will need to go home,  your father wants to see you and he asked me to tell you to come home as a matter of urgency. Why? What for? I protested and pleaded with him to tell me. He said he knows nothing other than that my father wants to see me.

I got home the next day with so much anxiety. The thoughts in my heart were overwhelming. I made a lot of money from tutorial classes after I graduated from high school and didn’t see the need to take money from my parents until the first semester of my 300 level (junior year) in college. Prior to resuming that semester I had told my mother that I was running low on money and she assured me she will henceforth give me all the money I needed for school since I had not demanded for money since I began college aside the usual food stuffs. I went to school then quite happy and feeling like a big boy. The days of being broke are over I told myself, I can buy myself new clothes, shoes and text books. I can also afford to impress my girlfriend with whom I enjoyed some level of big boy status (All fairness to honesty, beauty should have been her middle name). I will take her to the new ‘Buka’ weekly I said to myself thoughtfully, I will buy her the best of jewelries and make her feel proud of being my girlfriend I thought.

As I alighted from the bus and walked into the street of Osho Drive, people greeted me with long faces and nod their head in a pitiful way that snapped me out of my lingering thoughts about my beloved girlfriend. What could have been the matter? The feeling became agitation and I saw myself running towards my house. There were lots of people in my house which was very unusual and immediately I felt my heart in my mouth like I had swallowed bile. I called for my father and my mother with so much haste in my voice that made the visitors to leave one after the other. 

Settling down on our old rugged sofa that will pass for a bare wooden bench, I looked directly into my father’s eyes and asked why he sent for me. My father is great at concealing his emotions. He hides his deepest thoughts in parables and mutters his feelings in proverbs. His love for his wife (my mother) is unflinching and admirable. After his retirement, he gave 92% of his gratuity to his wife and the remaining to my eldest sister to finance her law school expenses. My mom became the bread winner from the day I graduated from high school with my father as her topmost priority. She was strong and indeed a pillar with a strong voice to everyone around her. 

I looked into my father’s eyes and saw my emotionally restrained father shedding tears. That broke me totally, there was no power in me to ask why the tears. I looked at my mother lying on the bed and wondered why she couldn’t stop my father from shedding tears. It was when my mother began to cry as well that my soul tore up and the tears like a running stream flowed down my cheeks. When we were all satisfied crying, the question was put forth and he opened his mouth. Your mother is stroked he said. Her left side is completely paralyzed he continued. She won’t be able to take care of us anymore; it is now time to take care of her. My thoughts went bizarre, how did she become stroke? She has never been sick, to the best of my knowledge. 

How long will she remain stroked? What will happen to my siblings? Where are we going to go from here seeing that we are still very dependent? How will I finish my education, how will I support myself in school, how will I even go back to school? The thoughts flowed as the tears gushed. My spirit failed and sorrow took over me…pain assumed my brother. I started crying so hard, my already blissful heart has been punctured. I will quit school, I said to myself, I will take up a menial job (bus conductor, carpentry e.t.c)...thoughts flooded my subconscious mind. I was crying so hard now, I have always wanted to be a professor, finish my B.Sc, obtain my masters and get a PhD. The years ahead looked so short and uncertain with the knowledge of my mother’s initial promise of having my back. My dreams have suffered a ship wreck I screamed. Why now?!  

The pain and frustration deepened while I sat there crying and thinking. Suddenly, I felt a warm hand on my shoulder, looking up I saw my father smiling at me with his usual grin that evokes hope. I know what you are thinking he said; your mother may not probably walk again or be agile to clothe, feed or reward you anymore, your schooling may be placed on hold, your life may be on the verge of tolling a difficult path as well as those of your siblings and me but this is not the time to give-in to despair he warned. As long as you remain focused and purposeful, THIS TOO SHALL PASS. 

Your situation may be worse and heart breaking, your hope may be fading at the moment, things may be working contrary and it may seem there is no light at the tunnel after all. Take it from me, as I had dreamt earlier, today I am a stone throw from getting my PhD  in a great country far away from home, my siblings are doing well in their own chosen field and my parents; they are strong and happy enjoying their old ages together. I am telling you with conviction and confidence remain purposeful and THAT TOO SHALL PASS.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

This Too Shall Pass

Today during a walk after a tiring job at the lab, I sat down in one of the pavements at Louisville’s citadel of learning. The cool provided by the shady trees that played host to both birds and timid squirrels amused my already thoughtful heart and in no time I fell into a deep reverie. My thoughts pierced into time past, of my growing up days in Nigeria and the stories my folks shared. The hopes, dreams and aspirations, the woes, displeasure and despair we all faced.
I came to terms with reality when something crawled over my feet and shook me to consciousness while  my thoughts was dining with the story of the emperor that says “this too shall pass”. 
It fits, I yelled at myself as I finally came to reality, for this too has just passed.
I shall share some of the pains and gains many of us went through from the days past and how some of us overcame through the stories that we carried on our chest from our parents, elders and friends. I will not be fulfilled if I fail to share the story of the emperor as the beginning and anchor of this series.    
Once an Emperor called upon all of his wise men and asked them,” Is there any magical saying
Which works in every situation, in every circumstance, in every place in every time in every joy, every sorrow, every defeat and every victory? One answer for all these questions which can help me when none of you is available to advise me, the emperor quipped.   
 All the Emperor’s advisers were baffled by the question. They all agreed on one solution on the suggestion of a learned scholar who gave them a note to be given to the Emperor.
And the note was to be opened whenever the Emperor was in trouble.
Just a few days after, he was attacked by the neighboring country. The Emperor and his army fought bravely but were still losing the battle and the Emperor was trying to run away on his mount. The enemies were following him getting closer and closer. Suddenly the Emperor found himself standing at the end of the road – that road was not going anywhere. Underneath there was a rocky valley thousand feet deep. If he jumped into it, he would be finished…and he could not return because it was a small road…the sound of enemy’s horses was approaching fast. The Emperor became restless. There seemed to be no way. Then he remembered the note given to him by his loyal advisers and he opened it.


The Emperor read it, again and again. Suddenly something struck him- Yes! This too will pass.
Only a few days ago, I was enjoying my rule. I was the mightiest of all the Emperors. Yet today, the empire and all its pleasures have gone. I am here trying to escape from enemies. Like those days of luxuries have gone, this day of danger too will pass. Calm came on his face. He kept standing there. The place where he was standing was full of natural beauty.
The revelation of the message had a great effect on him. He relaxed and forgot about those following him. After a few minutes he realized that the noise of the horses and the enemy coming was receding. They moved into some other part of the mountains and were nowhere near him.
The Emperor was very brave. He reorganized his army and fought again. He defeated the enemy and regained his empire. When he returned to his empire after victory, he was received with much fanfare. The whole capital was rejoicing in the victory. Everyone was in a festive mood. Flowers were being showered on Emperor from every house, from every corner. For a moment the Emperor said to himself,” I am one of the bravest and greatest Emperors. It is not easy to defeat me. With all the reception and celebration he saw an ego emerging in him. At that moment something clicked his mind and he opened the note and read it again: “THIS TOO SHALL PASS”.
He became silent. His face went through a total change from the egoist he moved to a state of utter humbleness. 
I don't know what you are thinking now or what you are going through...bad or good, it too shall pass. 
Watch out for part 2.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Reuben the cursed son of Jacob

It was yesterday or was it not?
Your voice echoed through your pen
The ink glued to time and memories
Like the running night clouds when
The swift east wind wakes the sun

It is today, yes just today
Your pen echoes through your voice
Like the noisy okpolokpolo in Osho-drive’s chest
The lyric of which there’s no dance step
But bile mingled with disgust to our already flaccid legs

It was yesterday, yes just yesterday
Your pen like a dragon rained fire
To the defense of the commons and lowly
Whose future from ages long have been distilled
In the apparatus of fear, hopelessness and helplessness

I mean yesterday! Or was it not?
When we all rushed to Wilmer’s paper stand
To hear from the oracle of the Guardian
Whose mouth spewed terror on government’s treachery
As exemplified in Bukola’s lootitude anthem

Yea! It was you, yes you!
Who gave heads and presidents the lingering flu
At the threat of grenade and letter bomb
Your pen like Voltron’s magical blazing sword
Rubbished their excesses, dictatorship and cowardice

Oh today, yes just today
Like the gloomy weather that signal heavy rainfall
When we hide indoors to hope, chat and play
Our warrior sleeps and dines with Dolus and Apate
At the seeming high and unconquerable heavens of Aso Rock

The smell of Jacob’s fart
Rummaging your senses to sweetness
Is the axe and curse that writes your story in proverbs
For when tomorrow shall come
Today will be but yesterday and
We will call you Reuben the cursed son of Jacob

Friday, July 13, 2012

Breeding Suspicion: Part 2

The story continues on breeding suspicion. Last week, I looked at the effect of lies in a relationship in regards to breeding suspicion. I will look at two other attitudes that breed suspicion, and I do hope you open your heart as you read.

Lack Of Commitment
There are so many books and write-ups on commitment whether to a relationship, communal development or personal growth as such I am not going to analyse it, since that is not where the focus is. However,  those who lack commitment are very unstable. They are to me like the Reubenites; unstable as water, very Normadic and are one of the best breeders of suspicion. In one of his post, Deolu Akinyemi (one of Nigeria's foremost and admired bloggers) analysed a formula for success, he called that formula 'show up'. Show up in a relationship emphasises commitment to that relationship. People who don't 'show up' or lack commitment express this act in different ways; coming late to dates or meetings, dodging phone calls or certain questions, evasiveness, nonchalant attitude, less communication, e.t.c. The list goes on. I have this friend that told me that his girlfrend never gets to answer some of his supposedly simple questions. According to him, anytime she is gloomy and he tries to ask her what the matter is, she will most often reply she cannot answer that question without any detailed explanation. He expressed how deeply hurt she does make him feel with such act, as she does it every now and then even after he had tried to explain how she makes him feel. This kind of attitude is an example of someone who is selfish and not empathetic. Attitudes like this make the heart worry and cause the partner to take solace in thoughts that evoke suspicion.  It is only an uncommitted individual that doesn't see the hurt or pain they steer. If you find yourself doing such, check the values you place on the other person, it is definitely not the same he placed on you and if he doesn't know that, you are breeding suspicion. Again, check the values you and your partner place on each other and talk about it seriously, it may be that the other person does not see it or love you the way you are imagining it.
Lack of commitment pictures intransparency. It is really a vast area that I cannot exhaust within two days of writing.

Unnecessary Caution
It comes most times from past experience. It is multifaceted in that people act differently when they show signs of caution in a relationship. Past hurts in their relationship puts the new person in a state of torture and suspicion. They tend not to be open enough. This act is furnished by selfishness and defensiveness, for example the phraseI have been hurt before and so I cannot trust anyone else'. In the long run, those who have such trait tend to want to steer a relationship in their favor. The underlying thing in this act is FEAR. Some scholars call it the AH HA syndrome. Simply put, it means a tendency to ‘keep an eye’ on someone, and at the first sign of something ‘familiar’ (from past experience), exclaim; " AH HA! I KNEW IT WOULD COME OUT SOONER OR LATER! WELL I’M NOT GOING THROUGH THAT AGAIN!"

There are so many things to think about when the idea of suspicion comes up, the list is just too numerous. While so many people are just too insecure and as such suspects every move of the other person, many other people create it in the minds of the other person. It is the second category of people I am actually talking about. Sometimes I wonder what gain the other person will have by breeding suspicion. You may say, I want to find out if he loves me very well by making him jealous. If you could not pick your spouse's call at a particular point after two missed calls, please don't allow him to be the first to call you the next day. If you cannot tell your friend or spouse certain things about yourself, please let him know his place in your life. If you cannot answer simple questions like, 'what is borthering you?' Please tell him his role in your life. There is no need to make certain pleasant comments of your past boyfriend or girlfriend in your present relationship. There is no need to stir the waters carelessly as you might be arousing a viscious shark. Be sensitive to your partners interest and try to succeed in the relationship by doing whatever it takes to succeed. Always try and put yourself in the other person's shoes. Test your own feeling on the same acts and build a good relationship.

Above all, let there be sincere and open communication. It will diminish the idea of suspicion. There won't be any need to scan through your phones for incriminating numbers or sms. There won't be any need to wear long faces with each other. There won't be any need to pretend. Nobody will feel hurt and the relationship will be blissful.
As you read this, scan through your own mind and see areas you might have bred suspicion in your relationship. If you have, I advice you to make effort to correct it immediately. Humble yourself and voice out your mind with love.

So much to say, I am sure you can elaborate on the ideas so far and build a solid relationship. Looking forward to hearing how this has helped you. Stay strong!

The Future is Brighter.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Breeding Suspicion Part 1

Husband comes home late at night and quietly opens the door to his Bedroom. From under the blanket he sees four legs instead of two. He reaches for a Baseball Bat and starts hitting the blanket as hard as he can. Once he's done, he goes to the kitchen to have a drink. As he enters, he sees his wife there, reading a magazine. "Hi Darling", she says, "Your parents have come to visit us, so l let them stay in our bedroom. Hope you have said Hello...

Many things come to mind when I think of this issue. There are just too much to talk about. I wish I was still a young boy, then I would not have made some of the mistakes I made with this issue. 

Have you had cause to do any of these? You searched your man's shirt or trouser pockets with the hope of seeing something incriminating or you scroll through your spouse phonebook or sms directory for strange numbers or sms. If yes, then you are a victim of suspicion. 
Many relationships die at a shorter age because of suspicion. As a matter of fact, I have seen many relationships crumble,  have watched with awe, how much less of understanding many matured individuals underestimates the dynamics of suspicion. 

My father once asked me, he said son! how many times will something happen to you before you actually learn? I remembered saying, I prefer to learn from the mistakes of others...but did I? 
I certainly did not because I was also entrapped by the failures of my heart to understand the dynamics of suspicion. 
While suspicion has so may parts to it, I am basically concerned about the workings of suspicion to relationship and what I think breeds it (suspicion). 

Suspicion according to my dictionary is a feeling of doubt or mistrust. According to my fathers, there is no smoke without fire. Yes something stirs up suspicion. If you notice that your spouse does not talk with you openly anymore, or feels sad in your presence or behaves unusual towards you...Check very well, suspicion is very close by. Also check yourself thoroughly, you are most likely to be breeding suspicion. Suspicion in a relationship is a very strong issue and should not be grown. In itself it is not a bad thing to suspect, in my opinion. It is the breeding of suspicion that I find very alarming and uncondoning. Breeding suspicion borrowing from poetic license is that act that causes the other person to be suspicious. Anyone portraying such acts, to me, is a breeder of suspicion. 

It takes two to tangle so they said, if in a relationship, one does certain things that are unclear to the other person, it will evoke suspicion in the other person. 

Some of these habits or behaviors are potential attitudes that breed suspicion: 

In my quest to understand this latent killer of beateous relationships, I discorvered that, there are so many ways people lie in a relationship. Most people scarcely put forth blatant lies, they furnish their lies with various colours. Some of the ways people lie in a relationship are: lack of transparency, conflicting stories, insincere indulgences etc. 
Lack of transparency is one aspect that may not be very familiar and most people may not know that such acts is a relationship killer as it breeds suspicion strongly. Anything you dont want to talk about in a relationship may be as a result of lack of transparency. it is the value one place on the other that determines the level of transparency to that person. This brings me to something that is related. 
Watch out for part 2.