Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Let Our Children Dream Again

Today, I choose to dwell my thoughts on children. The leaders of tomorrow-the future! The reason many parents run helter skelter everyday to make ends meet. They allow us see the good side of life and take each day with a smile. They are gifts from God.

Children are the often forgotten prides of a nation. They are the reason why governments of nations should consider the long time effects of their policies. But, sadly many world leaders especially those in the third world often forget about them in the scheme of things.

No wonder you do not need to look out of you car to see them hovering all around you at major roads whenever your car is forced to slow down because of potholes or traffic congestion. They stick their wares right into your car if your windows are open, urging you to buy their goods. And in the course of trying to exchange your money for their goods, if your driver is impatient and accelerates the car, you see them chasing the car to collect their money or catch it if it is thrown out from a high vehicle.

But I choose not to dwell my thoughts on sour experiences of children. My mind darts back to some merry experiences I had as a child. One that I look back and say, “If any child can dream big dreams and believe it, he or she can ‘work it’ and achieve it irrespective of challenges.” Then, we were still boys and we were proud that either one or both of our parents were staff of Federal School of Arts and Science, Ogoja.

We played football on the roads near the college’s sports centre. Two remnants from broken cement blocks placed ten paces of my foot apart formed the goal posts. They occupied the spots that the upright of a goal post would have been. Giggling, panting, focusing, kicking and aiming we chased around the round rubber which we fondly called flying carpet. We had no choice but to use the roads as our elder ones played their soccer games on the pitch nearby.

Nicknaming ourselves, we took names of local stars in our area or big stars we admired and this made us feel on top of the world. Hence, we screamed as we ran around the portion of the road serving as a soccer pitch calling out our adopted names. Popular names like Pele, Etim Esin, Goalkeeper Chukwuma, Shumaker, Maradona, Ruggeri, Chairman Christian Chukwu, Sam Okwaraji and other identities of reigning football stars and legends rent the air. The two opposing sides in the games were distinguished by those who wore shirts and those who wore none.

We abruptly stopped the soccer game when there was an oncoming car or motorcycle. If someone we liked was in the car, we saluted and cheered him or her, if it were someone we disliked we simply frowned or booed. Those who never allowed their kids to join us in a game, or those we considered stingy or strict never got our salutation. This added to the excitement as we played football with all our hearts on the road.

I could remember the day I sat on the gutter, close to a major road where boys often played soccer in the evening with a school mate in the Unity school I later attended. We talked about soccer stars and the big club sides and he clearly stated his desire for a big break, he said, “Okey, I dream of the day that I will play in the World cup, I love the quality of football there...I tell you, I will play in the World Cup one day”. He shook his head as he made that comment and I could see the burning passion in his eyes. Something in me believed him as I could recollect how he shined in soccer even back in our Primary school days.

I almost shed tears with joy when I saw the same schoolmate of mine, Bartholomew Ogbeche, in the starting line up of the Super Eagles in the Japan-Korea 2002 FIFA World cup game against Argentina. In a flash, I remembered that fateful afternoon. I saw a dream born, I saw a dream lived. Bartho, as we fondly call him may not be in the Super Eagles line up at the moment but he will always be a motivation. With such a zeal that catapulted him to stardom, I do not doubt his ability to bounce back to the highest echelon of soccer in the nearest future.

There are many children out there with dreams. But most of their dreams die and they fail to dream again because they are either talked out of it or fail to go far in its pursuit because of difficulties.

In our African society where mediocre leadership continues to exist, the future of our children is continually jeopardized. And their lives become full of turmoil as global population increases in our fast changing world.

Imagine a world without children. It will be a place where we would lack the innocence and cheerfulness of infants. It would be a world that would be devoid of continuity. It would be a boring place.

The challenge today, is for you and I. Let us become more interested in the plight of disadvantaged children. Let us show them a little kindness. A word of encouragement, taking out time to review their school work with them, teaching them good manners, giving them a gift that would add value to them would not cost us too much.

By doing so, we would be sowing good seeds into their future and it would be a step in tackling the woes of our children.

This post is part of a series inspired by the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign, hosted by Stepping Stones Nigeria. Please add your name to the PACT petition to prevent abuse of innocent children in the Niger Delta and visit the site to find out more:

Monday, November 7, 2011

Let Your Words Bless..

Dirty words are common these days. Some people say it out of frustration or uncertainty. While others are complacent about the effects of the words they have just spoken out of anger, envy and jealousy to others. In some instances it has become some people's lifestyle. But the benefits unto us and to others when we allow our words to 'bless' are so numerous.

To 'bless' someone means to better the person's lot. Bringing peace to another person's life is a blessing. Inspiring someone, bringing healing, good cheer and positive transformation to others are all ways of blessing others. In fact if your words leave someone better than you met him, you have served as a blessing. defines to 'bless' as 'to bestow good of any kind upon'.

While the word 'bless' may be better known as offering a prayer for divine favour or to sanctify; what matters is the after effect, which is always good. Perhaps using the word 'uplift,' may grammatically better suit this context because according to, to 'uplift,'means to improve socially, culturally, morally, or the like.

These days, the word 'bless' is increasing used. It is not unusual to hear someone say in appreciation, 'You have been a blessing to us!' Yes! People could say that to you just because of the way you spoke to them.

Think about how good you feel when someone says something nice to you. Your body system is refreshed, good cheer is brought into your life and you feel a kind of deep admiration or love for the person. Such a good feeling pays in many ways. At that moment you rarely think of your problems. You feel joy and appreciation.

What about when you positively touch someone with your words? You love it when the beneficiary showers you with words of appreciation. Sometimes they pray for you in gratitude. You feel good that you have just been of value to someone. Just like after you give someone a gift, you find inner peace when you do it cheerfully. 'Those who let the light shine in the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.'

It is just the opposite when you condemn and criticize someone in anger.Abusive or curse words are the high points of it.
Likewise, when you rant out of frustration or speak to someone disrespectfully out of your selfishness.
When you regain your tranquility after letting out such words and discover you got it wrong somewhere, you start regretting. It could get to the extent of you finding ways to apologize to those that bore the brunt of your verbal attack. It was as if you splashed mud on them and you feel terrible to have done so.

Words are so powerful. An encouraging word can go a long way in improving someone's life. There are people you can never forget in your life; not because you have their phone numbers or pictures, but because they sowed a seed in your life with their words. They inspired you. Their words echo in your subconsciousness from time to time. It is not surprising that the great Mother Teresa said, "Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless."

Encourage someone putting in so much time and resources in a worthy project. Motivate an ambitious child with inspirational words. Let your words soothe a sick fellow. Remind a friend facing a challenge that he or she is not finished because there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Tell your spouse you love him or her... The list is endless. You never know that there are several people out there longing to hear your words of approval.

Better someone's life today. Let your words bless..
Picture: Courtesy,

Monday, September 26, 2011

See the Light

There are moments that all does not seem to be well...
Life has dealt you a terrible blow. You put your head down. It did not happen the way you wanted. You are not where you think you are supposed to be. You want to stay all alone and bemoan your fate. You are angry.You are easily irritated by any little thing. You want to 'switch off.'

But just wait a minute; can you change the situation? Why not just take out time and ponder over it, think of a way out. Okay, if you cannot change the situation, why not accept it and put on the best attitude that would enable you live through it.

Does it add to your accomplishments and popularity if everyone around you knows you are facing a mountain? When you become the new 'gist' because your continuous complaints are known by all.

Now, think about your health; it worsens, when you are immersed in constant worry, anxiety and fear.

Seeing only the negative aspects of any situation can cause you to miss opportunities, neglect problems that need to be solved, and fail to take action that would otherwise improve your relationships and quality of life.

See the light, it is there at the end of the tunnel.This mess is not happening to you, it is happening for you. It is only but a stepping stone to greater heights.

Stop thinking about what is happening to you and start thinking about what you can make happen. If you're not happy with the way your life is now,change it by setting new goals and moving on.

You can do this by being optimistic. Stay confident, hopeful and cheerful. Expect good things. See the good and encourage yourself and others to be their best.

And do not forget that time and tide waits for no one. Any moment you spend brooding over failures and setbacks cannot be regained and so it has been wasted.

Count your blessings! See the light!
Picture, courtesy:

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Put Your Free Time to Productive Use

It is one of those days at work where you have less work to do. You smile and recline on your chair. It is time for office gossip. And the gist begins-from petty talk about your colleague who is not on seat to the wedding you attended last weekend to the new babe in town. You keep talking and the clock keeps ticking. It feels good, there is no pressure. Then you switch over to internet chat…

The next day you come to work; official phone calls, clients need your assistance, your boss keeps urging you to finish the tasks assigned to you long ago. You remember the other things you still had to do that day. Just like most days, it is a hectic day. You hate your work!

We all love some free time, be it at work or at home; when there are no tasks that need urgent attention, when we are at the motor park, train station or airport waiting for our turn to move, when we are done with home keeping. When the lecturer does not show up for the day’s lecture… There are loads of ways that free time comes up.

It would pay us if we use this free time to our advantage. When you are at the airport or station, when you are waiting for something, think about what you can do or what you can take with you so that you can use your time more effectively. For instance, you can be checking through the report that you have to present at tomorrow’s meeting.

It is a good time to do some creative day dreaming which could help you tackle some problems. You can use it to do some deep thinking with a pen and paper in your hand-where you list out and weigh various options. On the other hand you can use it to read a good book, plan for tomorrow or the week ahead.

You could face some lingering task that do not need immediate attention and make some progress on it. It could just be a good time to shut out your mind from the world and do some meditation. Whatever you choose to do, make sure it is to your own advantage and do not loose sight of when the train moves or the next task!

And if you are sure all your jobs have been completed to your satisfaction, then enjoy your well earned time. Avoid spending such time complaining or worrying over an issue because it is a good time to recharge your batteries for the next task. Of course, you need to stay right on op of our game!


Monday, July 4, 2011

My Boss, You Devil!

It is very common for us to start looking at our employers as monsters. We see them wanting to squeeze all the juice in us, the same way an orange is savoured. It either makes us wallow in self pity, get bitter and arrogant or become pragmatic-looking out for other better opportunities and taking the job as a learning process. It is better you choose to be pragmatic. The quote below from Henry Ford would give you more insight about how corporations work.
"It is not the employer who pays wages -- he only handles the money. It is the product that pays wages."-- Henry Ford, Industrialist
We would enjoy our stay as employees better if we start seeing our places of work from Henry Ford's point of view. O yes! Some bosses could be out rightly exploitative. But sometimes the problem is just us! Running a corporation could be hectic-salaries, over heard costs, taxes and things that ensure that the business stays afloat.
Take out time and look at your boss today, smile at him but say under your breath, "Hey, you are not happening to me, you are happening for me!" Under your breath, I did say! Love him or her. Learn! learn! learn not just your immediate job demands but as much as you can about the way things work there. You never can tell- you could be on your way to becoming a business owner tomorrow and the place you are, could just be an opportunity that life offers you to learn! Besides, it is best to leave a company with a good name, it is always something good for your resume(CV). And it is indeed a small world, you could meet your former boss or colleague somewhere again!
Ask yourself, if I were in my employers shoes, would I run this 'show' better? This would give you a more objective view about your own entrepreneurial desires. Take out time to give your self an appraisal study to know if the job is actually adding value to your short term and long term goals. Sit down and reflect on what you have learnt as well as what you can still learn from the job. Reinforce your resolve to grow by associating more with colleagues who would add value to you. There could be ways you can add value to your place of work too, even if you may not be rewarded for it, remember that it opens doors for more innovations from you, for you and for others. After all, your job is just a phase of your journey to greater heights.
Clients often notice the attitudes that staff of corporations put up. And believe me, when you are good, many of them will follow you, even if they find you in another firm or in your own firm tomorrow. So stay cheerful and be your best. The next customer could be a ticket to your progress tomorrow.
Your boss may not just be that devil you think he is. You are are on a journey to the top. Give your game the best shot! Be your best self. You should be known to be good in that job you do. And you can look yourself in the mirror and whisper, "I am on top of my game!'
Picture, Courtesy: Yahoo Images

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Thumbs Up, Oprah!

She was raped when she was nine, gave birth to a stillborn child at 14 and was so poor that she once used potato sacks as clothes.

Born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood. Oprah Winfrey, experienced considerable hardship during her childhood, claiming to be raped at age nine and becoming pregnant at 14. She was not deterred. She went on to become a globally acclaimed television host, actress, producer, and philanthropist, best known for her self-titled, multi-award winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011. She has been ranked the richest African American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and was for a time the world's only black billionaire.She is also, according to some assessments, the most influential woman in the world(courtesy: Wikepedia)

Her story demonstrates, it does not really matter where we are coming from but where we are going to. Do not let your failures, mistakes or hurts of the past affect you. Look ahead, focus on the bright future, be your best and the sun would shine for you.

She gave out cars as a surprise gift to an entire audience of 276 people in one of her shows in September, 2004. Her influence opens doors and financial floodgate for writers, movie stars, musicians ad business owners when she hosts or mentions them in her show or when her book club commends the works of the writers. She turns no names into brand names. This her influence has been dubbed as the "Oprah effect." The endorsement power of the "Oprah effect" has seen 55million books sold after promotion by her two-million-member Oprah Book Club.

Oprah Winfrey's Leadership Academy for Girls located in South Africa aims to give girls from deprived backgrounds a quality education in a country where schools are struggling to overcome the legacy of apartheid.

Oprah has touched many lives by her style of anchoring her show and her giving; she is fondly loved by many. Her contributions to the society cuts across many spheres of human endeavour. As she wrapped up her popular TV show last week, one could feel the impact she made. She is a testimony of determination, focus, persistence and consistency. Oprah, was on top of her game and it would not be a surprise if she records tremendous success as she focuses on her TV channel/media platform, Oprah Winfrey Network(OWN). Thumbs up to the woman of substance.

Picture, Courtesy: Reuters

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Ageless Boxer who Became a Champ!

Boxing lovers around the world are showering praises on the current WBC and IBO light-heavyweight champion, Bernard Hopkins.

Hopkin’s victory is a very good demonstration of resilience and determination. A 46, he still believed in himself. He did not see his age as a barrier. He trained hard and even after the initial game with Jean Paschal, 28 which had ended in a stalemate he still went ahead to fight in Saturday, May 21st rematch which he convincingly won. His victory was an unanimous decision by the three judges who gave their verdict. The former undisputed world middleweight champion won the fight claiming 116-112, 115-114 and 115-114 majorities.

After getting into a lot of trouble as a youth which also landed him in prison, Hopkins swore that he would never return to prison. He kept his word and made a lot of fortune from boxing by the time he retired, all before his recent comeback. His lifestyle then could be likened to that of a, ‘warrior monk,’ because he didn't drink, didn't smoke, ate well all the time, and treated going to the gym as if it were a job.

The American boxer is the first fighter to retain all 4 world titles of each major boxing sanctioning body, he is considered one of the best middleweights of all times.

Hopkins is now the oldest champion in boxing history after surpassing George Foreman’s record which he set at 45 . He is indeed, on top of his game!

Picture: Courtesy:Yahoo

Monday, February 21, 2011

You Need to Focus

Frequent interruptions, in the course of your work can greatly reduce your productivity.When our mind waivers often, it affects the result of what we are doing.

For big tasks, it is best we figure out our high energy time and face such tasks putting in, our full concentration.
Our high energy time is the period of the day that we work optimally.For a student, it is a period he understands most; what he is reading, with the least effort. If you are sharpest in the morning, consider your toughest coursework then.When you are tired, consider something lighter.

When we were students, we put in many hours into our studies and we figured out that there was a period of 'dimnishing returns' as one studies. It is that period that one (the brain) is tired and needs rest. At such period, you find it hard to comprehend what you are reading, even after several efforts. It can also be compared to forcing yourself to read when you are feeling sleepy. To avoid 'dimnishing returns,' it is better to take a nap or rest a little. By doing so, you are saving your time and energy.

Fixing a particular time for your routines, makes it habitual and it improves focus. Setting goals(and writing it out) before tasks improves our motivation and sense of urgency and it enables us to get things done faster. By so doing, we also curb procastination. It is also advisable to keep the materials we need for the task handy. Moving around to get them, affects concentration.

Finishing one task and moving over to the next, enables one to focus more, unlike moving in between tasks. But it is best for one to figure out what works best for him or her.

It is good to narrow down the things you have to do in order to have more time and energy to focus on the few things that matter most.

To focus best in you daily tasks, you need enough energy. Make sure you sleep enough, eat right and stay fit.

Focus! Stay focused. You surely deserve to be on top of your game.

Do you have a story about how focusing on a particular goal/task, made it easier for ypou to achieve it? Please share it with us. We have an e-book gift for contributors. We hope to hear from you!!

Picture, courtesy:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Say It! Do it!

Certain times, our desires and dreams get hold of us so much that we find ourselves voicing it. It may have been dormant but we find ourselves saying it out to the hearing of others when we are emotion laden. Sometimes we do so when we are pushed to the wall by others or overwhelmed by circumstances.

A popular story has it that William Clinton was privilleged to shake hands with President J.F.Kennedy as high school senior durring a visit to the White House durring a special youth leadership conference. Young Bill could not hide his excitement, he said "Mr.President, one day I hope to be like you."

Years later, Bill Clinton was elected the President of the United States of America. He said it and by all means he was pushed to do it.

Saying your desires and deepest dreams is very different from bragging. Bragging is talking too proudly about something you own or have done. It is saying what you cannot do or have not done.Though when we stop only at saying it without any action then it turns to a wish.Interestingly, those who keep saying it with passion end up doing it.

Stating our targets and goals releases a power that will move us and push us to pursue it. No wonder many corporations write and often emphasize their mission statements!

I was privilleged to make one of the best results in my junior high school.After we had seen our results, my good friend looked at me for several minutes and what he said struck me, "You said it and you did it!" I asked him to explain what he meant. He reminded me of what happened about a year earlier when we went to the school's notice board to check the results of our predecessors.Someone close had a bad result-several failures and a few passes. My friend teased me about it and I knew my Dad who was a tutor in the same school was embarassed. And I did not even know what made me say it and mean it with all my heart, "I would wipe away this result and embarrasment." He was right, I had done what I said.

You may not go into details- for someone may steal your dreams! If you do not voice your dream and yet your will power is enough to propel you into action, then that's fine.

Know yourself. Do not be afraid to dream with our eyes open. Timidity should not be your undoing. If it is your style-that your passions push you to say it; then, say it but achieve it!

Picture, courtesy: Google Images

Monday, January 17, 2011

Every Minute Counts.

Time and tide,they say, waits for no one. Before us, is a new year. A fraction of the 365 days have passed already. In each of these days is twenty four hours. In each hour is sixty minutes. If we must stay focused on our pursuits, then we have to make sure that every minute counts in 2011!

How have you been spending your time? You may need to reconsider your actions, if they do not contribute to the actualization of your dreams.

We have small and big goals. Some of us have been wise enough to set deadlines for these goals. But it is how you spend your time- What you do in between and how you do it that often determines if we would achieve them or not at the set time.

It is wise to begin your day by figuring out the best way to optimally use your time and energy in moivng a step closer to your goals.

Office gossip, constant telephone calls, too much newspaper reading, excessive spending of your time replying personal e-mails or social networking sites can sap your energy and kill your time. A messy office desk, scattered files can also slow down your work. Starting your day without a plan can leave you rutherless.

Friends matter, but if your relationship with them does little or no good to you, then intelligently learn to spend less time with them. Then strenghten those relationships that empower you and bring out the best in you.

Consider your routines and habits. Are they some that inhibit your progress? If there are, then work towards thrashing them out and replace them with those that would be of your own good and the good of others.

Learn to plan your day, week and months ahead. Learn to pray at the start and end of your day, it connects you with the infinite and refreshes your inner being.

2011 has just begun. Plan ahead, set your targets and see yourself on top of your game every moment as you work-doing the smaller things that lead to the big things you dream of!

Picture, courtesy: Google Images