The first post about Lessons from my Wife’s Poultry was on the need for re-education.
One Friday morning, I was watching my wife attend to these birds that have grown so much and several thoughts flooded my mind.
1. Redesign and realignment of your life.
The poultry house was formally a concrete fish pond I created in a vacant part of my compound. The spot had some plants: plantains, guava trees, and an orange tree. I had to uproot them to create a more “value-producing” structure there.
Don’t let anything permanently occupy space in your life, when something more valuable can replace it. Apart from your wife and immediate family members, to whom you owe responsibility, don’t allow any person—pastor, employer, denomination, or friend—permanently occupy useful and productive space in your life if you can have a better alternative.
I have had to move on several times. Most people consider being a medical doctor a big deal; for me, it was not. When I needed to move on, I did. Always have several exit plans from your present location or activity. Remember, it is only in the cemetery where you have permanently permanent neighbours.
2. Always create space for mobility and flexibility.
The fish business was quite exciting but I could not supervise it because of my frequent travels. Another factor was that the retailers determined, to a large extent, the prices because there were too many fish farmers, then, and there were cheaper ones from Southwestern Nigeria. I stopped using the concrete pond and moved the plastic tanks to the school to teach Fishery (as a subject) in our school. You will notice that I had found an alternative use for the tanks and added more value to the school.
Don’t embark on cul-de-sac activities—I mean closed-ended activities or ventures. I saw a very complex residence inherited by the eldest son of a very rich man. There are two tombs there, and the house was overgrown with weeds, with the paint peeling off the walls. The building could not be converted for any other use; those tombs there would also create an aesthetic problem. My private residence was designed in such a way that my eldest son can convert it to a hospital if he chooses to. It can easily be converted to an exquisite guest house. The flat downstairs can easily be rented out to give me company if my children decide not to be coming home.
You must have occupational mobility and flexibility. Your occupation or training must also have geographical mobility.
As I stand today, I can’t practice medicine in Europe or America. Some of my classmates, however, were wiser; they schooled in Nigeria, did British and American professional examinations, so they are more geographically mobile. I had one, Dr. Leroy Edozien, who is a gynecologist and has a PhD in medical law. My other schoolmate, Dr. Reginald Ewesuedo, is an oncologist, pediatrician, and a clinical pharmacologist. That’s great occupational diversity and geographical mobility of labour.
No mater the job you are doing, acquire diversity of skills. There are jobs like banking, police force, and other security agencies that might be terminal, mono-track occupations if you are not wise to diversify your base of skills and knowledge.
My lawyer, Barrister Ighofotu Okeya, would always advice bankers to get a UK or American visa using the leverage of working in the bank, while employed in the bank. One of them that took the counsel was suddenly dropped from the bank. He was able to quickly relocate to the US; with his multiple-entry visa, he could work for some months, doing odd jobs, come back home, and go back again, until he will be able to settle down with his wife and come back to invest in Nigeria.
3. Always take another second look of the second look.
When I moved the tanks to the school, the concrete ponds were idle for some years, until the idea to convert them to a poultry was finally arrived at, after considering many options.
4. Change is not easy.
The process of changing or conversion of a structure or process to another function is not easy. You must be ready for cracks, knocks, losses, mistakes, and the need to take firm decisions and to make readjustment.
5. Right Consultation
Consultants are very needful, but consultation of those who have successfully managed what you want to embark on, by themselves, and have produced tangible results is much better. Many motivational speakers, don’t have practical experience on ground. Many don’t have any any tangible investment in life. That’s the same problem with Nigerian politics. How can a man who has not managed a successful business manage a nation? How many governors in Nigeria were very outstanding businessmen in the real sense outside government patronage and kleptomania?
We had to put up a roof over the pond, crack some walls, and reduce the height of the perimeter walls of the pond. We were told to build cubicles for the birds to lay their eggs. After much expenses, when the rains came, the whole roof was leaking. We had to get another carpenter. We found out the the slope of the roof was too flat. Secondly, the wrong side of the asbestos roofing sheets were place outward so they soaked water. We also had to remove the cubicles because the birds would have been defecating on top of them and that would involve so much work to keep the place clean. We had remove the planks to build shelves for a bigger bookshop in the school. You must have noticed the dynamism of value creation and exit plans again. It was also found out that the walls were too high, and we had to reduce the perimeter walls by carving from them. The broken blocks were used to fill potholes in the street leading to our school.
Nothing must be wasted! Twelve baskets of crumbs were collected after the miracle of feeding people by Jesus.
Despite all the efforts to correct the leakage, there was still leakage from the wall that formed a boundary between my property and a hotel. I had to take several second looks and came up with the idea of building a new wall on that side, so that the roof could properly rest on it and lap over. We had blocks we molded for another thing in the property for a conference center; we had to take some to build the wall and that leakage stopped.
Learn not to have a frozen mindset about things. Learn to move assets around to areas where they would attract more value and productivity.
In life, don’t get emotional hangovers from temporary loses; fix your eyes on the long-term benefits.
There was an attempt to deliver birds to us to put in a leaking pen that was not fumigated, with several dysfunctional issues. I stoically refused to accept the birds because I knew I would suffer more losses at the end. That was a hard decision but we needed to start well and properly. There was no need for sentiments. I will eventually settle the dust raised, but I needed that firm decision.
Obasanjo had to take a firm decision that caused a rift between him and Atiku, his then Vice president, but yesterday, October 11, 2018, they have reconciled and decided to take over the presidency of Nigeria by 2019. Rich people don’t quarrel like poor people. They take decisions based on permanent interests, not on sentiments. It is instructive to note that the meeting had a Muslim scholar, Sheikh Gummi, Bishop David Oyedepo, Atiku, and Obasanjo. Religion and regionalism did not come in-between them, but their followers, who are poor, can kill themselves over these fellows.
6. Every change creates new responsibilities.
We had to first keep the birds in a room in the flat below us. They had to be kept warm by coal-heated fire, and they were directly under my bedroom. I had to cope with a hot floor. Later, they were relocated to the poultry. This involved inoculation and cleaning of the poultry floor. My wife had to readjust her resumption time at school to meet the new responsibilities. There is no change that comes easy. Every readjustment creates new responsibilities.
As long as you are not afraid to take the knocks, cracks, building new walls, losses and taking firm decisions, you are on your way to a more abundant life.
In the next post, we’ll look at Lessons From My Wife’s Poultry and The Nigerian Situation.
God Bless You.