Tomorrow, 27th of April, I will be 61 years old.
I was reflecting on the things that have transformed me from where I used to be to where I am today, and where I hope to be in future. There are things that helped me become who I have become, totally different from what some people expected me to be.
Growing up in a ghetto is very challenging. I was listening to Barack Obama’s half-brother on TV, who grew up in the slums of Nairobi. He has the same looks, same intelligence, and communication skills; however, he was into drugs, became a gangster, before finally coming to his senses, and is now into youth development. The potentials were there, but the environmental factors played a great role in the level of manifestation of the potentials. Remember the Parable of the Sower in the Bible.
Lessons of My Life
When somebody introduces who you are, and what is wrong with you, that you are not aware that you are to yourself, then you lack insight. When someone tells you what is wrong with you, and you know that that person is right, he/she is an ill-mannered person. If I know I am short, and you say I am short, what point have you made?
Many people who never change or improve in life, never do a self-evaluation of themselves. You cannot repent unless you realise and accept you are a sinner. The prodigal son did a self-assessment, and he became self-aware. That was what made him return to his father.
Don’t live another person’s life without knowing who you are. You are an echo, no matter how loud you are; you must wait for the voice, before you manifest. Be a voice, even if you are a whisper now; time, persistence, and consistency will increase your volume.
Most people are shadows of others.
The average African is struggling to be more white than the white man.
I don’t wait for you to award marks to me on the scale of life. I have done my own assessment; I know my grades and my position.
When a girl becomes aware that she has bigger breasts than the boys she grew up with, and she notices that her bum and hips are different from her male agemates, she starts to behave differently.
Life is comparative whether you like it or not.
When you put stones in a bottle, and shake them, the bigger ones will stay at the top, while the smaller ones will settle at the bottom. Any time there is a ‘shaking’ in life, people with small mindsets and attitudes settle for comfort even if they were on top. In the process of giving way, the bigger ones stay at the top.
Don’t pretend to be where you have not reached, and don’t pretend to be who you have not reached. Know who is stronger than you, who is richer than you, who you need help from, and who has the key to the door you want to pass through.
When you have done a proper SWOT analysis, that is, know your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, then you are set for advancement. This awareness will make you build capacity in your areas of strength, maximise your strengths, and build confidence in that area. When you build confidence in one area, attract, or deliberately look for, and associate with those who can cover or ameliorate your weaknesses. Don’t associate with those who have the same weakness with you, or who will further complicate your weaknesses. Don’t date or marry someone who has a similar void like you, or might end up digging a deeper hole in your life.
Don’t restrict your associations denominationally. Some of the greatest problems you will have in life will be from your denomination or congregation. I have always said that if your vision is to reach the nations, don’t struggle for relevance in your denomination. If you want to affect your generation, look beyond your congregation.
If you must do well, sometimes you have to do well outside your extended family or tribal group, because they are the ones who criticise you the most. Move away from those who criticize you, without providing alternatives or rendering assistance to make you better. This is an evil common with most pastors’ wives and their children. They criticise their husband or father audibly, or they rebel and resist him in their hearts. They are the people who always notice your faults and never appreciate your good side or talents.
Your tribal people, family, and church members will treat a guest speaker, pastor, author, doctor, or musician, who is not as good as yourself with more respect than you. Don’t mind those toxic people (if you have them around you); succeed outside them. Don’t be too foolish to swallow their verdict about you. Don’t struggle to impress them; life is filled with ‘Joseph’s brothers’.
There are always the fathers of David who will still see you as a messenger, even when your sling can change the stalemate with Saul. They will never believe the story of the bear and lion you strangled bare-fisted. In your absence, they will always question your testimony. Your brothers will always remind you of the few sheep in the bush; don’t mind them; you will not go back to them.
I have learnt to walk away from so many things. I’m not addicted to anything, any place, or anybody. I have always learnt to walk away; I know when to walk away from contention and congestion.
If you want to catch monkeys in Brazil, you put nuts in a bottle that can accept the hand of the monkey. You then tie the transparent bottle close to a tree branch. The monkey will squeeze its hand inside, grab the nuts, and form a fist; the fist cannot come out, and the monkey will not let go of the nuts until it is caught. That’s according to James Hadley Chase.
Some of you are in such relationships; some of you are in such engagements; some in such employments; others are in such businesses.
There are some denominations and congregations, where you are in, holding peanuts in a tied bottle. You are struggling with the General Overseer and his wife for the management of the Church; you are fooling yourself. Why are you quarreling with your bishop? Why are you fighting in your churches where you do elections into office? You can be more influential than your bishop and the district superintendent.
Dangote is more relevant than Buhari globally. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is more relevant than the whole cabinet of Buhari. One man, a northerner, recently said that Buhari knows that he cannot tell him to be chief of staff to him.
Donald Trump will regret ever becoming the U.S. President, because he will lose his global popularity and value. He has created enemies as an international businessman. He has destroyed the myth about his managerial ability. The recent statements he made about suggestions of ingesting or injecting disinfectants (to cure the novel coronavirus) has made public ridicule of a once-adored multi-billionaire. That’s mainly because he is not self-aware to let go of things that should be delegated to people who are specialised in those areas. He always wants to prove himself as a genius (which he claims to be), and the more he tries to compensate for that, the more outrageous his comments and actions become, making his flaws more visible for his opponents to pick apart.
If you know the peanuts in bottles, I have walked away from, it will shock you. I’m always aware of the shoes I have overgrown.
Many people struggle to be other people. Many church folks spend so much energy trying to look like their general overseers, dress like them, and preach like them. Some are ready to fight or make enemies because of others. I’m too busy building my life to create or inherit enemies, because of somebody who doesn’t know I exist. It is just like two boys fighting and stabbing each other in Ajegunle, Ngwa Road, Kibera, or Soweto in an argument over who is better between Ronaldo and Messi.
Accept who you are, but don’t settle down with a defective character.
Don’t struggle to become somebody else, but try to become a better version of yourself each day.
Always try to make sure that people don’t meet you where they left you or how they expected you to be. Try as much as possible to waooh them. Waoooh is the language of grace and performance.
You are not competing with people, but put yourself under pressure to bring out the sweetness in you. Have a hunger to spice the lives of others. Have fun being good. Bring joy and laughter to humanity, and humanity will reciprocate in a greater and amplified way.
Don’t struggle to be accepted by all. Don’t be afraid to be controversial. If you are poor, people will talk about you; if you are rich, they will still talk about you. Just imagine what Bill Gates goes through, even from the people he tries to help.
I know all the discussions that go on about and around me. I know how many people have removed my number from their WhatsApp groups. I know many people who delete my posts. Many of the people I’m relating with now, have just met me not too long ago. Life goes on without me or you. More than 200,000 people have died from COVID-I9, but that did not stop the earth from rotating. Abba Kyari’s death did not prevent Buhari from eating breakfast the next day.
There are things you can’t become. There are places you can’t reach. Accept them and enjoy life the way it is.
There are many things you have not done since the lockdown; you never thought you could live without them, but you have not died. There are people you have not seen, that you were used to seeing every day; you have not died.
Acceptance prevents living a life of denial. It makes you celebrate who you are, without getting angry and unfulfilled because of another person.
They asked Barack Obama’s half brother on TV if he was jealous of Barack Obama. He said, why should he? His explanation was that their environments are different and their journeys are different.
I want to thank all who have partnered with us to bring this post out daily, in recent days, during the lock down. What you read daily is an edited work. The editor is resident in Europe. I write and send to him in Europe, and the edited version is sent back, and improved on, and sent back to the editor in Europe before you get it online.
God Bless You and Stay Safe.